Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing Task Force Members

Biographies for Members of the Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing Task Force


Peggy O’Neill, professor of writing, directs the composition program and teaches writing and rhetoric at Loyola University Maryland. Her scholarship focuses on a variety of writing assessment issues including placement, response, consequences of secondary writing exams, validity and reliability. Before coming to Loyola, she served as an assistant professor of writing at Georgia Southern University. From 1990-1994 she taught English in Baltimore County Public Schools. More recently, she has worked with the Maryland Department of Education on the alignment of secondary English curriculum with the expectations of first-year college writing.


Linda Adler-Kassner, CWPA team leader, is Professor of Writing and Director of the Writing Program at University of California, Santa Barbara. Previous to this position, she taught and directed the First Year Writing Program at Eastern Michigan University, from 2000-2010. From 1990-1997, she was an instructor and lecturer at University of Minnesota General College, a unit then designated for those students labeled “underprepared.” Her recent research focuses broadly on writing and public policy, including analyses of the implications of policy for writing instruction and work to help writing instructors and program directors develop strategies to affect policy. A long-time teacher of first-year writing, she was a member of the committee that authored the most recent secondary ELA standards for the State of Michigan. She is also the current president of the Council of Writing Program Administrators.

Darsie Bowden is a professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse at DePaul University in Chicago. She has served as a Writing Program Administrator since 1991, both at DePaul and Western Washington University. She teaches writing, style, writing pedagogy and literacy courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, and has led an AP Summer Institute in English Language and Composition at DePaul since 2006. She is currently serving on a university reading task force and the Academic Program Review for her department and for the Liberal Studies Program at DePaul. She has worked with CWPA's Network for Media Action for the past three years and collaborated on the film, "Who is a Writer: What Writers Tell Us."

Debra Frank Dew, associate professor of English, has directed the Writing Program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Spring since 2000. She teaches Advanced Rhetoric and Writing for Teacher Preparation (TEP), Theoretical Approaches to Teaching Writing for TEP, and upper level courses in rhetoric and writing studies. Her scholarship focuses on writing program administration, specifically labor issues, curricular design and the education of WPAs. Before coming to UCCS, she served as an assistant professor of writing at Texas A & M - Corpus Christi, where she taught undergraduate teacher preparation courses, basic writing and graduate TA seminars. From 2000-2004, she served on the Colorado Springs Academy District 20 Accountability Committee (DAC) (and multiple subcommittees on integrating diversity across the curricula), a committee which oversees the design and implementation of district-wide assessment plans, as well as the Air Academy High School Student Accountability Committee (SAC) with the same mission. From 1988-90, she taught high school English in an urban setting within the Fremont Union High School District, San Jose, CA. From 1978-81, she taught English and Spanish at a rural high school in Wisconsin. More recently, she has worked on an ad hoc basis with local districts on the alignment of secondary English writing outcomes with the expectations of first-year college writing.

Susanmarie Harrington, professor of English, directs the Writing in the Disciplines program and teaches writing at the University of Vermont. Her scholarship focuses writing assessment and writing program structures, addressing questions about writing standards, institutionalized writing assessment, and the connections between institutional history, program design, and values. Before coming to the University of Vermont, she served as director of writing and then English department chair at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. In Indiana, she coordinated the English language portion of a project designed to promote seamless transitions from high school to college.

Jeffrey Klausman is chair of the English department at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington, where he has taught composition courses, literature, and creative writing for fourteen years. He has also served as union president and chief negotiator, as well as director of a WAC program for over ten years, and has served on steering committees overseeing college-wide assessment and accreditation. He is co-chair of TYCA-Pacific Northwest Regional and was his college’s first Writing Program Administrator (WPA) from 2006-09. His research has focused on writing programs at two-year colleges: labor issues and program development, program assessment, and knowledge transfer. He is currently working with Joe Janangelo, immediate past president of the Council of Writing Program Administrators, on a project studying the shape of writing programs at two-year colleges. In addition to a doctorate in English, he holds an MFA in creative writing, and has taught at a two-year college in Tokyo, Japan, as well as several universities in the States before coming to Whatcom.

Susan Miller-Cochran is associate professor of English at North Carolina State University and Director of the First-Year Writing Program. Her research focuses on the intersections of technology, second-language writing, and writing program administration. She is an editor of Rhetorically Rethinking Usability (2009) and Strategies for Teaching First-Year Composition (2002), as well as co-author of The Wadsworth Guide to Research (2009). Prior to her appointment at North Carolina State University, she taught writing, linguistics, nd ESL in the Maricopa Community College District.

