The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison

UW-Madison Writing Center Podcasts


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Our podcasts cover three main areas.

  • The entries in Writing in Practice offer advice about specific aspects of academic writing, such as writing application statements or using common documentation stystems.
  • The entries in Theory and Research feature interviews with outstanding researchers in Writing Center Studies and in rhetoric and composition.
  • The entries in The UW Madison Writing Center introduce the services offered by the UW Madison Writing Center.

An alphabetical list of our current podcasts:



Writing in Practice

Write This Way to the Undergraduate Program in the Wisconsin School of Business: An Interview with Albert Muniz


Albert MunizIf you're an undergraduate at UW-Madison applying for admission to the undergraduate program in the Wisconsin School of Business, you won't want to miss this podcast. In this 23-minute podcast, you'll hear Albert Muniz, the director of admissions for the undergraduate business program at UW-Madison, talk about the four short essays required as part of your application. Learn how the admissions process works, how to think about the audience for your essays, how to address the four different essay questions, how to reflect on your experiences within your essays, how to avoid common mistakes, and what makes for a great business student.

play podcast

Podcast by Mike Shapiro, Nancy Linh Karls, and Brad Hughes

posted 10.01.09



An Introduction to APA Documentation

If you need an introduction to the American Psychological Association's documentation system, which is widely used in the social sciences, this five-minute podcast (with images) will give a quick orientation to the basics of citing sources within your paper and creating a reference list.  For detailed information about citing particular kinds of sources, see our Writer's Handbook information on APA.

play podcast APA_transcript

Podcast by Nancy Linh Karls, Mike Shapiro and Brad Hughes.

posted 2.20.09



An Introduction to MLA Documentation

This short podcast (with images) will help you get the basics of MLA documentation, and will be especially useful to students in introductory literature classes.

play podcast get MLA transcript

Podcast by Nancy Linh Karls, Mike Shapiro and Brad Hughes.

posted 6.9.08



Write This Way to the J-School: An Interview with Robert Schwoch

In this 16-minute podcast, you'll hear an engaging interview with Robert Schwoch, an adviser in the Undergraduate School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Learn how the undergraduate application process works, and how not to "be part of the crowd" in your application essay!

play podcast get transcript

Interview and additional editing by Mike Shapiro.

posted 4.24.08

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Theory and Research


Research Podcast: Katrin Girgensohn, How Contexts Shape Writing Center Work—Insights into Developments of Writing Instruction and a Writing Center in Germany


Katrin Girgensohn This two-part podcast features Katrin Girgensohn, a faculty member and Director of the Writing Center at European University Viadrina in Germany and one of the leading writing center scholars in Europe. During 2011-12, Dr. Girgensohn is a visiting scholar at the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This presentation was taped during a meeting of the Madison Area Writing Center Colloquium on November 16, 2011.

These podcasts include some images, which you can view on your computer and on mp4 players as you listen to the audio, but the central content of the podcasts will be clear even if you have access only to the audio portion.

1.Writing Instruction in German Universities
In this 40-minute podcast, Katrin Girgensohn outlines the context for student writing at universities in Germany. She explains the goals and structure of primary and secondary education as well as universities in Germany; she discusses the effects of the reforms in European higher education called the “Bologna Process”; and she explains how writing assignments typically work in German research universities.

The mp3 File: Part 1
play podcast
The mp4 File: Part 1
play podcast

2.A Brief History of Writing Centers in German Universities and a History of Autonomous Writing Groups and the Writing Center at European University Viadrina
In this 25-minute podcast, Katrin Girgensohn outlines the history of writing centers in German universities, starting with the writing lab established by Andrea Frank at Bielefeld University in 1993. She traces the subsequent introduction of peer tutoring and the successes in making writing centers more integral parts of German universities. Katrin then describes her own innovative work establishing autonomous writing groups at European University Viadrina, groups which she studied for her dissertation research. Katrin then goes on to tell the history of establishing the writing center at her own university, and describes some of its many groundbreaking programs, including the very successful “long night against procrastination,” which has drawn national media attention in Germany.

