Summer on the North Coast: What’s New with UW-Madison Writing Center Programs

Uncategorized / Monday, September 1st, 2014

By Brad Hughes

Brad Hughes is the director of the Writing Center and director of Writing Across the Curriculum at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is delighted to be starting his 31st year as director of the Writing Center.

Welcome to a new academic year at UW-Madison’s Writing Center! With contributions from my wonderful colleagues, I’d like to celebrate some of our program’s accomplishments during the late spring and the summer of 2014 and share some of our plans for the fall. Throughout the summer, our staff have been busy collaborating and venturing out—as always—to offer instruction across our campus and around the city of Madison and beyond. Here are some highlights. . . .

Writing Fellows Consulting with Visiting Students from Nazarbayev University

During the summer of 2014, 60 undergraduate students from Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan, were in Madison to study at UW-Madison, and our undergraduate Writing Fellows program was a key partner in this summer exchange program. Nazarbayev University (NU) is a new English-language research university, and UW-Madison is one of NU’s seven international partner universities.

Writing Fellow Anna Lynn (right) consults with visiting students from Nazarbayev University, working on a group project for Professor William Barker's Geosciences 376 course.
Writing Fellow Anna Lynn (right) consults with visiting students from Nazarbayev University, working on a group project for Professor William Barker’s Geosciences 376 course.
Writing Fellows Adelina Yankova, discussing ideas with visiting student from Nazarbayev University, for a final paper for Political Science 401, taught by Professor Lisa Martin.
Writing Fellow Adelina Yankova (left), discussing ideas with visiting student from Nazarbayev University, for a final paper for Political Science 401, taught by Professor Lisa Martin.

During their time in Madison, students from NU enrolled in either a geoscience or a political science course, and writing assignments were a central part of both courses. For two drafts of papers or for presentations, NU students submitted drafts in advance of final deadlines, received detailed written feedback and advice from Writing Fellows, met with Writing Fellows in half-hour conferences to discuss plans for revisions, and submitted final revised papers to their UW-Madison professors for grading. Under the guidance of Writing Fellows assistant director Kim Moreland, the Writing Fellows earned rave reviews from Nazarbayev University students and from the UW-Madison faculty teaching these summer courses.

Preparing Future Faculty Leaders for WAC Programs and Writing Centers

I’ve long argued that writing centers at research universities have an important opportunity and obligation to help graduate students who are interested prepare to lead strong and visionary writing centers and WAC programs in their faculty careers. For decades, our Writing Center has sponsored the Madison Area Writing Center Colloquium as one way to invite graduate students to explore writing center research, theory, and leadership.

Three of the participants in the spring 2014 leadership series--Chrissy Stephenson, Peter Mayshle, and Chris Earle
Three of the participants in the spring 2014 leadership series–Chrissy Stephenson, Peter Mayshle, and Chris Earle

In addition to the colloquium, every spring semester for the past three years, I have offered a five-part discussion series for doctoral students here at UW-Madison who are interested in preparing for this important kind of leadership work. Over 30 doctoral students have participated in those discussion series. Through readings, writing activities, and discussion among ourselves and with guest speakers from other universities, we explore these kinds of topics—

  • theoretical foundations for writing centers and WAC programs
  • models, missions, philosophies, and visions for writing center and WAC programs
  • different kinds of writing center instruction or programs
  • designing tutor education and professional development
  • thinking as a director
  • collaborative leadership in an academic culture
  • creating a learning culture within writing center programs
  • mentoring colleagues on a writing center staff
  • building and sustaining partnerships across campus and beyond
  • funding, budgeting, and fundraising
  • assessment
  • national and international trends
  • writing center and WAC literature and professional organizations

Writing Across the Curriculum

This summer our Writing Across the Curriculum Program was busy with workshops and consultations and revisions. Some highlights from the WAC summer:

  • During the University’s Teaching and Learning Symposium in May, we showcased faculty and staff from French and Italian, Neuroscience, English and Digital Studies, and Political Science, who teach with writing in innovative ways.
Professor Jennifer Gipson, French and Italian, on WAC panel at Teaching and Learning Symposium in May
Professor Jennifer Gipson, French and Italian, on WAC panel at Teaching and Learning Symposium in May
Professor Jim Brown, English and Digital Studies, UW-Madison (now at Rutgers University-Camden)
Professor Jim Brown, English and Digital Studies, formerly at UW-Madison and now at Rutgers University-Camden
Katherine Robiadek, TA in Political Science
Katherine Robiadek, TA in Political Science

