Job Posting: Writing Center Director

Miami University invites applications for an assistant or associate professor of English who will serve as Director of the Howe Writing Center that is located within the Roger and Joyce Howe Center for Writing Excellence (HCWE). Review of applications will begin Tuesday, November 8, 2016. The position will begin July 2017.

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7th Biennial Threshold Concepts Conference

Miami University will host the 7th Biennial Threshold Concepts Conference from June 12-16, 2018. The theme for this year's conference is Thorny Thresholds: Identity, Transfer, Research, Assessment. A tentative schedule and logistics are currently available: more information will be available beginning Spring 2017.

Learn more about the Threshold Concepts Conference»

Welcome to the Howe Center for Writing Excellence

Elizabeth Wardle

The Roger and Joyce Howe Center for Writing Excellence (HCWE) was founded in 2005 through a gift of $10.4 million from Roger and Joyce Howe. The Center opened in 2007. It exists to ensure that Miami students excel as college writers and are prepared to excel as writers in their careers, roles as community and civic leaders, and personal lives. The Center stands as a demonstrated statement of Miami’s strong institution-wide commitment to writing. 

The Center achieves its objectives through two main program areas: student writing centers and writing across the curriculum training and support for faculty and teaching assistants. In our student writing centers, with five physical locations plus an online “site,” both undergraduate and graduate students can receive feedback and support on any writing project from trained peer consultants. Through our writing across the curriculum programs, faculty and graduate teaching assistants can receive ongoing support for developing writing courses, embedding writing across courses within programs, teaching writing effectively, and designing research projects to study writing. We also strive to support an environment at Miami where writing is used for sharing and innovating ideas and making change in the world. To that end, we sponsor activities such as boot camps, writing groups, and dissertation completion groups for faculty and graduate students, as well as writing contests and events for students across campus.

We hope you will explore our website and join us for various writing-related events.

Dr. Elizabeth Wardle
Howe Professor
Director, Roger and Joyce Howe Center for Writing Excellence

HCWE Mission

The mission of the HCWE is to ensure that Miami supports its students in developing as effective writers in college, and fully prepares all of its graduates to excel as clear, concise, and persuasive writers in their careers, communities, and personal lives.

The long-term goal of the HCWE is to support Miami in providing the most innovative, research-based writing instruction in the country, to be widely and publicly acknowledged for doing so, and to positively and measurably impact writing-related research, practice, and policy at Miami, in Ohio, in the region, and in the nation.

HCWE Founders

Roger and Joyce Howe

Roger and Joyce Howe (both Class of 1957) have made generous and significant contributions to Miami University for the purpose of improving student writing so that all Miami students are recognized as excellent writers. Over the last twelve years they have committed $12.4 million to the Howe Writing Initiative and the Roger and Joyce Howe Center for Writing Excellence. They believe nothing in education is more important for students' future careers than developing clear and persuasive writing ability.

“For some years we have been concerned that too many college graduates, although impressively educated in most areas, cannot express themselves well in writing,” Roger Howe said. “Nearly all the highly successful people I have observed over a long period, regardless of their professions, are clear and persuasive communicators in writing. It seems to be a common thread.”

Roger L. Howe, Biography

Roger Howe graduated from Miami University with a BS in business. He was employed for 13 years by the S.D. Warren Co., a Boston-based fine paper manufacturer. He worked in sales management, product management, and as Director of Advertising. In 1970 Roger purchased U.S. Precision Lens, a small maker of plastic optics in Cincinnati, and built it into a world leader of innovative optical systems for the photographic, instrument, and television industries. In 1986 he sold the company to Corning, Inc. and remained as Chairman of the Board until his retirement in 1997.

Roger Howe’s record of service to Miami University includes membership on the Business Advisory Council and the Board of Visitors of the Farmer School of Business, the University Foundation Board, and the Board of Trustees, which he chaired for three years. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Miami in 1987 and was inducted into the Cincinnati Business Hall of Fame in 1998.

