Over My Shoulder: Noise from the Writing Center
Here, if you don't remember, are the rules to Over My Shoulder. The book here is:
Boquet, Elizabeth H. Noise from the Writing Center. Logan, UT: Utah State UP, 2002.
The quotation is from pages 42-43, emphasis in original.
I fear, sometimes, that we are too willing to give our institutions what we think they want, whether or not it is what we want or, ultimately, even what they want. The shift from remediation to efficiency illustrates this point to me. We take great pains now to highlight in our studies, in our annual reports, the very broad appeal that most writing centers enjoy on our campuses and the cost-effective manner in which we operate. Most of us, for example, are advised to include in our annual reports hard numbers (As opposed to soft numbers? Or easy numbers?): number of students served (Do you want fries with that?), number of students from each course, from each major, from each year, from each school, always-another-from-each-that-I-seem-to-have-forgotten. Is this what we do? No. But do we do it? Yes. And we do it for "good" reasons, I suppose, though I don't feel like writing about those. What I do feel like writing about is what happens when we mistake doing it for what we do -- and when our colleagues, administrators, and occasionally our tutors and students, follow us in making the same mistake. I feel like thinking about what happens when we fetishize the numbers of students we see from every end of campus, the numbers of hours we've worked, the numbers of students we've helped to retain for so comparatively little cost, rather than what happened during those hours, between those students. It is rare that annual reports -- my own included -- tell stories of the latter.