Introducing Sweetland’s Interim Associate Director

Dr. Simone Sessolo has generously stepped into the Associate Director position on an interim basis for the 2021-22 academic year, a role Dr. Naomi Silver occupied for the last dozen years. Dr. Sessolo holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Texas at Austin (2012). He joined Sweetland in fall 2012 and has contributed substantially to many initiatives. He has taught Writing 100, 200, and 201; as well as Writing 300 and 301 in the Peer Writing Consultant Program. He also offers classes at the graduate level and has been co-director of the summer Dissertation Writing Institute since 2018. He is also co-director of Sweetland’s Digital Rhetorical Collaborative. For the past few years, he led a group of colleagues in developing The Dissertation ECoach, a messaging tool that provides targeted feedback to writers. Last year, he won the Digital Studies Initiative inaugural teaching award—so he literally set the standard for pedagogical excellence in digital environments!

The Sweetland Director, faculty, and staff are delighted he’s willing to commit his considerable energy, clear thinking, excellent problem-solving skills, outstanding knowledge of writing pedagogy, and splendid organizational abilities to help administer the unit. He brings admirable efficiency and a well-informed perspective to administrative decision making, and we are all happy to work with him in this new role.

Faculty Spotlight: Naomi Silver

In April, 2021, Dr. Naomi Silver stepped down from her position as Associate Director of Sweetland. She became Associate Director in 2007, and her long tenure is testament to her commitment to our unit. Dr. Silver steered Sweetland along several directors and changes, always providing stability and excellence.

Dr. Silver deserves special recognition for her contributions over the years she served as Associate Director. Sweetland is nationally renowned in large part because of Dr. Silver’s leadership. In particular, her initiative and thinking started the Digital Rhetoric Collaborative in 2013, establishing a space for digital rhetoricians to inquire about new ideas, conversations, and activities. Dr. Silver will continue to direct the DRC and work with graduate-student fellows from all over the country.

Having returned to a full-time faculty position, Dr. Silver is excited to teach courses in digital and embodied rhetorics, as well as the seminar in peer-consulting this Winter 2022. She’s been a beacon of stability and resilience as Associate Director for many years, teaching us all at Sweetland what it means to represent this unit with care and distinction. Students at U-M are very lucky that Dr. Silver will share her passion and expertise with them in her wonderful classes.

One way or another, through class observations, discussions, support, and collaboration, Dr. Silver contributed to the development of all of us here at Sweetland. We are thankful she dedicated so many years to serve as Associate Director of Sweetland, and she has our deepest gratitude.

Thank you, Naomi, for your leadership!

Faculty Spotlight: Shelley Manis

Dr. Raechelle (Shelley) Manis deserves special recognition for her contributions over the past few years to both the Minor in Writing (MiW) and the Peer Writing Consultant Program (PWCP). Dr. Manis’s courses cover the first- to the fourth-year curriculum, and all witness to her extraordinary creativity and commitment to each student she meets. She regularly teaches our crucial gateway and capstone courses in the MiW, as well as first-year writing and second-year writing courses for Lloyd Scholars for Writing and the Arts (LSWA).

During the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years, she moved into a leadership role for the MiW, while also serving as Interim Director for the PWCP. Her PWCP duties involve teaching a required course (Writing 301), organizing weekly staff meetings, planning for consultants’ professional development, and recruiting new consultants. Not only was this a new program for Dr. Manis, but it was also a program that had to be re-invented for remote teaching and tutoring before again being reinvented this year for in-person activities. Covid courses haven’t been a pedagogical detour for her, however, but an important part of her professional development from which she learns how to improve her teaching using all the tools at her disposal.

Daniel Hartlep, the Undergraduate Program Coordinator who provides staff support for both the MiW and PWCP, greatly appreciates the time Dr. Manis has spent over the past year or so orienting him to his new position, listening to consultants in order to discern and find ways to address their needs, and teaching the students how best to do their work in a remote environment. As he puts it, “she is doing a stellar job.” Her exemplary administrative work, curriculum development, pedagogical innovations, and care for each student she encounters make her well-deserving of particular recognition for her contributions to the Sweetland mission in both the MiW and PWCP.

