Document Type


Presentation Date


Conference Name

East Central Writing Centers Association

Conference Location

University of Notre Dame


In the digital age, writing centers are impacted by ever-increasing technological advancements that provide opportunities for a wider variety of writing center services, including mobile consulting. No longer must writing center consultations between peers take place in the formal location of a university writing center and under the supervision of writing center managers. Instead, consultations can take place in less formal settings, such as coffee houses or university gyms. Jackie Grutsch McKinny’s work explores some of these alternative services that writing centers can offer, especially in her book Peripheral Visions for Writing Centers. In exploring alternate boundaries of a Writing Center, the question becomes how a “writing center” can maintain professional and ethical boundaries between student writers and writing consultants, without the sense of professionalism imposed by the physical boundaries of official writing center locations. Under the theme of Writing Center ethics, I propose an individual presentation about consultant safety and maintaining professionalism in the writing center. Using literature related to writing center safety and professionalism, this presentation will address boundaries between writing center consultants and student writers, and how the physical setting of a writing center affects these boundaries. Drawing upon scholarship regarding ethics in the writing center, this presentation will also address ethical concerns and the role of a writing center consultant as an authoritative peer. The writing center is meant to be a place where “students’ voices can be strengthened,” while maintaining a boundary of professionalism. To support my proposed study, this presentation will present the results of a small-scale autoethnographic study that examines my work in multiple spaces in a writing center, supported by pertinent literature on safety in the writing center and maintaining social and ethical boundaries of professionalism, while still providing a personal and necessary service for students. This ethnographic study generated data on this topic from my own experiences with mobile consulting as a writing center consultant. With these combined resources, this study will attempt to determine where a writing center consultant stands on the spectrum of maintaining professionalism and providing a therapeutic service to student writers, while conducting consultations outside of the official writing center location.


Education | Higher Education

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