The projects that I have focused on in my first year as a Ph.D. student have largely dealt with writing centers, multimodality, composition, dis/ability and access/ibility, and UD. Thus, this final project was really useful for me as a holistic overview of the work I have done, providing me with an opportunity to reflect on the year’s work and do something more action-oriented than a research paper: brainstorm some UD tutoring practices.
I do want to make clear that I don’t think, generally, that writing centers are terribly inaccessible. They often strive toward accessible physical spaces and flexible pedagogies. However, there does seem to be an inattention to disability not only within writing center scholarship but within dominant writing center practices. WCs may have flexible, alternative pedagogies, but they still default to inaccessible practices. I don’t think this is because writing center patrons and inhabitants don’t care; rather, I don’t think they have clear models for how to do this work. I definitely see the principles of Universal Design and Universal Design for Learning as springboards for thinking about the accessibility of writing centers. I don’t see my project as a clear model for that, necessarily, but I do see it as an opportunity to begin brainstorming about ways we can make writing centers more accessible to the very diverse student populations they serve.