Dr. Andrew Lokuta, Neuroscience
Dr. Andrew Lokuta, Neuroscience
  • As facilitators for the Teaching Academy’s week-long Summer Institute on teaching at the University’s Arboretum in June, we consulted with faculty members in Nursing, Communication Sciences and Disorders, French and Italian, Philosophy, Human Ecology, Music Education, and we offered several workshops for participants on teaching with writing.
WAC Assistant Director Elisabeth Miller chatting with a faculty member from the School of Nursing at the Teaching Academy Summer Institute at the Arboretum, June 2014
WAC Assistant Director Elisabeth Miller (left) chatting with a faculty member from the School of Nursing at the Teaching Academy Summer Institute at the Arboretum, June 2014
  • We offered WAC workshops on designing effective writing assignments and on responding to and evaluating student writing through the University’s Delta Program, a community of graduate students, post-docs, instructional staff, and faculty dedicated to professional development in teaching and learning.
  • Over the summer, the WAC program continued to be an active partner in the wonderful campus teaching-and-learning program for new faculty—Madison Teaching and Learning Excellence (MTLE).
  • Last week–together with partners from the UW-Madison Libraries and Biocore and with four TA fellows from disciplines across campus–the WAC program designed and led training for 70 graduate TAs from across campus who are teaching their first writing-intensive (Comm-B) course this fall.
  • We introduced the WAC Program and the Writing Center during an orientation for all new faculty from across campus.
Some of the new Communication-B (writing-intensive) TAs from across campus, in a WAC workshop, August 2014
Some of the 70 new Communication-B (writing-intensive) TAs from across campus who participated in WAC training, August 2014
Comm-B TA Fellows on the Terrace, after the August 2014 WAC Training--(from left) Katrina Quisumbing King, Sociology; Josh Pultorek (Zoology); Elisabeth Miller (WAC Assistant Director); Adrienne Hagen (Classics); Christian Dewey (Geography and Environmental Studies)
Comm-B TA Fellows on the Terrace, after the August 2014 WAC Training–(from left) Katrina Quisumbing King (Sociology), Josh Pultorek (Zoology), Elisabeth Miller (WAC Assistant Director), Adrienne Hagen (Classics), Christian Dewey (Geography and Environmental Studies)
    • Over the summer, we have consulted with faculty and TAs in History, Communication Arts, Geoscience, Law, Counseling Psychology, Mathematics, Business, Sociology, Slavic Languages and Literature, Botany, Journalism and Mass Communication, Zoology, Undergraduate Research Scholars, Plant Pathology, and many more departments.
    • And the big WAC event of the summer—we published a new edition of our WAC Sourcebook for Faculty, Instructional Staff, and TAs, edited by WAC Assistant Director Elisabeth Miller. Every year, about 300 copies of this Faculty Sourcebook are distributed to faculty and TAs at various WAC events across our university. Its 300 pages, which are updated with about 20% new material every two years, feature advice for instructors about effective, creative, and innovative ways to incorporate writing assignments into courses, ways that help students learn the subject matter of a course and that help deepen students’ thinking and understanding. The Faculty Sourcebook features a new title—Locally Sourced–to honor the fact that well over 90% of the sample assignments in the sourcebook come from faculty and staff and TAs at UW-Madison. Here’s a sample of what’s new in this year’s edition:
The UW-Madison WAC Faculty Sourcebook (2014)
The UW-Madison WAC Faculty Sourcebook (2014)
    • a beautiful new cover (designed by former WAC Assistant Director Stephanie White) and a new title
    • a new section on “Multimodal Writing Assignments and Writing in Online Courses”–including an ARIS assignment, encouraging originality online, advice on guiding written discussions in hybrid and online courses
    • a new sample syllabus from a capstone seminar for undergraduate history majors that sequences writing and research assignments across the semester
    • a learning contract from a graduate-level social work course and several assignments attached to it: case study, compare/contrast treatment approaches, interview, and service-learning projects
    • tips on scaffolding writing assignments from the Biocore undergraduate honors biology program
    • an assignment–from an undergraduate international studies course–that requires students to write a letter to the President and Governors of the World Bank about shortcomings in current measures of poverty and advocates for different approaches
    • an assignment from an undergraduate physiology course that requires students to work in groups to design and conduct an experiment, to write up that research, to have their ms. reviewed by faculty experts, to revise, and to publish their research in an undergraduate journal published by that course– The Journal of Advanced Student Science
    • new materials on supporting oral communication–from tips on building in process, workshopping oral presentations, and giving credit for and grading in-class oral participation
    • shared goals for paper writing across undergraduate literature courses in the English Department
    • new materials for developing an accessible learning environment to support learners with all kinds of abilities
    • new advice about evaluating and grading multilingual writing
    • new advice for faculty to look beneath the surface of students’ papers to see more than evidence of laziness on students’ part

 Dissertation Camps

In partnership with the Graduate School and the Mellon Foundation, the Writing Center continued offering week-long dissertation camps, two more during the summer of 2014. The camps were led by Nancy Linh Karls, Rebecca Steffy Couch, and Chris Earle from the Writing Center staff. The first of the summer camps met in the Writing Center on the 6th floor of Helen C. White Hall. The second was held in the School of Pharmacy (in Rennebohm Hall) on the west end of campus.

A diss camper works on her latest chapter
A diss camper works on her latest chapter
Dissertation camp participants discuss their daily writing goals
Dissertation camp participants discuss their daily writing goals
Dissertation camp graduates celebrate over pizza
Dissertation camp graduates celebrate over pizza

Dissertation campers came from a wide range of departments across campus:

      • Zoology
      • Political Science
      • History of Science
      • English
      • Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Industrial and Systems Engineering
      • History
      • Forest and Wildlife Ecology
      • Sociology
      • Geoscience
      • Dairy Science
      • Art History
      • Educational Psychology
      • German Linguistics
      • Cancer Biology
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Counseling Psychology
      • Environment and Resources
      • Freshwater and Marine Studies
      • Life Sciences Communication
      • Special Education
      • Human Development and Family Studies
      • Slavic Languages and Literature
      • Political Science
      • Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics
      • Biomedical Engineering
      • Pharmacy
      • Second-Language Acquisition
      • Historical Musicology

Here’s a link to a short video from the university’s Graduate School featuring the summer 2014 dissertation camps.