The mp3 File: Part 2
play podcast
The mp4 File: Part 2
play podcast

Editing by Brad Hughes

posted 06.11.12


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Research Podcast: Neal Lerner, The Idea of a Writing Laboratory


Neil LernerThe Idea of a Writing Laboratory This three-part podcast features Neal Lerner, Director of Training in Communication Instruction for the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies at MIT, a long-time writing center director and tutor, a former co-editor of The Writing Center Journal, an award-winning scholar and researcher, and the author of The Idea of a Writing Laboratory (Southern Illinois University Press, 2009). These interviews were recorded during the March 2010 Conference on College Composition and Communication in Louisville, KY.

1.Lerner's Writing Center Origins
In this nine-minute podcast, Neal Lerner discusses some of his history as a writing instructor--in writing centers, in composition classrooms, in the WAC program at MIT (where his students are multi-talented: one of his current students combines studying mechanical engineering with playing the cello and performing as a circus aerialist), and as a consultant with the Masdar institute of Science and Technology in the United Arab Emirates.

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2. "If You Want to Understand Educational Reforms, You Have to Go to the Origins": Neal Lerner on His Book, The Idea of a Writing Laboratory
In this 31-minute podcast, Neal Lerner talks in depth about his new book, The Idea of a Writing Laboratory. Based on extensive archival research, this book tells the history of writing instruction and science instruction in American higher education from the 1890s through the present, and how writing and science instruction come together over the idea of laboratory methods of instruction. Among the many topics covered in this podcast: Lerner’s search for the first formal, organized writing laboratory; what writing educators can learn from constructivist theories in science education and scientific rhetoric; case studies Neal did of writing within science education at Mt. Holyoke, MIT, Yale, and the University of Kansas; the histories of the Writing Laboratory in the General College at the University of Minnesota and the Writing Clinic at Dartmouth College; "Project English" in the 1960s, a federally funded effort to reform English teaching and whose curricular materials were rolled out at the Dartmouth Conference in 1966; and why this history is important for contemporary writing center, composition, and WAC scholars and practitioners.

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3. Poking Around in Dusty Archives
In this 19-minute podcast, Neal Lerner explains his passion for archival research and for pursuing the origins of educational reforms; explains the process involved in writing and publishing his new book, The Idea of a Writing Laboratory; previews his next book project, which interweaves the story of Preston W. Search, an educational reformer in Holyoke, Massachusetts, who advocated laboratory approaches to schooling, with the story of an innovative contemporary high-school English teacher in Holyoke, and with the story of Neal’s own journey learning to be a teacher in writing centers and classrooms; offers his perspective on current writing center scholarship; and argues for writing center scholars to reach broader audiences.

play podcast

Interviews and Editing by Brad Hughes

posted 07.28.10


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Research Podcast: New Directions in Writing Center Assessment; A Conversation with Lori Salem and Harry Denny


Harry DennyLori SalemThis three-part podcast features conversations with Lori Salem, the director of the Writing Center and assistant vice provost at Temple University in Philadelphia, and Harry Denny, the director of the Writing Centers at St. John's University in New York. These conversations were taped during the July 2009 IWCA Summer Institute, which was held at Temple University.

1. A Tutor-Led Assessment Project at St. John's University
In this 14-minute discussion with Lori Salem, Harry Denny explains how to get assessment to grow organically out of writing consultants’ experiences and how to involve faculty and students in focus groups, which are led by consultants themselves. Harry explains how collaborating with tutors in doing assessment galvanizes the community within a writing center.

play podcast



2. A New Approach to Student Surveys at Temple University
In this 16-minute discussion with Harry Denny, Lori Salem describes a new approach to overcome some of the common limitations of student-satisfaction surveys. Lori explains how she and her colleagues developed new attitudinal survey questions and used factor analysis and cluster analysis to uncover patterns in how students respond to sets of questions.

play podcast



3. Assessing What We Really Value in Writing Centers: A Conversation with Lori Salem and Harry Denny
In this 13-minute podcast, Lori Salem and Harry Denny offer advice for writing center directors thinking about doing assessment. Their first principle: good assessment needs to start with clear goals and an understanding of audience and purpose.

play podcast

Editing by Brad Hughes

posted 11.17.09


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Research Podcast: Michele Eodice


Michele EodiceThis three-part podcast features interviews with Michele Eodice, the Director of Learning, Teaching, and Writing at the University of Oklahoma and the president of the International Writing Centers Association. These interviews were taped during the July 2009 IWCA Summer Institute, held at Temple University in Philadelphia.

