Welcome to the 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to the 2017 Newsletter

If continually improving existing programs and creating new ones characterizes a healthy unit, then Sweetland has had a very healthy year. We evaluated offerings of first-year writing courses as part of a five-year rotation, and we reviewed over 50 courses proposed to fulfill the upper-level writing requirement. We considered data regarding our support for multilingual/international students and made adjustments in several courses and in Chat Café, which gives students who are still learning English a chance to talk informally with native speakers. We evaluated our Peer Writing Consultant program to learn more about students who use this service and their views about the value of the support they receive. We were not surprised to learn that students who work with our Consultants have a higher than average GPA. We continued to examine the effects of the Dissertation Writing Institute and made a major change in the Dissertation Writing Groups by collaborating with eCoach to provide more guidance to groups throughout the semester. We studied the curriculum of the Minor in Writing and made several changes that will create more continuity within and between courses, and we added to the list of publications and ranks of Fellows for the Digital Rhetoric Collaborative.

At the same time that we reviewed and improved existing programs, we created new ones. In response to a campus-wide emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion, we developed and published a Sweetland  DEI statement. In a related move, we launched a Faculty Learning Community to support Sweetland instructors who are interested in learning more about inclusive teaching. We transformed our celebration of the National Day on Writing from a digital competition to hand-written notes and added new faculty to our Writer to Writer program. We welcomed a newcomer to our corps of Graduate Student Research Assistants and to the number of courses supported by M-Write. In addition we held the first M-Write Faculty Seminar for faculty members interested in incorporating writing-to-learn pedagogies into their courses. Finally, we completed a six-year study of student writing development, wrote a book manuscript about our findings, and joined with colleagues in proposing the Book Unbound project which will result in a digital version of what we learned about developing writers. We hope you enjoy reading about all of these activities.

Sweetland Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Statement

Sweetland Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Statement

The Sweetland Center for Writing’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement grew out of our department’s shared commitment to supporting students and opposing bigoted rhetoric on campus. In the days following the November 2016 election, many of our students reported feeling increasingly distressed and unsafe. The rise in incidents of overt racism, xenophobia, and misogyny both locally and nationally demanded an unequivocal response. While many of us participated in protests and vigils to show solidarity with threatened students, we also believed we should put forth a forceful statement of principles to denounce discriminatory rhetoric while embracing critical thinking and compassion.

Our faculty and our peer writing consultants collaborated over several weeks to propose ideas, draft language, and discuss revisions. The seriousness with which our faculty regards the power of language led to some spirited debates over fine points in the statement’s phrasing and syntax. The final statement connects our heartfelt advocacy on behalf of students to our core mission as a writing center, and was approved unanimously in late January 2017. The statement now appears on the front page of the Sweetland website and is posted on many of our doors in the Sweetland offices. We hope it serves as a reminder, both to our students and ourselves, of the necessity of opposing expressions of hatred at every turn, and of building alternative paths from carefully reasoned argument and empathy.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

The Sweetland Center for Writing exists to support student writing at all levels and in all forms and modes. In our work with all students, we aim to cultivate the habits of mind necessary for full commitment to a functioning democracy: a respect for facts and evidence, the ability to understand and craft reasoned and complex arguments, and the pursuit of honest, compassionate inquiry.

As a writing center, we oppose all expressions of bigotry and hate. Given the degree to which writing, identity, and language are intertwined, we reject rhetoric that denigrates others based on any identity category, such as race, religion, gender expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, national origin, language, ethnicity, sex, ability status, socioeconomic status, age, body type, or political party. Therefore, we commit to critiquing and counteracting both individual and structural oppression in order to create a safer, more just university for all students.

