With such a rich set of proposed topics, finding ways to match student’s work with apt mentors—based both on areas of interest and methods—was crucial. Faculty Mentors at the 2019 Workshop provided students with both group mentoring, based on the matches between their areas of research and their facility with specific research methods. Students were provided with the following descriptions so as to help them find mentors throughout the workshop that could help them to move their work forward:
Whitney Jordan Adams, Clemson University
Methods: Qualitative Research, Mixed Methods
Whitney Jordan Adams is the Assistant Director of the Writing Center at Clemson University, in Clemson, South Carolina. Ms. Adams is also a Ph.D. candidate in the Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design (RCID) program, also at Clemson University, in the College of Architecture, Arts, and Humanities. The RCID program offers a cross-cultural, transdisciplinary curriculum with a conceptual emphasis on knowing, doing, and making-or theoretical, practical, and productive approaches to knowledge. Her research interests include the rhetorics and rhetorical construction of the American South, Ethnography, and Anti-Racist Pedagogies. In addition, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature with a Biological Sciences concentration from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina and a Master’s degree in English Language and Literature from the College of Charleston and The Citadel, in Charleston, South Carolina. Ms. Adams has taught English in five foreign countries, and was the recipient of College of Charleston’s Versailles Fellowship in 2012. She spent one year lecturing at the Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ) and researching how the American South was, and is, viewed in France. She is a former graduate teacher of record at Clemson University, and was the co-director of the summer 2015 writing center at the Harbin Institute of Technology in Harbin, China. Ms. Adams has also taught courses for the College of Charleston, Trident Technical College, Ashford University, Southern Wesleyan University, and Clemson University. These classes include first-year writing, Rhetoric and Composition, Literature, Speech Communication and Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, and Technical Writing. She has also been published in The Journal of the Kenneth Burke Society, where she responds to Greig Henderson’s "Dialogism Versus Monologism: Burke, Bakhtin, and the Languages of Social Change.”
Maria Assif, University of Toronto
Methods: Mixed Methods, Public Advocacy or Social Justice
The boundaries between scholarship, teaching and service are quite porous for faculty members working in rhetoric, writing and composition, and I am no exception. Much of what I have been researching for the past twenty years is rooted in my teaching and administrative practices and is inspired by the rich scholarship in composition pedagogy and inclusive education. One sub-field of research I am consistently revisiting is assessment in writing courses, particularly first-year writing courses. In these writing contexts, I tend to use collected qualitative data and conduct quantitative analysis of written comments and interviews to assess formative feedback and students' responses. The goal is to come up with specific recommendations that will improve the transparency and the accessibility of these assessment criteria."
Rebecca Babcock, University of Texas, Permian Basin
Methods: Qualitative Research, Research Ethics, matching questions to methods; grounded theory
I have mentored projects on greening writing centers, on teaching with graphic novels, on embedded tutors (writing fellows) in composition courses, on the rhetoric of political discourse, on both humor and dialects in the oil field, on the use of emojis in professional communication, and on the impact of fonts on reading among others. My most recent research that I've been working on is about using the writing about writing approach to teach composition with a special focus on online learning in a dual enrollment setting. I also have books in preparation on theories and methods of writing center research and on stories of boom and bust--both scholarly work and personal narrative--in a petroleum producing area (Permian Basin). Much of my work is meta-research (research about research) and grounded theory. I am also well-versed in linguistics topics like discourse analysis. I have also published and mentored in folk-linguistics which is the linguistic understanding and opinions of regular people.
Hannah Bellwoar, Juniata College
Methods: Qualitative Research, Research Ethics, Case Studies, Using Technology/Digital Humanities Methods
The majority of my research has employed qualitative research methods such as semi-structured interviews, surveys, observations, and text collection to explore a variety of topics including everyday literacies of medicine and health, technical writing in knitting patterns, narrative and identity in video games, and the collaboration, research, and writing practices of faculty and undergraduate students as they compose and publish together. I am particularly drawn to feminist research methodologies and notions of reciprocity between researchers and research participants, through which I am constantly asking myself, how can my research and work with my research participants benefit them at the same time it benefits me and the academic community? A recent example of this is in my current research project where I am observing a geology professor and two undergraduate research students who are researching how to use virtual reality to teach spatial reasoning skills in an intro to geology class. I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about my own mentoring practices by observing this group, and I’ve also been able to share my qualitative research knowledge with them as they prepared to submit their project to the IRB.