Writing Groups and Screencasts in the Summer Writing Center

Expertly led by summer co-directors Michelle Niemann, Leigh Elion, and Mike Shapiro, the Summer Writing Center was booked nearly solid for most of the 3-week and 8-week sessions, with seniors working on medical school applications, students in summer classes, incoming undergraduates getting a head start on their Wisconsin Experience, and graduate-student dissertators making headway on their projects. Besides one-on-one tutoring during the day, we served students in our College Library satellite location two nights each week, tweeted, ran workshops, and did outreach across campus.

Summer always offers the chance for our Writing Center to experiment with new instructional programs as well. This summer’s creative staff piloted weekly writers’ groups and screencasting feedback on student drafts submitted to us online. Here’s a link to a recent post on our blog about these two very successful summer experiments.

The Writing Center Online

During the summer, Leah Misemer—the outgoing coordinator of our Online Writing Center–made a number of important additions and revisions to our online resources for writers, which are widely used by student-writers across our campus, around the US, and around the world. (In January 2014, for example, our online writing center had 4,633,000 hits from over 411,000 unique visitors–just in that one month.) Among the summer updates that we’d love to have you sample:

      • The Writing Fellows website has been completely redesigned, to make it more user friendly and to make program handbooks available for Fellows and for faculty.
      • The Writer’s Handbook has a redesigned and more robust Table of Contents to help writers find resources more easily.
      • The Writer’s Handbook has new advice and samples for undergraduate students about writing resumes.
      • The Writer’s Handbook has newly redesigned advice and new samples for undergraduates writing research posters.
      • The Writer’s Handbook section on brainstorming questions for application essays has been redesigned.
      • And several sections of the Writer’s Handbook have been redesigned to work effectively when they are viewed on phones and tablets.
An excerpt from the advice for undergraduates about writing research posters and sample posters by UW-Madison students
An excerpt from our Online Writing Center–advice for undergraduates about writing research posters and sample posters by UW-Madison students


An excerpt from the Writing Center's Online Writer's Handbook--advice about writing a resume and samples of student resumes
An excerpt from the Writing Center’s Online Writer’s Handbook–advice about writing a resume and samples of student resumes

Courses with Undergraduate Writing Fellows, Fall 2014

Under the leadership of Emily Hall, Kim Moreland, and Anne Wheeler, Writing Fellows are working with student-writers and with faculty in a great lineup of courses this semester—

Department and Course Course Title Professor
Anthropology 120 Landscapes Sissel Schroeder
Astronomy 236 History of Matter in the Universe Eric Wilcots
Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences 171 Global Change Ankur Desai
Classics 554 Classical Backgrounds to English Literature Patricia Rosenmeyer
East Asian Languages and Literature 353 Survey of Japanese Literature Charo D’Etcheverry
East Asian Languages and Literature 373 Chinese Drama Charo D’Etcheverry
Educational Policy Studies 200 Race, Ethnicity, and Inequality in American Education Linn Posey-Maddox
English 169 Introduction to Modern American Literature Lynn Keller
English 173 Politics and Protest Literature Russ Castronovo
English 181 Victorian Natures Susan Bernstein
English 245 The Brontes Caroline Levine
English 455 Melville Jeffrey Steele
French and Italian 211 French Fairy Tales: Folklore to Film Jennifer Gipson
Gender and Women’s Studies 120 Rebellious Women in Latin America Christina Ewig
Geography 538 Humid Tropics Lisa Naughton
Hebrew Studies 356 Roots of Zionism: Literature, Culture, and Ethics Rachel Brenner
Jewish Studies 233 Politics of History (Holocaust) Simone Schweber
Library and Information Studies 301 Internet and Society Rebekah Willett
Literature in Translation 226 Introduction to Luso-Afro-Brazilian Literature Ellen Sapega
Religious Studies 200 Religion in Sickness and Health Corrie Norman
Political Science 425 Citizenship, Democracy, and Difference Katherine Cramer
Political Science 519 African American Political Theory Keisha Lindsay
Psychology 411 Fundamentals of Clinical Psychology Rhonda Reinholtz
Scandinavian Literature in Translation 235 The World of Sagas Scott Mellor
Theatre and Drama 415 Introduction to Contemporary Feminist Theatre and Criticism Michael Peterson

Madison Writing Assistance

The Madison Writing Assistance Program, our community literacy program led by Nancy Linh Karls and Elisabeth Miller, offers writing assistance to community members at several branches of the Madison Public Library and at job centers in the city.

Some fabulous news from the MWA Program:

      • This summer’s 8-week session included 6 shifts at 6 different sites across the city of Madison (Central Library, Goodman Library, Meadowood Neighborhood Center, Pinney Library, Hawthorne Library, and Lakeview Library).
      • For this coming year, MWA received $45,840 in grant funding (Altrusa International, Anonymous Fund, Evujue Foundation, and the Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment)!
      • Nancy and Elisabeth are very pleased to say that their proposal for employment writing workshops over the next 2 years across 6 libraries and community centers was selected for a Baldwin grant from UW-Madison. That grant will provide $29,000 over two years for new MWA instruction. The MWA proposal was one of only 8 funded out of 116 total applications from across the university!
      • In collaboration with leadership with the Madison Public Libraries, MWA will deepen staff training, refine our mission, and create new programming over the course of the coming year.
      • In fall 2014, MWA will offer writing assistance at five sites around the city: Goodman Library, Meadowood Neighborhood Center, Pinney Library, Hawthorne Library, and Lakeview Library.
      • MWA is developing several short-term (approx. 3-week) writing workshops at libraries across Madison.
Chris Rogers a UW-Madison doctoral student and instructor in the Madison Writing Assistance Program
Chris Rogers, a UW-Madison doctoral student and instructor in the Madison Writing Assistance Program
Goodman Public Library in Madison, one of the sites for the Madison Writing Assistance Program
Goodman Public Library in Madison, one of the sites for the Madison Writing Assistance Program

