Dr. Sara Wilder joined the faculty at University of Maryland in 2017 after earning her PhD in Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy Studies from the Ohio State University. Dr. Wilder teaches courses in rhetoric, writing studies, writing program/center administration, and research methods. Her research interests lie in writing pedagogies, particularly those beyond the classroom – in writing centers and community spaces. She has published in journals such as Written Communication and Literacy in Composition Studies.
Dr. Wilder’s current book project, Writing Groups in the Writing Center: Negotiating Authority and Expertise in Collaborative Learning, investigates how student writers participate in and learn from multidisciplinary writing groups. Drawing on observation, interview, and survey data, this book tracks how group facilitators and writers negotiate authority, navigate disciplinary difference, and manage emotions associated with the writing process through group practice. In doing so, this project extends theories of writing center collaboration by providing a data-driven theory of how groups negotiate emerging authority and expertise in order to collaborate across difference.
Brokering Community-Engaged Writing Pedagogies: Instructors Imagining and Negotiating Race, Space, and Literacy
The authors argue that instructors, particularly in predominantly white institutions, must carefully consider race, space, place, and their own positionalities when planning and implementing community-engaged pedagogies.
Co-authored with Michael Blancato (Roosevelt University), Gavin P. Johnson (Christian Brothers University), and Beverly J. Moss (The Ohio State University).
Abstract: Although much scholarship on community-engaged pedagogies attends to student negotiations of difference, little attention has been paid to how instructors navigate difference, particularly racial difference, across classroom and community spaces. In this article, we use the concept of brokering to examine how seven different instructors of a community-engaged writing course titled “The Literacy Narratives of Black Columbus” imagined the racialized spaces of the course and facilitated engagement between students and community members in those spaces. Drawing primarily on instructor interviews, we present three approaches instructors took to imagine and facilitate student and community engagement across racialized and spatialized boundaries. We found that instructor positionality influenced how they imagined and negotiated the roles of brokers who could facilitate connections between students and community members as well as provide students with cultural knowledge necessary for navigating the course’s racialized spaces. Ultimately, we argue that instructors, particularly in predominantly white institutions, must carefully consider race, space, place, and their own positionalities when planning and implementing community-engaged pedagogies.
Another Voice in the Room: Negotiating Authority in Multidisciplinary Writing Groups
This study theorizes one process through which student writers negotiate emerging authority across sites of literate practice and in collaboration with others who may not themselves be members of the same disciplinary community.
Abstract: Scholarship has shown that writing groups are important sites of authority negotiation for student writers, yet little empirical research has examined how groups negotiate authority through conversation or how these negotiations influence students’ developing expertise. Drawing on observations and interviews of an undergraduate thesis and a graduate dissertation writing group, I use the concept of “presentification” to analyze conversational moments in which group members referenced advisors, “making present” advisor authority to influence group collaborations. Specifically, I analyze these moments to show how writing groups can serve as low-stakes communities in which students negotiate their emerging sense of authority. I found that whereas less experienced writers looked to advisors to solve writing problems and used advisor authority to stand in for disciplinary expertise, more experienced writers voiced advisor guidance to help pose writing problems and negotiate their own stance as disciplinary experts. This study thus theorizes one process through which student writers negotiate emerging authority across sites of literate practice and in collaboration with others who may not themselves be members of the same disciplinary community.