President: Clint Gardner, Salt Lake Community College
Having worked in writing centers for nearly three decades, I have learned a great deal about writing center theory and practice, one-to-one instruction, peer tutoring, the role of writing centers at two-year colleges, as well as the uses of computers in composition classrooms and in the writing center. My role as Program Manager of College Writing and Reading Centers at Salt Lake Community College allows me to teach writing and reading to students from diverse backgrounds, as well as to teach tutors how to respond more effectively to their peers. My writing center research includes the impact of writing center work on peer tutors, two-year college writing centers, and online writing tutoring. I have also had the opportunity to serve the writing center community as a whole in the International Writing Centers Association (IWCA) as Web Editor, Community College Representative, and as President. One of my goals is to bring writing center theory and practice to a broader and more diverse audience. As such, I am committed to anti-racism and social justice work. My work in writing centers, however, is tempered by my work with two-year colleges. I have served as Secretary and later Archivist for the Two-year College Association (TYCA) of the National Council of Teachers of English. Finally, because of my interest in peer tutoring in writing, which ties directly to social justice, I have been a long-term member of the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW), having served as the President of its Board of Trustees from 2014-2015.
President Elect: Lisa Bell, Brigham Young University
I have been fortunate to be a member of the RMWCA for many years, serving first as a writing tutor and then moving into administrative roles at two different institutions. This experience has allowed me to gain a better first-hand understanding of the many facets of writing center work. Beyond my work as a practitioner in this field, I have developed as a scholar of writing center studies, researching, publishing, and presenting on writing center work, as well as serving as a reviewer for publications within the field and serving on the board of IWCA. My service within RMWCA spans many years and many positions and projects, including developing regional directories, helping establish bylaws, hosting RMWCA conferences, building and maintaining the RMWCA website, serving as outreach coordinator, and participating as the RMWCA representative to the IWCA. Writing center work and community certainly is, has been, and will continue to be a vital and vibrant part of my experience as a writing center professional in the Rocky Mountain region.
Having been an active member of RMWCA for almost two decades, I see the need for both increased connection and sustainability within our vast and varied eight-state region. The current board of the RMWCA has already begun the work of strengthening the region by developing ways for writing center colleagues to engage and interact beyond the annual conference. As an organization, RMWCA is in an exciting period of change as we have implemented new membership structures and new offerings to RMWCA members. These efforts need to be sustained and refined, adapting to the needs of RMWCA members and growing along with the region. Increasing opportunities to for RMWCA members to connect with each other and helping provide a sure foundation for our collective work would be important aims of my work, if elected to this position.
If elected president-elect, I would work with other RMWCA leaders and members to continue exploring and expanding opportunities to connect and support writing center colleagues, scholars, and practitioners in their work. This would include continuing work with webinars, online book clubs, and the newsletter as well as updating our directories (secondary and post-secondary) and encouraging regional and sub-regional gatherings and conferences (online and face-to-face) to connect administrators and consultants or tutors across our eight-state region. These actions would also increase sustainability within our region by building upon existing programs and improving infrastructure and communication. Beyond working with existing leaders, given the president-elect’s responsibilities over RMWCA election, I would seek to invite and include RMWCA members to participate in elections, aiming for an increase in both voting and representation for within our diverse region.
Outreach Coordinator: Jamaica Ritcher, University of Idaho
My experience with writing center work began at the University of Idaho in 2010. At the time, I was a graduate student working toward my M.F.A. in creative writing and teaching composition. I began tutoring as a way to learn more about working with writers and, in turn, improve my teaching. I loved tutoring for the positive connection I could make with students during our sessions, and I was grateful to work with and support students without having to evaluate or grade their work. I stayed with the Writing Center throughout my graduate career, and after graduation, I lectured for the English department and tutored for the Writing Center. In 2016, I became the Writing Center’s first associate director. In this role, I have developed and now coordinate our online tutoring services, and I act as a liaison between the English department’s first-year writing program and Writing Center. I also develop workshops and other writing resources for the larger campus community, assist with tutor training, and, when I’m lucky, tutor. In addition to my position at the University of Idaho, I have served on the Rocky Mountain Writing Center Executive Board, as Outreach Coordinator, since 2016, and I am an IWCA Summer Institute Alum (2017).
It’s an exciting time for RMWCA, one in which RMWCA is taking a close look at how the organization can better support its membership with connection and resources. My goal for RMWCA involves increasing participation of our membership by ensuring the organization is relevant and responsive. To this end, I hope to see the continued support and maintenance of the organization’s traditional modes of communication, such as our newsletter and listserv, along with the revision and optimization of our website, and the development of more web-based opportunities for connection like the Tutor Talk webinar series and Summer Book Club.