Joyce Lutz Howe, Biography

Joyce Lutz Howe graduated with honors from Miami University, where she majored in Fine Arts with a specialty in graphics. Joyce has pursued her personal art career specializing in watercolor, mixed media, and oil painting. Her works have been sold in galleries in Cincinnati, OH; Chicago, IL; Petoskey, MI; and Boca Grande, FL. She is particularly recognized for her talent with watercolors. She was a docent for the Cincinnati Museum of Art, served on its board of trustees, and has been a significant contributor.

With permission, adapted from the Howe Writing Initiative's Meet the Founders page.

HCWE Staff

Dr. Elizabeth Wardle

Dr. Elizabeth Wardle, Director

Elizabeth Wardle joined Miami in July 2016 as the Howe Professor in the Department of English and the Director of the Howe Center for Writing Excellence. She previously served as chair of the Department of Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Central Florida (UCF) (2012-16), director of writing programs at UCF (2008-2012), and director of writing programs at the University of Dayton (2006-2008). Her administrative experiences have fed her ongoing interest in how students learn and how they transfer what they learn in new settings. At UCF, she won teaching and SoTL awards, and led the first-year composition program to a CCCC Certificate of Excellence. She speaks frequently around the country on writing program design, ways to teach to encourage transfer, and ways to identify and engage students in the threshold concepts of various disciplines.

Dr. Ann Updike

Dr. Ann Updike, Associate Director

Ann Updike has served as the Associate Director of the Howe Center for Writing Excellence since Fall 2013. She earned her doctorate in English at Miami University with a concentration in Rhetoric and Composition. Her scholarly interests include writing-across-the-curriculum, visual and material rhetorics, American cultural rhetorics, and American Indian studies. She returned to graduate school in 2002 after working in corporate consulting and technical writing. She coordinates in-class workshops, the HWC Assignment Review service, faculty consulting, and other faculty outreach and events.

Kate Francis

Kate Francis, Manager

Kate Francis has been the manager of the Howe Writing Center since its opening in 2007. With the help of HWC graduate assistants and hourly graduate student employees, she develops and administers ongoing training initiatives for HWC consultants (mentoring, weekly workshops, research, and conference presentations). In addition to working with consultants, she oversees the welcome staff, the marketing team interns, and the graphic designers. She facilitates the daily operations of all HWC locations.

Jenelle Dembsey

Jenelle Dembsey, Coordinator for Technology and Accessibility

Jenelle Dembsey earned her Masters in Composition and Communication from Central Michigan University and came to the Howe Center for Writing Excellence in Fall 2014. Her scholarly passions center around online writing centers and accessibility. She coordinates the HWC's online consulting program, which she co-developed in Fall 2015 to provide writing support to more Miami students. She also edits HCWE website content, re-formats HWC and HWAC materials for accessibility, and supports faculty in accessible document design.

Loretta Parker

Loretta Parker, Administrative Assistant

Loretta Parker has been at Miami University for 18 years, working in Accounts Payable and the English Department before heading to the Howe Center for Writing Excellence. She is the financial contact for the HCWE department and handles budget transfers for contest prizes, student payments, and grants for students, faculty, and departments. She also coordinates student-centered events, graduate and faculty boot camps, and national and local board meetings.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships in the HCWE are intended to provide students with administrative, curricular, consulting, and research experience that can inform their dissertation and thesis projects and help prepare them to be competitive on the national job market. All applicants should be committed to working in a collaborative environment with students and faculty from across the curriculum and representing the HCWE in a professional manner.

Assistantships will be announced in early Spring semester 2017. Applications are due in March 2017

Positions for Rhetoric and Composition Doctoral Students

Doctoral students will typically be supported by the HCWE for up to three years. Students are encouraged to teach one course each year in the English department in order to gain experience in both teaching and administration. However, the positions can be adapted to meet the student’s needs.

