Writing: It’s an outdoor vibe —

Lauren Mckenzie, Language Specialist Saint Mary’s University Writing Centre and Academic Communication Vol. 2, No. 2 (Fall 2020) Lauren Mckenzie lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia and works at the Writing Centre and Academic Communications at Saint Mary’s University. Lauren is currently completing her MA TESOL and research interests include critical and social justice pedagogy, rebellious […]

Writing: It’s an outdoor vibe —

Infographic | Writing (and students) throughout history: A timeline of complaints about students and their ills —

Brian Hotson, Co-Editor, CWCR/RCCR Vol. 2, No. 3 (Fall 2020) Click to access the infographic. Robert Zaretsky’s piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Our students can’t write. We have ourselves to blame, still rubs me the wrong way, and it was published in 2019. Not only does he belittle his students who are learning […]

Infographic | Writing (and students) throughout history: A timeline of complaints about students and their ills —

CfP and Save the Date || Academic Writing and English Language Learners Conference, November 1 & 2, 2019, Saint Mary’s University, NS

Save the Date! November 1 & 2, 2019 &  CALL FOR PROPOSALS

The conference for Academic Writing and English Language Learners (AWELL) is a two-day conference designed for faculty, language instructors, composition instructors, and writing centre professionals who teach and tutor ELL students. The goal of the conference is to provide tools and approaches in a workshop format that may be used directly in classrooms and tutoring sessions.We want to provide an open forum to all those interested in any area of additional language studies and academic writing, including digital writing pedagogies, multiliteracies, plurilingualism, and intercultural writing supports. Questions for consideration may include, but are not limited to:

  • Pedagogy and practice for multilingual classrooms
  • ELL pedagogy relating to globalized students
  • Learning community writing practice
  • Technology in writing practice relating to ELLs
  • Multimodal and digital approaches to ELL writing instruction and practice
  • Considerations of general teaching and learning practice to ELL


Day One registration only ($75.00).
Day Two registration only ($75.00).
Two-day registration ($150.00).
Saint Mary’s University faculty or staff ($100.00).
Student or writing tutor ($75.00).



Annual ACWCA Conference – Schedule

ACWCA Conference 2019 Event Room
8:30 Check-in AT 101
9:00 – 10:30 Opening Presentation
Workshop on gendered language and writing, by South House Sexual & Gender Resource Centre
AT 101
10:30 – 10:45 Break
10:45 – 11:15 Session
Ban the Paraphrase!
Emma Russell, Cape Breton University
Donnie Calabrese, Cape Breton University
AT 101
11:15 – 11:45 Session
Using SARS Reason Codes to Track Statistics
Kala Hirtle, Dalhousie University
AT 101
11:45 – 12:15 Session
How Can We Evaluate the Efficacy of Our Work?
Margie Clow-Bohan, Dalhousie University
AT 101
12:15– 1:30 Lunch L135 (Main Floor, Patrick Power Library)
1:30 – 2:30 Session
Academic Writing: can it impede international students’ academic acculturation and achievement?
Muhammad Elhabibi, Saint Mary’s University
Amanda Saoud, Saint Mary’s University
AT 101
2:30 – 3:00 Session
Digital Writing Centres
Brian Hotson, Saint Mary’s University
AT 101
3:00 – 3:30 Session
Smart Pens in the Centre
Richard Spacek,
University of New Brunswick
AT 101
3:30 – 3:45 Break
3:45 – 5:00 Directors’ Roundtable AT 217

Evening dinner: 6:00, 2 Door Down, 1533 Barrington Street


Annual ACWCA Conference – Saint Mary’s University, Feb 21st

Annual Atlantic Canadian Writing Centres Association Conference, 2019

February 21, 2019

Saint Mary’s University, Halifax

Atrium 101 (CAMPUS MAP)

Special workshop talk on gendered language and writing, provided by the South House Sexual & Gender Resource Centre.


Conference schedule


Do you work in writing centres in Atlantic Canada, or are interested in the field?
Please join us at Saint Mary’s in February.

To attend, please complete this form; there is no charge for attending.

An optional lunch of $15 is available.


A reduced rate of $125.00 / night with the Lord Nelson Hotel is available for Feb. 20th. You will need to call to make the reservation, and mention you are booking for a Saint Mary’s University event.


For more information, please contact writing @ smu.ca

See you then!


ACWCA is an affiliate of the Canadian Writing Centres Association.