Meet Our New Student Services Assistant

Lori Moizio completed her BA in Economics at the University of Michigan, and then went on to receive graduate degrees in Elementary Education and Teaching, Reading Specialization. After having worked at Pattengill Elementary School for the past thirteen years, Lori wanted to transition from the field of elementary education to a student services position that allows her to grow and learn, while continuing to offer her talents and skills in the educational setting.

Some of Lori’s strengths, as we all have witnessed, are the ability to manage multiple responsibilities at once and to build strong relationships with students, staff, and faculty. She developed these strengths in her role as an educator: designing lessons and assignments, teaching diverse learners, and working with parents. We are very happy to welcome her as “the face” of Sweetland.

Lori is married to Rich, whom she met while living in South Quad as an undergrad. She has two wonderful adult children: Jordan lives in Ann Arbor and is a product manager for an automotive company, and Ben is a civil engineer in Portland, OR. She also has two very senior cats named Nacho and Cocoa, who are a lot of fun! Outside of work, Lori loves to do anything outdoors in nature. She spends a lot of time taking walks, bike riding, hiking and camping. She and Rich are on a mission to visit as many national parks as possible.

Welcome to Sweetland, Lori!

Faculty & Staff News

Meet Our New Undergraduate Program Coordinator – Dan Hartlep

Dan Hartlep completed his B.A. in Psychology at the University of Michigan in 2016, and recently earned his M.A. in Educational Leadership at Eastern Michigan University in April 2020. After giving the hard sciences the good ol’ college try, Dan realized that his calling was in student affairs while serving as a peer advisor in the U-M Psychology office during his senior year. Meeting one-on-one with students, discussing their educational and career goals, and weighing the pros and cons of different academic and experiential courses came so naturally that Dan felt compelled to continue working at the University while furthering his understanding of student development at EMU a few years later. 

Outside of work and school, Dan has the utter joy to spend his evenings with his fiancée Amanda and their 1-year-old Corgi named Pinto. The dog-dad life suits Dan very well and he and P can be found at Swift Run Dog Park most weekends. At home, Dan and Amanda love to cook plant-based meals and find a lot of joy in discovering new restaurants and bars around the metro-Detroit area. 

While having never been in the office, Dan is very excited to be a part of the Sweetland Family and has felt welcome from his very first day on the job — he can’t wait to meet everyone in person!

Meet Our New Faculty – April Conway

In her new position as a Lecturer III, April Conway is responsible for managing Writing 100, including mentoring new course instructors and consulting with Sweetland Director Theresa Tinkle and the graduate student team conducting research on the directed-self placement process.

Now working with graduate students, this fall April taught Writing 993 where she introduced concepts of the labor contract and single point rubrics as alternative assessment methods. Next term she’ll teach the humanities section of Writing 630, Sweetland’s graduate writing course, and continue to run the virtual Write-Togethers.

April has joined university efforts to support parents, including the LEO parents caucus and the faculty and staff ally group to support student parents. She continues her service as a social media content creator for the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition, and she continues to volunteer with the non-profit La Conexión Immigrant Solidarity Committee to help publish the organization’s newsletter.

This term, April has been writing a book chapter titled “La Conexión: Advocating for Latinx Immigrants in Northwest Ohio” for the collection Grassroots Activisms: Public Rhetorics in Localized Contexts. She also spends time making art with her daughter, baking, gardening, and walking herself and her dogs while she listens to true crime and other narrative storytelling podcasts.

Faculty News

Julie Babcock

Julie Babcock – Julie’s poetry collection won the 2019 Kithara Book Prize and just came out last week! A poem from the collection “Nothing better than to be alive and open-mouthed” is nominated for a Pushcart.