I am eager to continue building my relationships with our State Reps. I look forward to facilitating regular opportunities to share news via email and video-conference, so that the Board has an informed and accurate sense of the diverse situations and needs across our very large region. I also look forward collaborating with the Tutor Representative and other Board members to continue offering webinars and virtual meetings. Our initial attempts in these areas were met so favorably, and I’m excited to build on these early successes!
Treasurer: Elizabeth Kleinfeld, Metropolitan State University of Denver
I have been involved with writing centers since 1995, as a tutor, director, researcher, and evangelist. Although words are my first love, I am comfortable with numbers, math, and spreadsheets, and I have the patience to read through IRS publications. As treasurer, I would like to tighten up oversight of our finances, including ensuring that RMWCA is in compliance with all IRS rules about non-profit organizations. I will also explore options for funding research grants and achievement awards to members.
Secretary: Jess Carroll, Montana State University
I am currently Assistant Director for Tutor Education at Montana State University’s Writing Center, where I’ve been since 2004. After many years as a professional tutor, I transitioned into an administrative role in 2012. In my current position, I contribute to many aspects of the everyday operations of our writing center, but my primary job is working with our peer tutors, supporting them in their ongoing learning about writing and writers. I am an active member of IWCA and a regular attendee and sometimes-presenter at IWCA and NCPTW.
This is an exciting time for our regional organization. I hope we will continue grow, expanding our reach and our offerings, and that we will do so thoughtfully and sustainably. As a regional organization, we are well positioned to support and learn from one another without the expense of cross-continent travel and with the benefit of shared (and diverse) local contexts. I’d love to see us connecting with and collaborating with more high schools, tribal colleges, and other institutions that aren’t (yet) active in our association.
Serving as Secretary would allow me to stay current with the happenings in our region and to know who we’re reaching and who we’re not. Being responsible for producing our newsletter will give me the opportunity to think creatively about how we’re positioning ourselves and communicating the work of RMWCA.
Tutor Representative: Aubrey Juliana Baucum, Metropolitan State University of Denver
I became involved with the MSU Denver Writing Center when I transferred from the two-year college I was attending. I was interested that such a place even existed! As a student who didn't always have the direction I do now, I was never really aware of the fabulous resources that have surrounded me, such as writing centers. Now, as an undergraduate peer writing consultant, and writing center researcher, I find that this space has dug its way into my heart and will not leave. I specialize in consultations with ELL students, and students with disabilities, and I love working with anyone who walks through our door. During the 4 semesters I have worked at MSU Denver's Writing Center, I have been given the opportunity to speak on behalf of my fellow colleagues, and to be an advocate for students of color, students with disabilities, and other minority/marginalized groups. I have also been part of a great research team conducting research on how consultants feel in the space that we call The Writing Center. I have had nothing but influential experience within the walls of the writing center, and also through local and regional conferences, and now IWCA2018. I have met so many writing center professionals through these experiences who have become beacons of light to me while I conduct my primary and secondary research on all things writing center.
I would like to be part of RMWCA so that tutors from our region have an accessible outlet in which to not be able to get to know one another, but to have an outlet that facilitates collaboration, and to have a representative who cares deeply about their individual needs along with the needs of their writing centers.
If elected, I would set aside time every week to reach out to different groups of writing consultants/tutors (which ever you call yourselves) to make sure their interests are being met. I will also be working hard with my writing center director to ensure that my role within this organization helps the Rocky Mountain Region as a whole, so that we become a tighter-knit community and can grow from the individual strengths we all have as writing center professionals! I will also travel as much as I am able to in order to meet and get to know the individuals who occupy the fabulous writing centers in our region so that they will be able to put a face to the name of their representative.
IWCA Affiliate Representative: Matt Drollette, University of Wyoming
I entered my first year of college with very little sense of how to navigate the complexities of the academy. Having recently returned home from a deployment to Iraq, I was under-prepared, and I didn’t feel as if I fit in with the younger people in my English 1010 class at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. I also realized that I wasn’t ready to write like my professors wanted me to write, and my first college essay was a disaster. But when I walked into the Writing Center, I immediately knew that I belonged there. After my first tutoring session, I realized that I had found a place that accepted me as is; I had found a place that would support me in developing into the writer I wanted to become. Did I schedule another appointment? No. I applied for a job and was hired the next semester. Since then, Writing Centers have become an integral part of who I am.
