New Books from the DRC Book Series!

Last fall, the Digital Rhetoric Collaborative Book Series, part of the Digital Culture Books imprint of the U-M Press, had the pleasure of publishing its first book, Digital Samaritans  by Jim Ridolfo of the University of Kentucky. This summer, it welcomed a second, Making Space: Writing Instruction, Infrastructure, and Multiliteracies, edited by James P. Purdy and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss of Duquesne University and Michigan State University, respectively. The editors write in their Introduction that “Over the past ten years or so, the infrastructures of writing have captured the attention of writing studies scholars, researchers, and teachers. This is not particularly surprising given the spaces in which most writing happens today: on screens, within interfaces, under proprietary (and, more and more, local and/or open source) programs, and across networks.” Purdy and DeVoss’s volume builds on these conversations by offering the first collection of work addressing issues of space design meant to inform decisions by the stakeholders teaching and administering in these writing center and writing program spaces. Chapters in the collection “address how architectural and technological needs […] are met and how they are rationalized within specific institutional contexts.”


Making Space is also the first DRC book to be simultaneously published in two forms – as an interactive webtext on the DRC site and an enhanced PDF on the U-M Press site. As the editors note in their Preface, this is a “rhetorical and strategic” decision on the part of the Press and the DRC to maximize sustainability and accessibility as well as interactivity. Stay tuned in January for our next dual-platform digital book, Rhizcomics: Rhetoric, Technology, and New Media Composition by Jason Helms of Texas Christian University.

Digital Rhetoric Collaborative News!


Sweetland’s Digital Rhetoric Collaborative was recently awarded the Michelle Kendrick Outstanding Digital Production/Scholarship Award at the 2016 Computers and Writing conference.

The Computers and Composition Michelle Kendrick Outstanding Digital Production/Scholarship Award recognizes the creation of outstanding digital productions, digital environments, and/or digital media scholarship. It acknowledges that any single mode of communication, including the alphabetic, can represent only a portion of meaning that authors/designers might want to convey to audiences. This award recognizes the intellectual and creative effort that goes into such work and celebrates the scholarly potential of digital media texts and environments that may include visuals, video animation, and/or sound, as well as printed words. Read more about the Michelle Kendrick award.

2016 Fellows Seminar – Junior & Senior Fellows

The Fellows Seminar brings together Faculty (Senior Fellows) and graduate student instructors (Junior Fellows) from multiple disciplines who share a commitment to integrating writing into their courses. Fellows confer with local and national visiting speakers, learn ways of helping students become better writers, discuss concerns about teaching in the age of the internet, learn how to integrate writing in their courses, and examine approaches to incorporating writing across the disciplines. For more information visit the Senior Fellows or Junior Fellows pages on our website. Listen to our Topics in Writing podcast featuring Fellows Seminar visiting speakers.

Senior Fellows (Faculty)

Anne Gere, Sweetland Center for Writing
Lori Randall, Sweetland Center for Writing
Larissa Sano, Sweetland Center for Writing
Ginger Shultz, Chemistry
Valerie Traub, English/Women’s Studies

Junior Fellows (Graduate Students)

Lindsay Ahalt Champion, Anthropology
Sheila Coursey, English Language & Literature
Mika Kennedy, English Language & Literature
Sarah Mass, History
Fabian Guy Neuner, Political Science
Christina Perry Sampson, Anthropology

Faculty News

julieJulie Babcock’s poetry will be featured in december’s Spring ’17 issue and will also appear in the anthology, New Poetry from the Midwest. She published a journal article about recent changes in undergraduate creative writing curriculum at New Theory, and she is currently turning her presentation at the 2016 Creative Writing Studies Conference into an article. Her recently finished novel, A Game We Played, is under agency consideration.



paulPaul Barron is serving a second year as Interim Director of LHSP. His fiction appeared in the The Nottingham Review and Ekphrastic. He is currently serving on the LSA Academic Judiciary Committee and received a CRLT Faculty Development Fund grant with Carol Tell to revise elements of the LHSP curriculum.




scottScott Beal’s chapbook The Octopus won the 2015 Gertrude Press Poetry Chapbook Contest and was published in August 2016. His poems appeared or are forthcoming in Linebreak, Cincinnati Review, Pleiades, and Forklift, Ohio.




ginaGina Brandolino published the article “How to Be Off the Tenure Track and Love It” in Inside Higher Ed earlier this month; the article was originally a paper given at a panel at the 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies in May of 2016.




jillJill Darling published a book of poems, a geography of syntax; a chapter, “From Expository Blog to Engaged E-Portfolio: Showcasing Writing Inside and Outside the Composition Classroom,” in Engaging 21st Century Writers with Social Media; and a scholarly-creative essay, “Narrative Perversion: Beverly Dahlen’s A Reading (1-20)” in Something on Paper, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics journal online.



simoneSimone Sessolo, together with Christine Modey, was awarded a CRLT grant supporting Faculty Communities for Inclusive Teaching in January 2016., Simone’s ongoing research on Internet memes was published in the journal Syllabus in June 2016.




ali_shapiroAli Shapiro received a 2016 BEN Prize for the Outstanding Teaching of Writing. The Ben Prize, funded by an endowment in honor of alum and English Advisory Board member Larry Kirshbaum, is awarded each year to two Lecturers who have achieved a high level of excellence in the teaching of writing. Ali just won a Teaching Transformed grant to support her development of infographic-style course materials. Ali also had a poem published in Prairie Schooner (“On Power”).



