Welcome to my website! Iím a native of West Virginia and did my first teaching there. If you check my curriculum vitae, youíll notice that Iíve moved around a bit, living and teaching in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Since 1986, when I came to Western Michigan University, Iíve been working with preservice and practicing teachers of English language arts at all levels.
Iím in the English Department, which has an interesting mix of professors and instructors who teach undergraduate and graduate courses in literature, English education, English language, creative writing, and practical writing. The English Department is part of the College of Arts and Sciences. Western Michigan University is a ďstudent-centered research institutionĒ with an enrollment of nearly 30,000 students on campuses in six Michigan cities.
Besides serving on a number of English Department and University committees, I am the founding director of the Third Coast Writing Project (TCWP), which is a federally funded National Writing Project (Berkeley, CA) site. Since 1994, we have invited teachers in all content areas and at all levels to participate as fellows in the TCWP Invitational Summer Institute, to take part in continuity events and other initiatives during the school year, and to lead professional development sessions and programs for other teachers. Click on the Third Coast Writing Project link to learn more about the work of the Third Coast Writing Project. Currently, I also co-chair the Leadership Team for one of the National Writing Projectís four national networks. The NWP Rural Sites Network sponsors a biennial RSN Spring Retreat and, in alternate years, an RSN Summer Institute. We present workshops and sessions at NWPís Annual Meeting, and we award mini-grants to support the work of teachers and site leaders in small towns and rural areas.
Over the years my research and publication interests have moved in some interesting directions. Early on I focused primarily on the teaching of writing. This happened partly because I kept teaching composition courses in new settings as my husbandís work moved our family from place to place. But I could not have predicted that I would direct a National Writing Project site. That I would chair the group that designed Michiganís writing assessments. Or that I would publish a book about school censorship and controversy (Caught Off Guard: Teachers Rethinking Censorship and Controversy published by Allyn & Bacon). And that I would work with amazing colleagues and students who would continually nudge me -- and sometimes carry me along with them -- toward new and exciting projects and work.