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.