Naomi Silver published “Reflection in Digital Spaces: Publication, Conversation, Collaboration,” a chapter in the book A Rhetoric of Reflection, edited by Kathleen Blake Yancey and available from Utah State University Press. She also presented conference papers on coding electronic portfolios for research purposes (Conference on College Composition and Communication), teaching with resources from the Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative (Computers and Writing), and analyzing the composition practices of dance choreographers as a form of multimodal writing (Watson Conference on Rhetoric).



Carol Tell delivered a paper titled “‘Life Without Anything But Life’: Elena Ferrante and Samuel Becket” at the American Conference for Irish Studies (Notre Dame) in April 2016.







Meet the New Graduate Student Research Assistants

emilyEmily Wilson was born in Hawaii and grew up in the Air Force, moving 18 times before coming to Ann Arbor. Her undergraduate degree is in elementary education, her master’s degree is in English literature and rhetoric, and she enjoyed teaching high school English for 11 wonderful years prior to pursuing her Ph.D. in English and Education here at Michigan. Emily is in the second year of her doctoral program, and her current research interest is helping military-connected students thrive in K-12 classrooms, particularly through literacy-based interventions. Her work as a graduate student research assistant at Sweetland has also piqued her interest in writing in STEM fields and the development and assessment of automated essay feedback programs. She has been married for over a decade to her college sweetheart, Tim, a multilingual vegan web consultant and part-time assistant pastor at their church.


Benjamin Keating is a doctoral candidate in U-M’s Joint Program in English and Education and a graduate student research assistant at the Sweetland Center for Writing. This is his final semester at Sweetland, where he has worked on a number of projects, including a multi-year longitudinal study of undergraduate writing development at U-M. In addition to his Sweetland work this semester, he is busy collecting data for his dissertation, which is an examination of peer review interaction in two college writing classrooms. His own research interests include peer review theory and practice, antiracist pedagogy, critical race and whiteness theory, language ideology, and discourse analysis.



Lizzie Hutton is now entering her sixth year in the JPEE program. Her dissertation explores the early inter-disciplinary career and context of the American reading theorist Louise Rosenblatt and retheorizes Rosenblatt’s constructs of transaction and stance for the post-secondary writing classroom. Lizzie’s interests include composition studies, literacy studies, reading studies, the transfer of knowledge, and creative writing, with a particular focus on poetry and poetics. This also marks Lizzie’s fourth year as a GSRA at the Sweetland Center for Writing, where, previous to her doctoral work, she was long-time faculty, teaching writing and literature courses at variety of levels.



Ryan McCarty is in his third year as a PhD student in the Joint Program in English and Education, and his second year as a GSRA at Sweetland. He has been continuing to gather data in his longitudinal study of bilingual students’ experiences with language and writing as they move from high school to college, and is increasingly interested in the ways that these students develop unique insights through their daily translational experiences. At Sweetland, Ryan has been part of the culmination of a large study of student writing development at the University of Michigan, which will result in a multi-authored book project. He is also helping to launch the pilot semester of a large cross-disciplinary study of writing to learn in the sciences.

The 2016 Summer Intern Experience


The summer intern experience gave two students, Aaron Pelo and Rachel Hutchings, an opportunity to fine-tune and apply many of the skills they have learned during their time in the Minor in Writing and the Peer Writing Consultant Program.

They worked closely with the Sweetland faculty on a number of projects, including outreach to summer term students as well as gathering and analyzing data on demographics in the Minor in Writing. They found that the Minor brings together students from a large diversity of fields, and that the number of Minor in Writing students in those fields was proportional to the total number of U-M students in that major.

The bulk of their attention was focused on creating supplementary materials for the Minor in Writing and Peer Writing Consultant Program. They put together a number of video recordings of consultation sessions in the Peer Writing Center, in order for those in Writing 300 to have more opportunities to observe real consultation sessions.

They reviewed two semesters’ worth of Minor in Writing gateway and capstone eportfolios, taking note of where students were succeeding and where there was still some room for improvement. With this information they then built an interactive guide aiming to highlight some of the basics of design and digital communication for first-time site builders.

They summed up their experience this way: “Interning at Sweetland allowed us both to have a hand in developing the programs that we care deeply about. We are excited to see how our work is employed and expanded upon in the future.”

Introducing the Alumni Gallery


December marked the launch of Sweetland’s new Alumni Gallery on our LSA departmental website. Divided into two sections, Minor in Writing and Peer Tutors & Consultants, the gallery showcases the diverse career and personal paths our former students have followed over the years. If you would like to send us an update, fill out the brief update form at the bottom of the main Alumni Gallery page.