University of Louisville Writing Center Oral Histories
= Audio Available Online
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.