NCPTWNational Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing
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After the trial run of a joint NCPTW/Midwest Writing Centers Association conference in fall 2002, the NCPTW and IWCA hosted their first joint conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania, in fall 2003, offering additional opportunities for peer tutors to present their research alongside professionals at the country's premier conference on writing centers.
His interest in undergraduate writing tutor research developed through his years of mentoring undergraduate researchers and his involvement with the NCPTW.
As an NCPTW colleague recalls, "It is hard to think about the peer tutoring conference's birth without Kathy as the midwife and Mike to pass out cigars, smiling so broadly that he can barely speak.
Through their work in the NCPTW, Kathleen Cain and Michael Rossi have become nationally recognized leaders in promoting the value of educating students to take one another seriously and work together effectively as writers and thinkers.
Nominators noted the "intelligence, enthusiasm, and savvy" with which Sanborn's leadership has sustained the NCPTW since its inception.
Sanborn has helped her peer tutors develop presentations that have been highlights of the conference, as the following writer noted: "Jean and her Colby College writing center tutors have been a model of how to get the most from the NCPTW and how to give the most back to the conference.
Supporters praised Sue for embodying the "absolutely distinctive" character of NCPTW "where we keep students in the foreground" and "do collaborative work in a way that is done nowhere else--and on many levels," for her two-semester, six-credit tutor-training curriculum and subsequent bi-weekly meetings, for her dedication to NCPTW over the past twenty-four years, for co-hosting the conference in 1991, for bringing tutors to present in nearly every conference, for publishing articles on peer tutoring, for consulting collaboratively with a writing center in Ireland, and for practicing with professional colleagues the collaborative-learning ideals she practices with her tutors.
Peer tutors and NCPTW professionals help students to become self-sufficient writers.
All did that, and many of them also brought their peer tutors to that first meeting of the NCPTW at Brown, where it was time, Ken Bruffee believed, to lay out for peer tutors the theory supporting their work, at a moment when our profession had begun to talk about knowledge and learning in new ways.
That conversation generates knowledge is nothing new to writing peer tutors, but a theory of knowledge with language communities at its very center gives them an enhanced rationale for what diey do, and their new understandings will play themselves out in later NCPTW meetings as peer tutors and their writing center professionals examine the dynamics of peer tutoring.
As in many writing centers, peer tutor innovations often become topics in NCPTW conference presentations, where peer tutors lead discussions on collaborative learning enterprises, thus illustrating the connections between collaborative learning theory and practice--themes in Ken Bruffee's presentations to the NCPTW and continuing in peer tutor presentations at the annual conference.
For myself, the tensions surrounding writing centers were highlighted in a very personal way when Lil Brannon asked me, and another of her former students, Derek Owens, to participate in a panel discussion on the cultural work of writing centers at the 2005 IWCA/ NCPTW conference in Minneapolis.