Elizabeth Boquet, Fairfield University
Methods: Historical research
I like to write, and I like to talk about writing, and I like to think with others about the conditions that make writing and talking about writing fun and interesting and meaningful. I do most of that work in and through my research and teaching related to writing centers. I think writing centers can and should be connected to the best things that are happening in and around colleges and universities--undergraduate research, community writing, global engagement, peer and career development. My research interests are broad, and my published writing reveals my dedication to linking writing program research to commitments like poetry projects, gun violence prevention, personal wellness and public health.
Cynthia Crimmins, York College of Pennsylvania
Methods: Qualitative Research, Mixed Methods, Resources for doing a lit review in writing studies
My background includes nearly two decades of directing a writing center and other academic support programs, plus eight years of directing faculty development programming. I've also consulted with faculty at dozens of other colleges to help them develop useful programs and practices for learning improvement. Methods for collecting data related to teaching and learning are close observation, artifact analysis, interviews, surveys, and focus groups. I look for correlations and connections among the primary and secondary research and consider how the evidence informs plans to improve student learning.
Matthew Davis, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Methods: Qualitative Research, Mixed Methods, Research Ethics, Case Studies, Resources for doing a lit review in writing studies
My research looks at how students learn to write, how student writers improve, how students transfer what they know to new writing contexts, and how we can more effectively teach students to learn, improve, and transfer. In other words, I study the intersection where student writers, writing pedagogy, and writing curricula converge. I focus on these questions in both print and digital environments, and I usually work collaboratively using qualitative methods. Therefore, my research often uses interviews, surveys and questionnaires, data coding, textual interpretation, and case study methods in mixed method study designs.
Dominic DelliCarpini, York College of Pennsylvania
Methods: Qualitative Research, Human-Centered Design
Dominic DelliCarpini is the Naylor Endowed Professor of Writing Studies and Dean for York College's Center for Community Engagement. His research and publication focuses on the intersection between writing and civic engagement, citizenship, and social justice concerns. He works regularly with community non-profit and government agencies, and his work focuses on issues of equity. He is also the Immediate Past President of the Council of Writing Program Administrators, and publishes on the intellectual and physical work of wirting program administration. Most recently, his work has focused on ways that undergraduate research in our field can support the work or students in the field and beyond.
Doug Downs, Montana State University
Methods: Qualitative Research, Mixed Methods, Resources for doing a lit review in writing studies, Discourse analysis
My research and teaching focuses are on how we help college students learn and experience writing and rhetoric in response to a culture where these are central to professional and civic life but widely misunderstood in public stories about them. So I study problems like why in our national mindset writing is a basic, fundamental “skill” when it’s actually not, and how we should be teaching *about* writing to resist such misconceptions; or problems like why science as a way of knowing is often distrusted in the U.S., and what it is about how we teach science and rhetoric that lead to misconceptions of them that spur such distrust. I also study how the nature of reading and writing are evolving in the transition from book to screen paradigms. I most often use mixed-methods research approaches including case study, discourse analysis (including rhetorical analysis), survey, and interview.
Andrea Efthymiou, Hoftstra University
Methods: Qualitative Research, Research Ethics, Resources for doing a lit review in writing studies, Ethnographic research methods and/or participant observation
Dr. Andrea Rosso Efthymiou is an Assistant Professor of Writing Studies & Rhetoric and Director of the Hofstra University Writing Center. Andrea’s work on institutional mission in writing program administration and tutors’ discursive practices has appeared in various edited collections. Andrea has employed ethnographic research methods as a participant observer within writing center spaces, where she took detailed field notes and interviewed participants. Andrea is currently developing a writing center assessment plan to measure the impact of writing center tutors’ extended work beyond sessions; using a survey instrument distributed online, this project gathers quantitative and qualitative data about tutors’ writing center research, conference presentations, and publications to better understand the impact these research experiences have on undergraduate tutors. Andrea regularly mentors tutors' research and accompanies tutors when they present at writing center conferences. Her students frequently publish their work in venues like Young Scholars in Writing: Undergraduate Research in Writing and Rhetoric and The Dangling Modifier. Andrea chaired the 2017 National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW) at Hofstra University."
Laura Feibush, Juniata College
Methods: Qualitative Research, Mixed Methods, Case Studies, Resources for doing a lit review in writing studies, Discourse analysis (esp. gesture studies), rhetorical analysis, interviewing, ethnographic narrative, working with or generating an archive, conducting audio/visual recordings
My research uses qualitative and multimodal methods to focus on how students and teachers in scenes of writing instruction (namely classrooms and one-on-one tutorials) show each other that they are listening to each other—and, sometimes, that they are not listening to each other. To do this, I look at aspects of embodiment like hands, eye contact, posture, and even choices about where to sit. In pursuing this research, I have delved deeply into the areas of nonverbal communication, sound, and pedagogy, and my work has included classroom observations, mini-ethnographies, and video recordings of Writing Center appointments. One of my research projects, for example, involved observing embodied elements of Writing Center tutorials taking place remotely through video conferencing software like Skype. What happens if the tutor makes a gesture but the movement falls outside the camera frame, for instance? Through these techniques and areas of focus, my research shows how looking at aspects of sound and embodiment—beyond the usual verbal and textual sites of analysis—can help us develop more inclusive writing instruction and a better understanding of interpersonal dynamics.