As an undergraduate, I spent three years working as a peer tutor in the Writing Center, and during that time, I learned more about writing than I ever did in a composition class. I graduated from Weber State having tutored hundreds of students in nearly 1,200 writing consultations, and when I entered my English MA program at the University of Wyoming, I tried to replicate the writing center experience as I worked individually with my first-year composition students. As much as I enjoyed synthesizing writing center practices with classroom teaching, I was elated when I was given the opportunity to apply for a graduate assistantship in UW’s Writing Center, where I was hired as the Assistant to the Writing Center Director in my second year. Now, in my second year as the Interim Director of the University of Wyoming Writing Center, I still consider myself to be—first and always—a peer tutor, and I use my experience as a tutor every day when I mentor Professional and Graduate Consultants alongside our newly-hired cohort of Peer Tutor Interns. My focus is on making the Writing Center a space that is welcoming to those who feel left out, to those whose voices are under-appreciated and undervalued by the institutions of higher education, and to those who don’t yet know what writing means to them.
My goals for the RMWCA are simple, though not easily achievable. I understand that our region is large and that we represent a diverse set of Writing Centers with unique and specific needs. I know that the RMWCA has been working hard to provide Writing Center professionals with the resources, information, and opportunities that they need to be successful within their specific contexts, and I want to continue to expand that work. More than that, though, I want to increase the RMWCA’s ability to support the ever-changing needs of diverse writers of all backgrounds. We must come to terms with the fact that Writing Centers are spaces marked by privilege, and I think that the RMWCA, as an organization made up of such incredible diversity, can have a radical and positive impact on our communities and on the cultural landscapes of our educational institutions. As the IWCA Affiliate Representative, my goals will be to expand the RMWCA’s ability to participate in the causes of social justice, to advocate for greater access and support for writers of all abilities and backgrounds, and to provide material support to writing centers seeking to better engage with those communities who have been historically marginalized. To support the RMWCA in accomplishing these goals, I will use my position as the IWCA Affiliate Representative to advocate for organizational change that aligns with social justice causes. I will garner support for RMWCA initiatives with the IWCA Executive Board and ensure that the interests of our members are heard and supported. In my service on committees, I will emphasize the need for diverse representation in executive decision-making processes, and I will work to create meaningful collaborations between the RMWCA and other IWCA affiliate regions so that we can all increase our capacity to mindfully, purposefully, and compassionately support writers in our communities.
Web Editor: Heather Graham, Salt Lake Community College
I have worked as a Writing Center tutor at Salt Lake Community College for three years. I have also worked in the SLCC Academic Literacy Center. I have had the pleasure of working with a diverse variety of students and each session has helped me grow as a consultant and as a person.
The goals I would set for RMWCA are to engage, support and serve Writing Center tutors through information, conversation, collaboration, and community. I would work closely with the Executive Board to determine the best ways to reach members and tutors to meet the goals while also addressing their needs and building a strong community for everyone.
If elected, I will use my position as Web Editor to create and maintain a website to keep the RMWCA members, Writing Center tutors in the region and national and international colleagues up to date and engaged with information and content that will support and serve them in their communities and professional settings. I think that the website could help facilitate the goals to foster a brilliant community of professionals and provide encouragement and wisdom.
Arizona: Nick Cenegy, University of Arizona
I currently direct the writing center at the University of Arizona's THINK TANK and coordinate other writing initiatives across campus. I'm brand new to this position. Prior to coming to Arizona, I spent several years as a writing center administrator at the Texas A&M University Writing Center. In addition to general supervisory duties at A&M's UWC, I created and led programs tailored for grad students. I have presented research at a variety of writing center and student services conferences, including several IWCA annual conferences. My sense of the RMWCA's recent activity is that there is a new (or renewed) interest in connecting writing support organizations from a variety of academic venues. I see this reflected in the 2019 joint conference with the C&W Writing Tutors Conference, as well as reflected in the revised language of the recent web redesign--i.e. "We define writing centers broadly...". I think this is a good direction and future goals for the RMWCA should further efforts to incorporate a variety of writing support communities. Since institutional structure so intimately influences the everyday operations of a writing center, it is of real and immediate benefit to encourage a robust exchange of models, ideas, and concerns about writing support administration and practice. The conversations I've had with secondary school writing center administrators, near-peer program coordinators, community writing center practitioners, and others who operate in a different context than mine, have been among the most important in helping to articulate how and why we do what we do in our center. I have the benefit of being new in my position and at my institution. Learning about other institutions and building relationships with writing support communities in the region are among my highest priorities. I see it as my responsibility to connect these groups. I have a genuine desire to understand how others have approached writing support in their contexts, and believe that such authentic interest yields valuable conversations. It can even serve as the basis for enduring relationships. My current efforts, from a university context, have already yielded burgeoning collaborations with local high schools and community colleges. By extending these nascent efforts to the broader region, I can help connect RMWCA members as well as identify writing support communities that (from my relative outsider position) appear to have not yet been invited into the conversation.
