About the Authors

About the Authors

Laura L. Aull

Laura L. Aull is Associate Professor of English and Linguistics at Wake Forest University. Her work can be found in journals addressing composition studies, applied linguistics, and writing assessment, and she is the editor for Assessing Writing’s “Tools and Tech” series. Her current research focuses on corpus linguistic analysis of stance and other discourse patterns in academic genres, particularly argumentative essays, across student levels. She is the author of First-Year University Writing: A Corpus-Based Study with Implications for Pedagogy and the forthcoming Student Discourse and School Genres: A Linguistic Analysis of Post-Secondary Writing.

Laura is the author of Chapter Five, “Generality and Certainty in Undergraduate Writing Over Time: A Corpus Study of Epistemic Stance Across Levels [LINK], Disciplines, and Genres,” where she takes on the problem of overgeneralization, as it frequently appears in the writing of relatively inexperienced students.

In her author interview for students and other writers, Laura describes ways students can examine models of writing at the word and sentence level to help them make the claims they wish to make in their writing.

In her author interview for instructors, Laura highlights what we mean by “good academic writing” at the level of words and sentences and ways writing teachers and instructors can help students identify features of writing that they value.

For policy makers and administrators, Laura discusses the effect of standardized writing exams on student writing development and how writing prompts can be designed to help students become better writers.

Anne Gere

Anne Gere is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Gertrude Buck Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan, where she directs the Sweetland Center for Writing and serves as chair of the Joint PhD Program in English and Education. A former chair of CCC and a former president of NCTE, she is the 2018 president of MLA. She has written a dozen books and over 100 articles. In addition to research on writing development, she is engaged in a large-scale project of integrating writing-to-learn pedagogies into gateway STEM courses.

Anne is the editor of Developing Writers, as well as the author of Chapter Ten, “Writing Beyond the University,” where she looks closely at four recent graduates to learn about their transitions into new contexts with new writing challenges by conducting interviews to learn about their writing experiences two or more years after graduation.

In her author interview for students and other writers, Anne reflects upon how the writing students do in school influences the writing they go on to do later in life.

In her author interview for instructors, Anne discusses the importance of a college education in writers’ development.

For policy makers and administrators, Anne stresses that learning to write is a developmental process and that preparing effective writers cannot be done in a single semester.

In their interview for students and other writers, Anne and Naomi Silver discuss the insightful and surprising ways that students develop as writers.

In their interview for instructors, Anne and Naomi Silver reflect upon how students engage with feedback, think through their writing, and develop in ways that do not necessarily align with what teachers assign.

In their interview for policy makers, Anne and Naomi Silver highlight the difference that college writing makes; they call for greater support for writing instruction, and argue that more attention be paid to sentence-level writing and ways of thinking about what it means to write.

Gail Gibson

Gail Gibson is the Director of the Kessler Presidential Scholars, which provides financial, academic, and other supports to low-income and first-generation students at the University of Michigan. She earned her doctorate from the Joint PhD Program in English and Education at Michigan. Her academic research focuses on college access programs and writing instruction for students considered underprepared. She currently oversees a two-year pilot program investigating beliefs about belonging and community service among first-generation college students. A former journalist, Gibson previously served as a national legal correspondent for the Baltimore Sun.

Gail is the co-author of Chapter 3: “‘Kinds of Writing’: Student Conceptions of Academic and Creative Forms of Writing Development,” which she wrote with Lizzie Hutton. In their chapter, they draw on students’ talk to explain how students tended to categorize their writing into two main and apparently mutually exclusive categories: “academic” and “creative.” They report that only a few students appeared to embrace the possibility of a third approach to writing as a hybrid of these two conceptions.

In their author interview for students and other writers Gail and Lizzie explain their hope for students to explore other ways of writing.

In their author interview for instructors, Gail and Lizzie explain how instructors can develop more expansive views of the kinds of writing they ask of their students.

Lizzie Hutton

Lizzie Hutton is Director of the Howe Writing Center and Assistant Professor of English at Miami University. Her research considers college students’ reading-writing knowledge transfer. Her current project involves a historically based retheorization of Louise Rosenblatt’s transactional theory. Also the author of a collection of poems, Lizzie has scholarly and creative work published or forthcoming in College English, Journal of English Linguistics, the Yale Review, and Antioch Review, among other journals. She received her PhD in English and Education from the University of Michigan, where she was also a longtime research assistant at the Sweetland Center for Writing.

Lizzie is the co-author of Chapter 3: “‘Kinds of Writing’: Student Conceptions of Academic and Creative Forms of Writing Development,” which she wrote with Gail Gibson. In their chapter, they draw on students’ talk to explain how students tended to categorize their writing into two main and apparently mutually exclusive categories: “academic” and “creative.” They recount that only a few students appeared to embrace the possibility of a third approach to writing as a hybrid of these two conceptions.

In their author interview for students and other writers Lizzie and Gail explain their hope for students to explore other ways of writing.