April Conway

April Conway – April joined Sweetland in a new, full time position; a co-authored chapter, “Crossing Divides: Engaging Extracurricular Writing Practices in Graduate Education and Professionalization,” was published in the book Graduate Writing Across the Disciplines: Identifying, Teaching, and Supporting; and a chapter proposal titled “La Conexión: Advocating for Latinx Immigrants in Northwest Ohio” was accepted for the book Grassroots Activisms: Public Rhetorics in Localized Contexts.

Simone Sessolo

Simone Sessolo – In May 2020, Simone was awarded the Inaugural Digital Studies Institute Teaching Award. He also received grants from Rackham, CRLT, and Academic Innovation for his team’s work on the Dissertation eCoach, which started university wide in Fall 2020. In November 2020 he participated as an invited guest speaker in the MiXR Studios Podcast, produced by the Center for Academic Innovation.

Carol Tell

Carol Tell – Last summer Carol was a fellow at the 2020 Institute for the Humanities Summer Fellowship.

Faculty News & New Writing Workshop Coordinator


Raymond McDaniel

Raymond McDaniel was named Collegiate Lecturer for 2018-2019 in January of 2019. Collegiate Lecturer titles are awarded to faculty who demonstrate a sustained record of excellence in teaching and learning, or in service or other contributions to the university. Lecturers retain these titles throughout their careers at the university.


Julie Babcock

Julie’s poetry collection, Rules for Rearrangement, won the 2019 Kithara Book Prize and will be published next year by Glass Lyre Press. She also attended the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference where she had the opportunity to work on hybrid writing with Aimee Nezhukumatathil.

Cat Cassel

Cat Cassel went on the Michigan Road Scholars tour in May, and participated in the CRLT Inclusive Teaching Program for Lecturers. 

Shuwen Li

Shuwen Li published an article at the IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, titled “Dwelling on Vlogging: A Case Study of Amaetur Technical Communicator.” Using a rhetorical cluster analysis, she presents a preliminary case study of a type of tactical technical communication—vlogging and elicited seven techniques that were projected in those videos to unpack how the vlogger constructed her ethos that ultimately advanced her status from an amateur technical communicator to a young entrepreneur.

Shelley Manis

Shelley Manis received a Summer Fellowship from the Institute for the Humanities to start her book on using theater techniques to teach writing.

Christine Modey

Christine Modey received a Summer Fellowship from the Institute for the Humanities to work on her project, an ethnographic study of preachers’ composing processes.

Simone Sessolo

Simone Sessolo was awarded two grants, one from the Office of Academic Innovation and one from the Office of the Provost, to develop The Graduate Coach, a messaging tool to aid graduate students in writing their dissertation. The Beta version of The Graduate Coach launched in the Fall 2019 semester and was developed by Sweetland faculty Simone Sessolo, Louis Cicciarelli, and Larissa Sano, with the help of Marisol Fila, a graduate student in RLL. In June, Simone also presented his research at the Computers and Writing conference in Lansing MI.

Naomi Silver

Naomi Silver received a Course Development grant from the University Musical Society to incorporate performances into her Writing 100: The Practice of Writing course. The class focused on the theme “Performing Citizenship,” and students saw productions of the Isango Ensemble performing A Man of Good Hope, about a Somali refugee migrating within the African continent, and Stew and the Negro Problem performing Notes of a Native Song, based on James Baldwin’s essay collection Notes of a Native Son about race in America.

New Faculty

Four new faculty members joined us for the fall semester.

April Conway

April was a Writer-in-Resident for the Conference on Community Writing in Philadelphia this October. Though in her third year teaching writing at the University of Michigan, this is her first term teaching writing workshop and The Practice of Writing. Across her writing classes, she teaches multimodal composing, the dynamics of language and power (especially regarding race), and writing research methods. She uses a labor contract as a means to assess writing from an anti-racist pedagogical standpoint.

