architectural drawing of the entrace to our new space in King Library

2016-17 News

Spring 2017

First Cohort Completes Howe Faculty Writing Fellows Program

May 5, 2017 | Howe Writing Across the Curriculum Programs

On Friday, teams of faculty from three departments completed the first-ever semester-long Howe Faculty Writing Fellows Program. They met weekly in large or small groups from February 3 to May 5 in order to engage in interactive discussion and activities around writing in their courses and programs.

During their time in the program, they identified threshold concepts of their disciplines, read about threshold concepts of writing, read about how experts differ from novices, examined features of disciplinary writing across the groups, considered how prior knowledge informs writing practices, and looked at some best practices for designing assignments and responding to a variety of types of writing (including writing to learn, formal writing, commenting on student writing, and engaging students in a writing process).

Each team also conducted their own project, to specifically respond to needs and interests in their own departments. These projects included creating modules on writing in their specific disciplines, as well as conducting surveys and interviews with colleagues and students regarding writing in their department's courses. Each team made plans to continue their work around writing with their larger department in the summer and fall.

Graduates of the program are given the title Howe Faculty Writing Fellow and will continue to work with the Howe Center for Writing Excellence on various projects moving forward. These projects might include piloting embedded consulting projects, establishing departmental liaisons with student writing consultants, and creating public resources about writing in their disciplines.

HCWE Director Elizabeth Wardle led the program, with assistance from Associate Director Ann Updike and Graduate Assistant Director Megan Schoettler. The next cohort of fellows begins their work on May 22. Teams will represent History, Gerontology, and Farmer's Business Quotient.

Pictured here are graduates from the Spring 2017 Fellows Program:

Graduating Faculty Fellows for Spring 2017


  • Janice Kinghorn
  • Jacob Brindley
  • Ling Shao


  • Leighton Peterson
  • Jeb Card
  • James Bielo
  • Yang Jiao

Interdisciplinary and Communication Studies

  • Leland Spencer
  • Jeff Kuznekoff
  • Caryn Neumann

Howe Faculty Writing Fellow Wins Research Award

May 1, 2017 | Howe Writing Across the Curriculum Programs

Leland Spencer, a Howe Faculty Writing Fellow for Spring 2017 and an assistant professor of interdisciplinary and communication studies, won the Janice Hocker Rushing Early Career Research Award from the Southern States Communication Association. The award recognizes pre-tenure communication faculty who have demonstrated exceptional scholarly ability through research and publication early in their academic careers.

With his colleagues, Caryn Neuman and Jeff Kuznekoff from the Department of Integrative Studies, as well as teams of faculty from Anthropology and Economics, Leland has been participating this semester in an ongoing set of activities aimed at improving the teaching and learning of writing.

7 HWC Consultants Win Departmental Awards

April 25, 2017 | Howe Writing Center

The Howe Writing Center is proud to recognize 6 of our undergraduate writing consultants for their awards and scholarships from the English and Economics departments:

  • Shannon Dolley, Gordon and Mary Wilson Scholarship, English
  • Evan Doran, Mary Jo Priest Award in Professional Writing, English
  • Marissa Lane, Havighurst Prize for Prose, English
  • Madeleine LaPlante-Dube, Senior Prize for Outstanding Creative Work, English
  • Clara Milligan, Robert Kettler Memorial Scholarship, English
  • Mira Patel, Economic Scholar Award, Economics

In addition, Tammy Atha, an HWC graduate writing consultant and Residential MFA in Creative Writing, won several awards for her poetry and creative nonfiction. Tammy’s work, which is forthcoming from Fiction Southeast, explores sites of trauma within her family. Her following winning pieces deal with her father’s use of guns during her childhood, her grandfather’s death due to lung cancer, and a prison that neglected an inmate’s illness resulting in the amputation of his limbs.

  • "Shotguns": Academy of American Poets Prize
  • “The Painter": Jordan Goodman Prize in Creative Nonfiction
  • “Cigarettes" from “Objects People Spaces”: Jordan Goodman Honorable Mention in Poetry

Write Here, Write Now Contest 2017 Winners

April 20, 2017 | Howe Writing Center

In April, the Howe Writing Center hosted a writing contest in partnership with the annual Oxford Writing Festival. Students were asked to write a short prose piece that engages, in some way, with the events and conditions of today's world, tying to the festival's theme of "Write Here, Write Now." The winners of the contest were announced following a student leadership panel on April 6. Congratulations to the following winners!

