History of the MiWCA

Welcome to MIwritingcenters.org, the website for the Michigan Writing Centers Association (MiWCA). The MiWCA was started by a graduate student, Jill Johnson (Reglin), when she was working in the Michigan State University Writing Center. Because she wanted to know more about the writing support offered to students in other colleges and universities throughout the state, she contacted those institutions, developed a list of writing center professionals working in Michigan and organized an all-day special interest group meeting at the 1994 Michigan Council of Teachers of English conference. At this meeting, the Michigan Writing Centers Project was initiated. During the 1994-1995 school year, two other general meetings were held—one at the MSU Writing Center and one at the Spring Conference on English Language Arts (a.k.a. "Bright Ideas"), a conference sponsored by the MSU English Department and held at MSU every spring.

During the 1994-95 academic year, Jill also worked with Patti Stock, Director of the MSU Writing Center, and Sharon Thomas, Associate Director, to procure a grant from Michigan State University to fund the first Michigan Writing Centers Project Summer Invitational Institute. This institute, based on the National Writing Project model, was designed to bring together faculty, staff, and students who provided writing workshop support in the colleges and universities across the State of Michigan. Fourteen applicants were chosen for the two-week long institute, which offered a $750.00 stipend or up to three graduate credits. Many of the participants of that first institute are still active members of the MiWCA. During the institute, the Michigan Writing Centers Project formed a Steering Committee.

When the fifteen-member Steering Committee next met at Western Michigan University on August 10, 1995, the Michigan Writing Centers Association was born, and a constitution was drafted.

The first “Ideas Exchange” was held in October 1995 at the University of Michigan—Flint. The provisional constitution and by-laws were presented and an ad hoc advisory board formed. For a more detailed history of MiWCA meetings and Ideas Exchanges, click on the "Annual Ideas Exchange" link.

The goals of the MiWCA have remained largely the same since its inception. They are as follows:

  • To hold one Ideas Exchange per year (for both faculty and tutors/consultants) on different campuses around the state
  • To continue to encourage people to join our listserves
  • To coordinate proposals for writing center sessions at state, regional, and national conferences and use those conferences for convening our own special interest group
  • To support one another’s ongoing praxis-oriented research projects aimed at improving writing center practices
  • To consult with one another as we develop and refine writing workshop support programs across the state of Michigan
  • To provide mentoring for new writing center colleagues
  • To liaison with regional, national, and international writing centers organizations
We strive to make our on-line resources useful in fostering these goals. If you find sections of this website that you feel could be improved, please do not hesitate to let us know. Simply use the "Contact Us" link near the top of the red column. Some of the text on this page was borrowed from Sharon Thomas’ article, “The Michigan Writing Centers Association,” which appeared in the October 1995 issue of The Writing Lab Newsletter.
Patrick Johnson,
Oct 28, 2015, 5:49 AM