University of Louisville. Department of English
= Audio Available Online
Dr. Alicia Brazeau earned her MA (2007) and PhD (2012) in the English department at UofL. As an MA Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) from 2005-2007, she held the position of writing consultant at the University Writing Center (UWC) under the guidance of former Director Carol Mattingly. Brazeau then returned to the UWC, where she served as Assistant Director from 2008-2012, while pursuing her PhD in Rhetoric and Composition. In her Assistant Director role, she was also responsible for running the Virtual Writing Center. She recalls the leadership challenges that occurred in the wake of Mattingly’s departure from the UWC, and how utilizing Mattingly’s approach toward constant reevaluation of practices contributed to her success. These leadership experiences also inform her current work at The College of Wooster, where she has served as Writing Center Director since 2012. She discusses the problems faced by having an entirely new staff when taking on this role, and how her reliance on the mentorship she received at the UWC allowed her to learn from her mistakes and create a strong foundation for her current program. Brazeau then discusses how she leans in on the interdisciplinary experiences she had at the UWC to inform how she assists writers and consultants from a variety of backgrounds. Finally, she describes the reward of learning from the students she tutored, and how those interactions helped her become a better instructor.
Dr Layne Porta worked in the UofL writing center initially as a MA student in 2013 and then returned as a PhD student to be an Assistant Director from 2016-2018. Dr. Gordon describes the challenges of learning to offer writing center help outside one’s area of expertise, and the importance of viewing consultations as collaboration rather than instruction. She discusses how she has incorporated lessons learned in the UofL writing center in her ongoing work at Rollins College, particularly the ideas that writing is an emotional act and that “every writer needs response,” two values she stresses when training consultants in her current role. Dr. Gordon also shares how she helped launch the partnership with Family Scholar House and took part in events like International Mother Language Day. She touches on how her time at the UofL writing center informed her decision to pursue writing center work and scholarship. Additionally, she recalls how she enjoyed working with Adam Robinson, Cassie Book, Amy Nichols, Ashly Bender, Jessica Winck, and Rachel Rodriguez.
Professor Richard Kain, who came to the University of Louisville's Department of English in 1940, discusses his formal education, teaching and scholarly career, and community activities. Topics include his research in Irish literature, particularly the work of James Joyce.
Dr. Jamila Kareem earned her PhD in the English department at UofL in 2017, where she held a position as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) from 2013-2017. As a GTA, she served as a writing consultant and, later, as Assistant Director of the Virtual Writing Center (2015-2016). She also served as Assistant Director of Composition from 2016-2017. Kareem recalls her experiences working with Director Bronwyn Williams and former Associate Directors Adam Robinson and Cassie Book. This includes Kareem’s recounting of the technical hurdles faced during her time in the University Writing Center’s (UWC) original third floor location in Ekstrom library. Kareem illustrates the benefits of using tools like WC Online, which allowed her to assist writers by easily accessing documents during video appointments and maintaining detailed records of each appointment. She then describes the emotional and intellectual reward of consulting in the UWC, especially when she was able to help writers alleviate anxiety and achieve their writing goals. By looking beyond the writing and working with the writer as an individual, Kareem was able to effectively help writers grapple with difficult topics. Finally, she fondly recalls the level of comfort and safety she felt while consulting under the guidance of Bronwyn, Adam, and Cassie.
Dr. Rebecca Hallman Martini worked in the UofL writing center from 2010 to 2012 while earning her M.A. In this interview, she reflects on a wide range of topics, such as starting the satellite writing center on the Health Science Campus, learning best practices under the direction of Dr. Bronwyn Williams, and cultivating a welcoming environment for visitors to the writing center. She discusses the communal nature of the writing center space and how it changed with developments like the introduction of student artwork. Dr. Hallman Martini also addresses how her time at UofL influenced her eventual dissertation, an ethnographic study of a writing center, citing her experience as the reason she chose to pursue a PhD. Finally, she talks about how she entered the writing center early in its relationship with technology, so she shares how the center handled asynchronous sessions through TutorTrac and material from the Purdue OWL before developing its own in-house handouts and resources.
Dr. Brice Nordquist was a PhD student working in the Writing Center at UofL from 2009-2014. After working as a consultant, he held an Assistant Director position in the Writing Center and was the first Assistant Director of the Virtual Writing Center. As the first Assistant Director of the Virtual Writing Center, he discusses the implementation of digital consultations in the facility and the learning experience that came with it. He also describes the original software the Writing Center used for its virtual consultations and its limitations compared to current options. Nordquist emphasizes the significance of building relationships among consultants as well as students in the Writing Center and details how the facility enables relationships between graduate students at all levels of their education. Nordquist also mentions that the communal environment of the Writing Center created reoccurring conversations between consultants and students, allowing consultants to have profound conversations with writers about what they want to gain from their work and time in college. He discusses the impact that long -term, ongoing relationships with writers had on his career path and current academic work as a composition instructor who specializes in community writing because the relationships that he built in the Writing Center helped him image the possibility of community learning programs that blur the lines between academic and personal writing.
