Writing Consultant Preparation

While many universities require new consultants to take a class on writing center theory and practice, UMB writing consultants instead take part in pre-semester preparation involving readings & discussions, followed by regular small cohort meetings throughout the year. In keeping with our anti-oppression mission, new consultants in 2022 will also join the Baltimore Writing Center Project (BWCP). Consultant-participants in the BWCP attend online bi-monthly discussion sessions and complete a final community-based project. All training time is paid.

You may find the experience of this (un)training to feel less like learning how to embody the role of a peer writing consultant, and more like a process of unlearning habits, developing new forms of intersectional, multimodal responsiveness. This is messy, difficult, exciting work. By joining this team and engaging in the BWCP, you will contribute to an international conversation that is expanding the traditional boundaries of what writing center work is and can be. 

Writing Consultants in Their Own Words: Parth

For students committed to anti-racist action in your own professional practices and communities, the rigorous preparation will be a major benefit of this campus job.

The language justice theory and practice that you’ll gain here will enrich your work in other areas, preparing you to challenge racializing language ideologies with clients, in your own writing, and with future colleagues or students in any discipline. 

Compare/Contrast: BWCP & All-Consultant Cohorts

Baltimore Writing Center Project (BWCP)

  • Diving deep: storying ourselves into the race-critical labor of witness, testimony, and counterstory
  • Meeting with consultants from other colleges/universities to practice and promote this work in area WCs and interprofessionally
  • Engaging with visiting scholars and community members around race-critical WC practice and education
  • All first-year consultants participate in the BWCP for 4-6 hours/month

Shared Theory and Work

  • Making racializing language ideologies visible
  • Interrogating rhetorics of deficiency, shifting to rhetorics of choice and agency
  • Critically examining our positions, performances, and subjectivities while investigating power relations and our roles in them
  • Cultivating a willingness to be vulnerable, active listening, and enthusiasm for the work

All-Consultant Cohorts

  • Practicing applying theory in 1:1 synchronous and asynchronous consultations
  • Learning how to talk with clients about audience expectations, including standardization and attitudes about language “correctness”
  • Learning how to use WC web resources to help clients make informed choices and achieve their goals for any type of project
  • All-consultant cohort discussions and trainings involve a pre-service 2-3 day training in August or September and 3-4 hours monthly