Inclusive Pedagogies in Multilingual Writing Classrooms

Inclusive Pedagogies in Multilingual Writing Classrooms

A group of six Sweetland faculty gathered over the past five months to explore inclusive pedagogies in multilingual writing classrooms, thanks to a Faculty Communities for Inclusive Teaching grant from the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching. Faculty members Shuwen Li and Naomi Silver wrote the grant proposal. Sweetland faculty were also joined by the director of the English Language Institute, two Residential College (RC) faculty members and one Classical Studies faculty member who teach in first-year writing seminars offered by their units, and two graduate students in the Joint Program in English and Education.

The faculty learning community aimed to understand the core issues of inclusive teaching in multilingual writing classrooms, develop skills of responding to multilingual students’ needs, and design individualized pedagogies of inclusive teaching.

Going through six phases, the faculty learning community read and discussed articles covering an overview of multilingual writing classrooms in U.S. higher education, construction of a multilingual mindset, intercultural rhetoric in multilingual writing classrooms, EAP/ESP approaches to multilingual writing, internationalization of composition, and multimodal and translingual approaches to writing. Both theoretical orientation and hands-on practices were central to the learning community. Critical views were frequently cast on the readings. The community also invited a guess speaker, Professor Jim Zappen from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, into their discussion about intercultural rhetoric. Participants of the community appreciated the opportunity to exchange ideas and develop critical views on multilingual writing pedagogies to support an important group of students on the Michigan campus.

Building on the outcomes from the faculty learning community, Sweetland received another grant from CRLT to support a project titled “Develop Translingual Activities to Support Sweetland’s Multilingual Writing Curriculum.”

MWrite Faculty Seminar

MWrite Faculty Seminar

In big introductory classes where hundreds of students are enrolled, M-Write is changing the way they learn. Now in its second year, M-Write, funded by one of U-M’s Third Century grants, an NSF grant, and funds from the Keck foundation, is incorporating writing into students’ learning experiences. Several times each semester students in statistics, economics, biology, chemistry, and material science engineering are required to write about key concepts in the subject they are studying.

These prompts or assignments, which are written by the professors give students an opportunity to show what they are learning in a form other than a multiple-choice test. For example, students in economics are asked to read a short article in the Wall Street Journal and then write an economics-informed explanation of how the USDA could react to an overproduction of milk and cheese. Students write their response and upload it to an automated peer review tool. This tool distributes the paper to several other students, and the author, in turn, receives papers from several classmates. Each student in the class reads papers from several peers and, using a rubric prepared by the professor, provides feedback on how the author might improve the response. Then all students in the class revise their original responses and submit a final version.


Winter 2017 M-Write Writing Fellows

Writing Fellows, students who were successful in the course in a previous semester, and who have received training in writing from Sweetland, provide support to students in the course. They help explain prompts, show students how to negotiate the peer review tool, explain what helpful peer review looks like, and offer suggestions for ways of using peer feedback in writing revisions. At the discretion of the professor, Writing Fellows also monitor student performance throughout the writing process.

In fall 2017, a new group of faculty are participating in the inaugural M-Write Seminar. They are learning about the program, developing prompts, and planning to implement M-Write in their courses in either winter 2018 or fall 2018 semesters. Within the year students in physics, astronomy, health sciences, mechanical engineering, and biophysics will have the opportunity to write about what they are learning. For further information about M-Write, visit the M-Write section of our website.


2017 M-Write Seminar Participants

Jimmy Brancho, Sweetland
Adam Eickmeyer, HSSP – Health Sciences Scholars Program
Ingrid Hendy, Earth & Environmental Science
Tim McKay, Physics
Jim Penner-Hahn, Chemistry/Biophysics
Perry Samson, School of Information
Angela Violi, Engineering

Graduate Students
Kimberly Frauhammer, School of Information
Joseph Meadows, Chemistry
Peter Meisenheimer, Engineering
Tom Finzell Physics
Qi Wang, Engineering
Yi Wang, Earth & Environmental Science

Gere, Anne Sweetland
Sano, Larissa Sweetland

John Sweetland meets with M-Write Fellows

Peer Writing Program Assessment

Peer Writing Program Assessment

Sometimes, it’s good to take a step back.

