University of Louisville Writing Center Oral Histories

= Audio Available Online
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Dr. Debra Journet was a faculty member in the English department from 1988-2015 and served as chair from 1995-2003. In this interview she discusses her initiative, as chair, to create the University Writing Center as a result of a SACS enforcing their 18 credit hour rule, which created a staffing crisis for English 101 and 102 and an excess of first-year MA GTAs. Journet negotiated with the A&S Dean, Provost, and English department to create a Writing Center, seven TT lines, and an agreement across the English department for all faculty to teach FYC. She discusses the hiring of Carol Mattingly as a senior faculty member and founding Writing Center Director. She discusses her perception of the writing center as a place where non writing trained faculty can send students for help with grammar, lightening their load. She also discusses her talk at the Association of the Departments of English.
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Dr. Amy McLeese Nichols earned her MA and PhD in the English department (graduated in 2019), where she held a position as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) from 2012-2017. As a GTA, she served as the Assistant Director of the University Writing Center (UWC) from 2015-2017. In this interview, she describes how, through her Assistant Director role, she worked with Bronwyn Williams (UWC) and Brian McAdams (Family Scholar House [FSH]) to connect the UWC and FSH. She initiated and facilitated both writing tutoring and workshops at FSH. McLeese Nichols describes the intentionality behind this community partnership, including prioritizing sustainability, going slowly, identifying and working with the partner’s needs, and developing trust. She discusses how her experience and knowledge with the UWC and community literacy informs her current work as the Writing Center Director at Berea College. At Berea, she applies her knowledge of community literacy through offering onsite tutoring “identity-based” centers on Berea’s Campus and draws on the UWC’s value making the writing center a welcoming and hospitable place. Finally, she compares the UWC’s third and first floor location, noting the benefits of the first floor’s ability to foster interactions between consultants and administrators.