Our New Writing Center Commons

Finally, our big summer remodeling project in the Writing Center is nearly finished. What was the computer classroom in the Writing Center has been transformed into an exciting new multi-purpose learning space within the Writing Center, called “The Writing Center Commons.” Under construction all summer, this new space will debut later this week, thanks to generous funding from an Instructional Lab Modernization grant from the College of Letters and Science and the University.
More about that beautiful, exciting new space in a future post on this blog. For now, here are some photos of the early phases of construction during May and June 2014.IMG_1050IMG_1051


Thanks very much for reading this post. We hope you’ll add a comment if you have any questions or comments about our center and its programs. And we’d love to hear what’s new or planned for your writing center!

Featured photo credit: “Memorial Union Terrace Chair in Summer,” by Jeff Miller, University Communications, UW-Madison.

45 Replies to “Summer on the North Coast: What’s New with UW-Madison Writing Center Programs”

  1. My goodness! This list of “highlights” is just incredible. I want to take my hat off to all of the Writing Center Staff members involved, and particularly to Elizabeth Miller for revamping the faculty sourcebook and to Leah Misemer for updating the online handbook. I’ve spend the last day looking through both resources and I’m just blown away by the wealth of information on writing and writing pedagogy available. Bravo!

    Rachel Herzl-Betz
    Outreach Coordinator, UW-Madison Writing Center

  2. It’s so great to read about the vibrant work that continues at the UW Writing Center. I benefited from so many of these programs while I was there–the dissertation boot camp, Brad’s leadership series… It’s all so familiar, but in typical UW fashion, everything is constantly improving! I loved reading about the visiting NU students. Is NU developing a writing fellows program in the future? If so, you’ve created 60 powerful supporters!

    I can’t wait to see pictures of the finished renovation!

    Jessie Reeder
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Humanities Research Center
    Rice University
    Houston, TX

  3. This is probably the best (and most thorough!) “What I Did With My Summer” story that I’ve ever seen. I mean, our staff did SO MUCH, it boggles the mind. Though I’d been an instructor with the Writing Center for several years, this was my first year being on staff in the summer, and I was absolutely floored by how much still happens from late May to early August — a time when it feels like most everybody on campus is slowing down to the easy pace of a Madison summer. The Main Center was still a flurry of activity (the phone seemed to be ringing no less frequently), the satellite locations had the same high demand, the instructors and students sounded no less engaged and excited about the writing they were reading over.

    For me, one of the most exciting things about being on staff in the summer was getting the opportunity to work with students and courses that are typically not available in the fall and spring semesters. I got to meet with professional educators doing a two-week crunch course in the Educational Psychology department. I got to teach a class of rising high school juniors in the PEOPLE program about punctuation (call me crazy, but they really dug it). I got to talk to a group of visiting students from Nazarbayev University about the ins-and-outs of personal statements for American universities. My work with the Writing Center usually feels pretty special, but getting to reach even more people felt, well, especially special.

    I’m really missing the Writing Center these days since moving out of Madison in August, but I hope you all have a great year, doing the great stuff you always do.

    Kevin Boettcher
    Lecturer, Freshman Writing Seminar
    Rice University

  4. It’s really great to read about all the hard work, innovation, and successes of the Writing Center and WAC programs. I must say that just this morning, I worked one-on-one with an undergrad writer in the beautiful new Writing Center Commons, and we drew from the very “Resume Writing Tips” pictured above!

    Assistant Director 2014-15, UW-Madison Writing Center

  5. What a wonderfully stimulating and productive summer! I am especially heartened by the great work of Nancy Linh Karls and Elisabeth Miller in the Madison Writing Program Assistance Program. I was in Madison when Greg Galica, with the support and encouragement of Brad Hughes, began to bring the UW Writing Center into the Madison community. I imagine Greg would be delighted to see how far that work has come.

    Kudos, too, on your redesigned website. I consult it frequently and recommend it to my students.

    In all, your terrific work is a model for the rest of us. Congrats!

    Associate Professor of English
    Francis O’Malley Director of the University Writing Program
    University of Notre Dame

  6. What a pleasure to read about the amazing work happening in and around the Writing Center at UW–Madison. Reading this post is bittersweet—it reminds me of all I’ll be missing this year now that I’m no longer in Madison, but it also reminds me of how much I learned (and how much fun I had) by being part of this endeavour for five years.

    Can’t wait to see pictures of the new Writing Center Commons!

    Stephanie White
    English Language and Literature
    University of Waterloo

  7. Many thanks to everyone at the Writing Center for their excellent work spotlighted in these posts. It was a pleasure to be part of the Writing Across the Curriculum panel at the May Teaching and Learning Symposium. It always amazing me how much I can learn from the innovative practices of colleagues in other disciplines—proof that writing really does translate across the curriculum.

    Jennifer Gipson
    Assistant Professor of French
    UW Madison

  8. I never ceased to be amazed at the wonderful work going on with the WC and WAC at Wisconsin, but your summer efforts this year were really extraordinary. Congratulations to everyone involved for such successful hard work.

    Our writing center has just begun to explore possibilities for some kind of permanent outreach into our community, so I’m thrilled to see the positive impact you all are making as well as the support that you all have been able to gather for those initiatives.

