Director of the Learning Commons and Director of Writing
Hillory Oakes (Ph.D., Denver)
786-6160, firstname.lastname@example.org, Coram Library, Room 228
With a Ph.D. concentration in Rhetoric, I pursue my interest in pedagogy that makes connections between writing, speaking, and visual media—interests that make it all the more exciting to be part of the collaborations taking place in the Learning Commons. My scholarly self has an essay forthcoming in College Composition and Communication, as well as a chapter in this fall’s Multimodal Literacies and Emerging Genres (Univ. of Pittsburgh Press).
Coordinator of Peer Writing
Joanne Cole (J.D., Maine School of Law)
753-6986, email@example.com, Coram Library, Room 221
There’s a great line from Lily Tomlin that perfectly captures my career path: “I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.” I was a partner in a Portland law firm before leaving law a dozen years ago to teach, but my experiences as a lawyer continue to influence how I think about writing. Lawyers learn early that cases are won or lost on the briefs and written memoranda, not at closing argument, and they realize that crafting a tight, thoughtful argument can be as creative and satisfying a form of writing as there is – but one with high, real stakes. To me, academic writing offers Bates students that same opportunity, from first semester to thesis, to draw on intellect and imagination and to take some risks in their writing and thinking. As Coordinator of Peer Writing, I love having the opportunity not just to share ideas and strategies about writing with the writing assistants – some of Bates’s most capable, enjoyable, insightful students – but in turn to learn from them. They, together with my husband John and two daughters, are my most inspiring and humbling teachers.
Misty Beck (Ph.D., Washington University-St. Louis)
Writing Specialist in the Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies
786-8375, firstname.lastname@example.org, Coram Library, Room 222A
After having traveled the country as a political activist, I began college in northern Illinois with the goal of becoming an environmental lawyer. Then, I discovered literature – its power to tell stories of natural beauty and human consequence. I became an English major and a classical studies minor and went on to graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis. There, my interests in literature, politics, and the environment shaped my dissertation, “Enclosure and English Pastoral, 1770-1830.” In it I examine how poets and other writers responded to large-scale enclosures of common lands and to the loss of traditional ways of life. Pastoral images of lost common lands and use rights have often been dismissed as merely nostalgic; I argue that they were a form of political speech that gestured toward environmental as well as social critique. In this way, I continued to follow my passion for how individuals use language and images to engage in the struggles of the world. This passion spurs my ongoing interests in literature, film, and the environment, in laboring-class poetry, and, most importantly, in helping others to become more effective writers themselves. My commitment to the value of writing in shaping our world guides my work as a scholar and writing specialist today.
Lauren Vedal (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Writing Specialist in the Humanities
786-6133, email@example.com, Coram Library, Room 226
What’s a bread baker doing teaching writing? When I graduated from Reed College, I wanted to do and make instead of just think. So, I took two years off to work as an artisan baker. Later, I realized that teaching is doing and writing is, in fact, making something. This understanding led me to the University of Wisconsin–Madison to pursue my Ph.D. in English. I spent five years teaching in the UW Writing Center, where I worked with freshman through graduate students in fields as varied as music and forestry. I have taught composition and literature classes, and I also worked in the Acquisitions Department of the University of Wisconsin Press, learning about the decisions that actually get something published. My own research focuses on the relationships among trauma, national identity, and the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality. My dissertation, “National Whiteness/National Witness: Traumatic Narratives by Minorities in the United States and Canada,” examined the mutually reinforcing relationship between national identity and white racial identity, from the perspective of marginalized writers. This project grows out of my larger interest in multiculturalism, trauma, and the possibility of meaningful social change. I believe knowledge is produced collaboratively, through dialogue and questioning. And, this is how I approach teaching writing. I bring this same idea of collaboration to bear on my work with faculty. As a campus community, we have a wealth of pedagogical experience and knowledge, which is even more valuable when shared. Dialogue helps us go beyond what we think we know, benefitting us as individuals and as a learning community.
Seri Lowell (Ph.D., University of Washington)
Writing Specialist in the Sciences and Coordinator of the Peer Science Leaders
753-6985, firstname.lastname@example.org, Coram Library, Room 224
My path to Writing at Bates has been a circuitous one. My field is Biology, not composition or literature, and I spent years in the sagebrush deserts of Eastern Washington State, counting aphids on plants and following ants on their rambles across the gritty volcanic soil, before coming to Maine in 1989. I taught Ecology at Bowdoin, Bates, and Colby. Over time I found myself becoming more and more interested in helping my students to develop their writing skills. I began to realize that writing wasn’t just a way of communicating one’s insights and analyses; it was also a powerful means of developing them. Now I work with student writers in group sessions and one-on-one, train 2 groups of peer tutors in the sciences, and help faculty with the writing component of their courses.
What about Biology? It is still a big part of my life. With my husband and children, I now run a family dairy farm where I get daily opportunities to apply what I know and learn more about animal behavior, nutrition, and reproductive biology.