Dr. Iswari Pandey was a graduate student at UofL from 2000-2006. He describes the journey that led him to working in UofL’s Writing Center as a MA student and the learning curve he experienced working as a writing consultant for the first time. After completing his undergraduate and first graduate degree in Nepal, Iswari came to UofL and worked in the newly renovated tutoring facility under Dr. Carol Mattingly. He discusses how a compliment regarding his work with students, in addition to a series of gratifying circumstances helping writers, led him away from his primary interest in literary theory and on a career path in rhetoric and composition. After completing his MA, Iswari transferred to the PhD program at UofL and describes the role he played performing research for the National Writing Center Research Project—an endeavor that collected data on writing centers to assist newly forming departments establish themselves—and how his research turned into a publication for the Writing Center Journal. Iswari witnessed some of the first virtual appointments at the Writing Center and talks about adapting appointments to meet the needs of students in digital consultations. As a graduate student during a time digital use was growing, particularly with the rise in popularity of social media, Iswari details his thoughts on how digital writing has changed the way people think about rhetoric and writing practices.
Dr. Susan Popham was a PhD student working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) in the Writing Center at UofL from 1999 into the early 2000’s. In addition to being a consultant in the Writing Center, she also held the position of Assistant Director. She worked under Dr. Carol Maddingly, who was the Director of the Writing Center at the time and talks fondly of her relationship and learning experiences with her supervisor. Popham discusses her interactions with other consultants at the Writing Center and the community that they built together to help students. During the time of the interview, she was teaching composition at another college and describes how her experiences in the Writing Center at UofL prepared her for her current role as a teacher of college writing. Popham had a unique experience as a graduate student at UofL because she witnessed large developments and evolutions in the Writing Center, which included the relocation of the facility from the upstairs portion of the library to its current location on the first floor. Moreover, during her time at UofL, she observed the revamp of the composition program and the creation of specialized courses on tutoring and methods for working with students in writing centers.
Dr. Hephzibah Roskelly earned her MA and PhD in the English department at UofL in the early 1970s. After graduating, she worked as a writing consultant at the University Writing Center (UWC) and a professor within the English department throughout the 1970s and 80s. Roskelly also served as the UWC Director in the 1980s. She is now Professor Emeritus of Rhetoric and Composition at UNC Greensboro, where she has taught since leaving UofL in 1989. In this wide-ranging interview, Roskelly describes the difficulties of establishing the UWC (formerly The Writing Clinic) practices at a time when writing center research was in its infancy. This includes a discussion on the hurdles of formulating an interdisciplinary approach. Under the guidance of UWC Directors Susan Helgeson and Kate Ronald, as well as Composition Director Joe Comprone, Roskelly was able to formulate a methodology for teaching composition and improving writing center practices that has allowed her to better assist writers throughout her extensive career. She also discusses the importance of reading comprehension, interpretation, and critical thinking as a means to help writers grow. Finally, Roskelly touches on a number of topics, including: recreating successful UWC approaches at UNC Greensboro, the benefits of technology in the writing center, the evolving structures of modern writing centers, and the importance of creating a sense of community.
Dr. Jessica Winck earned her PhD in the English department at UofL in 2016. As a GTA, she served as the Assistant Director of the Writing Center from 2013-2014. In this interview, Dr. Winck reflects on her time at UofL, particularly her mentorship of MA writing consultants and the layout of the former writing center space on the upper floor of Ekstrom Library. She describes best practices she learned during her time as an AD, noting how her role helped reinforce the value of being an “interested reader” and drawing attention to writers’ strengths. She highlights the importance of encouraging writers’ ownership over their work, and how this can be facilitated by simple decisions like table layout and body language. Dr. Winck also discusses how she draws upon strategies from Dr. Bronwyn Williams in her current role as the Writing Center Director at the University of Maine-Augusta. She also recalls how a spirit of hospitality dictates her interactions with visiting writers and helps navigate the tension between supporting stated concerns and drawing attention to higher order issues. Finally, she reflects on supplemental tasks she undertook while at UofL, such as maintaining the writing center blog and updating handouts, before closing with a commendation of Dr. Williams’s insistence on respecting everyone who entered the writing center.