President: Kelly Webster, University of Montana
I welcome the challenge of serving as President for the Rocky Mountain Writing Centers Association, an organization that inspires me to reach out to and learn from colleagues across our large region. RMWCA has been an important resource for me, and volunteering for this role reflects my belief that each of us has a responsibility to help sustain the RMWCA community. I have acted as the Director of the University of Montana’s Writing Center since 2008. In addition to my role as Director, I co-administer UM’s University-wide Program-level Writing Assessment and coordinate a number of writing in the disciplines and writing across the curriculum initiatives. While I enjoy working with faculty and teaching workshops across the disciplines, I still am most satisfied when talking with student writers in the Writing Center—I always will delight in the ethical and necessary work of writing tutoring. Before directing the UM Writing Center, I co-directed the Chemeketa Community College Writing Center in Oregon. Prior to my time in Oregon, I taught as a teaching fellow in the Writing Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. I always have loved the West, but I love the Rocky Mountain West (and its writers) best. I am eager to work with the current Executive Board members to ensure RMWCA’s visibility and to cultivate support for the good writing center folks in our region.
President-Elect: Clint Gardner, Salt Lake Community College
Having worked in writing centers for over two decades, I have learned a great deal about writing center theory and practice, one-to-one instruction, peer tutoring, the role of writing centers at two-year colleges, as well as the uses of computers in composition classrooms and in the writing center. My role as Program Manager of College Writing and Reading Centers at Salt Lake Community College allows me to teach writing and academic literacy to students from diverse backgrounds, as well as to teach tutors how to respond more effectively to their peers. My writing center research includes the impact of writing center work on peer tutors, two-year college writing centers, and online writing tutoring. I have also had the opportunity to serve the writing center community as a whole in the International Writing Centers Association (IWCA) as Web Editor, Community College Representative, and as President. One of my goals is to bring writing center theory and practice to a broader and more diverse audience. I also served as Secretary for the Two-year College Association (TYCA) of the National Council of Teachers of English, and am currently its Archivist for TYCA. Because of my interest in peer tutoring in writing, I have been a long-term member of the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW). Recently I helped to plan and host the conference, and I am currently serving as the President of the NCPTW Board of Trustees.
Outreach Coordinator: Mary Ann Judge, University of Idaho
I am honored that Star Coulbrooke nominated me to be the Outreach Coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Writing Center Association. Shortly after I was hired as a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Idaho, I was asked to develop a writing center. That was 1992, and I have been doing this work ever since.
Each day, when a student sits at one of our round tables with another student, I see the power of collaborative learning in our writing center. It’s a safe space, a place where students disclose what they don’t know, admit what’s hard for them as writers, discover what they would really like to say in their writing, recognize how a careful—and kind—reader responds to their work, and experience being treated like a writer whose work merits close attention. It’s a place where the tutors learn as much from the process as the students they assist.
Our writing center community at the University of Idaho has enriched my life. I know I am privileged to do this work, and I know I could not have done it without the wisdom of the larger writing center community whose work I have experienced, for the most part, by reading. It’s time for me to give back to that larger community. I must confess that I do not have a particular plan for what I hope to accomplish in this role, other than reaching out to the community and finding ways to bring us together. I have much to learn and welcome any guidance others can offer.
One more point: I was born in Denver and raised in Colorado. I love the idea of serving an organization that begins with “Rocky Mountain.”
Treasurer: Elizabeth Kleinfeld, Metropolitan State University of Denver
I have been involved with writing centers since 1995, as a tutor, director, researcher, and evangelist. Although words are my first love, I am comfortable with numbers, math, and spreadsheets, and I have the patience to read through IRS publications. As treasurer, I would like to tighten up oversight of our finances, including ensuring that RMWCA is in compliance with all IRS rules about non-profit organizations. I will also explore options for funding research grants and achievement awards to members.
Secretary: Michelle Miley, Montana State University
Tutor Representative: Jessica McDermott
I am a recent MFA graduate who works as the Writing Studio Coordinator at the Community College of Aurora in Colorado. Along with overseeing our Writing Studio and assisting in our learning lab, I also tutor students. I began tutoring as an undergraduate student at Utah State University and continued tutoring during graduate school at the University of Idaho. As a graduate student, I also oversaw the newly developed relationship between the Writing Center and an English plus course that required Writing Center visits. Part of this role included developing orientations to the Writing Center and assisting these students in meeting their requirement.
I was born and raised in Idaho, and I find myself most drawn to the culture and landscape of the Western US. I would be honored to act as the Tutor Representative with the RMWCA. I believe my experience in various Writing Center roles provides me with a unique perspective on Writing Center work.
Past-President: Star Colbrooke, Utah State University
I have been director of the Utah State University Writing Center since January 2008. I came up through the ranks as an undergrad tutor and writing fellow from 1993-1996, a graduate tutor from 1996-1998, and assistant director from 1999-2007. I’ve co-hosted three RMPTC’s, in 1999, 2004, and 2012.
My strengths as director are collaboration (with departments, colleges, and community), delegation (my staff of sixty tutors, supervisors, and associates eagerly take-on exciting roles which they manage well with little supervision), organization, and communication. I hope to be a catalyst for strengthening our ties as a region.
Arizona: Molly Rentscher, Arizona State University, West Campus
Molly Rentscher is Coordinator of the Writing Center at Arizona State University’s West campus. She received her master’s degree in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse as well as a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from DePaul University. Prior to coming to ASU, she taught developmental and first-year writing for both native speakers and second language writers in Chicago, and she was a graduate assistant at the DePaul University Center for Writing-based Learning. Her research interests include writing center theory and practice, writing program administration, writing across the curriculum, and writing in the disciplines. She is currently working on several projects related to linguistic diversity and multilingual writing in writing centers.
