Beyond Numbers: Interrogating the Equity and Inclusivity of Writing Center Recruiting, Hiring, and Training Practices

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The Peer Review


Writing Center scholarship has not paid enough attention to the commonplace administrative practices of recruiting, hiring, and training writing center consultants and how these practices are “reproducing and generating systems of privilege” (García, 2017, p. 32). This article begins to address the gap by sharing results from our ongoing examination of how to improve the diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) of our recruiting, hiring, and training practices at a small midwestern liberal arts university. This article showcases a heuristic we developed that will assist writing center administrators to navigate similar interrogation processes. Drawing from Romeo García (2017) we began with listening. We listened to the existing literature, we listened to our colleagues at our university; and we listened to our colleagues within the writing center community. Our heuristic represents the recursive process of this interrogation. For each step in the process, we provide explanations, examples, and recommendations. We conclude by presenting three of our key findings from this ongoing process: 1) the Writing Center community needs to more critically question the equity, and potential exploitativeness, of three-credit hour tutor education courses, particularly when these courses are a requirement of employment; 2) if we want to create an inclusive, equitable environment where students with non-majority identities can feel like they too belong, then we need to integrate DEIB into all aspects of our work; 3) our interrogation of the equity and inclusion of recruiting, hiring, and training practices needs to be an ongoing, recursive, learning process. In short, we hope this article will serve as a call to action for other writing center administrators to interrogate and improve the equity of their recruiting, hiring, and training practices, as well as act as a catalyst for much needed research in this area.