Jenn Fishman, Marquette University
Methods: Mixed Methods, Case Studies, Resources for doing a lit review in writing studies, remixing research to present findings in different formats for different audiences.
Jenn Fishman, Associate Professor of English and Acting Director of the Ott Memorial Writing Center at Marquette University, is in it for the long haul. As a researcher, she's conducted multiple multi-year or longitudinal projects, including the Stanford Study of Writing and Kenyon Writes. She's also the founding editor of the Research Exchange Index (REx), and she has edited special issues of CCC Online (2012), Peitho (Fall/Winter 2015, with Jess Enoch), and Community Literacy Journal (Fall/Winter 2018, with Lauren Rosenberg). Her current projects include Telling Stories: Perspectives on Longitudinal Research with Amy Kimme Hea and The Naylor Report on Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies with Dominic DelliCarpini and Jane Greer. At Marquette, Jenn founded the Writing Innovation Symposium. She also co-chairs the CCCC Committee on Undergraduate Research and serves on the boards of the Coalition for Community Writing and the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition.
Jane Greer, University of Missouri, Kansas City
Methods: Qualitative research, archival research, feminisms
Jane Greer is professor of English and Women's & Gender Studies at U of Missouri, Kansas City, and she serves as UMKC's Director of Undergrad. Research & Creative Scholarship. From 2008 to 2014, she served as editor of Young Scholars in Writing. Much of Jane's research focuses on the history of women's rhetoric, and she is particularly interested in how voices from the past can help us understand our current moment as teachers, students, and activists. She has published on Marian Wharton, who taught English at a socialist correspondence school in the early part of the 20th century; on Myrtle Tenney Booth, a farm woman in West Virginia in the early 20th century who used her autobiography to insist on the value of her work to the community; and on the diary of Pat Huyett, a high school student who wrote extensively about her experiences in English classes in the 1960s. Jane supplements this historical work with mixed method research (e.g., focus groups, surveys, bibliometrics, content-analysis) about current trends in higher education, including concerns about access to college for students from under-represented groups & high school/college transitions and about undergraduate research as a high impact educational practice. Jane's focus as a teacher is on taking students into new spaces, such as archives, museums, and memorials, where they can make their own connections between the past the present. Her favorite classes to teach include Women & Rhetoric; Rhetorics of Public Memory; True Lives: Autobiographical Acts & Artifacts; and Girls & Print Culture.
Alexis Hart, Allegheny College
Methods: Public Advocacy or Social Justice, Veterans and writing
I have focused much of my research in the last decade on how writing classes, writing centers, and writing practices in general impact student veterans’ transitions to higher education. My co-researcher, Roger Thompson, and I have administered surveys, conducted interviews, done archival research, collected samples of living veterans’ professional and academic writing, and read lots of other scholars’ research. Roger’s and my co-written work has appeared in College Composition and Communication, Composition Forum, and Pedagogy, as well as other journals and edited collections. We have presented at several conferences, as well, including CCCC’s, Veterans in Society, and the Council of College and Military Educators. Along with other members of the CCCC’s Standing Group on Writing with Current, Former, and Future Members of the Military, I have participated in local outreach programs. In addition to my research on student veterans, I have published work on women in the military, writing with XML, and writing centers.
Elizabeth Kleinfeld, Metropolitan State University, Denver
Elizabeth Kleinfeld is Professor of English and Writing Center Director at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She teaches courses on rhetoric and composition theory and practice, including authorship studies and digital rhetoric. She researches student source use, academic integrity, and ways of teaching and assessing writing that promote inclusivity and social justice. Her pedagogy and research are informed by disability studies, feminism, and social justice theory. She has co-authored a textbook on multimodal and multigenre composition and has published articles on writing center work, digital rhetoric, and student source citation practices.