Assistant Director, Howe Writing Center

Assigned tasks may include:

  • Attending and assisting with the required course for all writing center consultants
  • Assisting in conducting ongoing training seminars for student consultants
  • Mentoring undergraduate consultants in carrying out research projects
  • Assisting in designing and carrying out targeted assessments of writing center initiatives
  • Consulting on a limited basis each week, as needed

This position is designed to provide experience for doctoral students interested in researching and potentially directing writing centers or other writing support programs. The Assistant Director will take a leadership role in the HCWE and attend bi-weekly HCWE staff meetings.

Candidate must have taken ENG 581. Ideally, candidate will have prior experience working in a writing center, and some experience with both online and face-to-face consulting. Candidate should have a demonstrated commitment to mentoring undergraduate students. Prior experience with multilingual writers would be a plus.

Assistant Director, Howe Writing Across the Curriculum Programs

Assigned tasks may include:

  • Assisting the HCWE Director in facilitating the Howe Faculty Writing Fellows Program.
  • Providing workshops and one-on-one consultations for faculty on topics such as assignment design and responding to student writing.
  • Providing training and oversight of embedded disciplinary consultants.
  • Assisting with faculty writing boot camps.
  • Assisting with dissertation completion support groups.
  • Sitting on the HCWE Local Advisory Board and assisting with review of proposed Advanced Writing courses.

The position is designed to provide experience for doctoral students interested in researching and potentially directing writing across the curriculum programs or other types of writing programs. The student in this role will take a leadership role in the HCWE and attend bi-weekly HCWE staff meetings.

Candidates should have taken at least one composition theory and pedagogy course, either at Miami or at another institution, and should have a successful track record in the classroom. Previous graduate coursework in writing program administration and/or assessment would be helpful.

Position for MA Students

MA students will typically be supported by the HCWE for one year.

Research Assistant, Howe Center for Writing Excellence

This position will work with both the Howe Writing Center and Writing Across the Curriculum Programs as needed. Assigned tasks may include:

  • Conducting library research and writing literature reviews regarding pressing questions faced by the writing center or WAC programs (for example, working with multilingual writers, responding to writing, best practices in writing center assessment, etc.).
  • Helping to create workshop materials or handouts for faculty and students that incorporate research-based best practices.
  • Assisting with designing training materials for consultants and mentoring small groups of undergraduate consultants.
  • Assisting with research projects about writing center or WAC work.
  • Consulting with students as needed in the writing center.

Candidate must have taken ENG 581 and should be skilled at searching databases and writing summaries of research. Candidate should be organized and should be able to write clearly and concisely for academic purposes. Candidate should have interests in one or more of the following: mentoring undergraduate students, faculty development, working with multilingual writers, and conducting primary and secondary research about writing.

Local Advisory Committee

The Center enjoys the advice of an Advisory Committee that includes the following members:

  • Wietse de Boer, Chair and Professor, History
  • Michael Edwards, Professor, Teacher Education, Mathematical & Physical Science
  • Joyce Fernandes, Professor, Biology
  • Fazeel Khan, Professor, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering
  • Janice Kinghorn, Senior Lecturer, Economics
  • Jason Palmeri, Director of Composition and Associate Professor, English
  • Lori Parks, Visiting Assistant Professor, Humanities & Creative Arts
  • Amy Summerville, Associate Professor, Psychology
  • John Tassoni, Professor, Languages, Literatures, & Writing (Miami Regional Campus)
  • Erin Vonnahme, Humanities Librarian and Assistant Librarian, University Libraries
  • Elizabeth Wardle (Committee Chair), Director, Howe Center for Writing Excellence; Howe Professor, English

National Advisory Board

The Center benefits from the advice of a National Advisory Board of prominent authorities on university-wide writing programs and the donors who made the Howe Center for Writing Excellence possible.