Colorado: Michelle Medeiros, Front Range Community College-Westminster
I have a diverse writing center background, and I am passionately committed to the work we do at our centers. As an undergraduate and graduate student, I tutored student athletes and developed and ran writing workshops at the University of Oregon and Indiana University. I then served as an English professor at East Los Angeles Community College, and I volunteered in the Writing Center; I also worked with our director in training student tutors and developing workshops. Currently, I am a professor in the English department at Front Range Community College in Westminster, Colorado. In addition to the consulting work in our writing center, I have also completed research to improve faculty and student communication in the peer review process. I recently presented these findings with Aaron Leff, our Writing Center Director, at the IWCA conference in Pittsburgh. I see my position as Colorado representative as an opportunity to grow my own experience and understanding of writing center culture. More importantly, I would like to be your advocate in the issues that matter to your centers, your tutors, and your students. I would like to find ways to improve our communication so that we can continue to learn and grow.
Idaho: Melissa Keith, Boise State University
Montana: Rachel Dunleavy, University of Great Falls
Rachel moved to Montana in Fall 2014 after being hired to found and direct the Writing & Critical Thinking Center at the University of Great Falls. Rachel and her team of six peer tutors provide in-person and online one-on-one consultations, in addition to group workshops, to the UGF community. During the Spring 2016 semester, the Writing & Critical Thinking Center also is collaborating with several other faculty members to pilot an embedded tutor program in freshman Humanities classes. Rachel finds the most rewarding parts of her job to be training her wonderful tutors and working with her colleagues on assignment design and in-class workshops for their courses.
Rachel's involvement with writing centers began ten years ago with a stint as an undergraduate peer tutor. She then sought out opportunities to continue tutoring at both Georgetown University, where she earned a M.A. in English, and the University of Denver, where she is currently a doctoral candidate in English. She also helped to coordinate a center at a Washington D.C. public high school. Rachel has presented twice at the International Writing Centers Association conference, once on the findings of a cross-institutional study on transfer and the writing center, and once on perceptions of "collaboration" in the reflective writing of veteran tutors. When she's not reading, writing or thinking about writing centers, Rachel can usually be found engrossed in her other favorite field: Renaissance English drama.
Nevada: Robyn Rohde,College of Southern Nevada
Writing Center work has been an important part of my life since 2001, when I became one of Black Hills State University's first peer Writing Consultants in Spearfish, South Dakota. Since then, I have worked within Writing Centers in both Montana and Nevada as a consultant, coordinator, and manager. I have directed the Writing Center at College of Southern Nevada since 2011, where I also teach composition and chair the Writing Center Advisory Committee. I would be excited to serve as President-elect for Rocky Mountain Writing Centers Association to continue this great work with others. I have served as the Nevada State Representative for RMWCA since 2013. I am a member of the International Writing Center Association and the National Council of Teachers of English. I have presented my work at The National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing and just brought a team to present again for NCPTW 2015 in Salt Lake City. I also had the honor of serving as Local Arrangements Chair for the Conference on College Composition and Communication 2013 held in Las Vegas, NV. Serving as the President-Elect would allow me to continue my involvement on a local and regional level. I enjoy collaborating with directors, coordinators, and writing assistants from all over the country and am interested in creating ongoing opportunities for this kind of networking between the directors and staff throughout the Rocky Mountain region.
New Mexico: Katie Denton, University of New Mexico
Writing center work, for me, is both a profession and a calling. One of the greatest pleasures of working as a writing center professional at University of New Mexico has been supporting student writers as they enter and navigate the world of higher education. Through my position, I have become familiar with the diverse students that make up New Mexico’s population, and supporting these students through their higher education journey is my passion. As an active researcher and scholar in writing center work, I am interested and engaged in the national conversation among writing center professionals. Serving as New Mexico state representative for RMWCA allows me to engage at the local level as well, discovering the work of my peers throughout the state and representing their voices and contributions at the regional level. I’m equally excited to hear about the work of other institutions within the RMWCA, and to collaborate with fellow RMWCA representatives. In a state where institutions of higher education are widely dispersed, and where administrators strive each day to support diverse student writers, a sense of community can sustain work that otherwise takes place in isolation. As state representative, it is my mission to strengthen the community among my fellow New Mexico writing center administrators.
Utah: Leigh Ann Copas, Utah Valley University
Wyoming: Lauren Tompkins
As Gillette College’s Coordinator of Academic Support Centers, I have been committed to advancing learning assistance theory and practice within my campus community; I’m very excited for the opportunity to share knowledge and ideas on a broader scale.
My accomplishments at Gillette College have been many and varied. From obtaining College Reading and Learning Association certification of our tutor training program, to hosting the College’s first International Write-In, to successfully implementing Peer-Assisted Student Support Groups, I’ve enjoyed every activity that facilitates student success. Last April, I was privileged to present evidence of our effective practices at the Colorado and Wyoming Writing Tutors Conference. Lastly, I am passionate about providing professional opportunities for all of those involved in the writing center community, especially peer tutors; after all, I began my own career as a peer tutor.
As Wyoming’s State Representative, I will work hard to understand the needs of the Wyoming writing center community. I already understand the tendency to feel isolated in a state of only seven community colleges and one university. Consequently, I plan to concentrate my efforts toward promoting greater communication between Wyoming colleges in addition to advancing Wyoming writing center representation within the RMWCA.