University of Louisville Writing Center Oral Histories
= Audio Available Online
Dr. Alicia Brazeau discusses her work in the University Writing Center.
Dr. Smitherman Clark earned her PhD in the English department in 2007, where she held a position as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) from 1998-2003. As a GTA, Smitherman Clark was hired as one of the first Assistant Directors. She describes the early formation of the University Writing Center by Carol Mattingly, Ruth Miller, and English department PhD GTAs. Smitherman Clark was highly involved with the Writing Center Research Project (WCRP), particularly conducting oral histories of founding writing center scholars and promoting the WCRP at conferences. She discusses the writing center's space on Ekstrom's third floor and the technology used in the center, such as Google, transcription machines, and AccuTrack. She also talks about her experience in the PhD program with a focus on rhetoric and composition. Finally she discusses her current role as the Writing and Communication Center Director at the University of Central Arkansas.
Detmering discusses her work at the Writing Center.
Dr. Layne Porta Gordon discusses her work in the University Writing Center.
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.
Dr. Jamila Kareem discusses her work in the University Writing Center.
Dr. Dan Keller discusses his work in the University Writing Center.
Dr. Jennifer Marciniak earned her PhD in the English department in 2019, where she also held a position as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA). As a GTA, Marciniak served as an Assistant Director of the Virtual Writing Center (VWC) for two years (2012-2014). In her role, she tutored distance education students, conducted the first virtual dissertation writing retreat, and reached out to faculty. In this interview, Marciniak mentions several formative examples of her tutoring, including working with personal statements, students with disabilities, and nontraditional learners. She describes vivid memories of the consultants' office at the Ekstrom 3rd floor location. She also mentions the technologies used for virtual and in-person tutoring including Tutor Track, iPads, and Google Hangouts. Finally, Marciniak reflects on the impact of the UWC in her professional trajectory.
Dr. Hallman Martini discusses her work in the University Writing Center
Carol Matingly served as the Director of the University Writing Center from 2000-2007. She is a graduate of the UofL English PhD program. She was recruited for the Director position by Debra Journet, who was her dissertation director, while Dr. Mattingly was at Louisiana State University. Dr. Mattingly helped conceptualize the new University Writing Center, including the selection and design of the space on the 3rd floor and working with the sculpture designer. Soon after she began the position, the Writing Across the Curriculum program was moved administratively to the University Writing Center's purview, which included responsibility for evaluating transfer credits and administering workshops for faculty and students. Dr. Mattingly describes the slow build up of cliente, her relationship with the English department, promoting the writing center to faculty across the university, the community amongst consultants, students' rejection of free regular coffee, and her approach to the writing center practicum (English 604). She also discusses the origin and purpose of the Writing Center Research Project (WCRP).
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.
Dr. Brice Nordquist discusses his work in the University Writing Center.
Dr. Barrie Olson earned her PhD in the English department (2012-2014), where she served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) and held the role of Assistant Director of the Writing Center from 2010-2012). During these two years, Olson worked with both Writing Center Directors Drs. Mary Rosner and Bronwyn Williams. She discusses the transition between directors. One of Olson's projects, under Bronwyn's direction, was to help design the first dissertation writing retreat, which she calls "a labor of love," which she later attended as a participant. Olsen also describes her motivation to help create a blog for the writing center, with the goal of making the writing center more visible and approachable. In reminiscing about her experiences, she cites the Ekstrom third floor space as being called the "tree house," and formative professional relationships with other Assistant Directors Laura Detmering and Ashly Bender. In Olson's current role, as a director of an educational non-profit, she draws on her writing center work in understanding disciplinary genres to translate expectations for K-12 literacy educators.
Dr. Iswari Pandey discusses his work in the University Writing Center.
Dr. Susan Popham discusses her work in the University Writing Center
Dr. Kelli Prejean earned her PhD in English at UofL in 2005. She was a GTA was an Assistant Director and Writing Center Research Project Assistant Director.