1. "The Relationships We Create": An Interview with Michele Eodice about Her Writing Center Genealogy and Philosophy
In this 14-minute podcast Michele Eodice discusses the origins of her interest in writing center work, her writing center genealogy, her work with the writing center and WAC at the University of Oklahoma, her model for developing WAC programs and for developing relationships with WAC faculty, and her views about the role of humor and fun in writing centers.

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2. "The Writing Center as an Extracurricular Way of Learning": Michele Eodice on Her Scholarship
In this 14-minute podcast Michele Eodice talks about the central ideas in The Everyday Writing Center (2007), which she co-authored with Anne Ellen Geller, Frankie Condon, Meg Carroll, and Elizabeth Boquet; about reactions to that book, including the chapter on "Everyday Racism"; about her chapter "Breathing Lessons" in The Center Will Hold (2003); about her work designing the program for the 2008 IWCA conference in Las Vegas; about books that have influenced her recently; and about what's on the horizon for her own research and scholarship.

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3. "We Need a Continuing Flow of People to Serve the Organization and the Profession": Michele Eodice on the IWCA and the State of the Profession
In this 19-minute podcast Michele Eodice offers provocative views about the International Writing Centers Association, including its work around the world; about the state of the writing center profession and about some of the challenges faced by the field; about ways doctoral programs in composition and rhetoric could better prepare graduate students not only to become future writing center directors but also to become future leaders for their campuses; about writing center accreditation, assessment, and certification; about the past and the future of the IWCA Summer Institute; and about wonderful opportunities for listeners to enter the writing center profession and to make their concerns known and to become active in IWCA.

play podcast

Interviews and editing by Brad Hughes

posted 9.15.09


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Two Experts Talk Writing Center Assessment: A Conversation with Neal Lerner and Jason Mayland


pennington lerner mayland 

In this 35-minute podcast, Jill Pennington, coordinator of the Writing Center at Lansing Community College in Michigan, interviews two experts on writing center assessment, Neal Lerner and Jason Mayland. Both were presenters at the 2008 International Writing Center Association Summer Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Lerner and Mayland engage in a lively and smart conversation that ranges across many dimensions of assessment, a conversation that will be useful to writing center directors as well as those preparing for writing center careers.  They define what assessment is, explore the imperatives for doing writing center assessment, unpack some of the complexities underlying seemingly clear-cut assessment questions, suggest possibilities for new kinds of writing center assessment, and discuss what to do if you get assessment results you don't like.

play podcast

posted 10.6.08




Research Podcast: Deborah Brandt


Deborah BrandtThis four-part podcast is the first of our series spotlighting current research on writing. In each of these four podcasts, University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Deborah Brandt covers a different aspect of her fascinating research on writing and writers.


1. Deborah Brandt on Ghostwriting
In this 17-minute podcast, Professor Deborah Brandt--a renowned literacy scholar in the composition and rhetoric program in the English Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison--discusses her fascinating recent research on ghostwriting and what ghostwriting signals about shifting values in literacy.

play podcast brandt1_transcript



2."Writers Are Becoming Many": Deborah Brandt on Her Current Research
In this nine-minute podcast, Deborah Brandt discusses her current research project--on the rise of writing as a mass skill in the United States and on the roles that the workplace plays in stimulating literacy and changing the values around literacy in the new knowledge economy.

play podcast brandt2_transcript



3. Deborah Brandt on Literacy in American Lives
In this 13-minute podcast, Deborah Brandt reflects on her award-winning and influential 2001 book about the changing conditions for literacy learning for ordinary people in the United States.  She also discusses literacy studies more generally, her teaching, and some of the values that guide her scholarly writing.

play podcast brandt3_transcript



4. Deborah Brandt on Graduate Study in Composition and Rhetoric
In this four-minute coda, Deborah Brandt discusses what an exciting time it is to do graduate study in composition and rhetoric.

play podcast brandt4_transcript

Interviews and editing by Brad Hughes.

audio posted 5.28.08; transcripts posted 7.17.08

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The UW Madison Writing Center

"It's so convenient!" The UW-Madison Writing Center's Chat Conferencing

This 6-minute podcast features two UW-Madison students who use the Writing Center's Chat Conferencing service. Listen, and you'll learn all you need to know about using this great and innovative service!

play podcast get the transcript

Interviews and editing by Annette Vee.

audio posted 5.05.08; transcript posted 7.17.08

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