I’ve learned that a lot of teaching starts with borrowing: trying to recreate the moments that my favorite teachers gave to me by calling “Yoink!” on their best activities and approaches. Writing center work takes a similar type of cobbling, and representing Doane University at IWCA 2016 offered me a treasure trove of resources. My student, Kaleb Arterburn, and I shared our work on disabilities, inclusion, and staff development, but I feel we gained so much more than we gave. I walked away from the conference with new ideas and connections to fuel this project for the rest of the year and beyond. From the smallest strategies like using more inclusive phrases in our official documents, to the grand ones like how to restructure an entire theory and practice course, I’ve identified so many exciting locations to develop my center’s awareness, sensitivity, and engagement with difference. I was also overwhelmed by the variety of work I saw on display at IWCA, getting to hear voices from across the country and across institutional contexts. These benefits made the large price tag of the trip well worth it, but receiving this travel grant helped ease that financial burden for me as a Ph.D. student traveling with an undergraduate student. I’m honored to represent a region that supports its own!
-Caitie Leibman, Doane University Writing Center Director, 2016 MWCA Travel Grant Recipient