Welcome to Chicago

Welcome to Chicago from the Chicagoland Writing Centers Association members, who are pleased to be hosting you! We are looking forward to a lively conference Oct. 17-19, and we invite you to enjoy our city and region while you’re here. You’ll want to stick around!

We’ve taken “Writing the L” as our conference theme because the “L” is the system which links most Chicago neighborhoods to one another. It provides a useful metaphor for our collaboration, too: our constituent programs may be structured differently, our staff come from a range of backgrounds, the writers we work with are diverse, and the ways we work with writers may be varied, but at the end of the line, we all end up in the same place–with the goal to help people become better writers. For this 2013 MWCA conference, we’re inviting you to join us, using the “L” as our theme to address themes of connectivity and diversity.

Our keynote speakers, Ben Rafoth and Mary Adams Trujillo, were chosen to stimulate thought and conversation on these themes during the conference. Ben is currently working on a book about assisting second-language writers in the writing center, and he’s traveled the world to nurture and establish writing centers, most recently at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia. He directs the writing center at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is known to many of us through IWCA summer institutes or through the books he’s edited or co-edited (A Tutor’s Guide: Helping Writers One to One and ESL Writers: A Guide for Writing Center Tutors, with Shanti Bruce; both books are now in their second editions). Ben is currently working on a book about assisting second language writers in the writing center.

Mary isn’t officially connected with writing centers at all, though she’s a faithful friend to North Park’s center, and she uses writing in her community reconciliation work: she’s a Communications professor at North Park University who specializes in intercultural communication and conflict transformation. She has co-edited ReCentering: Culture and Knowledge in Conflict Resolution Practice and has edited and contributed to a wide range of journals, including, currently, the Journal of Hip Hop Studies. Her home outside of writing centers promises new perspectives and insights on our work.