This summer, with the help of our Sweetland interns, Ashley Bishel and Clinton Rooker, we undertook an assessment of the Peer Writing Consultant Program to understand what it is accomplishing for writers and consultants—and to consider how we might want to improve our work.

We began by looking at the data we collect on a routine basis, such as our client registration data, appointment data, session evaluations, end-of-year surveys, and peer consultant exit interview data. We acquired some additional data about our clients and our consultants from the registrar—and we discovered some interesting things. For example:

  • 3% of enrolled undergraduate students used the Peer Writing Center in 2016-2017
  • about 64% of our clients are female; about 36% of them are male
  • about 15% of our clients are first-generation college students
  • about 24% of our clients are international students
  • First-year writers make up 42% of our clients
  • writing center clients have slightly higher than average ACT scores, first year writing course grades, and GPAs

Our clients are satisfied with the Peer Writing Center services. About forty percent of responses to our session exit survey indicated that writers found writing or revision strategies they learned were helpful; clients also appreciated consultants’ emphasis on addressing “higher order concerns”—such as structure, organization, development of ideas, use of evidence, etc.

In the end-of-year surveys, our clients indicated that they grew as writers in their ability to revise drafts and to edit their own writing—and in their ability to give and receive feedback about their work. Just as importantly, our clients felt “welcomed and accepted” in the Peer Writing Center.

Our consultants represent a variety of majors beyond English, including anthropology, biochemistry, economics, French, information, and music performance. And they include students who identify as white, Asian, black, and Hispanic. The consultants’ reflections on time in the program indicate that they develop increased awareness of themselves and their writing process, as well as skills that will serve them in professional contexts, including communication skills, interpersonal skills, and appreciation of diversity.

Supporting Graduate Student Writers

Supporting Graduate Student Writers

Graduate school poses challenges for writers as they shift from producing seminar papers to creating dissertations of several hundred pages. In collaboration with Rackham Graduate School, Sweetland offers several forms of support for graduate student writers, and the goal is to continually improve this support.

This past spring the Dissertation Writing Institute marked its fifteenth year.  Since Sweetland and Rackham began it in 2003, the DWI has provided offices, structure, and writing support to 24 fellows for 8 weeks each spring term.  Over 290 dissertation writers from a range of disciplines have participated in the Institute.  Co-directors Paul Barron and Louis Cicciarelli have worked to create a program that supports graduate student writers by building the routine and structure, as one fellow, said, “to get work done.”  Cicciarelli says “We’ve tried, since the DWI began, to listen to these writers and to encourage progress in their projects by providing a space and place to think and focus on writing.”

A more recent form of support for graduate students is the Dissertation Writing Group.  Approximately 50 graduate students are sorted into groups of four so that they can meet regularly in meetings facilitated by a more experienced peer. The group leaders receive ongoing support from Sweetland faculty members Louis Ciccarelli and Simone Sessolo as they convene these groups.  In order to provide additional support to participants in DWGs, Sweetland is about to launch a beta test of ECoach for graduate students.  This system was originally developed to provide personalized support to first-year students in large enrollment courses in fields like physics, chemistry, and statistics. As adapted for use with DWGs, ECoach will enable Sweetland faculty members to offer participants personalized assistance with dissertation writing practices, strategies for avoiding common pitfalls, and ways of developing a productive writing schedule.

The newest Sweetland/Rackham collaboration, Write-Together Sessions, began this fall. These Sessions provide graduate student writers with a common space to work on the second floor of Rackham, as well as morning beverages, snacks, lunch, on-site writing support, and the opportunity to write in the company of others.  Offered every other Friday from 9-1pm, the pilot run of Write -Together Sessions brings graduate student writers who may feel isolated into a shared working space to generate writing and connect with other writers.

