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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, HCWE


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, HCWE


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.

Jenelle Dembsey

Jenelle Dembsey, Coordinator for Technology and Accessibility, HCWE


Jenelle Dembsey came to the HCWE in Fall 2014 and co-developed the online writing center in Fall 2015. To further her experience with online learning, she is currently earning a second MA in Professional and Technical Writing (completely online) from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, with a Graduate Certificate in Online Writing Instruction. She continues to coordinate online writing appointments for the HWC, train online consultants, and collaborate with online faculty. She also edits HCWE website content and supports the HCWE and faculty in accessible document design.

Loretta Parker

Loretta Parker, Administrative Assistant, HCWE


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.

Kate Francis

Kate Francis, Manager, Howe Writing Center


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.

Graduate Assistantships

All positions are filled for 2017-18. Applications for 2018-19 will open in March 2018.

Graduate Assistant Director, Howe Writing Center (HWC)

This position is designed to provide experience for doctoral students interested in researching and potentially directing writing centers or other writing support programs. In special cases, MA students will be considered. Work may include:

  • 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
  • Working with the Director to design initiatives for increasing usage of the Writing Center, including usage by diverse populations of students
  • Conducting in-class workshops related to writing center work
  • Helping design and implement special events such as student writing hours and writing contests
  • Consulting on a limited basis each week, as needed

Graduate students who hold other assistantships can also work at the HWC as an hourly writing consultant.

Learn more about GA and hourly positions at the HWC»

Graduate Assistant Director, Howe Writing Across the Curriculum (HWAC) Programs

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. In special cases, MA students will be considered. Work may include:

  • Assisting the HCWE Director in facilitating the Howe Faculty Writing Fellows Program.
  • Providing workshops and one-on-one consultations for faculty related to the teaching of writing across disciplines.
  • Assisting with faculty writing boot camps and weekly writing hours.
  • Assisting with dissertation completion support groups.
  • Sitting on the HCWE Local Advisory Board and assisting with review of proposed Advanced Writing courses.

Learn more about the GA position in HWAC»

Editorial Assistant, Writing Research, Pedagogy, and Policy Book Series

Dr. Elizabeth Wardle, Director of the Howe Center for Writing Excellence, is serving as the founding editor for a new scholarly book series with Southern Illinois University Press (SIUP), titled Writing Research, Pedagogy, and Policy. She is seeking a doctoral student to serve as the editorial assistant for 10 hours per week; the candidate will also teach one course per semester.

The editorial assistant will assist in creating calls for manuscripts, track all submissions, send out submissions for review, communicate with authors and reviewers, and assist the editor in writing reader reports for the SIUP Advisory Board. As a result, the editorial assistant needs to have:

  • Exceptional organizational skills (a deep love for spreadsheets, lists, and record-keeping)
  • The ability to design and implement tracking systems
  • The ability to read closely and quickly
  • Excellent editorial skills
  • The ability to synthesize ideas quickly and coherently in formal academic prose
  • The ability to write professional emails and engage with authors in a professional and timely manner with little oversight

Learn more about the Editorial Assistant position»

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

Jackie Grutsch McKinney

Jackie Grutsch McKinney is Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Ball State University. She has directed the writing center there for over ten years and also spent three years directing their writing program. She is the author of three books about writing centers: Peripheral Visions for Writing Centers (2014, winner of IWCA Outstanding Book Award), Strategies for Writing Center Research (2016), and The Working Lives of New Writing Center Directors (2016). McKinney is Vice President of the International Writing Centers Association, past president of the East Central Writing Center Association, and founding member of Indiana Writing Center Directors.

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.

Kathleen Blake Yancey

Kathleen Blake Yancey

Kathleen Blake Yancey, Kellogg W. Hunt Professor of English and Distinguished Research Professor at Florida State University, has served as President of the National Council of Teachers of English; Chair of the CCCC; and President of the Council of Writing Program Administrators. Co-founder of Assessing Writing, she is immediate Past Editor of College Composition and Communication and the lead PI for the 9-site "Transfer of Transfer" research project on students' transfer of writing knowledge and practice. Author, editor, or co-editor of 14 scholarly books—among them Writing Across Contexts: Transfer, Composition, and Sites of Writing; A Rhetoric of Reflection; and Assembling Composition, she has authored co/authored over 100 articles and book chapters. She is the recipient of several awards, including the CCCC Research Impact Award; two best book awards from the Council of Writing Program Administrators; and the FSU Graduate Teaching and Mentor Awards.