Congratulations Dr. Nicole Caswell!

On winning the 2017 IWCA Book Award

At the International Writing Centers Association’s annual meeting last week in Chicago, IL, ECU Writing Center director, Dr. Nicole Caswell, along with her co-authors Dr. Jackie Grutsch McKinney (Ball State University) and Dr. Rebecca Jackson (Texas State University), was presented with the 2017 IWCA Outstanding Book Award for The Working Lives of New Writing Center Directors (Utah State UP). IWCA, founded in 1983, is the premiere writing center organization, and its annual award for outstanding book represents its endorsement of some of the best in writing center scholarship.

According to the publisher’s website, The Working Lives of New Writing Center Directors represents “the first book-length empirical investigation of writing center directors’ labor …. Inspired by Kinkead and Harris’s Writing Centers in Context (1993), the authors adopt a case study approach to examine the labor these directors performed and the varied motivations for their labor, as well as the labor they ignored, deferred, or sidelined temporarily, whether or not they wanted to.”

Dr. Caswell and her colleagues explore the practices of writing center directors by looking at the everyday, disciplinary, and emotional labor that surrounds their work. Drawing on nine case studies of writing center directors in their first two years of administrative work, these researchers demonstrate the complex ways in which institutions define and shape campus understandings of writing and writing instruction, as well as how we can support writing for students, writing centers, and faculty across campus.

Reviewers of this important new book note the significance of the study, both in terms of the methods used to study directors’ professional lives and the original contribution this collection makes to our understandings of administration, labor practices in higher education, and Writing Studies more broadly:


“The Working Lives of New Writing Center Directors is poised to make a unique and valuable contribution to the field of writing center studies, as well as to writing program administration. . . . [I]t gives us a window into the professional lives of writing center directors at institutions that we rarely see in published scholarship.”
—Jonikka Charlton, The University of Texas–Pan American
“These case studies allow us to learn quite a bit about the prevailing views of writing centers within institutions and also within the disciplines in which writing center directors’ professional lives nest—rhetoric and composition, education, TESOL, English. This is a study to be admired.”
—Anne Ellen Geller, St. John’s University