English Department Lecturer Matt Whitaker has been appointed Associate Director of the Writing Center. Matt comes to the position with considerable writing center experience from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he served as a consultant, a Writing Fellow, and an Assistant Director.
When asked how he might personally contribute in this position, Matt says, “I think I bring experience, energy, and commitment to the Writing Center. I have a long history of writing center work, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in the various roles I’ve served in. They’ve given me a lot of opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a good team leader and how to empower the students I work with. That’s what I love about the writing center environment: it’s collaborative and there’s a shared sense of investment in each other. When we pool together our collective knowledge and skills, it can be a real pedagogical force. And you don’t see that kind of teamsmanship in other parts of the university, where individual success is more the priority. Writing centers, at their best, are places of intellectual sharing and exchange, and that’s the kind of environment where I work best.”
Matt’s passion for aiding student writing grows from his philosophy that writing is an active form of self-discovery. “It’s a way of understanding the things we see and experience in the world,” he reflects. “So, in that sense, I don’t know if there’s a higher calling than helping students improve their writing. I’m indebted to all the teachers and mentors in my past who challenged me to become a better writer and more critical thinker. It’s humbling and inspiring to imagine I can play a similar role and give back to the next generation of students. I’m thrilled to take on this role and join such a dedicated, enthusiastic team. I’m also very grateful for all the support I’ve received from my colleagues. I’m lucky to be in such a warm, collegial department, and I look forward to this new opportunity.”
Matt received his Master’s Degree from Missouri State University in 2015. He is currently working on his doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Though his formal studies focus on Rhetoric and Composition, Matt particularly enjoys the intersection of environment and language arts. Some of his favorite classes to teach include Animals in Writing and Rhetoric and Reading and Writing the Environment. He believes that the discipline of English maintains a unique responsibility for addressing ecological issues. Aside from being an accomplished academic, Matthew is a cookie connoisseur, avid reader of Barry Lopez, lover of the outdoors, and a true-blue Midwesterner.