Writing centers

= 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. 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.
Dr. Laura Detmering completed her PhD in Rhetoric and Composition at UofL and served as Writing Center Assistant Director from 2010-12. She currently directs Spalding University's Writing Center. In her first year as AD, she worked with Dr. Mary Rosner and in her second year, with Dr. Bronwyn Williams. She discusses her experiences of working with nontraditional students and helping create handout resources for various citation styles.
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.
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 First Year Curriculum. 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 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. Dan Keller served as Writing Center Assistant Director from 2004-06, while working on his PhD. He initially worked with the Writing Center Research Project when he started at UofL. He discusses his time working in the Writing Center and describes working with mostly undergraduate students at the time.
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 Library 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. 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.
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).