Travis Kurowski, York College of Pennsylvania
Methods: Digital publishing, Creative Writing Methods
Travis Kurowski is the coeditor of Literary Publishing in the Twenty-First Century and editor of Paper Dreams: Writers and Editors on the American Literary Magazine, which won an Independent Publisher Book Award and a Foreword IndieFab Award. His fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in Creative Nonfiction, Mississippi Review, Ninth Letter, Little Star, Poets & Writers, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. Born in Oregon in 1978 and raised near the base of Mt. Hood, he is a graduate of Southern Oregon University and earned his Ph.D from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. Travis leads the literary magazine at York College, the York Review, and is an advocate for social justice issues.
Elaine MacDougall, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Methods: Qualitative Research, Public Advocacy or Social Justice, Resources for doing a lit review in writing studies
I have been teaching FIrst-Year Composition for 13 years at both universities and community colleges in the Baltimore, Maryland area, as well as Technical Communication and an Internship in Tutoring Writing course for prospective Writing Center tutors. For the past three years, I have served as Director of the Writing Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). My research interests include: mindfulness and writing; trauma and the writing process; the rhetoric of silence and how individuals can develop a voice, which otherwise might be silenced, through their writing; tutor self-efficacy; and creating community through writing via writing retreats, both faculty and student. Additionally, I am starting the Language, Literacy, and Culture Ph.D. program at UMBC during the fall 2019, so I would welcome the opportunity to spend a weekend discussing research ideas and inspirations with undergraduates and colleagues.
Mike Mattison, Wittenberg University
Methods: Qualitative Research, Quantitative Research, Research Ethics, Writing workshop—how to structure out time for a project
My experience with writing centers started at Iowa State, when I tutored as part of my graduate contract. From there I helped found the Writing Center at UMass-Amherst, and then directed centers at both Boise State and Wittenberg. The most exciting part of my job is working with the tutors and watching them discover their abilities in talking with writers, and much of my early writing deals with tutor education: how do improv exercises prepare tutors for sessions? Can ethnopoetic notation help us understand what we do in sessions? (We created poems from transcripts.) How does reflective work influence tutors? Recently, I have been collaborating more with the tutors in other research questions: do tutors evolve over time? Or rather, do their strategies change as they become more experienced? What are the most effective types of comments to make in an email session? To answer these questions, the tutors and I use both qualitative and quantitative methods—whatever approach best fits our research goals.
Laurie McMillan, Pace University
In terms of content, my areas of study fall into two categories that sometimes overlap: 1) feminist writing and rhetoric and 2) the teaching and learning of writing. More specifically, I’m interested in the way the word “slut” is used in various genres and how it operates within cultural narratives and politics. My research on slut rhetoric will eventually be a book-length study emphasizing pop culture, intersectionality, and sociolinguistic change. Recently, I’ve done research on issues of gender on YouTube and have published on Writing About Writing approaches to teaching. My preferred method is textual analysis (rather than a method such as interview, survey, or ethnographic study, for example). At times I’ve focused on creative texts like books and movies; online texts like social media posts, YouTube videos, and comments; student writing, especially reflective work; and faculty teaching philosophies.
Jessie Moore, Elon University
Methods: Qualitative Research, Quantitative Research, Mixed Methods, Research Ethics, Public Advocacy or Social Justice, Resources for doing a lit review in writing studies
Jessie L. Moore is director of the Center for Engaged Learning and professor of English: Professional Writing & Rhetoric at Elon University. Her recent research examines transfer of writing knowledge and practices, multi-institutional research on teaching and learning, and the writing lives of university students and young professionals. She also leads international research projects on “high-impact” educational practices (e.g., undergraduate research, study abroad, internships, etc.) to explore (1) how to do these practices well, (2) how to scale access to these practices to many students, and (3) how students integrate their learning across multiple high impact experiences. To study these topics, she most frequently uses surveys, interviews, and text analysis strategies—often in combination.
Robert Mundy, Pace University
Methods: Qualitative Research
Robert Mundy is assistant professor of English and writing program director at Pace University. His research focuses on composition theory and pedagogy, masculinity studies, writing center theory and practice, and cultural studies. He is a coeditor of and contributor to Out in the Center: Public Controversies and Private Struggles and coauthor of the forthcoming text Gender, Sexuality and the Cultural Politics of Men’s Identity in the New Millennium: Literacies of Masculinity.
Timothy Oleksiak, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Methods: Qualitative Research, Mixed Methods, Case Studies, Rhetorical analysis
I am actively pursuing a research agenda that arises out of a commitment to queer and feminist worldmaking in rhetoric and composition. I situate my work in the emerging sub-field of queer listening in rhetoric and composition. I am interested in how composers use silence and listening during moments of tension and what they my tell us about rhetorical transformation. My research asks two important questions: What might contemporary rhetorical theories tell us about rhetorical transformation and cross-cultural communication? How does queer theory and practice inform or shape listening practices?
