Monday, February 20, 2017

Writing Center Renovations Completed

By Emily Cardwell (majors: English & History) and Susanna Savage (majors: English/PR & Strategic Communication/Health & Risk Communication)

Over winter break, the Writing Center received a much-needed renovation in order to accommodate the growing number of students who use the Writing Center. The two smaller rooms were combined to make one larger room, and glass doors were also installed. The update created a more open and inviting space, thus increasing the work space and allowing students and Writing Assistants (WAs) to work more comfortably. “We’re really trying to create a space that’s inviting for students, including WAs, returning visitors and those who are new to the Writing Center,” said Dr. Maura Grady, director of the Writing Center. “The old layout was a bit confusing for people-- they weren’t sure if they were in the right place and felt awkward going into the front room of the center because it just looked like a small office from the outside. Actually, we had a lot of space, but that wasn’t visible from the door. With the central wall removed from the middle of a large window, there is a lot more light in the space and the whole area is visible from the lobby. The new glass double doors have clear lettering with our hours and online schedule ( so everyone has a better sense of where they are supposed to go!”

Features of the Writing Center include fifteen computers, many helpful reference books, and access to a printer. The Writing Center is open to all students and offers quiet space to work on writing assignments, even if you don’t have an appointment with a WA.

Although the renovation is the most visible, the new year has also brought other changes to the Writing Center. Drop-In tutoring started on February 6th and will take place every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. Drop-In tutoring allows students to stop by the Writing Center and get help on a writing project without making an appointment. During Drop-In hours Writing Assistants are ready and waiting to help anyone who comes through the center’s doors. This program is especially valuable for students who are heavily involved on campus or in athletics, and might not normally be able to make appointments during the day. Its also useful when students don’t realize they need help on an assignment until the last minute. “The drop-in tutoring is a brilliant idea for students who don't have a lot of time to make a full, 30-minute appointment,” noted Writing Assistant Sophia Leddy. “They can come in just to have a few quick questions answered and stay for as long as they need. For those with a busy schedule and sports, this makes sense and will hopefully help those who need it!”

This semester the Writing Center has new extended hours. It opens at 9:00 am, Monday through Friday, which is an hour earlier than previous semesters. In addition, the Writing Center is now open until 5:00 pm on Fridays. Extended hours make it easier for students to fit a visit to the Writing Center into their schedules.

More improvements may be in store for the Writing Center in the upcoming months. “Dr. Grady, along with all of the WAs, have really stepped up and made an effort to make the Writing Center more available to students and ensure that it has a greater presence on campus. There are really great attempts being made to really form the Writing Center into a place where students feel comfortable going in order to work on papers of any kind,” said Ally Massimi, one of the center’s Writing Assistants. “This is just the beginning though, I know that Dr. Grady, and all of the WAs are really gung-ho about making the Writing studio more welcoming and more accessible to all AU students.”

The Writing Center will be offering special sessions on APA formatting the Week of February 20th. Interested students should check the online schedule, stop by the Writing Center or call x5670 for more information

When you get the chance, stop by the Writing Center to work with a Writing Assistant, or individually on your writing assignments. You can use our computer lab and printer even if you do not have an appointment. While you’re there, check out the Center’s new look and help yourself to a warm cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

Visit the Writing Center web page for more information about our services:

Monday, February 13, 2017

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Joe Mackall

Dr. Joe Mackall, Professor of English
Q: How many years have you taught at Ashland?

A: I’ve been teaching at AU for 21 years.

Q: What are some of the courses that you teach? 

A: I direct the undergraduate creative writing program so I teach mainly creative writing classes including Introduction to Creative Writing (English 201), Problems in Creative Writing (English 405), Editing One’s Own Creative Writing (English 415), and the Writer’s Workshop: Fiction/Creative Nonfiction (English 302). I also teach The Essay (English 306), and Composition I and II. I’m also a founding faculty member of AU’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, and I teach the post-thesis residency working with students to turn their graduate theses into publishable books.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of being a professor?

A: What I love most about being a professor is easy: working with students on their writing. I’m awed and gratified that students keep showing up who love and value reading and writing. I love seeing how much a student grows as a writer in four years. It’s my students who keep me coming back to teach every year. I love their optimism and their warmth, their capacity for dreaming and their hope for the future.

Q: What scholarly or creative projects are you working on?

A: Right now I’m working on a memoir about my inability to reconcile time, its pace, the way past present and future seem to exist simultaneously for me. I’m using four generations of my family who all live in a few square miles to help me tell this story. I’m concerned about what kind of country, hell, what kind of world, I’m bequeathing my children and grandchildren, and how I’m implicated in the country’s perils and maybe its promises. I’m also dealing with our ancestors, how much of them we carry, how their actual genes operate in us, and how their metaphorical genes—the memories we have and the stories we hear and tell of people who’ve gone before us—play in our imaginations and complicate our visions of time. I’m also revising a couple of novels I’ve written, and I have plans for a new novel.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Dr. Sharleen Mondal Earns Tenure and Promotion

The English Department is delighted to announce that Dr. Sharleen Mondal has earned tenure and has been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor effective at the start of the fall 2017 semester. Dr. Mondal is an exemplary teacher, scholar, and colleague, and we are so grateful that Ashland University has recognized her achievements with tenure and promotion. Dr. Mondal shares a message with the readers of this blog: 

"It is an honor and privilege to be part of the English Department at Ashland University. Our department's community of faculty and students offers an exciting hub of intellectual curiosity, literary appreciation, and a genuine sense of camaraderie and care. My outstanding colleagues set a high standard of excellence in scholarship and teaching that continually inspires me and I am glad to have the opportunity to continue to work with them in the years to come."

Congratulations and best wishes for the years ahead, Dr. Sharleen Mondal!