Sunday, August 04, 2013

Life Update 2013 (Part One): Wrapping up at DePaul

(So it's been a painfully long time since I've updated my blog, but as a consolation prize I have an unusually news-packed series of updates for you. This is part one.)

When last I wrote, I was beginning my second year at DePaul University in the Master of Writing & Publishing program. Last summer I received word that I'd be receiving a graduate assistantship with the department of English, and that (in addition to a tuition waiver and stipend) I'd be working with DePaul's University Center for Writing-based Learning, their writing center that's oh-so-much-more than a writing center. For the 2012-2013 school year I worked as the assistant coordinator for Writing Groups. When my supervisor took on a bigger teaching load I was promoted to full Coordinator, and I finished the year as one of the senior staff members of one of the largest collegiate writing centers of its type in the world. Writing Groups was only one of a series of teams within the UCWbL, which unlike typical writing centers is its own entire academic department with its own budget, administrators, and a whole spectrum of writing-related resources, projects, and tasks for the University. 

DePaul University has five campuses, and my primary duty for the UCWbL was organizing the writing center services that would travel to and support the more distant suburban campuses. I found I enjoyed this a lot, and our team had many successes over the year, including the creation of a multi-campus, multi-disciplinary faculty writing group that took place over Google Hangouts, and we won (along with the Outreach team) special recognition for outstanding service to adult learners from the Adult Student Center. Not only was the work fun and rewarding, but along the way I got to know most of the 80+ peer tutors that worked there, and made many new writing friends. Writing Groups and Outreach also started DePaul's new recurring reading series "Aloud!" which features writers from the DePaul community in general and the Writers Guild in particular. 

I approached DePaul's MAWP program with what my wife might describe as fanatical enthusiasm. I went the extra mile wherever possible, soaking up all of the knowledge I missed the first time around in undergrad, and trying to fill in the specific holes in my skillset for both writing and publishing. I didn't know it at the time, but this approach would mean something important for me before my time at DePaul was done. I missed only a single class in the course of the entire degree, and it was because I was invited to read at a reading series I'd been dying to get an invite for forever. It wasn't all fun and games. A teaching internship and the necessity to continue working part time while I got the degree made scheduling and completion of all of the work very difficult, and I had precious little time to keep up with my friends in the larger writing community. At last, though, on June 16th, I graduated alongside my classmates and a whole group of new colleagues with my M.A. in Writing & Publishing.

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