Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Motivation: "A Freaky Science"

Motivation is an important thing once you get to college and Dr. Bob has stressed its importance by showing the following video for the third year in a row. Despite how repetitive that sounds, I can reassure you that I feel better informed and motivated each time I watch the video. Here are some ideas to throw at you that you may not believe until you watch for yourself the reasoning behind motivation: it may not be what you think...

  • Is it possible for a reward to lead to worse performance?
  • Would having a large enough salary make you less motivated by money?
  • What if your boss told you, "You probably want to do something interesting. Let me get out of the way?"
  • What if people just did stuff!

Do you know how you are motivated? You might be surprised with what might motivate you. You should check out this video...we all have!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WC Centaurs Represent on the 2013 Homecoming Court

Hello hello! Hailley is back for another exciting blog post.

This past weekend, Coe celebrated its 100th Homecoming. Campus was a buzz with alums, all coming back to see old friends, professors, and the campus that they love. It was good to see familiar faces and also good to meet some alums who had their own version of Coe to share with us.

A staple of Coe's Homecoming is the traditional Homecoming Court. All Coe students were emailed a list of all eligible seniors and had to vote on five males and five females. Those winners made up the 2013 Homecoming Court.

The Writing Center had a hearty representation on this year's court. First up, Anna Barton, from St. Paul, Minnesota. Then, William "Kobe" Spencer from Racine, Wisconsin and finally, me, from good old Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin.

Our Homecoming obligations were mainly during the second half of the week. We performed a short act for our Homecoming variety show on Thursday night, called Kohawk Rock. Kobe did his best impersonation of Beyonce's "Love on Top," while Anna ran through her time on campus, and I did a top ten list of Coe College Rebellions. What I loved about my skit was that I was able to incorporate many WC consultants who helped to act out these rebellions.

Friday night we had our coronation and the Writing Center once again has a king in our midst. Kobe was crowed king and according to Dr. Bob, this is our second king. Must be something about being a consultant that corresponds to winning the crown.

The Coronation. Hailley is five from left, Kobe has the crown, and Anna is the one on the far right. From Coe's Facebook page.
 The week ended with the parade, football game, and dance on Saturday. I would say fun was had by all. With midterms behind us, the papers are creeping up so I expect the WC to be hopping from now until at least Thanksgiving Break. Of course, we might also see increased traffic as students come to honor our king, but we'll just have to wait and see!

At the football game. From Coe's Facebook page.

- Hailley

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The researchers are coming! The researchers are coming!

It's official, folks... the Coe Writing Center is an ethnographic research study.

Ok, so this has actually been true for quite a while. Chris Ervin, Director of Composition at Western Kentucky University, came to study Coe Writing Center centaurs in our natural habitat two years ago. We were in the process of moving from Peterson Hall to our current location in Gage Union. We Centaurs participated in interviews and acted as subjects in his observations.

Surprise! He liked us so much that he came back for additional research. (I mean, wouldn't you want to come back? We have free coffee...) He is examining how we utilize our new space now that we are all settled in.

Here's how part of the study went down at our staff meeting: Chris provided each of us maps of the writing center, noting where every sofa, chair, table, desk, computer, projector, etc. is located. We were instructed to annotate what we like to do in particular spots. For example, I noted on a sofa, "I like to watch TEDtalks here" and on a table, "I like to write blog posts here." (You can guess where I am sitting.) I am sure Chris will do fascinating, scientific magic with all this research... and maybe teach us a thing or two about ourselves and our new space.

Chris is also coming with us to Chicago for the Midwest Writing Centers Association conference. You can read about the CWC's role in this conference here. 

We were so glad to welcome Chris and help with his research. And no big deal, we're kind of famous now. Kind of.

All the writing to you and yours,

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Looking Forward: Tampa

Two years ago, I went to a writing center conference in Miami. It involved late night swimming in the ocean, collecting seashells, and finding out the beach chair I had been using for two hours was supposedly for rent, at $10 an hour. Oops. And of course, it involved actually learning about different writing centers across the U.S. Writing Centers came in all shapes and sizes; they were large, small, appointment-based or accommodating to drop-ins, but most of all they were full of interesting people. This year’s conference, the National Council of Peer Tutors in Writing Conference (NCPTW) will be held in Tampa Bay, Florida from October 31st to November 2nd. The theme is “Year of the Writer” which encourages us to think about our role as tutees, and we have five research groups presenting on subjects related to that theme, such as the balance of work and play and the dynamics of friendships as coworkers. I won’t be heading to Florida this year, but I hope everyone has a great time- remember to bring back stellar ideas for our writing center, to meet new people, and to bring back souvenirs for those of us hanging out back in Cedar Rapids.


