Friday, February 28, 2014

Photo Friday

It's another Photo Friday and what better than to end the month of love on a lovely note?

A little WC magnetic inspiration reminding you to love more!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

No Furniture Feature Today

The Writing Center is abuzz with students preparing for midterms. It was a crazy Thursday shift for me and I was unable to get a story from Dr. Bob. But never fear! More furniture will be coming soon.

Stay warm and check back for more!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Deidre's Doodle #6

Here's an absolutely anatomically correct camel (turtle?) to celebrate the Wednesday before spring break. HALF WAY THERE!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Topics Tuesday: Power Posing

Hello, one and all, and welcome to the last Tuesday before Spring Break!

Every college student is feeling the pressure to hit the gym and achieve that perfect Spring Break body. At last night's staff meeting, CWC consultants learned how to do just that.

Or, at least, the perfect body language.

Alright, let me explain. In the interest of staff development, Dr. Bob let us watch Amy Cuddy's 20-minute TED talk entitled, "Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are." Since the point of Topics in Composition class (which, if you just started reading our blog, is the subject of this weekly feature) is staff development, I thought it would be good to talk about the video in this post.

If you have 20 minutes, I would highly encourage you to watch the full video. If not, I will give a brief summary. Cuddy, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, discusses the poses we unintentionally perform every day that denote power or denote lack of power. We can often tell who the Alpha Leaders in the room are by how they position their bodies -- spread out, taking lots of space, maybe with arms or legs outstretched. Similarly, we can tell who is feeling uncomfortable -- hunched up, legs crossed, and looking down. Experimental evidence has found that people who perform the low-power poses are less likely to receive a job after a strenuous interview.

Remarkably, Cuddy suggests the pose affects the performance, rather than the performance affecting the pose. We feel more powerful when we look more powerful, and that, in turn, allows us to perform better. Doing a high-power pose for just 2 minutes before a stressful situation (like a job interview) can, according to Cuddy, increase testosterone levels (a power hormone) and decrease cortisol levels (a stress hormone), making us better equipped to perform to the best of our abilities.

What does this mean for CWC consultants? It means that to perform to the best of our abilities, we should monitor our body language. When we are unsure of what to do next in a conference, we should stretch out and make ourselves comfortable. It also means we can gauge our student writers better. We have a visual representation of how confident they are feeling and we can work on increasing confidence if we notice a low-power pose. One way to do this might be as simple as asking the student to stretch.

Hitting the gym won't be necessary -- let's do some power poses instead.

All of Tuesday's best,

Friday, February 21, 2014

Photo Friday

Friends! It's Photo Friday!

My excitement for Friday to come around never ceases. If only we could cultivate such energy for Mondays!

Whatever the day and whatever your mood, don't forget this friendly piece of advice:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Furniture Feature: Kansas Style

If anyone has spent time with Dr. Bob, you know that he is quite fond of Kansas.
And we mean quite fond.

So today when I went into his office to ask for a story about the furniture in our place, Dr. Bob decided to take a Kansas approach. I got not only one, but two stories about neat pieces of furniture.

The first is this couch, located near our main whiteboard/projector screen. It's a newer piece to the Writing Center, arriving while we were in our new space, maybe even about a year ago or so.

Lovely, isn't it? The couch is quite firm and comfy. It was first housed in Margie's (Dr. Bob's wife) childhood home in Kansas. Dr. Bob said he saw the couch for the first time in 1964 when he went to visit Margie. They eventually acquired the couch and it sat for about 10 years in Dr. Bob's basement. Then, he decided the couch needed a new home and ended up here. I asked if the fabric had ever been replaced, and he said it hadn't. The couch has done pretty well, wouldn't you say?

The other Kansas piece was the rocking chair, located near the touch screen computer close to the kitchen. Dr. Bob said this was his father's rocking chair. Also in excellent condition.

Apparently Dr. Bob's father was a "large man" and one day, when his father sat down in the chair, he split it into two:

Instead of simply getting rid of the chair, his father instead decided to fix it. Dr. Bob recounted how he went into the barn, found two strips of some sort of metal and put some screws into the strips and the chair to repair it.

Resourceful, am I right?

This has been your weekly Thursday Furniture Feature. Come back next week for another story and more pictures!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Deidre's Doodle #5

Every minute that goes by brings us one minute closer to spring-
 hang in there everyone!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Topics Tuesday: Not Just the Words

Hello friends of the Coe Writing Center! We're back for another delightful week of Topics Tuesday. At 11:30 PM. Quite frankly, that's how we roll. (Night owls are welcome here.)

This week in our staff development course Topics in Composition (hence the name of this weekly feature), my small group focused on revising mission statements. You will get to see the polished version of that mission statement at some ambiguous time in the future.

