fdb – Forschungsdatenbank der Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)


Dr. Katrin Girgensohn: Institutionalizing Academic Writing Now: From Margins to Center. Keynote

VortagendeR Dr. Katrin Girgensohn
Tagung Academic Writing Now: Policy, Pedagogy and Practice. Conference of the European Association for Teaching Academic Writing (EATAW)
Ort London
Jahr 2017


Over the last decade we could witness an immense growing of institutional writing support

in higher education in many European countries. A remarkable number of writing centers and

writing programs started, and research, conferences, publications and organizations on

academic writing are still increasing. These developments could lead to the impression that

academic writing eventually became central to academia in Europe. In other words: academic

writing seemingly reached the importance in higher education that those of us, who chose

teaching and researching academic writing as profession, hoped it would achieve. For us, the

support for gaining writing competences and the use of writing as a tool for academic learning

are key for higher education. But do other stakeholders really see this importance, too? How

much do, besides our growing profession, professors in other disciplines, administrators and

students care for academic writing? Do writing centers or programs get the resources they

need? Do writing scholars get the same recognition for their research as scholars in other

disciplines do?

From talking with colleagues I often get the impression that within our local university

contexts, neither professors nor administration seem to care as much as we do about

academic writing. In writing center literature, there is even a debate about feelings of

“marginalization” (e. g. Macauley/Mauriello 2007). It seems as if the growing of our

professional field, as important and pleasing as it is, might not reflect what happens in our

local contexts. There, many of us still struggle with creating sustainable structures,

establishing an awareness for the importance of academic writing or gaining respect for our scholarship.

In this keynote I am going to take a closer look at what lies behind this diffuse impression of

marginalization or perceived degradation that many writing centers and writing programs

tend to face in local university contexts. Based on the theoretical concept of institutional work

(Lawrence et al. 2009) and on empirical research on the institutionalization of writing centers

(Girgensohn 2016), I will introduce a model for institutionalizing academic writing that

connects writing studies with organizational research. It offers a way for understanding the

complexity of the work we conduct within our local contexts beyond teaching and research.

It also provides practical guidance for this work within a European context, where in many

countries academic writing support is still far away from being regular practice in higher


Einordnung in die Universitätsstruktur

Fakultät Zentrum für Schlüsselkompetenzen
Zentrale Einheit & ZSE Einrichtung Zentrum für Schlüsselkompetenzen und Forschendes Lernen
Zentrale Einheit & ZSE Einrichtung Schreibzentrum