Institutions are scrambling, at an unaccustomed pace, to adapt to generative artificial intelligence. While justified concerns focus on plagiarism, the nature of student learning, and changes to assignments, recent scholarship has largely ignored the potential for faculty and staff unemployment that may accompany acceptance and deployment of the new technology. As we ponder seismic changes in higher education, one voice should join, indeed lead, campus discussions. Writing center professionals have proven adept at weathering technological changes, budget cuts, administrative big ideas, and professional marginalization for more than half a century. Early on, centers were sometimes dismissed as mere “fix-it shops” for the least-competent writers of academic prose. Recent scholarship reveals, however, that centers have at last moved from the precariat to earn respect as practitioners of effective writing pedagogy. This article discusses how writing-center professionals, exemplifying Greenleaf’s model of servant leadership and Bruffee's theory of collaborative learning, may help in steering campus policy on AI. Thus far three affordances critical to in-person work at writing centers–metacognitive questioning, active listening, principles of fair use—lie beyond the reach of generative AI. This gap reveals “reverse salients,” areas when a rapidly advancing technology cannot meet its advertised promises. Writing center leadership on this issue could also model adaptation to AI outside academia, in ways that benefit those whose livelihoods stand most at risk of being replaced by a set of algorithms.
"Writing Centers & the Dark Warehouse University: Generative AI, Three Human Advantages,"
Interdisciplinary Journal of Leadership Studies: Vol. 2, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholarship.richmond.edu/ijls/vol2/iss2/3