For now, I would like to direct your attention to a lovely, nuanced "mission statement" of sorts I found in Spilling the Beans, our staff guidebook of sorts.
"The secret of the CWC Writing Miracle: we don’t
concentrate only on the words on the paper."
-Claire Rasmussen

It's around midterms time at Coe, and students are feeling the pressure of, well, life. Since even academic writing can feel very personal, really good papers can be crushed by the weight of anxiety and made into a pile of mushed stress. 

Can you hear the Indiana Jones theme song playing yet? This is when the Coe Writing Center consultant comes in to save the day... or at least, to help the student save their own day. 

The words on the paper don't always matter in a conference. Often, the look on a student's face or the tone of voice when she says, "Yeah, it's an ok paper... I guess," tells me a lot more about what that student needs. Sometimes, my role is just to listen to whatever the student needs to let out before she feels ready to write: lots of homework, break-ups, a bad grade, a missed episode of Supernatural, etc. 

A paper cannot come into existence without a writer -- it seems obvious, but this concept is often overlooked. As a consultant, I concentrate on whatever that writer might need in that particular moment, and trust that the words will work themselves out... at least until she comes back for a revision conference.

With Tuesday cheer,

Monday, February 17, 2014

Consultant of the Week

This weeks COW is Ethan Wykert who at the staff meeting looked quite southern with his nice dress shirt and the COWboy hat. He even took on the role by stating "Well, I do declare" at least once. Ethan takes on this upbeat spirit more than just at the staff meeting. If you are a staff member wanting to hear more about how Ethan was nominated this week's COW than you should go to your inbox and check any of the emails he sends out. While informative they are also highly entertaining!

Ethan Wykert: Junior
Major: Psychology
Campus Involvement: AAP Tutor, President of Phi a Kappa Tau

When asked about his most important role in the WC, Ethan responded "I think my most important as an early riser." I didn't know that was a role, but after hearing what he does I would say he deserves another COW award. He may only work the 8am shift on Tuesday and Thursday, but he is in the WC at 8am EVERY DAY to help open shop for the day. Thanks Ethan for all your hard work!

While Ethan is dedicated to his work, he also leaved time for fun (which you would expect from a member of the all things fun committee). His funniest moment in the WC "was the time we had tiramisu brought to us and Alexis Avilla said he'd never tried it before. So I gave him a piece and asked him to take a bite. He did and started to shake his head as though he didn't like it. But I started joking with him telling him he couldn't be wasteful and I told him to put the whole piece in his mouth at once. And I kept pushing him until he had a mouthful of tiramisu and then everyone in the room burst out in laughter." If I say so myself, the WC atmosphere is all about a balance of work and fun. Ethan seems to do a great job balancing both.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Photo Friday

I'm here to greet this lovely Friday with a pondering...

Why 'Photo Friday'? Why not 'Foto Friday'?

Quite frankly, it's simply wrong. I mean, we're a writing center after all!

And now, a photo:

Need a friend? A snuggle? A little stress relief? Max's gotchya covered!

(He's still looking for a Valentine... hint hint)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Furniture Feature

Today's focus: WHITEBOARDS.

The whiteboards are a big deal in the Writing Center. There are three (well technically four) in our place. Two are located on walls and the other one (two) are on wheels. And there's always something written on them. Consultants use them for brainstorm conferences and also to just study. When the boards are empty, we write quotes or ask questions.

And maybe we can view the whiteboards as representative of the Writing Center in general. We a space with ideas and sometimes, we just need a clean slate. Every morning at 8 AM, we are "blank" and then as the day and night go on, we fill our space with consultants, writers, peers, and friends. We transform into the "mecca of random conversation" just like a whiteboard transform into a board full of ideas and thoughts.

Maybe I'm going a little too deep here.

And thus I end my post with some photos of what the current state of our whiteboards are. We've got some muscles/bones/anatomy going on, as well as some ideas about religion.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Deidre's Doodle #4

Today I drew a heart bouquet for Valentine's Day, 
hope you all have a good one!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Topics Tuesday: Coe Writing Center Principles

Welcome to another week of Topics Tuesday!

These past few weeks have been crazy busy in the Coe Writing Center. Dr. Bob, our beloved director and facilitator of all-things-CWC, is retiring at the end of this year. That means we've been hosting new director candidates for teas, luncheons, and discussions on our very own second-hand furniture.

In visiting with candidates, I've received many questions about what our writing center values and represents. Finding the answer to this question is one reason Topics in Composition class exists. We can't be successful as consultants until we define what success means in our setting.

It's difficult for me to articulate exactly I think is successful within our writing center because it overlaps so many facets of my life. Here's an attempt:

Making better writers, not better papers. 
Our writing center is firm in our stance that conferencing is not for the purpose of chugging out A's on papers. Aiming for A's would just be silly; we as student consultants have no idea how a professor might evaluate a paper.  Instead, we focus on making students better writers through helping them think and converse about their writing. For example, if a student comes to me worried about the organization of her paper, I will usually start with some questions: "What do you think is the main idea of this paragraph?" or "Where do you think this idea fits best in your paper?" By conversing, they can discover their own answers for their own writing -- and next time that student has a problem with organization, she can ask herself those questions.