Monday, October 7, 2013

We're going to Chicago!

The Midwest Writing Centers Association, or as we call it the MWCA, is "a regional nonprofit organization that encourages communication and collaboration among writing centers in the Midwestern region of the United States."-MWCA website

Every fall the association holds a regional conference where the writing centers of the Midwest can come together for a chance to mingle, make connections, and learn something useful. This year the theme of the conference is "Writing the L". For those of you not familiar with Chicago, that is rapid transit system of Chicago making it a clever title for this year's conference.

Between now and October 17th when some of our writing center's finest will brace for their journey to the "windy city" I will keep you updated on some of the ways they will be representing Coe upon their arrival. Our Writing Center will have presentations from who has the power in the Writing Center operation to how we balance our comfy space with work and play. These presentations are going to be stellar. Coming soon: interviews with those heading up to project front.

-Margaret Gruhler

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Peter Godwin Makes A Visit

On Monday, September 9th, the journalist and author Peter Godwin visited campus. His main purpose was to speak to Coe's first-year students. They read one of his memoirs, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun, as their summer common reading book. Godwin was born in Zimbabwe and grew up there before going to England to continue his schooling. When a Crocodile Eats the Sun focuses on Godwin when he's a bit older, the years 1998-2006 are covered. The story focuses on the unrest in Zimbabwe at the time, but also, more importantly, Godwin's father and how their relationship changes. (I won't tell you everything because I don't want to spoil the book!)

The Writing Center was also lucky enough for Godwin to make a visit for a special edition of Monday Tea. We had a good chunk of students (both centaurs and good old Coe students) to hear Godwin talk about his life, and more specifically, his writing process. Godwin was definitely a talker and always elaborated and expanded his answers. He was also funny, his British accent catching you a little off guard at first before you got use to it. Godwin stressed the importance of storytelling, and having grew up in a culture so insistent on storytelling, it becomes a part of you.

For us Writing Center consultants, oral tradition is a big deal here. A lot of what we pass down and learn is from stories we hear from upperclassmen centaurs. Dr. Bob will mention past consultants fondly and then to meet them, it's sort of crazy (but awesome). Even when I mention a consultant from a few years back, other consultants are quick to chime in with past stories of said consultant. Maybe we should start a memoir of the Writing Center, not entirely sure what it would entail, but hey, we can work on it.

So Godwin was good. Really good. Not only was it neat for him to talk to the first-years, it was also great for him to be able to spend some quality time with Writing Center consultants.

- Hailley

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Terrific Times at Tuesday Tea

Being brand new to Coe College and the Writing Center, there’s been a lot of events to attend. One of my favorite and most frequently attended social gathering of the WC is Tuesday Tea. Everyone is welcome, whether it’s your first shindig or you’re a seasoned veteran.

Tuesday Tea is, as the name implies, held on almost every Tuesday starting at 3:30 and going to around 4. I would advise getting there a little before that time if possible, since the event seems to be gaining in popularity.

The event usually goes down as follows: the Tea Triangle (I’m coining that right now) is rung and the few stragglers scamper to the back of the WC to grab remaining seats. Once everyone is settled, the tea and other assorted foodstuffs are passed around. There are usually two different types of teas, in case someone is vehemently opposed to one of the selections. The past two events have seen the appearance of the ever popular peach and Tetley.  Peach is pretty self explanatory, but for those who are unaware, Tetley is similar to English breakfast tea. In the words of a fellow consultant, “it tastes like trees.” Besides the tea, there are many other types of sustenance that include but are not limited to: cheese, crackers, sausage, danishes, fruit, cookies, and the ever popular cucumber sandwiches. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of gluten; we’ve got you covered with a choice of gluten-free or gluten-filled crackers.

Doctor Bob usually has some topic of discussion he throws out for the table to mull over, but there are always plenty of other interesting conversations going on. Most recently he brought to the table the idea of more faculty members joining in on Tuesday Tea. So if you’re part of the Coe College faculty and you’re reading this post right now, feel free to come on in!

Remember, everyone is welcome to this event! If you haven’t gotten the chance to stop by the WC yet, it is located in lower gage, at the far end of the hall opposite of the Caf. If you see a long hallway with ceramics at the end, you’re in the right place. And if you manage to get horribly lost, there are signs around to guide you. Feel free to stop on by for a few minutes during the next Tuesday Tea and get a feel for things. I hope to see a few new faces next time!

Stay classy,