Meet DRC Fellows & New DRC Books


Hosted by the Sweetland Center for Writing, the Digital Rhetoric Collaborative (DRC) is an online, community webspace by and for scholars and teachers working in computers and writing and digital rhetoric, and a digital book series with the U-M Press.

This summer, the DRC welcomed its fifth cohort of graduate student Fellows. The program aims to recognize graduate students around the country currently working in digital rhetoric who want practical experience in online publishing and website development. Fellows are selected on a yearly basis by the editors and board of the DRC, and receive an annual stipend of $500 as well as recognition on the DRC website.

DRC Fellows commit to attending monthly online team meetings to plan projects that extend the DRC website and its contributions to the community of computers and writing. They work independently and collaboratively to complete two projects within the year of their term. Last year’s Fellows  hosted robust blog carnivals on “The Past, Present, and Future of Digital Publishing” and “Teaching Digital Rhetoric after the Election,” as well as publishing Webtext of the Month reviews covering topics from Pokémon Go and collaborative games to fact-checking and “fake news” to the multimodal podcast S-Town. Our new fellows have already jumped into the mix with a webtext review of an interactive mapping tool in white collar crime risk zones and a selection of session reviews from the 2017 Feminisms and Rhetorics conference. Look for posts in their current blog carnival on “Material and Digital Rhetorics: Openings for Feminist Action” taking place now.

This year’s fellows are:

Lauren Brentnell, Michigan State University
Lauren Brentnell is a PhD student in Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University. Her research focus is in trauma studies, examining how trauma survivors use nonlinear, multimodal, and digital forms of composing during the recovery process. She currently works as a research assistant with the Corpus and Repository of Writing (CROW), a multi-institutional research project devoted to creating a new digital archive to support new forms of writing research. She tweets at @RhetoricNSpice. Read Lauren’s introduction

Carleigh Davis, East Carolina University
Carleigh Davis is a PhD student in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication at East Carolina University. Her research focuses on using Memetic Rhetorical Theory to explore the intersections of rhetoric and social justice in digital spaces. She is currently using this theory in her dissertation as a way of examining the proliferation of fake news items through social media networks. She tweets at @CarleighJoan. Read Carleigh’s introduction


Brandee Easter, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Brandee Easter is a doctoral student in the Composition and Rhetoric program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on intersections of gender and digital rhetoric. She also enjoys talking about videogames, graphic design, and her dogs. Read Brandee’s introduction




Lauren Garskie, Bowling Green State University
Lauren Garskie is a PhD student in the Rhetoric & Writing Program at Bowling Green State University. Her research interests include design, literacies, digital rhetoric, and multimodality. Lauren’s dissertation analyzes the rhetorical uses of a new collaborative space on BGSU’s campus and the influence of such space on its users and a design thinking process. Read Lauren’s introduction


Kristin Ravel, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Kristin Ravel is pursuing her PhD in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). Kristin’s dissertation explores ethics and digital multimodality in the composition classroom through, what she is calling, a pedagogy of techno-social relationality. More specifically, a pedagogy of techno-social relationality, motivated by feminist theory on ethics, explores how relationality ought to be understood as taking place online in an inseparable blend of the technical and social. She tweets at @kristin_ravel. Read Kristin’s introduction

Jason Tham, University of Minnesota
Jason is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication at the University of Minnesota––Twin Cities. His current research focuses on making and design thinking in writing pedagogy, multimodality, and emerging technologies such as wearables and mixed reality. Read Jason’s introduction



NEW BOOK from the Sweetland DRC Book Series

This February, the Digital Rhetoric Collaborative Book Series, part of the Digital Culture Books imprint of the U-M Press, had the pleasure of publishing its third book, the digital monograph Rhizcomics: Rhetoric, Technology, and New Media Composition by Jason Helms of Texas Christian University. As the book’s front matter indicates, Rhizcomics explores comics as a new “idiom” for understanding the relationship between texts and images, as well as a “rhetorically complex medium” in its own right, “capable of nuanced scholarly arguments.” What’s more, in its playful, interactive interface (“Is it a book, a project, a work, an experience?”), Rhizcomics, as one reviewer puts it, “breaks new ground in how scholars of rhetoric and composition present theory and research.” Helms “dazzles his readers by disrupting our expectations. We are invited to not only follow Helms’ argument but to blaze our own way through on a multimodal journey, taking inviting detours, playing with animations, and even reading out of order. Rhizcomics is a visual and verbal feast, much as comics are, and is both argument and metaphor. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

