The Staff of Writing at Bates

Director of Writing and Director of Peer Writing and Speaking Center

Hillory Oakes (Ph.D., Denver) 786-6160, hoakes@bates.edu, Coram Library, Room 228Oakes Photo 1

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 learning and teaching across Bates. My scholarly self has published a recent essay in College Composition and Communication, as well as a chapter in 2013′s Multimodal Literacies and Emerging Genres (Univ. of Pittsburgh Press).


Writing Specialists

Misty Beck (Ph.D., Washington University-St. Louis) Writing Specialist in the Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies 786-8375, mbeck@bates.edu, 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, lvedal@bates.edu, 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, benefiting us as individuals and as a learning community.