  • 1st place ($200): Zachary Moore, "The Headline Read 'Creature in Space Enjoys Collaging and Postmodernism'"
  • 2nd place ($150): Lauren Miles, "Dead Ends in Circles"

HCWE Director Visits the University of Michigan

March 31, 2017 | Howe Writing Across the Curriculum Programs

On March 31, the HCWE Director visited the Sweetland Center for Writing at the University of Michigan and led a two-hour workshop for faculty from across the disciplines titled "Teaching to Encourage Transfer Across Courses and Contexts." She also visited with Director Anne Ruggles Gere in order to learn more about the writing programs and initiatives in that well-respected program.

HWC Student Manager Wins Tutor Leadership Award

March 25, 2017 | Howe Writing Center

Sammie Osborne with Tutor Leadership Award

Sammie Osborne, the Student Manager of the Howe Writing Center, received the 2017 Tutor Leadership Award from the East Central Writing Centers Association (ECWCA). According to the ECWCA, "This award recognizes the leadership contributions of writing center tutors, including [...] administrative work, development of new programs, writing center training innovations, presentation of writing center work in academic and non-academic forums, work with special populations, and creativity."

Over the past year, Sammie has played a major role in ensuring that the HWC runs smoothly. She has a hand in scheduling consulting hours, planning events, overseeing the Welcome Desk staff, coordinating marketing for the Writing Center, and serving as liaison between staff and student workers. Sammie will be graduating from the Farmer School of Business in May and already has a management position lined up at Target. She will represent the HCWE, Farmer, and Miami well out in the world and will be sorely missed at the Center. Congratulations, Sammie!

HCWE Director Travels to Xavier University

January 30, 2017 | Howe Center for Writing Excellence

Our HCWE Director, Elizabeth Wardle, traveled to Xavier University (Cincinnati, Ohio) to give a morning workshop titled "Teaching to Encourage Transfer Across Courses and Contexts." In the afternoon, she gave an interactive keynote titled "Threshold Concepts: Teaching Writing to Encourage Deep Learning of Disciplinary Knowledge."

Fall 2016

HCWE Director Conducts Workshop for Miami Theater Faculty

November 29, 2016 | Howe Writing Across the Curriculum Programs

Elizabeth Wardle (HCWE Director) conducted a workshop for Miami's Theater faculty on threshold concepts. The workshop consisted of background on threshold concepts—concepts critical for epistemological participation in a discipline—and then a series of brainstorming sessions regarding the threshold concepts of theater. This workshop lays the groundwork for a Theater team to participate in the HCWE's Faculty Writing Fellows Program in Spring 2017. In that program, they will consider where their threshold concepts are being taught and enacted across their curricula and how they might use writing to encourage deep learning.

Departments who are interested in requesting a similar workshop should contact Elizabeth Wardle at

HCWE Director Conducts Workshop for Bellarmine University

November 21, 2016 | Howe Center for Writing Excellence

Our HCWE Director, Elizabeth Wardle, visited Bellarmine University (Louisville, Kentucky) to conduct a workshop titled "Genre-based pedagogy: Turning theory into practice." This workshop outlined what we know from Writing Studies research about how genres work and provided suggestions for how to teach genres to students in ways that will transfer across contexts. While at Bellarmine, she also met with the committee charged with revising general education to discuss how to effectively infuse writing across both the general education program and then the majors.

Creative Writing Initiative Holds National Novel Writing Month Event

November 19, 2016 | Howe Writing Center

The Howe Writing Center held a Saturday “write-in” for students participating in National Novel Writing Month. Hosted by our Creative Writing Intern, Marissa Lane, and Student Manager, Sammie Osborne, the event invited writers to spend their morning enjoying a cup of coffee and writing in the company of their peers. The Creative Writing Initiative hopes to continue to support participants in National Novel Writing Month in the future.

HCWE Director Conducts Workshop for Ellis Speaker Series

November 10, 2016 | Howe Center for Writing Excellence

Elizabeth Wardle, our HCWE Director, gave a workshop to faculty and students at Western Michigan University, as part of their English Department's annual Ellis Speaker Series. The workshop, "Threshold Concepts about Writing: Teaching Troublesome Knowledge," introduced the idea of threshold concepts and asked participants to name concepts about writing that they see as central to teaching and learning at Western Michigan. The workshop ended with participants outlining changes they would like to see in order to more effectively help students write. These suggested changes included reintroducing two semesters of composition, rethinking how writing is graded, providing opportunities for students to write outside the classroom, providing training for faculty who include writing in their courses, providing more time for reflection, and creating a writing across the curriculum program.

