CWS Spring 2022 Semester Wrap-Up


CWS Spring 2022 Recap
CWS had another busy semester this spring! Here are some updates and announcements about what CWS folks were up to this semester:

Graduate Research Forum Talks:
CWS graduate students are required to deliver GRF talks, longer-form talks based upon dissertation research, as a means of fulfilling their writing studies graduate concentrations. This semester, CWS PhD candidates Carrie James, in Curriculum and Instruction, and Ryan Ware, in English, presented Graduate Research Forum (GRF) talks based on their dissertation research. Carrie James’ talk was titled “A Journey of Becoming: Examining the Impact Human-Centered Design Has on Pre-Service High School English Teachers' Instructional Practice” and Ryan Ware’s talk was titled “Dialogic Tracing of Trajectories of Semiotic (Un)Becoming.”

You can find closed captioned recordings of these talks on the CWS Mediaspace page here.

CWS Brownbags:
We conducted a virtual brownbag this semester with Dr. Bess Myers, titled “Platonic Synergy: A Circular Reading of the Sophist and Tiamaeus.” 

Gesa E. Kirsch Graduate Student Symposium:
The 12th annual Gesa E. Kirsch Graduate Symposium took place on April 28th and 29th, with a return to an in-person format and options for joining online. Dr. Jonathan W. Stone, a 2015 CWS alum, led a workshop on sound and archival methods and presented a keynote on “Rhetorics of Change, Archives of Sensation.” CWS graduate students presented panels on “Recalling Embodiment,” “Memory, Remembering, and Activism,” and “Multimodal Realities.” Graduating CWS students reflected on their time in the program. Many thanks to the planning committee, Yvaine Neyhard and Antonio Hamilton, for their hard work putting the symposium together and organizing all the logistics involved with a hybrid event!

CWS Unit Review:
This semester CWS continued the process for a review of the unit. The first stage of the process involved a self-report generated by the CWS admin, which was followed up by a virtual visit from external evaluators from peer institutions: Dr. Anne Ruggles Gere (Professor in English and Education at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), Dr. Kendall Phillips (Professor in Communication and Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University), and Dr. Morris Young (Professor of English and Affiliate in Asian American Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison). The external evaluators will submit a report based on their visit and assessment, which will be followed by implementation meetings. CWS held a townhall with current students at the end of the semester to discuss changes moving forward. 

Writing Across the Curriculum:
Writing Across the University 
In March of this semester, CWS, along with the Writers Workshop, hosted a virtual panel discussion on “Writing Across the University.” Panelists from different units across campus that provide support for student writers discussed the resources their unit provides, their work with writing instructors, and their approach to linguistic diversity. The panel focused on connecting writing resources across campus with faculty and teaching assistants teaching writing across disciplines. A recording of the panel is available through the CWS Mediaspace. Panelists included:

WAC TA Seminar
CWS hosted our Spring Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) TA Seminar in a virtual format. This event covered topics including process pedagogy, scaffolded assignment design, linguistic diversity, and the hidden generic features of the research paper. TAs discussed writing pedagogies in their departments, workshopped assignments and practiced feedback strategies. Our next WAC seminar will take place in August 2022, and is currently planned to take place in person. If you are interested in attending next semester’s seminar, or if you would like more information, please reach out to Finola McMahon (

Writing Across Engineering and Science (WAES)
The Center is also continuing its Writing in the Disciplines work with the College of Engineering’s Writing Across Engineering and Science (WAES) initiative thanks to the ongoing efforts of Paul Prior and John Gallagher as well as CWS graduate students Rebecca Avgoustopoulos, Megan Mericle and Yvaine Neyhard. WAES’ work over the past semester includes the following:

  • The WAES team led a faculty learning community this semester, returning to an in-person format, which included faculty members from across the College of Engineering.
  • WAES team member Ryan Ware has a paper under review at Written Communication titled, “Tracing Discursive Turbulence as Intra-Active Pedagogical Change and Becoming in a Longitudinal Transdisciplinary WAC Program.”
  • Supported by the Strategic Instructional Innovation Program (SIIP) in the Grainger College of Engineering Academy for Excellence in Engineering Education (AE3), Engineering 598 WTG, a graduate course aimed at writing and writing pedagogy in STEM, was offered again this semester, and the team continued to research the impacts of the course across two student cohorts. Julie Zilles and Megan Mericle presented research on this course at the AE3 Celebration of Teaching event.
  • The WAES team had two sessions accepted for the 2022 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference: one for the NSF Grantees Poster Session, and another on writing instruction changes and mentoring in Civil & Environmental Engineering 300: Behavior of Materials.
  • Supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, the WAES team distributed and analyzed surveys aimed at assessing the impacts of mentoring and workshops on faculty and students, and collected student texts from focal and control classes. The team also continued analysis and follow-up interviews from a survey investigating writing in student organizations in Physics.