    And I cannot wait to see the new space; I hope you will post pictures soon!

    Mary Lou Odom
    Associate Professor of English
    Director of the Writing Center
    Kennesaw State University

  9. What a great post to kick off the fall semester — celebrating the fantastic work happening in every facet of the UW-Writing Center and WAC programs.

    It really was a fun summer to be involved in the WAC program — great to see so many WAC faces in this post, including Comm-B TAs who will teach writing intensive courses across campus this fall and Comm-B TA Fellows, experienced TAs across disciplines who help run the WAC program’s 2-day training for 70 TAs in Welcome Week. Josh, Katrina, Adrienne, and Christian made our Fall 2014 training valuable for TAs — and really enjoyable to coordinate!

    Nancy Linh Karls and I are thrilled about the ongoing developments in the Madison Writing Assistance program. It’s an honor to be a part of that long-standing, ever-evolving program — and we’d love to hear from or collaborate with others working in community writing programs!

    Elisabeth Miller
    Assistant Director, Writing Across the Curriculum, UW-Madison
    Coordinator, Madison Writing Assistance

  10. I agree so much with what has previously been written, specifically Stephanie’s comment that reading this post was “bittersweet.” I had the great good fortune of working at UW’s Writing Center back in the late 1990’s with Brad, and another person mentioned by John, Greg Galica. At that point, I remember thinking that the Writing Center couldn’t really get any better. I mean, it was so awesome and it did so much good work across campus, what more could possibly be done?

    Well, reading this post helps answer that question. In addition to expanding upon all of the great work the Writing Center had been doing within the university and for the Madison community, it is now having an international impact on students with both the Writing Fellows program and its websites. (One joke I like to make with Brad: “I knew you when you only had a national reputation!”). But of course, it’s not just Brad — it’s all of the people he lists in this post that make this work possible. And that, I think, is the true magic of UW’s Writing Center. Brad’s unbelievable work ethic, integrity, and passion for writing are infectious and they inspire those around him. And that’s why reading this post was somewhat bittersweet: It made me genuinely nostalgic for the time when I was part of this remarkable community.

    Thanks for posting this, Brad. Congratulations to you and to everyone who has had the same great good fortune I have to work at UW’s Writing Center.

    Bryan Trabold
    Associate Professor, English
    Suffolk University

  11. Wow – it’s amazing to see all these programs and advances together in one place! I’m always particularly excited to read about the Mellon camps and their graduates, as my experiences as an attendee this past winter was one of the best and most influential experiences I’ve had as a graduate student. It’s so great to see writing groups extending/supplementing those camps, giving participants a way to keep that energy going. Once you know how much you can do when you really get to it, you have this new and powerful reason to get to it as often as you can!

    Also – are you saving the big reveal on the WC Commons for another post? Because I know I’m not alone in being excited about how that space turned out – it looks so appealing both aesthetically and pedagogically. Just a few hours ago I got the great news I’ll be moving my class there for the semester, and I can’t wait to see (and share!) how things go in this exciting new space.

    Becca Tarsa
    TA Coordinator, The Writing Center, UW-Madison

  12. This is so impressive! I can only imagine how many writers and learner you supported during last year with all those inspiring and helpfull programs. What a wonderful writing center – thank you for sharing, this gives us, as always, many new ideas for our own work.

    Katrin Girgensohn
    Academic Director
    Writing Center, European University Viadrina, Germany

  13. Congratulations to the Writing Center on yet another incredibly productive year! Brad Hughes, Elisabeth Miller, and their talented colleagues are truly a campus treasure. We in Biocore deeply appreciate the supportive “Communication Community” that you provide for our students and for us as instructors. Our TAs are energized and inspired by the Comm B workshops at the beginning of each semester and immediately implement many of the approaches highlighted in the workshops.

    Also, I just took a quick look at the “Creating a Poster” article on the Writing Center’s website—- wonderful! I just made a note in my lab manual to show this to my Biocore 486 lab students when they prepare research posters later this semester. Thank you, and all the best as you begin another exciting school year!

    Michelle Harris
    Course Chair, Biocore 384 and 486

  14. I can only echo what others have said as to just how amazing this all is. The constant growth is really inspiring, particularly for someone at a campus whose Writing Center is still in its early stages. The international connection with NU indicates an admirable sense of writing as a global discourse, and I’m envious of those Fellows who had this opportunity. (This past summer I worked with a Freshman Comp class comprised entirely of Kuwaiti exchange students, and I would have killed to have a team of Fellows working alongside us.) And personally, as an old school developer of the Dissertation Camp (Hi Nancy!), I’m pleased to see how popular and how interdisciplinary it has become. All of this is really inspiring, even if it does make me miss Madison a ton.

    Also, can’t wait to see the post about the new space!

    Brian Williams
    Assistant Professor of English
    Tennessee Tech University

  15. Thank you for this awe-inspiring September post, Brad! There is no better annual reminder of the fact that our Writing Center is at the center of so many thoughtful programs. And thank you and Leah particularly for the superb redesign of those high-value pages in the Writer’s Handbook. I noticed them immediately this August when I was clicking through and realized I was not having to do any hide-and-seek work.

    Mike A. Shapiro
    Lecturer, Technical Communication

  16. So I am cracking up at Kevin’s comment about this being the best “What I did with my summer” essay. In all seriousness, though, congratulations on all these accomplishments. I am struck by the breadth of the Writing Center’s reach–the international connections and the local work with diverse writers and teachers in Madison and the UW. So powerful that writing is supported in so many ways, in so many places, for so many different writers.

