The following are example applications for Officer positions on the OWCA Executive Board. These examples are shared with permission and may redact personal information.
Please note that these examples may answer different questions than those requested for the current election.
Diversity & Social Justice Co-Chair
I am applying to serve as Diversity & Social Justice Co-Chair. At the X conference, I shared insights exploring how writing centers can use social media to share anti-racist pedagogical resources with writing instructors. I am also co-author for a forthcoming article in X journal describing a collaborative revision of a first-year biology courses’ sequence of writing assignments. With over a decade of experience working in writing centers, I first served as a consultant as an undergraduate, an experience which allowed me to feel an unparalleled sense of belonging as a first-generation student at a small X college. My experience teaching composition and working as a writing consultant at a variety of institutions, including X, would allow me to serve as a knowledgeable and empathetic representative of the diverse range of professionals comprising OWCA. My identity as X and my commitment to social justice for marginalized communities further informs my interest in ensuring that writing centers, whether face-to-face or online, provide accessible, welcoming, and productive spaces for both consultants and visitors.
During academe’s big shift to online learning, it’s been striking (in a wonderful way) how the often-behind-the-scenes work of the online writing center has shifted to the center of so many campus conversations about humanized and inclusive student learning as well as about curricular and faculty development. The OWCA’s commitment to developing position statements signaled to me that you appreciate, in a really deep way, how this represents an opportunity for online writing center professionals to be leaders as well as catalysts. I would love to collaborate with the Executive Board on this good work, in the role of Accessibility Co-Chair.
Here are some ways my background, skills, and perspective prepare me to contribute. My professional and scholarly background intersects with most of the ways online writing centers connect with the curriculum, the co-curriculum, and the extra-curriculum: in addition to my current position as director of a writing center, I’ve been a researcher and professor of multimodal writing and have held a range of administrative positions that involved close collaboration with online and hybrid writing and learning centers. I’ve also served in a working group on decolonizing writing-intensive instruction online.
With OWCA, I’d especially like to emphasize supporting students with diagnosed and undiagnosed learning differences and other barriers to accessible, writing-intensive learning online. I have both a personal and professional investment in developing resources, mentoring, and policies in this area. Also, I would like to help OWCA connect to art and design colleges–a community with a significant population of learners who struggle with conventional writing-intensive tutoring in hybrid and online environments and consequently also an ongoing mandate to design alternative approaches to student engagement.
Virtual Events Co-Chair
I’m currently a PhD candidate at the University of X, and I’m applying to serve as the Virtual Events Co-Chair. As Virtual Events Co-Chair, I would contribute to the strong work that is already being done by the Virtual Events committee with regard to outward-facing professional development opportunities. As someone who has worked in writing centers within a variety of institutions—from community college to R1-level—I think that OWCA’s low-cost and no-cost virtual webinars provide a great service to the larger writing center community, particularly to centers that lack the resources to fund conference travel. Having served this past year on the OWCA Conference Committee, I know that a lot of work goes into putting on these events and making sure they are accessible to as many potential audiences as possible. As such, I would apply the knowledge that I have gained in developing both synchronous and asynchronous accessible virtual programming as an administrator in my university writing center to expand the breadth of topics that OWCA addresses in its webinars. For example, in order to better support OWCA’s student members, the Virtual Events committee might offer webinars targeted to the student-tutor experience, such as helping tutors to articulate the value of their tutoring experience on the job market. I would also like to survey OWCA members to determine the direction of future programming so that Virtual Events can be responsive to the needs of the organization’s various constituents. I look forward to working with OWCA as the organization continues to grow.
As the current co-coordinator of X University’s Online Writing Center and a prospective PhD student in Rhetoric and Composition, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has presented a specific set of challenges regarding the availability and accessibility of online writing resources. Now more than ever, we as a writing community need to put forth active effort to understand the obstacles that online learners face, as well as the many hidden advantages of learning in this format. Being a first-generation college student, my research interests involve creating collaborative writing spaces focused on purpose-driven and identity-conscious writing, which can often more practically customize Center sessions to an individual writer’s needs, career and personal goals, and past experiences. Therefore, I would be most interested in serving on the OWCA’s Diversity & Social Justice Committee, as I believe its mission statement aligns most closely with my own professional goals: to bring fresh perspectives into Writing Center work, academia at large, and our research concerning best practices for increasing online accessibility for diverse writers and learners. In addition to my five years of Writing Center experience, I have also hosted two regional conferences, served as the editor in chief for two journals (one of which I created), presented at six national and regional conferences, been elected to executive boards for several student organizations, and conducted independent research about Writing Center accessibility. I believe these are relevant experiences that would allow me to contribute positively to this organization as it continues to grow and adapt to our ever-changing circumstances.
Along with my own experience as a graduate assistant, I am also involved in various intersectional organizations and groups entirely governed by both undergraduate and graduate students. Therefore, I have seen the innovativeness and community that can come from fostering a safe space for emerging scholars to engage with the field, and I would be excited to represent student interests and cooperatively develop resources for their professional development as Student Representative.
I have used WordPress and Weebly both for personal classroom use since 2010. Though not website editing per se, I also have over a decade of experience setting up Moodle, Blackboard, and other Learning Management Systems for my students and adjusting the organization to best suit their needs. For example, after discovering that the majority were accessing Moodle on their phones, I started putting the current week’s page as one of the first tabs. While living abroad I created a WordPress site to improve the process of taking and administering practice tests for our department. This included embedding Google forms—which would email the student their scored results—on the site, as well as linking to audio. As our students needed tech literacy support and had limited English proficiency, this website needed to be easy to understand. In my current role, our campus website uses OU Campus. I manage the pages for our Writing Center workshops and webinars. This means updating the titles for each week, updating our embedded Google Calendar, and making sure the recording and resource links work appropriately. One way to grow membership and keep members active is to have a strong, regular social media presence that ties into website content, as well as embedding social media on the website as appropriate. Including the colors and visuals—such as photos, flyers, and videos—may also increase members’ interaction with the site and the organization. Finally, and perhaps the most important, is making sure the website is a “one stop shop” for questions and concerns. This includes having a clear menu for navigation of the site, organization of tabs or sections based on member needs, and the appropriate placement and type of search widget to assist members in finding what they need.
In short, I am a long-time university educator and self-starter who is eager to learn about grant writing — it is a field I have been considering moving into from academia and teaching. While I have no formal experience with grant writing itself, I launched and managed a writing centre at X University, for which I had to follow the same tenets of a grant proposal each year to request and defend funding for the centre. That process included in-depth analysis of existing departmental need and use as well as avenues for growth and a thorough budget with options for various levels of funding. Additionally, I have taught problem-solution writing for a decade, and in many of those projects, my students and I have worked to envision their audience as a grant-awarding panel; as a result, I feel that I have a solid foundation onto which I can easily graft new knowledge about the intricacies of the grant writing artform. While I am not particularly knowledgeable about how the OWCA currently accesses grant funding to support its members, I am not afraid to ask questions and investigate what is working and what could be improved. I am also not afraid to do my own reading, research, and creative thinking about what options might be available which have yet to be explored or fully exploited. I enjoy a good puzzle and challenge, am passionate about writing centers, and am dedicated to helping educators and students thrive. I would love to serve the OWCA if on-the-job learning is acceptable.