Writing Centers, Environment
Howard, Samantha A. and Schendel, Ellen, "Making the Writing Center a Writing Environment" (2009). Student Summer Scholars. Paper 30.
Do writers' environments affect their work and their productivity? If so, how, and why? My
presentation outlines what an ideal writing space could and should be for various kinds of
Presently, writing centers do not necessarily encourage writing within their spaces. I explain
reasons why writing centers should remodel their spaces so that writers can write in the center,
rather than simply drop by for tutoring help, as is the typical writing center practice. Writing
centers already pride themselves by running on a model of active and social learning, which
would only be expanded by creating spaces for writers to write together.
I conducted my research through three methodologies. First, I conducted a survey of
experienced and inexperienced writers to find out what value they find in different writing
spaces. Second, I visited four Michigan writing centers and conducted interviews with their
respective directors to see if and how writers could use their centers as writing environments.
Third, I completed extensive readings from learning center/building design and writing center
scholarship to learn about cutting edge space design in order to determine redesign strategies to
make writing center spaces more hospitable to writers. My findings demonstrate the importance
of a good writing environment and argues that if writing centers became spaces for writers to
write, they could expand their pedagogy to intervene during the writing process and build a
supportive community of writers.