Events / Summer Institute


Summer Institute

The 2020 IWCA Summer Institute will be held in Santa Fe, New Mexico from Sunday, June 14th through Friday, June 19th. 

The Summer Institute (SI) leadership track is open to both new and experienced writing center administrators, scholars, and practitioners from universities and colleges, K-12 education, or independent writing centers. Since 2003, the SI has allowed writing center professionals to work with leaders from the field in whole-group workshops, small-group discussions, and one-on-one conversations.

Location: SI will be held at the Lodge at Santa Fe. The group rate ($115/night) will be honored through May 23rd, 2020. Please call 505-992-5858 to make a reservation and be sure to mention that you’re with the IWCA Summer Institute.  

Registration: To register, log in to the portal, or if you have never created an account, create a new account and then register. Registration is $900. The deadline to register is April 1st, 2020. 

Grants: Limited grants (up to ½ the registration cost) are available to help support attendees. Please apply by March 15th, 2020 to be considered. 

Co-Chairs: Kelsey Hixson-Bowles of Utah Valley University ( and Joseph Cheatle of Iowa State University  ( 

Leaders: Neisha-Anne Green of American University and Beth Boquet of Fairfield University

Why Go?

Theme: Examining, Interrogating, and Redefining Collaboration

Leader Biographies 


Collaboration has been, and continues to be, at the heart of writing center work. Our scholarship celebrates collaboration as a core part of tutoring (see, for instance, Andrea Lunsford, in her work “Collaboration, Control, and the Idea of a Writing Center”), important to the creation of our scholarship (see Day & Eodice as well as Hixson-Bowles & Paz), and key to administering a writing center (see The Writing Center Director’s Resource Book, The Working Lives of New Writing Center Directors, and Michelle Eodice’s “Breathing Lessons: Or Collaboration Is…”). Indeed, consultants collaborate with clients, administrators collaborate with consultants, and writing centers collaborate with partners on- and off-campus. 

Recent work by Denny, Nordlof, & Salem (2018) suggests that traditional writing center pedagogy limits us to only “collaborating” with certain kinds of students and that perhaps to be inclusive, our ideas of collaboration need to expand. Greenfield (2019) critiques traditional writing center practices and, therefore, calls into question the heart of our work. Greenfield (2019) would prompt us to question why our field was built around the idea of collaboration. Who benefits from our traditional conceptions of collaboration? How does our traditional collaborative practices contribute to systems of oppression? Who is hurt by how we have practiced collaboration? And how can we redefine our collaborative practice to be more ethical? 

Writing centers have an opportunity to interrogate and redefine collaboration as a central part of our missions. As such, the theme for this year’s Summer Institute is “Examining, Interrogating, and Redefining Collaboration.” Through a series of interactive workshops, participants will: 

  • Build a cohort community: SI participants are uniquely positioned as current and future practitioners and leaders to learn from each other’s knowledge, expertise, and experience.
  • Examine their own collaborative practices and strategize practical ways to develop a more ethical collaborative practice.
  • Create strategies for cultivating your writing center staff: writing centers are only as good as their staff. We will help you create a plan to foster productive relationships between directors and assistant directors, administrative teams and tutors, tutors and office assistants, etc. We will help you to develop collaborative initiatives, programs, and research projects within your own center.
  • Develop purposeful collaborations on campus: partnerships between writing centers and other units on campus are essential in the long history of writing centers. These partnerships often further the mission of centers, help to provide new opportunities to writing centers, and support the success of writing centers at institutions. 
  • Strategize ways to develop collaborative research relationships. 

Lunsford notes that collaboration is difficult: collaborative goals must be clearly defined, collaboration must be fair, and collaboration looks different for each center. Despite the complexities – which are important and which we will interrogate – many writing center practitioners have experienced the particular energy collaboration generates. At it’s best, collaboration can help individuals reach what Csikszentmihalyi calls  flow together. In flow, creators enter a state of total immersion in their task. This focused, fully engaged state, fueled by intrinsic motivation, often leads creators to reach what Geller described as epochal time, where the minutes ticking away have no meaning. In this way, collaboration can even feel magical or mystical. 

Summer Institute is tailored to serve a variety of writing center administrators, including: 

  • Faculty directors, staff directors, coordinators, assistant directors, graduate administrators, etc.
  • Those working in universities, community colleges, high schools 
  • Those working in writing centers all over the world 

In an effort to provide relevant mentorship to the diverse group of participants we expect, the Summer Institute leaders will also represent the diversity in our field. We aim to recruit leaders from two and four year institutions, large and small institutions, and multiple writing center models. We are also intentionally representing leaders at different positions and stages of their careers, including early and late stage, assistant/associate directors and directors, and faculty and staff/administrative members.

Santa Fe is an ideal location to discuss collaboration. It is a mix of Indigenous, Spanish, and American cultures. Famous people have included Billy the Kid (outlaw), Georgia O’Keeffe (painter), and Mangus Coloradas (Apache leader). As we take in the scenery, sights, sounds, and history, we invite you to collaborate with us this summer.


Caswell, Nicole, Jackie Grutsch McKinney, and Rebecca Jackson. The Working Lives of New Writing Center Directors. Utah State University Press, 2016.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York Harper and Row, 1990. 

Day, Kami, and Michelle Eodice. (First Person)2: A Study of Co-Authoring in the Academy. Utah State University Press, 2001.

Eodice, Michelle. “Breathing Lessons: Or Collaboration Is…” The Center Will Hold, edited by Michael A. Pemberton and Joyce Kinkead. Utah State University Press, 2003, pp. 114-129. 

Greenfield, Laura. Radical Writing Center Praxis: A Paradigm for Ethical Political Engagement. Utah State University press, 2019.

Hixson-Bowles, Kelsey, and Enrique Paz. “Perspectives on Collaborative Scholarship.” The Peer Reivew. 0 (2015).

Lunsford, Andrea. “Collaboration, Control, and the Idea of a Writing Center.” The Writing Center Journal. 12.1 (1991): 3-10.

Denny, Harry, John Nordlof, and Lori Salem. “‘Tell me exactly what is was that I was doing that was so bad’: Understanding the Needs and Expectations of Working-Class Students in Writing.” The Writing Center Journal. 37.1: 67-100

The Writing Center Director’s Resource Book. Ed. Christina Murphy and Byron L. Stay. Routledge, 2010.

a picture of the lodge at Santa Fe