Writers Workshop:
Writers Workshop Core Activities
The Writers Workshop supports all writers in the campus community across all forms of academic and professional writing, at any stage of the writing process, by providing individual writing consultations, writing-related presentations, and writing groups. The Workshop was busy this semester! We had an appointment utilization rate of 93% and provided approximately 3,300 writing consultations. Of those consultations, about 65% were live online, 33% in-person, and 12% asynchronous online. The Workshop provided 77 presentations and held bi-weekly graduate writing groups and monthly undergraduate writing groups.

Writing Center Research and Professional Development

  • Bri Lafond was elected to become the Online Writing Center Association’s Virtual Events Co-Chair.
  • Brendan McGovern’s “The Writing Center’s Role in Disciplinary Writing Development: Enhancing Discourse Community Knowledge through Metacognitive Dialogue” has been accepted to Praxis: A Writing Center Journal and is forthcoming this May.
  • Two peer consultants presented at the Undergraduate Research Symposium:
    • Alex Gallardo, “The Crossroads of Disciplinary Expertise and Writing Transfer in the Writers Workshop”
    • Shefali Mehta, “Closing the Gap Between Creative Writing and Everything Else"
  • Dan Zhang’s “Interactions beyond Talk: Non-verbal Communication in Writing Tutorials” is under review with Written Communication. The manuscript has been revised and resubmitted; awaiting good news.
  • Carolyn Wisniewski and Bri Lafond continue to collaborate on a study of tutors’ and students’ experiences of in-person, live online, and asynchronous online sessions. We’ve collected 150 surveys and 30 interviews, and look forward to a summer of data analysis.
  • Dan Zhang will continue in her role as assistant director in Fall 2022, and the Workshop will welcome two incoming ADs: Dani Nutting (Musical Arts: Performance and Literature / Ethnomusicology) and Rayven Morrow (Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership / Gender and Women’s Studies).

Move to Main Library
It’s the end of an era! The doors to the Workshop’s main location in the Undergraduate Library–where we’ve been located for more than 30 years–will close permanently at the end of the semester. Over the summer, we’ll move to the Main Library (room 100b, across from the Info Desk). This relocation is due to the Library’s Renovation Project. We’ll miss the UGL but look forward to opportunities afforded by our new space. We hope you’ll join us in Fall 2022 for a grand opening event! 

Writing Across Media:
Writing Across Media (WAM) staff meetings this semester focused on returning to in-person instruction, course website and LMS design, and workshopping in-class activities.

We want to thank outgoing WAM instructors Bri Lafond, Dustin Bacon, and Finola McMahon! Current WAM instructor Yvaine Neyhard will continue teaching the course next semester, and will be joined by new instructors Azlan Smith, Hilary Gross, and Antonio Hamilton.

If you’re interested in teaching WAM in the future, we want to hear from you! Please contact Finola McMahon ( for more information.

Reading/Working Groups:
CWS reading and working groups continued to meet virtually this semester. These ongoing affinity groups continue to be cherished spaces for critical engagement with theory and practice among colleagues. If you’d like to be involved in any of CWS’s working groups, or if you’d like more information, feel free to contact Finola McMahon (

This semester, members of the Cultural Historical Activity Theory reading group explored and discussed work from Megan Bang, as well as Indigo Esmonde and Angela Booker's Power and Privilege in the Learning Sciences, Troy Richardson's article, "Navigating the problem of inclusion as enclosure in native culture-based education: Theorizing shadow curriculum," and Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing's book The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. If you are interested in joining the reading group, please contact Bruce Kovanen (

Data Workshop Group
The Data Workshop Group serves as a way for post-coursework grads to share data excerpts and methodological instruments from their dissertation research. These meetings provide a supportive, low-stakes environment for grads to work through—and provide feedback on—each other’s research-in-progress. This semester Bruce Kovanen and Bri Lafond workshopped their in-progress dissertation research.