OF NOTE: The Digital Rhetoric Collaborative Book Series publication, Digital Samaritans: Rhetorical Delivery and Engagement in the Digital Humanities by Jim Ridolfo (University of Kentucky), received the 2017 Conference on College Composition and Communication Research Impact Award! Presented annually by the premier professional organization in writing studies, this award recognizes “the empirical research publication in the previous two years that most advances the mission of the organization or the needs of the profession.”

Book Unbound

Book Unbound

The Book Unbound project addresses  questions of how to bring digital publication of humanities scholarship to a public, multi-layered audience.  Supported  by  a Humanities Collaboratory grant, a College of Literature, Science, and the Arts program that offers funding to innovative, collaborative research projects in the humanities, brings together a multi-disciplinary team. . Heading the project for its first year is Sweetland Center for Writing Director Anne Gere, supported by a team including Sweetland’s Associate Director Naomi Silver; Sweetland Graduate Research Assistants Emily Wilson, Naitnaphit Limlamai, and Adrienne Raw; and faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from across campus. Nicola Terrenato (Classical Studies) will be the project’s principal investigator in its second year. Matthew Solomon (Screen Arts and Cultures) is a Faculty Associate on the project as is Kentaro Toyama (School of Information), who will advise on user experience. Charles Watkinson, Director of the University of Michigan Press and a key originator of the project, and David Stone of the Kelsey Museum are Project Associates on the team.

Focused around three scholarly texts currently in development, Book Unbound explores how digital publication enables different experiences for different users, offering access for a general reading public in one “layer,” an enhanced scholarly publication for academic readers in another “layer,” and entry to a database of primary materials for future researchers in yet another “layer.” Texts in development are

  • an archaeological publication of a second online volume from the Gabii Project, in which 3D imaging software is being used to document an ancient Roman city,
  • and a cinema and media studies publication presenting a multimedia archive edition of the unproduced Orson Welles screenplay “The Heart of Darkness.”

The third text is Sweetland’s writing studies publication, Developing Writers: A Longitudinal Study of Undergraduates, a massive longitudinal study of the multiple and uneven ways students develop as writers in college. The text documents student writing development in print and digital media, and addresses public questions about the value of higher education. In addition to its development through Book Unbound, it is being considered for publication in print and online through the Digital Rhetoric Collaborative book series with the University of Michigan Press.

Digital publications of all texts in the project are facilitated through Fulcrum, a publishing platform being developed at the University of Michigan with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Jeremy Morse and Jon McGlone, of the Michigan Publishing Technologies team, are heading up the project’s work on Fulcrum.

Writer to Writer

Writer to Writer

Sweetland’s Writer to Writer series engages U-M faculty members in conversations about their writing practices as well as their expectations of student writers. During the past year the series hosted Phil Deloria (Fall 2016) and Clare Croft (Winter 2017) as its seventh and eighth guests. Deloria, who holds appointments in the Departments of History and American Culture as well as Programs in the Environment and Native American Studies, spoke with host Shelley Manis about how his Native American heritage inflects his scholarly and popular work. He also read aloud from his work-in-progress, Toward an American Indian Abstract, which he describes as “an extended piece of art criticism.”  Croft, an Assistant Professor in the School of Music Theatre and Dance, spoke with Manis about her two recently released book projects: Dancers as Diplomats: American Choreography in Cultural Exchange, and Queer Dance: Meanings and Makings. Croft read from Dancers as Diplomats and spoke eloquently about her writerly responsibilities and choices in crafting dance history based in part on interviews with dancers who participated in the State Department’s artistic diplomacy during the cold war. Both Deloria and Croft provided lively insight into the trials and tribulations of finding and starting new projects, powering through writer’s block, and teaching young writers how to hone their craft.

