Date of Graduation
This study sought to determine the overall status of writing centers in four academic settings: secondary school, two year college, four year college, university. To determine that status, this study examined the characteristics of writing centers in these settings and the issues faced by writing centers in these settings. To achieve these ends, the researcher engaged in survey research and open-ended interviews. The survey population came from the National Directory of Writing Centers. A 50% sample yielded 146 writing centers in all four settings. These centers received a survey instrument that examined seven areas of importance to writing centers: physical plant, staff clientele, services, funding, networking and outreach, evaluation. A 10% sample of survey respondents were asked to participate in open-ended interviews; the interview questions came from the overall sample's responses on the survey instrument. After the initial mailing, postcard reminder mailing, and telephone follow-up, the overall response sample was 49.2%. Respondents provided data on the size and makeup of the physical plants of their centers, including the number of computers and network access for their centers. Respondents also provided data on the directors and tutors of their centers, the characteristics of their centers' clienteles, the services their centers provided, the funding sources and allocations of their budgets, the extent of public relations in which their centers engage, and the ways the directors evaluate the effectiveness of their centers. Finally, the open-ended interviews provided more detail on the two main issues facing all writing centers--funding and institutional support. This study concludes that writing centers still do not enjoy full professional status in the academy. Writing centers are akin to Cinderella, sitting in the ashes of other marginalized programs in education. However, with the support of the National Writing Centers Association and the recent movement by the NWCA toward an accreditation process, writing centers will move out of the ashes and to the center of the academy.
Johnson, Tracey Jane, "In search of status: An empirical study of writing centers in four academic settings." (1997). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9118.