Dina Karageorgos

Dina’s research and teaching interests include twentieth- and twenty-first century African-American and anticolonial literature, visual culture and theory, antiracist pedagogy, and community-engaged learning. She’s incorporated the decolonial strategy of “remixing” in her writing courses. She recently published the essay “Toni Morrison and the Black Radical Tradition” in Jacobin Magazine. Another essay will be coming out in The Cambridge History of the U.S. South:  “Reconsidering Du Bois’s ‘Central Text’: W.E.B. Du Bois, Sarah Wright, and the Problem of the Black Worker.” 

Allie Piippo

Allie Piippo has been teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages for the past 17 years. She has taught in the US, Japan, and Turkey, but she is delighted to be back at her alma mater this term! Allie attended the Michigan TESOL conference in Grand Rapids on November 1st and 2nd, where she presented with colleagues on a Diversity and Inclusion workshop for international students, and on a reading/writing collaboration for English Language Learners. She then flew to Milwaukee for the NAFSA Region V Conference November 4-6, where she presented on topics related to an online orientation for international students, a peer mentor volunteer program that she had started at Eastern Michigan University. She also presented with colleagues on alternative advising strategies for international students. 

Hannah Webster

In addition to teaching a section of Writing 100 at Sweetland, Hannah serves as Managing Editor at MQR, teaches poetry in Dearborn public schools with InsideOut Detroit Literary Arts, and helps organize with the Ypsi Gathering Space at Riverside Arts. This year she also facilitated a poetry workshop at the Room Project in Detroit entitled “The Impossible is Our Paradise” and had poems published in Stone Canoe, 32Poems, Fairy Tale Review Online, and No Tokens. 

New Writing Workshop Coordinator

Mahal Stevens earned her BA in Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan, but took the leisurely route to her degree. She has attended every undergraduate institution in Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti except for Concordia University. As a student she participated in various historical research projects, one of them being a Michigan In The World Fellowship where she studied some of the first Black women students at the University of Michigan.

When not working, Mahal is usually hanging out with her dog Simon, a miniature schnauzer mix.

Outside of being a dog mom, Mahal loves reality TV — for enjoyment and as a source of analysis. Her favorite shows are 90 Day Fiancé, Real Housewives of Atlanta, and the Flavor of Love (a classic). She also has a childhood fondness for murder mysteries such as Murder She Wrote, Matlock, and Diagnosis Murder.  In her free time she also dances, crafts, hangs out with her large family, and reads up on astrology.

Besides work related things, feel free to come to the front desk to chat with Mahal about: pets, reality TV, astrology, gender studies, history, or to celebrate Friday Eve.

Faculty News

Faculty Awards

Anne Ruggles Gere was named the 2018 Michigan Professor of the Year by the Michigan Association of State Universities. Read more from the University Record.

New Faculty

Two new faculty members joined us for the fall semester. Stephanie Moody (left), who taught with us previously, returned to teach Writing 100 and Writing Workshop. Natalia Knoblock (right), joined us for the first time and taught Writing 120 and Writing Workshop.  Stephanie brought expertise in rhetoric and composition, and a rich background in teaching. Natalia, who has advanced degrees in linguistics, provided support to English language learners as well as individual students seeking help with their writing. We were delighted to have both of them with us.

Faculty Highlights

Julie Babcock’s manuscript Rules for Rearrangement was selected by Kimiko Hahn as the runner-up in the Autumn House Poetry Prize, and her novellette was a finalist for the Omnidawn Fabulist Fiction Prize. She participated in the Kentucky Women Writers Conference and gave a workshop with the poet Megan Levad on how to dismantle hegemonic assumptions about revision at the Creative Writing Studies Conference.

Gina Brandolino gave a public talk, “The Monster Inside,” for the Howell Carnegie District Library at their celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein.