Adam Robinson served as the Associate Director of the University Writing Center from 2010-2015. He earned his MA degree in the English department in 2008. He also worked in the UWC as a MA Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) and a professional tutor. He describes his process of learning to tutor and his emotions surrounding the process. He mentions the new initiatives brought in by Director Bronwyn Williams, such as the Dissertation Writing Retreat, Family Scholar House collaboration, and SIGS workshops. Finally, he discusses his role in revising the writing center"s promotional and resource material.
Dr. Hephzibah Roskelly discusses her work in the University Writing Center.
Dr. Robert Royer is a graduate of the English MA and PhD program. After he graduated from UofL with his bachelor's degree, he worked in the English department's Basic Writing Program, starting in 1979. When he first started in the "Writing Clinic" (later called the "writing center"), it was located in the basement of the Humanities building. Eventually he started in the English MA program as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, and he continued to work in the Basic Writing Program. He describes two models of the basic program: 1) instruction to approximately 15 students alongside breakout tutoring groups 2) workshop-style courses for 12-15 students. Dr. Royer also describes how, as a PhD student, he became interested in Computers and Writing and taught the first Basic Writing course using computer correspondence. He also talks about other tutoring at UofL at the time, including the Language Lab and with the Black Student Union. Dr. Royer believes his time in the writing center was extremely formative for him as a graduate student and writing teacher. He recalls the camaraderie of the staff and names Wanda Martin, Hepzibah Roskelly, Judith Killen, Kate Ronald, and Susan Helgeson as fellow staff members. He felt that they were given a degree of autonomy to enact the programs and pedagogy.
Dr. Shyam Sharma earned his MA and PhD in the English department (2006-2012). He served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) and fellow, College of Business writing consultant, School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies (SIGS) research assistant, and Assistant Director of Composition. As an MA GTA, Sharma first served as a writing consultant and was then asked by Dr. Roser (then Director) to serve as an Assistant Director. Sharma recalls the UWC's former space on Ekstrom library's third floor, which he found accessible to students, but some of his cohort complained about the cramped office space. He speaks from his experience coming to UofL as an international student from "South Asia" with extensive experience in English studies and teaching, but with little experience in American culture. His cohort peers and Writing Center Director showed him kindness and patience in helping him adapt to a new culture and education system. Finally, he describes his work to revise and replace the writing center's handouts, online tutoring, and website. With the website and online tutoring, he talks about the impact of web 2.0's affordances to online tutoring, particularly synchronous online sessions via Skype.
Dr. Carolyn Skinner earned her PhD in the English department in 2006, where she also served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA). As a GTA, she served as an Assistant Director of the University Writing Center, focused on Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) (2003-2005). Dr. Skinner describes tutoring in the UofL School of Nursing, the "revelation" of working with international students, and how she intervened in the middle of a students' writing process. She also describes conducting in-class workshops as the WAC Assistant Director. She describes the heavy emphasis on printing student drafts and walk-in appointments, compared to the laptops and online appointment scheduling of many writing centers today. Dr. Skinner worked with several colleagues to write an article on the Writing Center Research Project (WCRP) data collected during her time at UofL. Dr. Skinner is currently an Associate Professor of English and Writing Program Administrator at The Ohio State University, Mansfield.
Dr. Ashly Bender Smith earned her PhD in the English department at UofL in 2015, where she held a position as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA). As a GTA, she served as a writing consultant and, later, Assistant Director of the University Writing Center (2012-2014). She later worked at the UofL the College of Business as a BizComm writing consultant. She describes how writing center work in multiple settings, but particularly with Bronwyn Williams, has informed her ethos in providing feedback and understanding students as developmental writers. As an Assistant Director, she worked with Adam Robinson and Barrie Olsen to revise the website and online resources. Bender Smith describes how she came up with the "How I Write" blog series and recruiting some of the early guest authors for it, including Mike Rutherford and James Ramesey. She describes participating and leading several early Dissertation Writing Retreats and "Kick Back in the Stacks" events. She speaks fondly of her interactions with Bronwyn Williams as a Writing Center Director and dissertation advisor. She also speaks fondly of her work with Adam Robinson, Robin Blacket, Barrie Olsen, Amy Nichols, Carly Johnson, and Jessica Winck.
Dr. Jessica Winck discusses her work in the University Writing Center