Michael Rifenburg, University of North Georgia
Methods: Qualitative Research, Mixed Methods, Research Ethics, Case Studies
For over a decade, I have explored what writing looks like outside of the traditional college classroom. For my first book, I worked with student-athletes at Auburn, Oklahoma, and the University of North Georgia. I focused on how they learned plays for their sport. For my second book, I spent four years working with Army cadets at the University of North Georgia and I studied how they learned common Army genres. I’m finishing up this second book and hope to send off the complete book to my publisher by the time Naylor rolls around in September. In both studies, I tend toward qualitative research approaches where I observe writers and writing, collect artifacts, and conduct semistructed in-person interviews. Currently, I am also working on a large research project with an undergraduate researcher. This research project is focused on curriculum change as my university is asking us to redesign the first-year composition curriculum.
Leigh Ryan, University of Maryland
Methods: Qualitative Research, Research Ethics, Public Advocacy or Social Justice, Archival Research
As a writing center director, I’ve researched topics related to tutor training and practices and published articles and The Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors. I’ve recently co-authored articles on professionalism in the writing center, and am embarking on a collaborative project surveying former administrators about the influences of their writing center experiences on their later work and/or retirement. For years, I’ve volunteered at Riversdale, a Maryland plantation house, which led me into social justice issues and archival research on the enslaved family of Adam Francis Plummer, 1819-1905. My efforts range from successfully appealing to the US Army to change son Henry Vinton Plummer’s 1894 dishonorable discharge to honorable, to successfully nominating Adam’s wife, Emily Saunders Plummer, to the 2018 Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame. Activities like these bring honor and dignity to former slaves, one way of making reparations for the awfulness of bondage. Finally, at Riversdale, I’ve created exhibits, written brochures, presented lectures, and am developing a permanent exhibit on plantation workers. Always my question is, how does a museum make history, culture, and ways of knowing accessible and understandable to visitors? And so I work with public memory and African American scholarship, growing fields in composition and rhetoric.
Patrick Thomas, University of Dayton
Methods: Qualitative Research, Mixed Methods, Case Studies
My research explores how and why people create content for online social networks. For instance, my earlier research examined how people with chronic illnesses use patient support networks when faced with making treatment decisions. Currently, I'm working on a large-scale study of composing processes on social media. I'm in the middle of the study right now, with the goal of including 100 participants from across the United States. My methods include screen-recorded think-alouds, which participants create for a week while creating, sharing, or commenting on content within their social networks, as well as retrospective interviews about participants' social media literacies and histories. My goals are to use this data to re-evaluate current understandings of writing processes and to build a large corpus of data for other researchers to share and engage in replication studies, which I argue are under-utilized in our field.
Jessi Thomsen, Florida State University
Methods: Qualitative Research, Mixed Methods, Research Ethics, Case Studies, archival methods
Jessi Thomsen is a fourth-year PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Composition at Florida State University. She completed both her MEd in Secondary Teaching and her MA in English in Omaha, Nebraska. Her background in teaching introduced her to qualitative research methods, and her MA thesis triangulated survey data, interviews, and case studies as she looked at student engagement and reflective pedagogy. She has also worked on articles that focus on classroom practices, especially teaching writing through the creation of comics and other visuals. These articles analyze student texts and place them in conversation with classroom observations to better understand the dynamics between students, their writing, and their learning. With the help of Mardi and Janeway—her two golden retrievers—she is beginning her dissertation work, using a mixed methods approach to research at the theoretical and practical intersections of new materialist rhetorics, reflection, and ethical practices.
Megan Titus, Rider University
Methods: Qualitative Research, Quantitative Research, Mixed Methods, Case Studies
I'm most interested in learning about the lived experiences of those in our field, and how those experiences impact the way that we approach our work. So for instance, I have looked at how the experiences of graduates students impact their perceptions of writing program administration work, and the impact on teacher practices on students' perceptions of revision. My current research looks at the connections between parenting and teaching pedagogy. I do my research from primarily a mixed methods approach, using quantitative methods like survey and assessment combined with qualitative methods like interviews. I like to cast a wide net when I research, look for trends, and then use qualitative research to help me drill down and get a better understanding of why particular trends exist.
Mike Zerbe, York College of Pennsylvania
Methods: Quantitative Research, Rhetorical Analysis
Mike Zerbe is a specialist in the rhetoric of science and has also served as writing program administrator for seven years. His work argues for the importance of scientific literacy and the teaching of scientific discourse for both students and citizens.