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An Eastern Kentucky University official has been asked to research and develop the nation’s first true writing center certification program.

Dr. Russell Carpenter, executive director of EKU’s Noel Studio for Academic Creativity, was commissioned by the Southeastern Writing Center Association (SWCA) to chair a new Research and Development Committee. The program developed by the committee will be available to programs nationwide.

“We’ve launched our first major survey of writing center leaders and have preliminary acceptance to report the results – to understand the many details behind writing center certification – in a national publication,” Carpenter said.

In addition, the process “will consider the outstanding research and development” taking place in the Noel Studio among Professional Development Committee members, now led by graduate student Courtnie Morin and undergraduate student Jessica Ralston. “They have, with support from the Noel Studio consultants, designed a scalable system for student development” called DECK (Developing Excellence in Consultant Knowledge).

Carpenter said the certification model and process “will take into consideration the success and opportunities afforded to our outstanding student consultants through the development of this system here at EKU. More broadly, though, the impact of the national research and development to design and implement a national certification process for writing centers will provide ways for writing centers to both develop and assess related professional development programming for their own student staff members (often referred to as consultants or tutors) while also receiving credit for successes in program development and implementation. They can share this credential back with leadership at their universities.

“The standards and practices we have put in place here at EKU’s Noel Studio will help shape the national model for writing center certification.”

In a technically sophisticated environment, EKU’s Noel Studio integrates services designed to enhance students’ writing, speaking and research skills and inspire individual and collaborative learning. It has been featured in numerous national publications, including University Business, American School & University and the Journal of Learning Spaces.

Carpenter also serves as director of applied creative thinking and as an associate professor of English at EKU.