The Faculty Fellows program brings in faculty members from any discipline to train and work in the University Writing Center for a 1-2 year residency. During the residency, the Fellow participates in training and tutors students and faculty in the writing center. The Fellow's time in the center may also include participation in projects or presentations that connect the Fellow's academic interests and the needs of the writing center. Fellows are encouraged to develop ideas for scholarly writing, and several Fellows have had scholarly articles related to their writing center experience published during or after their residency. A customized contract between the Learning Centers and the Fellow's home department outlines the duties, expectations, and details of the course release for each Fellow.
The opportunity to tutor students in writing came at a critical time in my professional development as a writing professor. After years of intensive classroom teaching, I welcomed the opportunity to help student writers in a more casual, informal setting. Working with a variety of students and the wide range of issues they brought to our appointments made every day "new" for me in the Writing Center workplace. Practicing my writing pedagogical training in this setting really made me rethink the connection between theory and practice. Equally valuable were the new teaching skills I learned in the Center and the positive impact they had on students in my own classes once the fellowship concluded.
It will improve your teaching; You will learn while you're doing it; You will have more time to read and write; You'll have fewer papers to grade: a writing center fellowship reduces your teaching load; You'll work one-on-one with students; You will enjoy your new colleagues: the people who work in the writing center are terrific; You will think about writing in new ways; You can become a better writer; You will learn about other JMU learning resources; Your colleagues will be jealous; Bottom line: any teacher whose students write would benefit from a gig in the writing center.