Bleakney leads international institute for writing center directors

Elon Writing Center Director Julia Bleakney led a week-long international Summer Institute for new professionals in the Writing Center field.

Photo of all participants and leaders.
This July in a hotel in downtown Indianapolis, 40 writing center directors from across the United States and from China and Pakistan came together for a week-long Summer Institute, sponsored by the International Writing Centers Association. The institute’s goal was to consider all aspects of the intellectual and practical work of running and leading a writing center.

From left, participant Antonia Taylor, co-chairs Stacia Watkins (Lipscomb University) and Julia Bleakney (Elon University).
Julia Bleakney, director of Elon’s Writing Center in the Center for Writing Excellence, co-chaired this week-long intensive institute with Stacia Watkins of Lipscomb University. The theme of the week was “Revising the Grand Narrative,” which invited participants to work towards new practices for writing center work that are informed by evidence from empirical research in the field, best practices, and an intentional and inclusive approach to all aspects of our work.

Bleakney, along with co-chair Watkins, spent several months up to the Summer Institute identifying and preparing additional leaders, planning workshops, communicating with participants, working with the hotel on logistics and arranging off-site activities.

The participants attended workshops, led by Bleakney and other leaders, on topics such as tutor education, diversity and inclusion, research in the writing center, and assessment. A highlight of the week was a site visit to the Flanner Community Writing Center, a community partnership with Marion University directed by Mark Latta. The co-chair position is a two-year appointment, and Bleakney will continue as co-chair in 2019.