Scott Beal’s poems and prose appeared in Michigan Quarterly ReviewRattleOpossumThe Rumpus, and Little Patuxent Review. His poem “Dedicated to Neda and All Who Died” won Second Prize in the Naugatuck River Review Narrative Poetry Contest, and his manuscript Stegosaurus Moon was a finalist for the Lena Miles Wever-Todd Poetry Prize from Pleiades Press.

Cat Cassel attended the Above the Bridge Singer-Songwriter Conference in Curtis, Michigan, in June, and also attended the Peace Team of Washtenaw County Training, organized by the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, in December.

Louis Cicciarelli was featured in the University Record article “Mentoring at Michigan” for his work as a mentor with the Transfer Connections program.

Natalia Knoblock organized a panel “Discourse of Crisis and Linguistic Creativity” at the Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis across Disciplines Conference (CADAAD), at Aalborg University in Denmark in July, and signed a contract for an edited volume “The Ukrainian Crisis: Discourses of Trauma, Aggression, and Hope” with Bloomsbury Academic.

Lillian Li’s debut novel Number One Chinese Restaurant  was published in June (Henry Holt).

With colleagues from MSU, OSU, and Texas A & M, Christine Modey has written an article forthcoming in the 2018 volume of the Journal of Writing Analytics, exploring the use of text analysis techniques on writing center data. In October, she presented this research as part of a panel at the International Writing Centers Association. In November, she traveled with three peer writing consultants, Lila Peters, Adela Baker, and Katie Seguin, to the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing, where she presented a workshop on inclusive design practices for writing center spaces and the peer consultants presented their own writing center research projects.

Simone Sessolo accepted the co-director position, with Louis Cicciarelli, of the Dissertation Writing Institute.

Carol Tell published an essay, “There Must Be More to Life,” in the Michigan Quarterly Review, fall 2018. She co-presented at the CALICO (Computer-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium) conference in spring 2018 on “Producing Podcasts in the Classroom”; and the Enriching Scholarship Workshop at U-M on “Incorporating Audio Essays into Your Courses.”

2018 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)

Sigrid Anderson Cordell,  English
Jimmy Brancho, Sweetland
Anne Gere, Sweetland
Michael Makin, Slavic
Bruce Mannheim, Anthropology
Matthew Solomon, Screen Arts & Cultures

Junior Fellows (Grad Students)

Sahin Acikgoz, Comparative Literature
Jillian Myers, Biology
Kyra R. Pazan, Anthropology
Adriana Ponce, Sociology
Rachna Reddy, Anthropology
Rachel Webb, Mathematics
Jana Wilbricht, Communication Studies
Sunhay You, English & Women’s Studies

Sweetland Summer Interns

Sweetland interns Hannah Clague and Ed Mayes spent the summer working with Sweetland faculty and administrators to improve both the Peer Writing Consultant Program and the Minor in Writing. They were involved with multiple aspects of Sweetland’s operations, assisting with campus-wide promotion and outreach, finding ways to make important demographic and usage data more readily accessible, and analyzing the lasting impact that Sweetland’s programs have on their alumni.

Notice anything different about the Minor in Writing website? One of Hannah and Ed’s big projects this summer was to rewrite the website content promoting the Minor in Writing to prospective students. This process began with a lot of research into similar minors offered by the University and the ways these programs market themselves. After completing the new content, the interns worked with Aaron Valdez, Sweetland’s Communications Coordinator, to determine the best way to visually organize the website. You may notice some new featured quotes from Minor in Writing alumni—thanks very much to everyone who contributed their experiences! These quotes help demonstrate the immense value of the program, and, together with the new written content, will hopefully draw more students to the Minor in Writing.

While content creation was the focus of their work for the Minor in Writing, Hannah and Ed’s efforts on behalf of the Peer Writing Center primarily consisted of data collection and analysis. One of their tasks was to design an alumni survey based on the national Peer Writing Tutor Alumni Research Project (PWTARP) model. The goal of the survey was to better understand the lasting impact that working in the PWC has on the lives and careers of our alumni. The number of responses Hannah and Ed received was encouragingly high, and their analysis of the data revealed some useful insight into the enduring value of working as peer writing consultant.