    Kate Vieira
    Assistant Professor of English, UW-Madison

  17. What an inspiration!

    Congratulations to all the members of the amazing UWMadison staff who make everything happen. One of the things I admire so much about the Madison writing center–and it’s typical, I think, of many writing centers, but especially visible in Madison–is how a writing center can be so ambitious in its reach across the far corners of a campus while also making sure that that reach is fundamentally about the individualized interactions and discussions that we have in small communities, whether long-established or emerging.

    Way to go, Badgers!

    Rebecca Nowacek
    Associate Professor of English
    Director, Ott Memorial Writing Center
    Marquette University

  18. As a new writing center director (at Kansas State University), I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this digital reminder of what it is possible for a center to achieve and be. Even though I’m a former UW-Madison Writing Center tutor, I still continually feel stunned by the Center’s scope and the number of students it serves across campus. I think a lot about how a Center can participate in creating a writing culture at a university, and when I look at the Center’s list of programs and activities, I get a mental image of so many positive ideas about writing, tutoring, and collaboration radiating across the university. Thank you for this resource, Brad & staff!

    Cydney Alexis
    Assistant Professor of English
    Director, The Writing Center
    Kansas State University

  19. My sincere gratitude to Brad and Elisabeth for organizing a wonderfully diverse and informative panel at the May Teaching and Learning Symposium. Because of their tireless efforts, we all came away from that session with renewed enthusiasm and loads of new ideas to explore in our classrooms. Our campus is fortunate to have this writing center directed by these people.

    Dr. Andrew Lokuta
    Department of Neuroscience, UW-Madison

  20. Working with the Nazarbayev students was a delight–the writers were motivated, engaged, and eager to answer my questions about Kazakhstan and student life at Nazarbayev. (None were spared from my queries about traditional Kazakh food and how one survives winters on the central Asian steppe.) The experience also prepared me well for the work I’ll be doing here at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), as I’ll be serving as a TA in an academic writing course for international students and staffing the writing center.

    I can hear the hum and feel the warmth of the UW-Madison Writing Center all the way from across the pond, and I miss it immensely. If writing-center-homesickness is a thing (and given the sentiments of the previous posts, I think it is), I’ve definitely got it.

    Jenna Mertz
    Former UW-Madison Writing Fellow
    Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, Norwegian University of Life Sciences

  21. This is what it means to thoroughly and meaningfully teach writing in and across the university. From outreach to international and local partners, to writing support at all levels, to professional development for writing instructors, the Writing Center is really the center of the university.

    Morris Young
    Director of English 100
    Professor of English, UW-Madison

  22. Congratulations on another year brimming with accomplishments!

    Thank you for the mention of your partnership with Madison Teaching and Learning Excellence (MTLE)! The mentoring you provide during the yearlong professional development program resonates immediately with the early-career faculty fellows. You expertly meet their needs while exploring topics such as assignment design, evaluation of assignments, and peer feedback. After the most recent pre-semester Faculty Institute on Teaching, a faculty fellow remarked how great and incredibly useful the “Writing a Teaching Statement for Your Tenure Dossier” workshop was. This is the feedback we consistently receive after working with you and your staff.

    Thank you for all that you do! We are lucky to have such innovative colleagues committed to teaching and learning excellence across campus.

    Emily Utzerath
    Assistant Director
    Madison Teaching and Learning Excellence

  23. Wow. Ditto to all comments. Thanks for this staggering, inspiring update. Congrats to everyone involved.

    Dave Stock
    Assistant Professor, English
    Coordinator, Writing Center
    Brigham Young University

  24. Amazing! Such fine work. Ditto to Rebecca’s comment–this post is a serious inspiration and a powerful reminder that there are many, many wonderful ways to support writers.

    Matthew Capdevielle
    Director, University Writing Center
    University of Notre Dame

  25. Dear Brad, it is wonderful to see our students from Nazarbayev University taking advantage of the writing center resources. Thank you for making them feel so welcome for and taking them to another level of their learning journey.

    Best wishes from Astana, Loretta O’Donnell, Vice Provost, Academic Affairs, Nazarbayev University.

  26. What a great blog. Typical of the UW Writing Center it is chocked full of information and good times. I’ve enjoyed meeting Brad and learning from him. He is great at connecting people. I had a great conversation with Professor Barker set up by Brad, and enjoyed visiting with the NU writing fellows along with others when I was there in July. Our students have been challenged from their time in Madison and are already spinning off ideas that will enhance the educational experience of the entire NU student body.

    Thanks to all the people at Wisconsin.

    Robert K. Doebler
    Director, ELC
    Nazarbayev University
    Astana, Kazakhstan
    Nazarbayev University

  27. Sweet new cover for the sourcebook! And impressive list of courses for the Writing Fellows Program. Well done UW-Madison!

    Matthew Pearson
    Faculty Development Program Director & The Writing Fellows Program Director
    The University Center for Writing-based Learning@DePaul University

  28. Let me join this chorus of oohs, aahs, and wows from WC friends, alums, and current staff. It is especially exciting to see how projects I worked on in their early days have grown and flourished: Comm-B TA training, the WAC Sourcebook, Writing Fellows, the computer classroom, the Online Writing Center, and the community writing center. As Bryan noted, I feel so very fortunate to have worked with you, Brad, when you only had a “national reputation” and to have benefited from the countless hours you spent mentoring me as a writing center leader (something more folks have access to now through the 5-week discussion series for graduate students). There really isn’t a day when I don’t draw upon what I learned in the nurturing and inspiring community of the UW WC. Just yesterday, I pulled out one of my Sourcebooks and dove back into the great Biocore materials as I consulted with a colleague in chemistry. And that image of the sun through the Terrace chairs… well, I’m ready to book my summer 2015 trip to Madison!