On November 21st at 7pm we welcomed Dr. Howard Markel to discuss his newly released The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek.  Students attend these sessions in order to learn more about the ways their professors write. The interviews are broadcast live and recorded by WCBN at Literati Bookstore,  and those present in the audience are able to ask questions near the end of the hour. You can find podcasts of these interviews on the Sweetland website.

New Faculty – Jimmy Brancho

New Faculty – Jimmy Brancho

Jimmy Brancho completed his Ph. D. in Chemistry at the University of Michigan in May 2017 and joined Sweetland’s faculty in September. He hopes to use his formal training as a scientist together with experience writing for a more public audience to encourage versatility in science writers.

He developed a voice for public-facing science communication during graduate school through independent experimentation. His chemistry blog Tree Town Chemistry featured articles about recent developments in chemistry, graduate student issues, and a monthly literature feature for each chemical discipline at Michigan. He contributed four articles to MiSciWriters and has worked for a year as an editor there. His science writing can also be found at Lateral magazine.

Jimmy’s dissertation work addressed storing solar energy with titanium dioxide chemically modified through a process called co-doping. Titanium dioxide is normally not great for storing solar energy because it doesn’t absorb visible light. After co-doping, the white material turns bright yellow and absorbs much more visible light. Jimmy’s focus was trying out new reactions to create co-doped titanium dioxide.

As a graduate student, Jimmy taught laboratory sections as well as Inorganic Chemistry discussions, both focused around team-based problem solving. He seeks to bring that experimental and collaborative spirit to his classes at Sweetland by getting students involved early and often in providing feedback on each other’s writing.

At Sweetland, Jimmy contributes to our capability to address the unique genre demands of academic science writing. He seeks to convey the importance of good compositional practice in science writing by framing papers and dissertations as communications to another person. More broadly, he wants to help students of the sciences develop the tools to participate in other spheres of communication that lie adjacent to academic science, such as science journalism and science policy. His interests for campus involvement outside the classroom include opportunities that encourage scientists to communicate outside traditional academic communities, view their writing as part of an ongoing and evolving dialogue, and foster political involvement.

National Day on Writing

National Day on Writing

This year, in celebration of the National Day on Writing (October 20th), the Sweetland Center’s Writer to Writer committee collected over 200 thank you notes addressed  to our good friend, Writing, for whatever the wonderful things it has done for us. “Why?,” you might ask. Though we’ve enjoyed holding digital challenges in the past few years, we wanted to see if there was anything to the newly percolating theory that we’re “post-digital.” Ok, probably not, but we do know that there’s pleasure in returning to pen and paper forms, and Jimmy Fallon’s “Thank You Notes” segments have paved the way for a range of responses. We hoped we’d collect enough cards to deck the halls of Sweetland with them, and did we ever! Students who visited the Writing Workshop and Peer Writing Centers, as well as students in Sweetland faculty’s classes and many other visitors to the Center, wrote notes ranging from utmost sincerity to tongue-in-cheek parody.  One that we loved ironically “thanked” Writing for things like making them stay up all night–among other things about Writing that can drive the best of us to distraction–but still ultimately came around to an honest expression of gratitude for every now and then making sense and signed it, “a fan.” People thanked Writing for introducing them to their favorite authors, connecting them to professors and other students they feel kinship with, for getting them scholarships, and even in some cases for saving their lives.

2016-2017 Writing Prize Winners

2016-2017 Writing Prize Winners

Sweetland’s prizes for outstanding writing in First-Year and Upper-Level Writing Requirement courses receive a significant monetary award along with having their work published in a series that collects the prize-winning writing in two volumes, Excellence in First-Year Writing and Excellence in Upper-Level Writing. Writing Prize winners were recognized at a ceremony in April 2017.