Colorado: Jessica McDermott, Community College of Aurora
My writing center experience began as an undergraduate tutor at Utah State University. As a peer tutor, I fell in love with the energy, intimacy, and practice of tutoring and writing center work. This experience continued into graduate school at the University of Idaho, where I was able to tutor and also act as liaison between the writing center and a first-year writing plus-course. These roles led me to my current position as Writing Coordinator at the Community College of Aurora. As Coordinator, I am able to help oversee the daily operations of our tutoring lab, train writing tutors, and tutor students. In this position, I have also better familiarized myself with writing center pedagogy and writing center associations. As an undergraduate, I presented at the Rocky Mountain Writing Centers Association annual tutoring conference (my first ever conference), and I’m happy that now years later, I’ve continued to work with this great organization. These last two years, I served as the RMWCA’s first Tutor Rep. In this role, I implemented a tutor survey, wrote newsletter articles, and helped facilitate and create the Tutor Talks webinar series.
If selected as Colorado State Rep, my goals for the RMWCA would include connecting with and promoting regional conferences and events and fostering community. I would achieve these goals by first ensuring the Colorado writing center contact information is up to date by reviewing the current directory. I would also communicate with all Colorado directors to see if they have ideas for how to foster our community, build cross-center relationships, and answer questions they have about the RMWCA. I would also set-up a regional emailing list, so we can all keep up to date with local writing tutoring events and provide support. Overall, I would like to act as a connection to the RMWCA and build structured communication pathways to encourage cross-center collaboration and support.
Montana: Erin Strickland, Montana State UniversityI moved from teaching English as a Second Language into writing center work in the fall of 2016. I was hired at Montana State University to tutor multilingual writers and graduate students for 10 hours a week. I also began teaching first-year composition classes. After the first year, it was clear that we had a found a need that wasn't being filled elsewhere. My role expanded to a half-time appointment for tutoring and program development; a quarter of my time was devoted to research and a quarter to teaching. Again my role expanded and I am now working as a graduate program coordinator and multilingual specialist 30 hours a week. I am teaching one technical writing class which informs my work in the writing center in many ways. I tutor, train tutors, develop workshops, meet with faculty and TAs, coordinate with the director of Writing Across MSU, collaborate on outreach projects and participate in graduate school events and tutor education. I would like to increase the interaction and sense of community among writing centers in Montana. I have three years of experience in writing center work and have little knowledge of what other writing centers are working on at their institutions. I am curious to know why kinds of programs have been developed and which have been successful? Which haven't? I want to know what problems other centers are solving and what needs they have identified and how that relates to our work at MSU. I would create a space at the RMWCA conference for representatives from Montana to connect. I would meet representatives from other writing centers and attempt to set up a virtual meeting space where we can start these conversation. Distances are far and time short, so I know it's unlikely to meet face-to-face, but that would go a long way towards building community as well.
Nevada: Rachel Herzl-Betz, Nevada State College
My Writing Center career began at Carleton College and continued at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I co-led the undergraduate Writing Fellows Program. Today, I’m the Assistant Director of the Writing Center and an instructor of Composition and English literature at Nevada State College. My research focuses on intersections between disability studies and Writing Center pedagogy, as well as on the ways that we can make our practices accessible for historically marginalized students and employees. At NSC and conferences, I’ve had the great fortune to work with Writing Center colleagues who care deeply about access (in all of its forms), and I’m excited to be more involved with the RMWCA.
I have both local and regional goals as the Nevada State RMWCA representative. On the local level, I hope to build a consistent structure for cross-institutional communication and collaboration. My predecessor, Robyn Finnicum, has done an excellent job of fostering that communication in Nevada, and I look forward to building on her foundation. By creating small but regular points of contact, I want to normalize the assumption that programs in Southern Nevada can help with problems in Northern Nevada and that we can all celebrate each other’s successes. On a regional level, I want to support structures that allow us to learn from one another’s strengths. As Writing Center professionals, we all have too many pots on the stove at any given moment, so it’s easy to leave exciting new projects on the back burner. Given that reality, our regional community can become a source of inspiration and a space for shared labor, so innovation becomes more feasible for already-overstretched WPAs.