Graduate Students

  • Lesley Owens passed her special fields exam in February 2022.
  • Neal Liu passed his special fields exam in February 2022.
  • Rebecca Avgoustopoulos passed her special fields exam in May 2022.
  • Alexis Kapczynski was a semifinalist in the Graduate Student Image of Research Competition.
  • Neal Liu’s article, “First-Year-Composition Writing Conferences as a Pathway for Becoming Graduate Teaching Assistants” was published in the Winter/Spring 2022 issue of Teaching/Writing: Journal of Writing Teacher Education.
  • Neal Liu also had an article, “A Case Study of Using We for Speaker Affiliation in a First-Year-Composition Writing Conference Talk” published at the Working Papers of the Linguistics Circle in October 2021.
  • Logan Middleton has accepted a Teaching Assistant Professor position at University of Denver, where he'll start in Fall 2022.
  • Ryan Ware has accepted an Assistant Professor position at Landmark College in Vermont, where he’ll start in Fall 2022.


  • Dr. María Carvajal Regidor won the CCCC James Berlin Memorial Outstanding Dissertation Award for her dissertation, “I’ll Find a Way to Make my Voice Heard:” Transformational Literacies of Latinx Students. She was also awarded a grant from UMB's Faculty Staff Union Anti-Racism Initiative for a project titled "Sustaining Anti-Racist Agendas Through Research & Writing Support for Faculty of Color." This grant provides funding for research on what motivates faculty of color to attend writing groups and for a summer writing retreat for faculty of color. 
  • Dr. Niki Turnipseed has accepted a Teaching Assistant Professor position at University of Denver, where she’ll start in Fall 2022.
  • Dr. Kory Lawson Ching has just earned tenure and a promotion to Associate Professor in the University Writing Program at the University of California, Davis.
  • Dr. Hannah Bellwoar was elected as Representative at Large to the Small Liberal Arts College-Writing Program Administrators Executive Board at Juniata College.
  • Dr. Amber Buck was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor of English at the University of Alabama, effective August 2022. She co-authored (with Devon Ralston) an article in Computers and Composition entitled, "I didn't sign up for your research study: The ethics of using ‘public’ data" in the September 2021 issue and she co-edited (with Cindy Tekobbe) the Spring 2022 special issue of enculturation on “Approaches to Rhetoric in a Post-Truth Age: Pedagogies, Activism, and Platforms."
  • Dr. James P. Purdy, associate professor of English/Writing Studies at Duquesne University, published, with Jennifer Marlow, Are We There Yet? Computers and the Teaching of Writing in American Higher Education: 20 Years Later. Utah State University Press, 2021, Dr. Purdy also won the 2022 Center for Teaching Excellence Creative Teaching Award at Duquesne University, was awarded a John G. Rangos, Sr. Prize at Duquesne for his work directing the Community Writing Center, and gave the following conference presentations:
    • Jennifer Marlow, and James P. Purdy. “The Will to Remember: Intervention through Preserving and Analyzing our Computers and Writing Conference History.” Computers and Writing Conference, East Carolina State University, Greenville, NC, 21, May 2022.
    • Purdy, James P. “Collaborative Dialogue: Community Engagement and the University Writing Center.” Conference on College Composition and Communication, Online, 9 March 2022.

CWS Administrative Team Update:
Finally, we are pleased to announce that Alexis Kapczynski will be joining the CWS administrative team as an Assistant Director (AD) in Fall 2022. Alexis is a PhD student in English, and we look forward to the contributions she will make in the position. That means Megan Mericle, who has served as AD for three semesters, will be cycling out of this role. Many thanks to Megan for her extraordinary service! Peter Mortensen will continue as Director and John Gallagher will continue as Associate Director.

If you have comments or suggestions for programming, please let Finola McMahon ( know. In the meantime, be sure to keep an eye out for announcements on our social media pages (Facebook and Twitter), website, and our listservs.

Thanks for reading and being a part of our community!

Take care,
CWS Admin Team