Excellence in First-Year Writing book
Download the PDF | Amazon purchase link

Excellence in Upper-Level Writing book
Download the PDF | Amazon purchase link

First-Year Writing Prizes

Matt Kelley/Granader Family Prize for Excellence in First-Year Writing

Serena Scholz “The Helsinki Waste Closet Incident” nominated by Louis Cicciarelli, LHSP 125

Bailey Stein “Coins” nominated by Carol Tell, LHSP 125

Granader Family Prize for Excellence in Multilingual Writing

Xiaowei Ou “The Molecular Connection between Chemistry and Learning Astronomy” nominated by Shuwen Li, Writing 120

Fengyi Tong “Comparative Analysis of Two Print Advertisements” nominated by Scott Beal, Writing 120

Granader Family Prize for Outstanding Writing Portfolio

Stephanie Bloom https://stephaniebloomwriting1002016.wordpress.com/ nominated by Gina Brandolino, Writing 100

Miles Honey https://mileshoney.wordpress.com/ nominated by Julie Babcock, Writing 100

Upper-Level Writing Prizes

Granader Family Prize for Excellence in Upper-Level Writing (Social Sciences)

Meredith Fox “Would You Know It If You Saw It?: Gender Differences in College Students’ Ability to Identify Sexual Assault” nominated by Kimberly Hess, Sociology 310

Michael Gawlik “Chapter 1: The Characters” nominated by John Carson, History 499

Granader Family Prize for Excellence in Upper-Level Writing (Sciences)

Natalie Andrasko “Refugees struggle rejoining medical field after resettlement” nominated by Emilia Askari, Environ 320

Hadley Tuthill “Uncovering Food Insecurity Among College Students, a Tricky Population” nominated by Julie Halpert, Environ 320

Granader Family Prize for Excellence in Upper-Level Writing (Humanities)

Courtney Cook  “10 Months In Europe” nominated by Jaimien Delp, English 325: Art of the Essay

Claire Wood “On Nights Like These” nominated by John Rubadeau, English 425: Advanced Essay Writing


Faculty Highlights

Faculty Awards

Dana Nichols was awarded the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts’ Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education award. This award recognizes faculty members who are exceptionally dedicated to the educational experiences of undergraduates, and who demonstrate this dedication through achievements and innovations in their own and others’ classrooms or academic programs.


Louis Cicciarelli received a Transfer Connections Awards for Mentor of the Year as an outstanding mentor to transfer students during the 2016-2017 school year.  Transfer Connections brings together incoming transfer students with former transfer student and faculty mentors to support their transition to UM.




Faculty News

Jimmy Brancho was lead author on an article entitled “Urea-glass preparation of titanium niobium nitrides and subsequent oxidation to photoactive titanium niobium oxynitrides” in Dalton Transactions, a journal published by the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK). The article was published in August 2017.



David Karczynski published two books, “Smallmouth: Modern Tactics, Tips and Techniques” (Stackpole Press) and “From Lure to Fly: Fly Fishing for Spinning and Baitcast Anglers” (Lyons Press).



Christine Modey, with co-editors David Schoem and Ed St. John, has published a new compilation of essays on integrative and engaged pedagogies entitled “Teaching the Whole Student,” from Stylus Press. She presented at the East Central Writing Centers Association conference in March with her collaborator Jeff Austin from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor: “Everything Counts: Accounting for the Emotional Labor of Community Building in Writing Centers.” She also presented her recent research on peer writing center session reports at the International Writing Center Association conference in Chicago.

Simone Sessolo was invited in November 2017 to join as affiliate faculty in the Program in Digital Studies. His article “Writing the Selfie” has been accepted for publication in the journal _Prompt_.