In their author interview for instructors, Lizzie and Gail explain how instructors can develop more expansive views of the kinds of writing they ask of their students.

Benjamin Keating

Benjamin Keating is Assistant Teaching Professor of Writing at Wake Forest University. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan’s Joint Program in English and Education, where he was a graduate student research assistant at the Sweetland Center for Writing. His research interests include antiracist pedagogy, collaborative learning, qualitative methods in writing research, and professional writing. Before his doctoral studies, he worked as an editor at a nonprofit focused on K–12 education policy. His current project explores disability, whiteness, and language diversity in college writing peer review.

Ben is the author of Chapter Two, “‘A Good Development Thing’: A Longitudinal Analysis of Peer Review and Authority in Undergraduate Writing.”. In his chapter, he explores and complicates the connection between writing and self-identification as it delineates the role of peer feedback in writing development.

In his author interview for students and other writers, Ben describes ways students can learn more about their own writing and about their peers through feedback, and develop critical workplace skills along the way.

In his author interview for instructors, Ben describes ways teachers can help students make feedback an enriching and empowering experience.

For policy makers, Ben emphasizes how peer review prepares students to give and receive the kind of feedback that is essential to all effective writing.

Anna V. Knutson

Anna V. Knutson is Assistant Professor of English and Director of Composition at East Tennessee State University. While earning her doctoral degree in the Joint Program in English and Education at the University of Michigan, she served as a graduate student research assistant in the Sweetland Center for Writing. She has collaboratively authored articles published in College English, Computers and Composition, Kairos, and WPA: Writing Program Administration. Interested in writing program administration, learning transfer, and digital literacies, Anna is currently exploring writing knowledge transfer between social media and academic contexts among intersectional feminist college students

Anna is the author of Chapter Seven, “Grace: A Case Study of Resourcefulness and Resilience.” In her chapter, she calls attention to the relationship between students’ identity formation and their writerly development, and shows how a student’s construct of effective writing alongside her perception of her ability to measure up to these constructs shaped her self-efficacy.

In her author interview for students and other writers, Anna describes one student’s journey through college writing, and how her resilience and resourcefulness helped her to become a better writer by making use of what she already knew about writing outside of college.

In her author interview for instructors, Anna describes ways teachers can help students navigate the transition into college writing by being aware that the transition isn’t the same for every student, and by making the most of the writing those students do in their everyday life.

For policy makers and administrators, Anna identifies a disconnect between high school and college curricula and urges more conversation across these contexts.

Zak Lancaster

Zak Lancaster is Assistant Professor of English at Wake Forest University, where he teaches courses in writing and linguistics and coordinates the Writing Associates program, a WAC/WID initiative. His research focuses on the language of stance and evaluation in academic discourse, writing in the disciplines, and second language writing. His articles have appeared in Written Communication, College Composition and Communication, and the Journal of English for Academic Purposes, among other interdisciplinary journals.

Zak is the author of Chapter Six, “Tracking Students’ Developing Conceptions of Voice and Style in Writing,” where he analyzes responses to questions raised in 131 interviews about students’ views of “good” writing as well as their writerly identities and goals.

In his author interview for students and other writers, Zak explains that students already have a number of useful writing voices and that voice is a way of projecting community values.

In his author interview for instructors, Zak asks teachers to clearly define and model the kinds of voice they wish to see in student writing.

For policy makers and administrators, Zak discusses the importance of developing context-based rubrics and assessments, as well as workshopping assessments that communicate teachers’ values and are fair, accurate, and culturally sensitive.

Ryan McCarty

Ryan McCarty is a PhD candidate in the Joint Program in English and Education at the University of Michigan. His research investigates the learning students do when translating across the range of languages they use outside of school, at work, in their chosen majors, and across the curriculum. This research draws on his experience teaching at a multilingual high school, an urban community college, and at the university level, as well as on several projects with undergraduate and graduate writers across the disciplines.

Ryan is the author of Chapter Four, “Complicating the Relationship Between Disciplinary Expertise and Writing Development.” In his chapter, he reminds us that considering disciplinary expertise and writing offers a key perspective on how student writers grow, and that students have the capacity to resist conflating disciplinary expertise and writing development as they pursue their own projects.

In his author interview for students and other writers, Ryan describes ways students can get more out of college writing by exploring different interests and creatively combining styles and techniques.

In his author interview for instructors, Ryan describes ways instructors can help students by asking them about their own writing experiences and goals, and working to develop connections across disciplines.

Justine Post

Justine Post is Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Ohio Northern University and director of the university’s Writing Center. She completed her PhD in the Joint Program in English and Education at the University of Michigan, where she conducted a mixed-methods case study theorizing on the role of feedback in the first-year writing classroom. Her research uses qualitative and quantitative methods to explore the intersections between instructor and student perceptions and actions in the writing classroom, work that directly informs her approaches to teaching and administrating writing at Ohio Northern.

