Program leadership, community engagement, and service are integral parts of my academic life. My participation on campus committees and my national and international service to the discipline, including my work as a consulting editor for Community Literacy Journal, is detailed in my vita. Here, however, I highlight three engagement initiatives that I have helped shape--and that have shaped me: Wildcat Writers, the Southern Arizona Writing Project, and the Desert View and Sunnyside High School Writing Centers.
The University of Arizona Writing Program's service-learning initiative, Wildcat Writers connects college and under-resourced high school writing classes for a collaborative writing partnership. I direct Wildcat Writers, so I'm involved with recruiting, selecting, and training teacher participants, managing the budget and seeking funding, coordinating logistics for about 20 field trips each year, and assessing the program. Since I stepped in as coordinator five years ago, I have grown student participation from 130 to 600-1,200 students each year, initiated an advisory board of high school and college teachers, set up a teacher mentorship program, started a service-learning teaching award, implemented both participatory and traditional program evaluations, and secured two grants for the program. I've also grown as an administrator and teacher by learning from the dynamic high school teachers and students who participate in our program.
With a group of faculty and teachers, I am working to develop and implement a 90-hour professional development program on teaching argumentative writing as part of a national, controlled research experiment on rural literacy instruction. The National Writing Project was awarded a $15 million dollar i3 ("Investing in Innovation") grant from the Department of Education to improve the teaching of argumentative writing in rural middle and high schools. The Southern Arizona Writing Project (SAWP) is one of the local sites for implementing the grant, and I was asked to join the site leadership team because of my past experience with SAWP's Invitational Summer Institute and Advanced Institute. For two years, our team is working with Bisbee, Arizona, a rural, border mining town. The leadership team has been attending national i3 planning meetings, conducting needs assessments, analyzing curriculum materials, developing and hosting professional development retreats and in-services, co-teaching and co-designing curriculum with Bisbee teachers, and participating in an intensive assessment of how students use non-fiction sources in their writing.
Desert View and Sunnyside High School Writing Centers
Through a grant with GEAR-UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), I worked with two local high schools to publish a book of student writing and launch peer-staffed high school writing centers over the course of two years. I collaborated with teachers to create tutor training curriculum, train tutors, supervise sessions, market the center, and collect data. Both centers are still thriving, thanks to the strong teachers who are coordinating them. Since the grant has ended, I have stayed connected with the writing centers through occasional participation in tutor training, support in coordinating joint training sessions with the University of Arizona Writing Center, and service-learning partnerships between my business writing classes and the writing centers to produce deliverables for the centers.