I would be excited to create institutional partnerships based on shared developmental goals, so that the collaboration can continue after a single conference or meeting. For example, our institution has an unusually strong culture of tutor research, particularly given our lack of a tutor training course. Our director, Dr. Kathryn Tucker, has created a culture where Writing Center research is at the core of our practice and where tutors are active participants in that research from day one. At the same time, thanks to technological changes on the institutional level, we’re only just beginning to create an online tutoring presence. Creating a structure for institutional partnerships could allow our school to teach and be taught, just like we train our tutors do with visiting students.
New Mexico: Katie Denton, University of New Mexico
I have worked in writing centers for the past ten years, and have served as a director for the past four years. I would like to create a more active community of New Mexico writing center professionals, and to connect New Mexico writing center professionals with the greater RMWCA community. If elected, I’d like to strategize the ways we can continue to use technology to connect with each other. Especially in the Rocky Mountain region, where our centers often have great distances between them, technology can help to unify us in what can otherwise be isolating (but otherwise such rewarding!) work. I’d like to help create social media groups, online meetups, and virtual community events that foster an inclusive community of writing center professionals.
Utah: Michelle Szetela, Copper Hills High School
I was introduced to writing center work while studying at Lehigh Carbon Community College in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania; however, it wasn’t until I enrolled as an undergraduate English major nine years later at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, during which time I became a supervising tutor, that learned about tutor training, writing center theory, and pedagogy. Being introduced to writing center work led me to apply to the English Teacher Education Program, during which time I continued to tutor; I chaired panels at CCCCs and, with my fellow peer tutors, presented at the Northeast Writing Centers Association.
My experiences as a writing center tutor and preservice teacher led me to pursue graduate studies in English, with emphases in rhetoric and the teaching of writing, at both Long Island University, Brooklyn – where I tutored at both the LIU Writing Center and Academic Reinforcement Center – and Northern Arizona University. I incorporated writing center pedagogy into the first-year composition courses I taught at Long Island University (as a teaching fellow), Lehigh Carbon Community College, Utah Valley University, and Salt Lake Community College (SLCC).
In 2015, I began teaching core English Language Arts and Concurrent Enrollment FYC at Copper Hills High School in West Jordan, Utah, while continuing to adjunct at SLCC. My FYC curriculum required both my Copper Hills and SLCC FYC students to be tutored at the SLCC Student Reading and Writing Center, but because of my experience in writing center work and teaching high school English, Concurrent Enrollment, and FYC, I saw a need for a writing center at my high school. Despite faculty support, an attempt to introduce a mentoring writing course to the curriculum was rejected by the district. However, I continued to research the connections between teaching FYC, high school concurrent enrollment students as an overlooked community, and writing centers, and presented at conferences hosted by NCPTW, RMMLA, MLA, CCCC (Summer Regional Conference), and IWCA.
More recently, in October 2018, I joined an interdepartmental team that applied for and received a Jordan Education Foundation grant to establish a writing center at Copper Hills High School. This allows me to combine my interests and background in high school English, FYC, and writing center studies, as build relationships with other high school writing center directors throughout Utah and the Intermountain West.
My goals include increasing high school writing center visibility, as well as expanding institutional writing center collaboration and support, including between high school and college/university writing centers.
I plan on developing a more comprehensive Utah-based Writing Center contacts list, and to promote, support, and possibly plan local conferences, especially those could benefit high school writing center directors and tutors (leading to new and expanded collaboration and training opportunities).
Wyoming: Matthew Drollette, University of Wyoming (Interim)
As the Interim Writing Center Director at the University of Wyoming, one of my major goals over the next two years is to coordinate among the various writing centers in the state to strengthen our writing communities and foster collaborative intellectual growth. The Writing Center at UW, though historically on the margins both in terms of funding and administrative support, is receiving renewed recognition along with resources that will allow us to better serve both our student and faculty populations. This recognition comes with increased funding and a plan, supported by all levels of the administration, to expand the scope of the writing center as it takes a more central role in the conversations about how written communication in its various forms is taught and supported across campus. If elected as the Wyoming State Representative, I will be able to use this increase in administrative support to better serve Wyoming’s writing center communities, many of whom are feeling the direct impact of the state-wide financial crisis.
As the Wyoming State Representative, my efforts will be focused on three major goals: