Committees authorize permanent director of writing programs position

In a recent decision recommended by the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) Committee and supported by the Committee on Educational Policy (CEP), the current interim writing coordinator position has been converted into a permanent position to be known as the director of writing programs.

“Over the last decade, if not longer, there have been many people at the College who have been discussing our need for a single person to be ‘in charge’ of writing at Williams,” said Thomas Garrity, professor of mathematics and head of the search committee for filling the new position. “The new director of writing programs will be the point person for writing at Williams, helping set up programs to make all students (and faculty) better writers.”

Dean Merrill explained that the writing coordinator position has been an interim one over the past two academic years, which has given the TLC committee sufficient time to create a framework for a permanent position and craft a job description.

“The director of writing programs will work with the Writing Workshop tutors and coordinate and support the writing assistants program, but the person who is hired to fill this position will also be expected to develop programs with faculty to support writing instruction,” Merrill said.

In addition, the job description stipulates that “candidates should have a doctorate, preferably in Rhetoric and Composition, English or a related field. Considerable experience in the teaching of writing is required.” It also requests “a commitment to diversity, culturally relevant pedagogies, and innovative and effective teaching.”

Current writing coordinator Deborah Schneer has been working at the College with the Academic Resource Center since the fall of 2008. She was hired because the College had seen a need for a person to be specifically responsible for overseeing Writing Workshop tutors and to more broadly consider the way writing is handled at the College (“College hires interim writing coordinator,” Sept. 16, 2008).

In her time working at the College, Schneer has revamped the Writing Workshop, met regularly with tutors and helped to organize the writing assistant program that places student tutors within writing intensive classes.

After a nationwide search, a small committee is currently evaluating applicants for the position. A selected group will be invited to interview on campus. The committee aims to have the new director of writing programs to begin working at the College by July 1.

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