    Kirsten Jamsen
    Center for Writing
    University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

  29. I’m grateful for this blog post — to help me see the writing and the Writing Center work that’s going on all around me here in Helen C. White Hall, on the UW campus, and in the city of Madison. I could hear the construction over the summer as the new Commons area took shape. (It’s beautiful! All of you who have left Madison, just wait until you see the photos of the finished space!), I could see days of dissertators in 6191 and the steady stream of students with summer Writing Center appointments. But there were still many surprises for me in this post — Writing Fellows working with students from Kazakhstan?

    Also, I love reading through the comments and catching site of the far flung UW-Madison Writing Center community.

    Mary Fiorenza
    Director, English 201
    Associate Director, English 100

  30. It is very hard to read this post without turning green with envy…one might say. But knowing Brad and his absolutely wonderful and inspiring work and personality, I can not bring myself to feel anything but being awestruck and honored. Honored, because we (at the Writing Center in Frankfurt/Germany) had the pleasure to learn from Brad and Stephanie how to start our own Writing Fellow program last year.

    Dear Brad: We saw each other at the wonderful EWCA conference in July and so you already know that the program is a great success and we are absolutely thrilled about an award that we received for it – which would have never happened without your assistance in getting this ‘baby’ to crawl and finally walk on its own two feet! Thank you!

    Other exciting news: We have two new staff members who will work with the students for whom German isn’t one of their first or second language – a large group at our institution (approx. 25% of all students).

    Because we as a Writing Center are in a steady (but also still rather slow!) process of growth, we decided to try a systemic coaching and worked with an external counselor. This was something completely new for us and we enjoyed the intense process of making our individual expectations and plans explicit – sharing them and finding a way to integrate new staff members into our WC structure.

    Nadja’s and my new book will come out in just a week! And I am very proud to say that it turned out really ok. The plan was to translate 12 ‘classical’ english texts on writing research, process theory and pedagogy into german, in order to improve the training of our peer tutors and expand their knowledge in important areas. On a side note: we were happy that we received the permission to include the article about PWTARP by Paula Gillespie, Harvey Kail and – of course – Bradley Hughes! (–>

    And last but not least we’re equally excited about our latest project that developped from one of our regular “lunch talks” with our peer tutors: Birte, former-peer-tutor-now-PhD student, is in the process of creating two hand-drawn animated educational films which will explain to students
    a.) different writing strategies and
    b.) what a writing coundeling session is all about

    I saw the first drawings and I am very much looking forward to seeing the results!

    Thanks so much for your inspiring blog post – I printed it out immediately and will discuss some aspects with my team. I would very much like to start a PhD camp next year btw…

    Warmest regards and greetings from all of our team,

    Dr. Stephanie Dreyfurst
    Director, schreibZENTRUM
    Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

  31. Oh my god, the pride!

    This is such a wonderful example – and a thorough and hugely scaled one – of how writing matters to the life and work that goes on in higher education for undergraduates, graduate students, and professors. I’ve always used UW’s Writing Center – and Brad’s unparalleled leadership – as a resource for directing a writing program at a small liberal arts college and to see these accomplishments lined up one after another demonstrates so well the ways in which the work that UW graduate students and professors do helps shape the profession for all of us.

    Everybody involved here deserves a huge thank you for that. But most importantly, thank you for the inspiration – which never seems to dry up.

    Adam Koehler
    Associate Professor of English and Director of the Writing Program
    Manhattan College

  32. Thanks to Brad for leading the way with all these fantastic innovations around the teaching and practice of writing! Scrolling through this post, with all the photos, and then all the replies, is a virtual reunion of so many terrific people I’ve known through the years, thanks to Brad and the Writing Center. Congratulations to all–and I look forward to the opening of the Writing Center Commons!

    Professor Susan Bernstein
    Director of Graduate Studies
    Department of English, UW-Madison

  33. Thanks for this great post, Brad. I’ll admit I missed Another Word’s regular updates over the summer and the weekly glimpse it gives me into all the of amazing things happening back at the UW-Madison Writing Center (even if I don’t always find time to join the conversation). So I was especially happy to see this post pop up in my feed, giving me a chance to get caught up and, more importantly, get inspired.

    For instance, last year your first post (here: highlighted your new website for the CSCR builder and got me thinking seriously about how tutoring simulations might fit into our consultant training here at Vanderbilt. A year later I’m happy to report that two different simulations made their debut in our weeklong August training, and I’m looking forward to doing more with it in the future after that initial experience. This year I have to say I’m particularly inspired to redouble our efforts to produce our own “Locally Sourced” collection of materials for supporting effective writing pedagogy across the curriculum as we continue to grow our own WAC initiatives here.

    Thanks so much again for this post and all the time and energy that goes into this blog, in general! It continues to be an amazing resource.

    John Bradley
    Assistant Director, The Writing Studio
    Vanderbilt University

  34. Congratulations to everyone at the Writing Center for the incredibly valuable work you do engaging faculty and students not just across campus but indeed internationally. Brad, your post was particularly meaningful to me because two of our recent hires here in the Technical Communication Program are highlighted in your activities over the summer. We could tell right away that Christine Stephenson and Mike Shapiro would be quality additions to our staff, but it is so nice to see them featured in work the Writing Center does that is truly multidisciplinary communication.

    I noticed that some of the participants in the summer dissertation camp were from engineering, and I would like to help you get the word out about those camps here, as we have SO many graduate students who could use the support and guidance of those camps. We could and should be sending more graduate students your way.

    With all of the teaching (and grading of writing) that we do down here in Tech Comm, it is hard to stay abreast of all of the exciting work going on right here on our own campus, but thanks for your article, because it sure does get me thinking about work we could do together to engage the engineering community here in improving communication skills.

    Have a good semester,
    Laura Grossenbacher
    Director, Technical Communication Program
    Engineering Professional Development Dept.
    College of Engineering

  35. We’ve heard so much positive feedback from the NU students who traveled to Madison this summer. It is great to get to see them in action.

    We’re looking forward to getting to work with Brad at the end of the month here in Astana!

    Eric Espinoza
    Director, Writing Center
    School of Humanities and Social Sciences
    Nazarbayev University
    Astana, Kazakhstan

  36. Congratulations to all involved in making the important work of the Writing Center a success year after year!

    It was an honor to have been included in the Writing Across the Curriculum panel during the 2014 Teaching and Learning Symposium! As a Ph.D. student, it was a valuable opportunity to take a step back and think not only about the student writing experiences I have facilitated as a TA, but also what I have learned about both writing and facilitating such experiences that can inform my work with students going forward.

    So, thank you to Elisabeth and Brad for making that panel happen and to Professor Yoshiko Herrera for asking me to participate in her stead!

    Katherine Robiadek
    Department of Political Science, UW-Madison

  37. Wow, I am stunned and delighted by the array of exciting activities you have described, Brad. More so, I am inspired to initiate similar programs at Northeastern (and to fund them!). Kudos to Brad and crew for that inspiration.

    Neal Lerner
    Writing Program Director
    Northeastern University
    Boston, MA

  38. It’s so much fun to read these yearly updates. I’m not sure what other exclamations I can add to those above, except to marvel at the commenters themselves: Such wonderful comments from all over the place. Look how many directors we are and all the places we’ve ended up! And Stephanie White–the Sourcebook cover/title look *amazing*.

    Very much looking forward to photos of the finished Writing Center Commons,

    Rebecca Lorimer Leonard
    Director, UMass Amherst Writing Center
    Amherst, MA

  39. This is tremendous! So many ideas to…ahem…borrow in the future. I can’t wait to see what the Commons will look like, and I am blown away by the depth and breadth of WAC efforts showcased here. Really spectacular.

    Rachel Azima
    Writing Center Director
    University of Nebraska-Lincoln

  40. As other former UW Writing Center instructors have already said, this post is both inspiring and heartwarming. I’m grateful for the time I spent playing my small role in the amazing work of that goes on in the Center, and I continue to learn from your ongoing innovations.

    Thank you for all that you do… and for sharing it with us!

    Lauren Vedal
    Writing Specialist
    Bates College

  41. Another amazing year for the UW Writing Center and WAC! I love the LOCALLY SOURCED new title– how appropriate.

    We are so incredibly fortunate to have Brad and his talented group on this campus to model the best in collaboration and to continually inspire excellence in all of us.

    We are always happy to play in the teaching and learning ‘sandbox’ with our friends in WAC. Congratulations to all.

    Janet Batzli
    Associate Director, Biocore

  42. It is a always nice to see what other Writing Centers are up to. Your list of courses for the Writing Fellows program is stunning. Keep up the awesome work!

    Ben Rafoth
    Writing Center Director
    Indiana University of Pennsylvania

  43. Congratulations to Brad Hughes, Emily Hall, and all of you who have kept the Writing Center and the Writing Fellows Program thriving over the years! As a Writing Fellow long ago (1999-2002), I was inspired by our mission to “change the culture of undergraduate education” by giving students more of a teaching role in the University. I’ve been teaching high school history at Chadwick School, a K-12 independent school outside of Los Angeles, for twelve years now, and the faculty I work with share a similar focus on empowering students. We describe ourselves as “student-centered” designers of “experiential” and “differentiated” education. When I first started teaching, as I planned lessons, I would typically ask myself, “What am I going to do today?” But as I evolved as a teacher, I started asking myself, “What are my students going to do today?” At this stage, I generally start by thinking, “What are different groups of my students going to be doing today?” I think my own belief in the importance of students constructing their own understanding and taking considerable responsibility for their own learning, as well as the learning of their peers, began when I first had the chance to experience this for myself through the Writing Fellows Program. I’ll always be grateful for Emily Hall and Brad Hughes, and for all the undergraduate Writing Fellows!

  44. Brad Hughes and the whole UW-Madison team show what patience, hard work, vision, and team work can accomplish. Your program is well embedded in the whole university. “Impressed” is a weak word to describe my reaction. The very model of a modern major writing center.

    Jeanne Simpson
    Professor emeritus
    Eastern Illinois University

  45. It’s such a pleasure to read about the steady growth of writing initiatives at a campus like Madison. There are few campuses where a culture of writing has been created that weathers the vicissitudes of academe. Always key at Madison, and evident in this list of accomplishments–which I know leaves out as much as it includes–is Brad’s leading-by-stepping-aside. You and your colleagues provide spaces where people grow into their best writing/pedagogical selves. Thanks so much for showing us/living how “local sourcing” sustains an organically viable, healthy culture of writing.

    Joan Mullin
    Executive Director, University Writing Program
    University of North Carolina Charlotte

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