Linda Adler-Kassner

Linda Adler-Kassner

Linda Adler-Kassner is Professor of Writing Studies and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education at UC Santa Barbara. In the Writing Program, she teaches Writing 2, Writing and Civic Engagement, and graduate courses in writing pedagogy, theory, and assessment. Her research focuses broadly on definitions of literacy and their implications for teachers and students at the college level. She is author, co-author, or co-editor of nine books, most recently Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies (with Elizabeth Wardle). Other books include Reframing Writing Assessment to Improve Teaching and Learning (with Peggy O'Neill) and The Activist WPA. She also has written many articles and book chapters on writing program administration, pedagogy, assessment, and public policy and writing instruction. Adler-Kassner is a past president of the Council of Writing Program Administrators and currently Associate Chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC).

Chris Anson

Chris Anson

Chris Anson is Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Campus Writing and Speaking Program at North Carolina State University where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in language, composition, and literacy and works with faculty across the curriculum to enhance undergraduate education in the areas of writing and speaking. An internationally respected scholar of writing, language, and literacy, Anson has given over 550 conference papers, keynote addresses, invited lectures, and faculty workshops across the U.S. and in 29 other countries. Anson served as president and executive board member of the Council of Writing Program Administrators and as chair and executive committee member of the Conference on College Composition and Communication. He has published 18 books and over 120 journal articles and book chapters. His current research explores the effect of teachers' oral screencast responses on students' understanding and improvement of their writing.

Stephen Bernhardt

Stephen A. Bernhardt

Stephen A. Bernhardt is the Andrew B. Kirkpatrick, Jr., Chair in Writing and Professor of English at the University of Delaware. Bernhardt's research interests center on visual rhetoric, medical writing, computers and writing, workplace training and development, and the teaching of scientific and technical communication. He is Past President of both the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication (CPTSC) and the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW).

Joyce Howe

Joyce L. Howe

Joyce L. Howe graduated from Miami in 1957 and pursued her personal art career specializing in watercolor, mixed media, and oil painting. Her works have been sold in galleries in Cincinnati, OH; Chicago, IL; Petoskey, MI; and Boca Grande, FL. Mrs. Howe is particularly recognized for her talent with watercolors. She was a docent for the Cincinnati Museum of Art, served on its board of trustees, and has been a significant contributor.

Roger Howe

Roger Howe

Roger Howe is President of Howe Investment Co. and Chairman (retired) of US Precision Lens, Inc. A Miami graduate of the class of 1957, Mr. Howe has served the University in many ways, including membership on the Business Advisory Council of the Farmer School of Business and the University Foundation Board. His nine-year appointment on the Miami board of Trustees culminated in a three-year term as chair.

Teresa Redd

Teresa Redd

Teresa Redd is the former Director of Writing Across the Curriculum and the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Assessment at Howard University. At Howard, she launched the first writing-intensive courses across the disciplines, integrated service-learning into her technical writing courses, and developed Freshman English for Engineers by linking an expository writing course to an engineering design course. She is the author of A Teacher's Introduction to African American English: What a Writing Teacher Should Know and editor of Revelations: An Anthology of Expository Essays by and about Blacks. She has served on the editorial boards of three national journals: College Composition & Communication, Written Communication, and WPA: Writing Program Administration. She has also served on the executive committee of the Conference on College Composition & Communication as well as the Board of Consultants for the International Network of Writing Across the Curriculum Programs.

Martha Townsend

Martha Townsend

Martha Townsend is Professor of English at the University of Missouri and former director of its internationally renowned Campus Writing Program. Townsend's publications have played a central role in the conceptualization and development of writing-across-the-curriculum programs in the United States and abroad. She is a former literacy consultant to the Ford Foundation.

Kathleen Blake Yancey

Kathleen Blake Yancey

Kathleen Blake Yancey is a Kellogg W. Hunt Professor of English and director of the Graduate Program in Rhetoric and Composition at Florida State University. She is the lead researcher for the national study "Portraits of Composition: How Writing Gets Taught in the 21st Century"; co-founder and co-director of the National Research Coalition on Electronic Portfolios; and consultant to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, among other positions.