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Oct 28, 2014

Lucy Bryan Malenke Bridges the UWC and the CHBS

photo of Lucy Green

The new location and new tutoring style are not the only changes occurring in the University Writing Center; this semester the UWC also welcomes Lucy Bryan Malenke to the newly-minted position of Writing Specialist, in which she will serve as a liaison to the College of Health and Behavioral Studies (CHBS).

As this is the first position of its kind, Malenke's liaison role is “still in an early phase,” being invented and shaped as she progresses. The goal, though, is clear: to help the UWC better serve the students in the CHBS program. Malenke plans to host workshops for CHBS writers, and at these—or in one-on-one consultations—she can help students tackle the most common types of writing in their area of study. This includes helping CHBS students understand common genres like Literature Reviews, as well as working on the essays required to secure an internship or residency.

Her expertise isn’t just for students, though. She is also positioned to aid CHBS faculty members with assignment design, a service the UWC offers to faculty of any discipline. Although every member of the writing center staff is equipped to aid professors and students alike, Malenke’s growing knowledge of the CHBS students and their writing concerns will make her well-suited to advise CHBS faculty members in particular.

On paper, Malenke might not seem like an obvious candidate for the job, because her BA is in journalism, and her MFA is in creative writing. However, while earning her MFA at Penn State, she accumulated experience teaching writing in the social sciences, and says she has “gained familiarity in working with those students.”

Her own interest in health and science means that the position is an avenue for personal growth as well. She says “it’s exciting to learn in other disciplines,” and that she is most interested in discovering “different ways of gathering information and drawing conclusions.”

Before JMU, she had never worked in a writing center before. She came to the UWC as “a leap of faith,” saying that “[she] loved teaching, but liked one-on-one interactions more.” The opportunity at the UWC allowed her to keep the aspects of teaching she liked best, and removed grading pressure, allowing her to play “a purely supportive role.” She also says, “I love to try new things—even in teaching. This job offers variety by the year, the semester, and even by the day.”

As this is her first semester, she is currently sitting in on Tutoring Writing, the course that prepares students and faculty to work at the writing center. She says that it resonates with her knowledge as a teacher, and that she “enjoys learning the theory and hearing what experts have to say.” Through the class she is “learning a ton”—which she aims to pass on to her clients in the College of Health and Behavioral Studies.

-Maya Chandler, Peer Tutor