This summer, Sweetland lecturers Ali Shapiro (L) and Gina Brandolino (R) will teach a course for the Telluride Association Summer Program (TASP), an intensive, six-week program for high school juniors. Ali and Gina’s course, “Just Comics,” explores notions of social justice within the narratives (and the meta-narrative) of comics.


Graduate Student Research Assistants

Graduate Student Research Assistants

In her fourth year as GSRA, Anna V. Knutson has been contributing to the Sweetland Research Team’s efforts to publish the results of the Writing Development Study while continuing to support the development of the MWrite program. Anna, who is interested in digital literacies, learning transfer, and writing program administration, is in her fifth year in the Joint Ph.D. Program in English and Education. Through her dissertation research, Anna is exploring the transfer of writing knowledge between social media and academic contexts among feminist college students.


Naitnaphit Limlamai, a PhD student in the Joint Program in English and Education, studies high school writing. Specifically, she studies teachers’ beliefs about what high school students should write, how writing should be taught, and how writing should be assessed; she explores the ways teachers’ beliefs, instruction, and student work align with research on writing instruction. Before attending Michigan she taught high school English for 13 years in Florida, New York, and Georgia. She has earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in human development and philosophy from Boston College and a MA in education after completing the Alliance for Catholic Education program at the University of Notre Dame. At Michigan she has taught in the English Department Writing Program and in the Center for Research on Teaching and Learning.

Emily Wilson taught high school English for 11 years before deciding to pursue a Ph.D. here at Michigan. Her undergraduate degree is in elementary education, and she has a master’s degree in English literature and rhetoric from Colorado State University. Growing up in the Air Force gave Emily the chance to live all over the United States and also gave her a desire to study the links between military kids’ identities and their literacy practices.



Sweetland Interns

Sweetland Interns

Over the summer, interns Clint Rooker and Ashley Bishel had the opportunity to work with Sweetland faculty on projects aimed at better understanding and improving the Peer Writing Consultant Program and the Minor in Writing.

One of their projects was assisting with an assessment of the Peer Writing Consultant Program. Using  data collected by Sweetland and information from the University Registrar, they analyzed the demographics of Peer Writing Center (PWC) users, measured student learning outcomes, and examined client evaluations to determine what writers found valuable about their sessions. Their findings were included in the overall Peer Writing Center Assessment Report . Clint and Ashley hope that their work will help inform future consultants to improve the PWC experience for all student writers.

Another major project was creating a “Guidebook” for current and prospective Minor in Writing (MiW) students. Ashley and Clint reviewed past Minor in Writing faculty materials and eportfolios and noted the most useful information for MiW students. After collecting this information, they revised and compiled it into an interactive blog post housed on the Minor in Writing blog. The guidebook outlined information to help students successfully navigate the minor, and also linked to exemplary past work done by MiW students. These were not only examples of projects that fulfilled the goals of the minor in writing, but included interactive annotations describing why these projects were successful. They hope that the guidebook will help the new cohort of MiW students plan ahead for, and successfully develop, the various curricular elements of the Minor.

Clint and Ashley found the internship opportunity very rewarding, as they were able to experience the behind the scenes work that goes into Sweetland and its programs. Whether they were performing outreach to summer courses, examining data in Excel, or brainstorming new ways to present student resources, Clint and Ashley enjoyed giving back to Sweetland and hope the work they accomplished will help these programs continue to grow.

2017 Fellows Seminar

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)

Samar Ali (Near Eastern Studies)
Gary Beckman (Near Eastern Studies)
Anne Gere (Sweetland)
Elizabeth Goodenough (Residential College)
Shuwen Li (Sweetland)
Vilma Mesa (School of Education)
Sheila Murphy (Screen Arts & Cultures)

Junior Fellows (Grad Students)

Alena Aniskiewicz (Slavic Languages & Literature)
Christian Greenhill (Materials Science & Engineering)
Jacqueline Larios (History)
Lori Smithey (Architecture & Urban Planning)
Elizabeth Tinsley Johnson (Anthropology)