Justine is the co-author, with Emily Wilson, of Chapter 1, “Toward Critical Engagement: Affect and Action in Student Interactions with Instructor Feedback,” where she and Emily look at responses to instructor feedback in terms of critical engagement, which they define as seeing broad purposes for writing, imagining audiences beyond the instructor, reflecting on one’s own writing, and evaluating feedback.

In their author interview for students and other writers, Justine and Emily explain that students can have many different feelings about the feedback they receive, but that for the sake of their growth as writers they should think critically about both accepting and rejecting that feedback.

In their author interview for instructors, Justine and Emily encourage instructors to promote critical engagement with feedback and to recognize that instructor-student relationships, context, and student feelings can all provide barriers to that critical engagement.

For policy makers and administrators, Emily and Justine highlight the important role of feedback in writing development and the necessity, therefore, for small classes and time for instructors to give feedback.

Naomi Silver

Naomi Silver is Associate Director of the Sweetland Center for Writing at the University of Michigan, where she teaches in the Center’s Minor in Writing and Peer Writing Consultant programs. Her research and publications focus on multimodal writing, electronic portfolios, and reflection in digital contexts. She is chair of the CCCC Committee on Computers in Composition and Communication (7Cs), and codirects the Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative. As co-investigator on the Writing Development of Undergraduates at the University of Michigan study, she participated in Cohort VI of the Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research.

Naomi is the author of Chapter Eight, “My Writing Writing: Student Conceptions of Writing and Self-Perceptions of Multimodal Compositional Development,” where she shows how variously student writers develop in composing and reflecting upon their eportfolios.

In her author interview for students and other writers, Naomi discusses the transformative effect of multimodality on students’ writing, as well as how students came to think about writing differently through multimodal composition.

In her author interview for instructors, Naomi explains the different forms that writing can take for students, and that instructors should consider the unevenness of development that comes with multimodal composition.

For policy makers and administrators, Naomi stresses the importance of multimodal writing today and calls for digital rhetorical instruction to become part of the curriculum.

In their interview for students and other writers, Naomi and Anne Gere discuss the complex and surprising ways that students develop as writers.

In their interview for instructors, Naomi and Anne Gere reflect upon how students engage with feedback, think through their writing, and develop in ways that do not necessarily align with what teachers assign.

In their interview for policy makers, Naomi and Anne Gere highlight the difference that college writing makes; they call for more support for it, and argue for more attention to sentence-level writing and ways of thinking about what it means to write.

Sarah Swofford

Sarah Swofford is Assistant Professor of Composition and Rhetoric and the Writing Program Administrator in the Department of English, Theater, and Liberal Studies at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. She received her PhD from the Joint Program in English and Education at the University of Michigan, where she studied the influence of language ideologies in rural southern students’ transitions to college writing. Her research interests focus on influential factors in students’ transitions to college writing, rural education, first-year writing, writing pedagogy, and student writing development in and beyond their undergraduate writing experiences.

Sarah is the author of Chapter 9, “Reaching Back to Move Beyond the “Typical” Student Profile: The Influence of High School in Undergraduate Writing Development,” where she looks at the context shifts experienced by two students as they move from high school to college, reconfiguring the resources they brought from high school to meet the expectations of college writing.

In her author interview for students and other writers, Sarah validates the difficulty students experience in the transition from high school to college and encourages students to reach out for support from instructors.

In her author interview for instructors, Sarah encourages instructors to recognize the complexity of the transition from high school to college and facilitate student success by helping them learn to work within new and unfamiliar genres, contexts, and demands.

For <policy makers and administrators, Sarah advocates for resources and policies to bridge the gap between high school and college, including bringing together instructors in a collaborative writing community.

Emily Wilson

Emily Wilson is a PhD candidate in the Joint Program in English and Education at the University of Michigan. She works as a graduate student research assistant at the Sweetland Center for Writing. Her undergraduate degree is in education, and her master’s degree is in English. Before starting her doctoral program, she spent eleven years as a high school English teacher. Her dissertation research involves studying how literacy mediates identity for adolescents who grow up in the military.

Emily is the co-author, with Justine Post, of Chapter 1, “Toward Critical Engagement: Affect and Action in Student Interactions with Instructor Feedback,” where she and Justine look at responses to instructor feedback in terms of critical engagement, which they define as seeing broad purposes for writing, imagining audiences beyond the instructor, reflecting on one’s own writing, and evaluating feedback.

In their author interview for students and other writers, Emily and Justine explain that students can have many different feelings about the feedback they receive, but that for the sake of their growth as writers they should think critically about both accepting and rejecting that feedback.

In their author interview for instructors, Emily and Justine encourage instructors to promote critical engagement with feedback and to recognize that instructor-student relationships, context, and student feelings can all provide barriers to that critical engagement.

For policy makers and administrators, Emily and Justine highlight the important role of feedback in writing development and the necessity, therefore, for small classes and time for instructors to give feedback.

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