New Beginnings Writing Contest 2016 Winners

October 3, 2016 | Howe Center for Writing Excellence

In celebration of Fall semester, the Howe Center for Writing Excellence, the American Culture and English Program, and International Students and Scholar Services invited students to explore the theme of new beginnings, as first-year, ACE, international, or returning students. Potential themes included anticipations and hopes for a first year at college, the international opportunities of studying abroad for the first time, and potential restarts or renewed old friendships from previous years. Prizes were awarded to the first-place winner and two runner-ups in each category. Congratulations to the following winners!

Returning Students

1st Place ($500): Meredith Illig, "Viva La Muerte--Beautiful Chaos"
Runner up ($200): Madeline Spurlock, "What a Junior and a Plant Have in Common"
Runner up ($200): Dale Renner, "Amidst Revival And Rebirth"

First-Year Students

1st Place ($500): Leah Gaus, "When Acorns Become Commas and Leaves Become Semi-Colons"
Runner up ($200): Jermaine Carew, "Life Is Full of New Beginnings"
Runner up ($200): Allison Shakman, "To Be Miami"

International Students

1st Place ($500): Carlos Garcia-Fuentes, "Change and Choice"
Runner up ($200): Haoyu Wang, "Waiting for Sunshine"
Runner up ($200): Luyao Zhang, "An International Returning"

ACE Students

1st Place ($500): Shuheng Shen, "What's My Name"
Runner up ($200): Wenzhe Sun, "New Chapter of My Life"
Runner up ($200): Yuchen Zhou, "The Beginnings of New Life"

Featured Event: Using Writing Effectively in Science Classrooms

September 21-23, 2016 | Howe Writing Across the Curriculum Programs

Dr. Leslie Atkins Elliott (Boise State University, Physics and Curriculum & Instruction) and Dr. Kim Jaxon (Chico State University, Composition & Literacy) visited Miami University to conduct an open workshop for all science faculty on Using Writing Effectively in Science Classrooms. Participants read Mark Hall's "Things We Know about Teaching Writing" and discussed the hallmarks of scientific writing. Dr. Ellliot and Dr. Jaxon discussed how using whiteboards (or other drawing mediums) is a process for scientists that represents informal but disciplinary writing. They also introduced an approach to peer response called “Silent Science,” where students respond to a problem and then pass their drawing/diagram around the room for other students to ask questions and provide feedback.

In addition to the open workshop, Dr. Elliott and Dr. Jaxon presented for individual departments, including Geology and Environmental Earth Sciences, Project Dragonfly, Biology, and Statistics.

HWC Wins Teammates of the Year Award

September 29, 2016 | Howe Writing Center

The Miami University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics awarded the Teammate of the Year Award to the Howe Writing Center Staff and specifically to Kate Francis (HWC Manager) for their work supporting student athletes in their writing. Craig Bennett, Assistant Athletic Director, stated in his award speech, "The consultants aren't just 'fixing' papers: they are really teaching."

HCWE Reveals New Website and Programs for Faculty

August 29, 2016 | Howe Center for Writing Excellence

In Spring 2016, the Howe Writing Center revealed our newly-renovated space in King Library. This semester, the HWC rebranded and returned to our roots within the Howe Center for Writing Excellence, the name originally given by our founders, Roger and Joyce Howe. Under this umbrella, the HWC will continue to provide writing support and resources for students, alongside the new Howe Writing Across the Curriculum Programs that will support faculty in their teaching and writing.

The Howe Writing Across the Curriculum Programs (or HWAC) provides faculty with teaching materials, writing groups, consultations, workshops, and grants, among other resources. Our Faculty Writing Fellows Program has replaced the previous Faculty May Workshops and uses a full semester to support faculty groups in teaching their students to write more effectively in their professions/disciplines. After completing the program, faculty members can apply for larger grants and request embedded consultants for their courses.

These branding and programmatic changes have inspired three new websites. Our web presence for the Howe Center for Writing Excellence ( is an entry point for users that links to separate websites for the Howe Writing Center and for the Howe Writing Across the Curriculum Programs.

HCWE Welcomes New Director

July 1, 2016 | Howe Center for Writing Excellence

The Howe Center for Writing Excellence welcomed Dr. Elizabeth Wardle as our new director in July 2016. She is also the Howe Professor in the Department of English. Dr. Wardle 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). She brings to the HCWE an expertise in writing program design, transfer, and threshold concepts.

Read Dr. Wardle's staff biography»