Greetings from Madison, 887 Feet Above Sea Level

baschall_wban_spring06_77314Welcome to the new blog from the UW-Madison Writing Center! We’re thrilled that you’re reading this—thrilled, in fact, that anyone is reading this.

As I write this post, I must admit I feel a little pressure.

Although I’m honored to be writing the first—the very first—entry onthe new blog from the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I feel some pressure to write something smart, something original, something engaging, something deep and philosophical.

But I’ve decided to relax about it. I remembered that the serial publication of blogs ensures that no one post is in the spotlight for very long–this post will soon be pushed down the page and eventually out of sight by other newer, cooler posts written by others.

In this blog, we—the staff of the Writing Center as well as student writers from our university and occasionally some colleagues and some alumni and friends of the UW-Madison Writing Center—will invite you to share in a fun, lively conversation that we think defines writing centers. We’ll tell stories about writing center work and research. We’ll pose questions. We’ll offer news about our center’s programs and critical reflections on academic writing and on anything writing-centered. We’ll showcase the talents, minds, and accomplishments of the wonderful writers with whom we talk. And we’ll do things we can’t yet imagine.

Let me tell you a bit about Writing Center programs at UW-Madison, to give you a little context. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a large, public research university, with some 41,000 students—about 28,000 undergrads and 13,000 graduate and professional students. The campus is near the center of the beautiful, lively, growing city of Madison, a city of 230,000 people, in a metro area of about 500,000, on an isthmus between two glacial lakes, Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, in the south-central part of Wisconsin.

The Writing Center at UW-Madison opened in 1969.  Our mission is to help support a strong culture of writing across the curriculum.  With about 110 people on our staff, we work with some 7000 student-writers each year.  We offer individual consultations with undergraduate and graduate student-writers at 10 different locations on campus, including our main location in Helen C. White Hall, and in multicultural student centers, libraries, residence halls, and online. Our undergraduate Writing Fellows work with student-writers and professors in writing-intensive courses across the curriculum. We have an extensive online writing center, featuring reference materials about academic writing, synchronous and asynchronous consultations, and podcasts.  We offer many non-credit workshops on different aspects of academic writing.  We support faculty and teaching assistants through our outreach program and through our writing-across-the-curriculum program.  Beyond the campus, we have a thriving community-writing-assistance program, in partnership with the Madison public libraries.  And we sponsor the Madison Area Writing Center Colloquium, which brings together writing center colleagues from various schools, colleges, and universities in southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois.

While you’re here, why don’t you subscribe to this blog, so that you receive new posts as they are published?  It’s easy–just click on the orange “subscribe” button at the upper right.  We’d love to have your company.

Thanks so much for visiting.  More later . . .

brad hughes
director, writing center
director, writing across the curriculum

5 thoughts on “Greetings from Madison, 887 Feet Above Sea Level

  1. Yay! I’ve got this on my RSS feed now, so I’ll look forward to seeing wonderful wisdom from 887 feet above sea level. Here in central Florida, we’re maybe 10 feet above?

    Our tutoring blog is now open to the writing consultants, and is in major need of adjustments. So far it’s been a place for tutors to post their reflective journals and find some resources, but we want it to be more of a support group as well as an expanded resource base. So it will change as the year progresses.

    I love the tags and categories in wordpress blogs so readers can find related posts after they disappear down the page.

    Kudos!

  2. I enjoyed reading this and remember the same sense of pressure when writing the first entry for my personal blog. Unfortunately, I have not been diligent about posting to my blog–not at all. I’m sure with your dedicated staff and large following you’ll do better.

  3. I started a blog a few weeks ago as well, so I relate to the pressure. I’ve actually been highlighting a magazine article that I plan to base my next entry on. I look forward to reading your posts!

  4. Hi Brad (et al)! I was cruising the WC web site, looking for ideas as I develop a tiny WC at tiny Sterling College, in Craftsbury Common, VT. Love the idea of using a blog, and I wonder how you’ve been using it and how useful you’ve been finding it. Hope you’re well–Carol

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