Creating staff and student body cohesion. 
Working in the writing center is one of my favorite Coe College experiences because my closest relationships are here. The writing center staff has feels like a family. I now know that a lot goes on behind the scenes to give our staff relationships a chance to grow: planning staff retreats off-campus, planning how to get us all to conferences, planning entertaining staff meetings, etc. This staff cohesion contributes greatly to the success of our center. In addition, we find ways to bond with the greater student body. We host a Sunday evening meal for free every week, open to anyone. We also host Tuesdays Teas, where faculty and students can drink tea and chat, and Fun Fest Fridays, where students can watch movies and play games. Our writing center is an open space for students to grow not just as writers, but as people -- and really, those two improvements go together.

No job is more important than any other job. 
At the beginning of every semester, each Centaur signs up for a committee and for an individual job in addition to conferencing. These committees and tasks are numerous and diverse: taking care of time sheets, coming up with CWC cartoons, roasting coffee, leading workshops, reading for our literary publication Colere, blogging (whoop!) and many more. It is vital that each Centaur takes responsibility for his/her job... and usually, we do exceptionally well at fulfilling our duties. I think our success comes from our appreciation of each role and what it brings. It's teamwork at its finest.

Of course, there are many other aspects of the writing center I value. The reasons are unlimited, kind of like our coffee. However, these reasons really stick out.

Here's to the coming year of a new head honcho and a deeper understanding of what makes our writing center tick.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Consultant of the Week

Although two different people, the C.O.W. for the second week in a row is the minutes taker! This time the honor goes to Alison Polivka. In her final months as a Kohawk this was her first time being the C.O.W. She was recognized for her outstanding hospitality by baking lemon bars and brownies and popping the popcorn for the All Things Fun event last Friday. Great job Alison! Keep up the greatness!
Alison Polivka: Senior
Major: History
Involvement: Coe Review, Theater Department, Study Abroad
For those of you who may not know, Alison recently spent a semester in London. While she may not have been there thinking about the Writing Center, I asked if the experience had any impact on her role in the Writing Center. "Studying abroad made me very aware of how what a scholarly paper is supposed to be not only varies across disciplines, but also varies depending on the country. It certainly made me a more adaptable writer, and, I hope, a more adaptable consultant." This is a great perspective and one that should encourage us all to study abroad.

Since Alison is a senior I thought it would be appropriate to hear about her fondest WC memories. Topping her list was "an afternoon in the old WC during my Freshman year, back when Charlie Sheen had his quasi-breakdown wherein he claimed to have tiger's blood. Liz, Spencer and I had a very long and involved discussion about how we would feed our pet tigers in our quest for world domination. I don't quite know how we got on that topic to be honest." What a classic memory of things said in the CWC.

Once again congratulations go out to Alison!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Photo Friday

Who's thankful it's Friday??

This week's Photo Friday we bring you proof of work in the Writing Center!

Okay, confession: no one here is really working, but enjoying some good conversation and company. (Oh, wait! I spot Tim in the back actually doing homework!)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Mysterious Furniture

Happy Thursday everyone! Today, I'm going to mix it up a bit. We are currently in the middle of searching for a new Writing Center Director before Dr. Bob officially retires this May. Because of this, Dr. Bob is a little preoccupied and unable to give me the interesting and quirky history of the furniture in our place.

Instead, I want to direct our attention to the mysterious furniture that showed up in the art gallery, I believe this morning

It's a great looking furniture set and I can only wonder what the history is behind it. It might be ours, it might not be. No one knows. 

There you have it, your mystery of the week.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Deidre's Doodle #3

Happy Wednesday! Here's a picture of stick people dancing to make you all happy!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Consultant of the Week

As this is the first normal Monday staff meeting of the semester, I am pleased to announce our tradition of voting for an outstanding consultant of the week. This week the honor goes to our very own Angela Kettle!
Coe College Sophomore
Angela Kettle 
Coe College Sophomore
Psychology/English Major
Hometown: Canon City, Colorado
Angela has earned this recognition for putting together an awesome e Portfolio. This has been her second time being nominated this year alone--the first being her ability to drop what she was doing to conduct a conference in the Writing Center on a Saturday. Way to go Angela! In response to her most recent nomination she considers this a "huge honor that peers nominated [her]." She was "diggin' the C.O.W. hat" she got to sport during the staff meeting and found it to be an "improvement over the tiara from last year".
The consultant of the week is an honor attainable by any of you Coe College Writing Center consultants. To be nominated in the future Angela has offered the following words of advice:

 "You have to put your heart and soul into your work. Step up and get stuff done."