Call for Papers: CWCA/ACCR Annual Conference, May 30-31, 2019

Emily Carr University of Art & Design

May 30-31, 2019


Submission Details
CWCA/ACCR is a national affiliate of the International Writing Centers Association (IWCA), and this year we are using their submission and review portal.

Deadline for submissions is January 10, 2019.

You do not need to be a member of IWCA to submit a proposal, and there is no cost associated. However, it’s a two-stage process: First, you create an account by providing your name, address, and institutional affiliation. Then you enter the details of your proposal to CWCA 2019.

To create an account and submit your proposal, start at https://www.iwcamembers.org/join.php


Call for Papers: CWCA/ACCR Annual Conference (May 24-25, 2018)

Politics and the Writing Centre: Inquiry, Knowledge, Dialogue and Action

Deadline: Submit your proposals by 11:59pm (EST) Monday January 15, 2018.

Please note that this is a FIRM deadline, and will NOT be extended.

Where: University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

When: May 24-25, 2018

Keynote: Dr. Sheelah McLean

Plenary: Jack Saddleback

In Canada, a recent focus on reconciliation and Indigenization are revitalizing conversations around anti-oppression pedagogy (Kumashiro, 2000), a series of approaches which focus on how traditional educational systems and practices reinforce existing hierarchies and contribute to the disenfranchisement of marginalized students. Nationally and internationally, post-secondary institutions are seeing students affected by the rising tide of extremist right-wing politics and dubious news sources, calling for renewed attention to social justice and literacy-building.

An International Writing Centres Association (IWCA) position statement states that writing centres are particularly well positioned to “uphold students’ rights, as we work in the everyday-ness of literacy” (as cited in Godbee & Olson, 2014). As Nancy Grimm (2009) said in her IWCA keynote, “Although some might claim that the work of a writing center is ‘just’ to teach writing, the teaching of writing is never a neutral endeavor; it is never devoid of political motivations or outcomes.”

At the 2018 CWCA conference, we invite you to join us to exchange knowledge, share challenges, and ask questions about the ways our teaching and tutoring can and should engage in anti-oppressive educational practices.

Keynote speaker Dr. Sheelah McLean — a founder of the Idle No More movement and recipient of the Carol Gellar Human Rights Award (2013) — will discuss anti-racist, anti-oppressive educational practices. Closing plenary speaker Jack Saddleback will discuss the topic of resilience, drawing on his personal experiences with mental health activism, student politics, and gender and sexual diversity.

Presentation Options:

Whether or not your idea, pedagogy or research addresses the conference theme directly, consider the following options:

  1. Pedagogical practice for roundtable discussion. 30 minutes. Roundtable session on a writing centre pedagogy or practice. Round table facilitators lead 30 minutes of engaged discussion. Describe your pedagogical practice and at least three questions to stimulate discussion.
  2. Research presentation. 20-minutes. Report on a study—quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, action research, reflective—or a pedagogical innovation. Reports will be grouped into panels of 2 or 3.
  3. Interactive workshop. 45 minutes. Do you have a pedagogical practice or innovation that you want participants to experience? Describe your practice or innovation, the overall structure of the session, and how you will actively engage the audience.
  4. Panel discussion. 45 minutes. Are you having an interesting—and maybe controversial—discussion with colleagues around an issue? Share your conversation and engage others by putting together a panel or debate. Plan at least 15 minutes for Q&A.
  5. Poster Presentation. Posters are ideally suited for sharing results of a study where a picture (table, chart, graph, photographs, infographic, or word cloud) is worth a thousand words. They allow for individual conversations, and can be repurposed after the conference. This year, the plan is to combine them with cocktails and snacks.

Note: When submitting your proposal, you will be asked to indicate which of the following streams your proposal fits (you may choose more than one):

  • Tutor Training
  • Peer Tutor Presentation
  • General Tutoring Practices and Approaches
  • Working with Multilingual Writers
  • Working with Graduate Student Writers
  • Creative Responses to Administrative Challenges
  • RAD or Data-Driven Research
  • Writing Centre Programming
  • Online Tutoring or Support
  • Institutional and Cross-institutional Partnerships and Collaborations
  • Decolonizing and Indigenizing the Writing Centre

Questions to get you thinking:

  • Responding to the times: How do national and international politics affect writing centre staff, faculty, and student learners? How can writing centres respond? How do we help students work through and resist harmful rhetorics and discourses?
  • Safe and accessible spaces: How are writing centres improving access and creating safe spaces for all students, including older, international, multilingual, first-generation, Indigenous, LGBTQ, and students with disabilities? How does decolonization support all students? Is the writing centre as “neutral” space a myth? How are we improving access to distance or commuter students, in person or online?
  • Partnerships for change: What do successful partnerships with other units—on or off campus—look like, and how can they extend or support writing centre work?
  • Experiential learning, community outreach and community-based research: What initiatives connect the writing centre and the larger community, and what effects have they had?
  • Changing educational inequities: How are writing centres, with our front-line, one-to-one contact with students, in a privileged position to effect change? What are the risks, to ourselves and our centres, of leading or supporting change? How can our hiring and training practices effect change?
  • Allying and learning: How are writing centres allying and learning from colleagues in other disciplines as we face continuing and emerging inequities? How can we support and learn specifically from Indigenous faculty, TAs, tutors, students?
  • Care for ourselves and our students: How do our current practices foster resilience and a growth mindset? What are writing centres doing that contributes to a healthy campus?

Proposals must be submitted through our online submission form.

Email submissions will not be accepted.

Any individual presenter may be included on up to two (2) proposals, but at least one of the proposals must be for a group presentation (3-5 presenters) or a round-table.

Questions about conference proposals can be directed to CWCA Vice-President, Sarah King: sking@utsc.utoronto.ca

Presenters will be notified by email concerning the status of their proposal(s) by February 23, 2018.


Godbee, B., & Olson, B. (2014). “Readings for racial justice: A project of the IWCA SIG on antiracism activism.” Antiracism and LGBTQ SIG Resources. International Writing Centers Association. Retrieved from http://epublications.marquette.edu/english_fac/344/

Grimm, N. M. (2009). “New conceptual frameworks for writing center work.” The Writing Center Journal 29(2), 11-27.

Kumashiro, K. (2000). “Toward a Theory of Anti-Oppressive Education.” Review of Educational Research 70(1), 25-53.

Call for Feedback: Executive Function Skills and Writing Centres

Amanda Marshall, Writing Centre Project Coordinator at NSCC (and the newest member of the ACWCA), recently published an invited post to the WLN blog on “Executive Function Skills and Writing Centres.” Amanda is hoping to engage her Atlantic Canadian colleagues in discussion and information-sharing on this topic, with the goal of creating a training module to help Writing Centre practitioners understand the importance of working with executive function skills to aid in writing skills development.

To read Amanda’s post, visit the WLN blog. Members are invited to post comments there, or contact Amanda directly with feedback (Amanda.Marshall@nscc.ca).

Fall 2017 ACWCA Meeting | September 29-30 at Cape Breton University

The fall meeting of the ACWCA will be taking place September 29-30. This year’s meeting will be hosted by Tammy Byrne, Writing Centre Coordinator at Cape Breton University in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

All writing centre staff and administrators are invited to attend, regardless of whether they are members of the ACWCA. (Not a member yet? You can sign up using our online form. Membership is free.)

Important Dates

  • Please confirm your attendance, and suggest a discussion topic, by emailing Linnet Humble, ACWCA Communications Officer, at writingcentre@stu.ca by end of day Friday, September 22.
  • Rooms at Cambridge Suites will be held until Monday, September 18; rooms will be held at Hampton Inn until Friday, September 22.

Tentative Schedule

Our meeting will take place over two days:

Friday, September 29, 2pm-5pm
Saturday, September 30, 9:45am-1pm

We would be happy to have you attend one or both of these days.

At this time we are taking suggestions for discussion topics. If there is a topic of interest to you related to writing centre programming, administration, training, ethics, etc., please propose it in your RSVP. At the meeting, we’d ask you to introduce the topic and kick off a 45-minute discussion. For previous meeting agendas, see our Past Events webpage.


A block of rooms is on hold under the name “ACWCA” at the Hampton Inn by Hilton Sydney in Membertou and at the Cambridge Suites Hotel on the Sydney waterfront. Both are a 10-15 minute drive from the CBU campus. Tammy has booked the blocks for the nights of September 28-30 in case some of us will be traveling the days before/after the conference. The Hampton’s room rate is $125/night, and the Cambridge’s is $129/night. Both include parking and breakfast. The Hampton is holding rooms until end of day September 22. The Cambridge is holding them until September 18.