Hannah and Ed learned so much during their time as Sweetland interns. They developed new data collection and analysis skills, discovered valuable lessons about program promotion and content creation, and got to know WCOnline very, very well. They even built new strategies for collaboration between co-workers, using their respective strengths to complement one another’s efforts and together produce the best work possible. Hannah and Ed loved working with Sweetland this summer, and hope to use their newfound skills to continue supporting both this program and others like it as they begin their post-grad careers.

Graduate Student Research Assistants

Meg Garver’s MA in rhetoric and composition is from Clemson University where she wrote a thesis on women’s access to health care services. There she had her first experience as a composition instructor, and has privileged the identity, educator, ever since. Entering her 3rd year in the Joint PhD Program in English and Education, her interests are still within the rhetoric of health and medicine field, with a primary focus on doctor-patient communication. Specifically, she directs attention to barriers of access, including the technical language physicians deploy, as well as the gender dynamics at play within the history and current practice of medicine. Her interests include Science and Technology Studies, New Literacy Studies, Digital Studies, Disability Studies, and Writing Studies, all from a feminist standpoint. Meg hopes to build upon the work being done to merge the worlds of medicine and the humanities, and to help develop public scholarship, thereby making academic knowledge accessible to all.

Naitnaphit Limlamai is a doctoral student in the Joint Program in English and Education, where she studies secondary English methods courses and their instructors. Specifically, she studies how methods instructors conceptualize the discipline of English and the implications of that conceptualization for their courses. Before attending Michigan she taught high school English for 13 years in Florida, New York, and Georgia. She earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Human Development and Philosophy from Boston College and a Masters 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 is in her fourth year in the Joint Program in English and Education. Her undergraduate degree is in elementary education, and her master’s degree is in English literature and rhetoric. Growing up as a military kid and moving all over the United States made Emily interested in studying the experiences of military kids, and Emily’s previous career as a middle and high school English teacher made her interested in adolescent literacy practices. Her dissertation focuses on the role that literacy plays in the lived experiences of military-connected students, and how these students use literacy to “restory” their narratives. She has also worked on a number of research projects at Sweetland. Emily was involved in the longitudinal writing development study, and she co-authored one of the chapters of the forthcoming book Developing Writers. She helped develop the data layer, a repository of writing development study data, for the Book Unbound project. And she has worked extensively with the MWrite project, an initiative to incorporate more writing in large undergraduate gateway courses here at Michigan.

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.

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.

New Faculty – Shuwen Li


Shuwen Li joined the Sweetland faculty in September, after receiving her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Scientific & Technical Communication from University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Her research interests include rhetoric (especially ethos), technical and professional communication, multimodality, and composition studies. Her dissertation focuses on the construction of corporate ethos in an IPO.

Prior to coming to Sweetland, Shuwen taught University Writing and Technical and Professional Writing at University of Minnesota, where she worked closely with students from diverse backgrounds. Shuwen accumulated experience teaching in a cross-cultural context and has presented her pedagogical approaches at conferences such as IEEE ProComm. In terms of teaching, she is interested in building a learning community for multilingual writers, facilitating individualized student-instructor relationships, and helping students construct their ethos as writers.

At Sweetland, Shuwen takes primary responsibility for helping multilingual writers, an endeavor extended from her teaching experiences at University of Minnesota. In addition to teaching, she has been offering workshops about teaching writing to multilingual students for University of Michigan faculty and interested graduate students. She is grateful to witness the rising interest in helping multilingual writers.

In the future, Shuwen hopes to keep building a learning community for multilingual writers at University of Michigan and connecting these writers to other communities. She believes that with more frequent exchanges among language communities, students will learn more about the world and open their minds to expanded possibilities for their own learning.

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.”