Annette Harris Powell is an assistant professor of English at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY, where she teaches first-year writing, advanced writing, and literature. Her research focuses on writing, identity, and place. Prior to joining the faculty at Bellarmine, she taught first-year and upper-level writing courses at a large urban university. She currently sits on Bellarmine’s general education curriculum committee, charged with reviewing and assessing general education courses, with an emphasis on writing.

Chris Thaiss, professor of writing, is Clark Kerr Presidential Chair and Director of the University Writing Program at the University of California, Davis. He has published extensively on student writing development and writing pedagogy from the primary grades through university, as well as across content areas and disciplines. He coordinates the International Network of Writing-across-the-Curriculum Programs and has for many years studied the transition from secondary schools to higher education through work with sites of the National Writing Project. His research on systematic assessment of student writing growth includes current projects for the Spencer and Teagle foundations and the Reinvention Center, a consortium of research universities dedicated to improvement of undergraduate education.


Cathy Fleischer (NCTE team leader), professor of English at Eastern Michigan University, teaches courses in English education and co-directs the Eastern Michigan Writing Project. In that capacity she coordinates EMWP's Teacher Research Group (a long-standing group of K-college teachers who meet monthly to discuss ongoing classroom-based research projects) and co-directs the Family Literacy Initiative (an outreach project to parents and families focused on supporting children and teens' reading and writing). She also serves as Special Imprint Editor for NCTE's Principles in Practice books, is the former co-editor of English Education, and has published a number of books and articles on issues of secondary English teaching and research. Cathy is a former high school teacher.

Carolyn Calhoon-Dillahunt is an English instructor at Yakima Valley Community College, Washington. She currently serves as Associate Chair of TYCA and is a member of NCTE’s Executive Committee. She’s twice been named Teacher of the Year at YVCC Grandview Campus and has presented widely for NCTE, CCCC, and TYCA.

Jennifer Fletcher, assistant professor of English, coordinates the English Subject Matter Preparation Program at California State University, Monterey Bay. She teaches courses in grammar, composition, and literature for prospective secondary school English teachers. Her current scholarship examines the ways rhetorical reading and writing practices prepare students for college coursework. As a member of the CSU Expository Reading and Writing Advisory Board, she additionally assists with the statewide implementation of a 12th grade curriculum and professional learning program that support students’ academic literacy development. Prior to coming to CSUMB, Jennifer taught English for ten years at Buena Park High School in southern California.

Kathleen Dudden Rowlands, a former high school English teacher for more than 20 years, is now an associate professor of secondary education at California State University, Northridge, where she directs the Cal State Northridge Writing Project. In addition, she works closely with her Chancellor’s office on issues relating to the Early Assessment Program (EAP), a system-wide initiative to lessen the remediation needed by first-time freshmen entering the CSU. She also works extensively with the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC), a curriculum developed as part of the EAP, and designed to help high school students develop rhetorical reading and writing skills using informational texts.

Richard (Dickie) Selfe directs the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing (CSTW) at Ohio State University. The CSTW is the home of a number of 21st century writing & research projects: the OSU Writing Center, WAC, an Outreach Writing program, a Minor in Professional Writing, the Student Technology Consultant program, and Digital Media and Writing. Selfe’s academic interests lie at the intersection of communication pedagogies, programmatic curricula, and the social/institutional influences of digital systems. His most recent book-length project (author and co-editor) is entitled Technological Ecologies and Sustainability ( Single-authored publications include Sustainable Communication Practices: Creating a Culture of Support for Technology-rich Education (2005), “Anticipating the Momentum of Cyborg Communicative Events“ (2010), "’Convince me!’ Valuing Multimodal Literacies and Composing Public Service Announcements (2008),” in Theory Into Practice, “English Studies and the University Experience as Intellectual Property: Commodification and the Spellings Report” (2007), and “Teacher Quality: The perspectives of NCTE members” (2006).

Kathleen Blake Yancey, Kellogg Hunt Professor of English, directs the graduate program in Rhetoric and Composition at Florida State University. Winner of the FSU Graduate Teaching Award, Yancey is a past president of NCTE, past chair of CCCC, and past president of WPA; she currently co-directs the Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research, and she is the editor of College Ccomposition and Communication, the flagship journal in composition and rhetoric. Her research focuses on composition studies generally; on writing assessment, especially print and electronic portfolios; and on the intersections of culture, literacy and technologies. She has held faculty positions at Clemson University (1999-2005) and at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (1990-1999), and she taught 8th grade language arts in Washington County, Maryland.

Don Zancanella coordinates the English education program at the University of New Mexico and is currently chair of the Department of Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies. His scholarship focuses on the teaching and learning of literature, English teacher education, and writing in literary forms. He is a former Writing Project director, past chair of the Conference on English Education, and has taught middle school and high school English language arts.


Anne-Marie Hall (NWP team leader), associate writing specialist, directs the writing program and teaches in the graduate Rhetoric, Composition, and Teaching of English program at The University of Arizona. She served as director of the Southern Arizona Writing Project for 13 years, and is currently a co-director; she has also worked on National Writing Project initiatives for the past 15 years. Her scholarship focuses on English education, comparative pedagogies, borderland rhetorics, composition theories, and assessment. For the past two years, she has served on the English Language Arts Leadership Team for the Arizona Department of Education and has been working on revising the English Language Arts standards and on the articulation of the state standards with the Common Core Standards.

David Carithers, assistant professor of English at the University of Tennessee at Martin, has directed the West Tennessee Writing Project since 2007. He teaches a variety of writing and literature courses and focuses his research on connections between American literature, rhetoric, and popular art forms such as music. With a background in Rhetoric & Composition, he has served as Coordinator of First-Year Composition at UT-Martin.

MaryCarmen Cruz, a Teacher Mentor in the Tucson Unified School District, has taught high school English and English language development courses for over twenty years. Her areas of interest include the academic achievement of culturally and linguistically diverse learners, second language acquisition and the development of literacy skills of English language learners. She has also taught composition and language, culture and writing courses at the University of Arizona, as well as English as a Second Language methodology courses at the University of Phoenix. She serves on the Southern Arizona Writing Project Advisory Board.

Dewayne Dickens is a Developmental English Associate Professor and instructor coordinator for the Communications Division of Tulsa Community College. He currently is a doctoral candidate at Oklahoma State University with a dissertation focus on college persistence of African American males. Other work includes serving as a teacher professional development co-facilitator with the Oklahoma State University National Writing Project site for GEAR UP to help prepare students for college. He also serves as a student organization advisor, learning assessment and student success committee leader, and a faculty professional development provider.

Rina Gonzalez has been a teacher for 12 years. She teaches English at Hamilton High School in Hamilton City, California, where she has taught for ten years. Her primary grades of focus are 9th and 12th. Her interest to improve the teaching of writing led her to participate in the Northern California Writing Project institutes in 2002 and 2003. She has been a teacher consultant since, allowing her to participate in programs such as Reading Institute for Academic Preparation (RIAP) and Improving Student Academic Writing (ISAW). She was on the English 12 Task Force to help bridge the gap of how writing is taught in high school and the expectations in college. In 2006, she was Distinguished Teacher in Residence for the Department of Education at CSU, Chico and taught teaching credential classes for Phase I and II student teachers.

Kirsten Jamsen directs the Center for Writing at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and serves as co-director of the Minnesota Writing Project with Muriel Thompson. Kirsten's work includes teaching courses on writing consultancy and practitioner inquiry, consulting one-to-one with student writers, facilitating professional development for instructors at all levels (preK - college), and serving as affiliate graduate faculty in the Departments of English and Writing Studies. With her colleagues in the Center and Project, she studies writing across the curriculum, composition pedagogy, the role of technology in writing centers and classrooms, transitions from secondary to college writing, and the role of writing centers in institutional change. Prior to coming to Minnesota in 2001, Kirsten was at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, where she helped lead their Writing Center and Writing-Across-the-Curriculum Program and taught writing and literature courses in the English Department.

Samia Yaqub is the Dean of Language Arts and Humanities at Butte College. In addition to overseeing a number of academic programs, she provides leadership for the Basic Skills Initiative and Title III efforts on campus. She is also the community college representative on the California Writing Project Advisory Board. Samia has over fifteen years of college teaching experience in reading, writing, and ESL. Her areas of professional interest include diversity and equity, learning communities, adult literacy, and writing instruction.