Welcome Back

In the foreground, there is a red banner with the University of Wisconsin's "W" crest. Behind the banner there are several trees with yellow, gold, and orange fall foliage. A glimpse of the lake is between the trees.


While we’ve been in session for a few weeks by the time you read this post, we have just entered the fall season. Soon leaves will be changing colors, and then falling, and we’ll be building the right mix of compost to provide nutrients and energy. We hope our blog, CompPost, serves a similar function for your teaching and professional development. We see this as a place to grow and nurture ideas, to share the bounty of our teaching community, and to help build a sustainable future for the program.

This semester we’re thrilled to be launching a new series of posts over the next few months. We’ll reflect on building our newly-launched website for course readings and building an open-access repository, report on findings about the history of composition from the University Archives, and provide some teaching resources to use in your own classrooms.

We also wanted to use the occasion of our first post to introduce (or reintroduce) the members of the leadership team this year. We’ll start with our newest members, Amanda Pratt and Cris Font-Santiago

Amanda Pratt, Co-Assistant Director of English 100
Hi all! I am excited to begin my term as Assistant Director of the English 100 program this semester! A bit about me: my research interests run the gamut from science and technology studies to contemplative rhetorics & pedagogies, and lately I have been writing and thinking more and more about equity and access in these contexts. A question I plan to ask myself repeatedly during the next couple of years is: how might a writing program do antiracist work? The thing I love most about English 100 is that instructors seem to be uniquely positioned to really make a difference in the lives of first year students at UW–from planting seeds about writing strategies and rhetorical savviness that will be cultivated for years to come, to just simply listening to roommate drama during office hours. As the mother of an 18 month old, my current favorite TV show is probably “Workin’ Moms.” It is very binge worthy–and I think probably funny even if you’re not a parent (though I’m not sure if I could tell anymore). On a Saturday afternoon, you might find me at the Overture Center, in the audience of a Kids at the Rotunda performance–such great (free) programming for kids here in Madison!

Cris Font-Santiago, Co-Director, English 100 Tutorial
I am a linguist in the English Language & Linguistics program. My main research interests are sociophonetics, perceptual dialectology, and bilingualism. Yet, even as a linguist, I have always had a special relationship with writing. Writing and I were not always on good terms. In fact, I heavily disliked writing throughout my first years of college. After a lot of hard work, I now enjoy writing quite a lot. I found that, for me, the key is to find ways to develop a conversation using your own voice. It’s not an easy process, but it pays off in the end! Yet, as a former bilingual writing center tutor and after years of teaching English 100, I recognize that the same approach to writing does not work for all writers; every type of writer needs to find their own way to approach writing as a process. I am excited to work with English 100 students to help them through that process of discovery. In my spare time, I like to play tabletop games, watch anime/TV, play video games, cook, and travel.

Tori Thompson Peters, Senior Assistant Director of English 100
I’m so excited to be in my second year as Assistant Director for English 100. My main research interests are in rhetoric of health and medicine, disability studies, and accessible instruction. Because of this, one of my goals in English 100 is to consider how to make our teaching, curriculum, and classrooms more accessible for both instructors and students. I really enjoy considering how to meaningfully incorporate accessibility into workshops, professional development, and course policies. I love English 100 because I have a background in secondary education which helps me understand where first-year students are coming from and the possibilities for where they can go with their writing. My current favorite TV show is probably Fleabag season 2, which I finished ages ago but think about all the time. I also really like Superstore. On a Saturday afternoon, you can find me planning my next meal, catching up with friends and family, or doing absolutely nothing on my couch.

Kassia Shaw, Co-Director, English 100 Tutorial
My goal is to help writers develop projects that are not only personally interesting, but also a lot of fun to write. I spend time in my own classroom helping writers develop drafting and revision strategies that work for them, and I believe strongly that working with writers one-on-one is important for all levels of writers, at all stages of the writing process. My favorite thing about working with English 100 students in the Tutorial Program is getting to watch them develop as writers over the course of the semester. So much about writing is confidence, and I love watching students embrace this journey from one assignment to the next. In my spare time, I love to bake, play with my dogs, and go hiking.

Mary Fiorenza, Associate Director of English 100
I often think how lucky I am to work with so many smart and caring people in the English 100 program — and in Creative Writing, too, where I do some of my teaching. I started my work life as an editor and writer, and I still think of myself as a writer who teaches writing, even as (I will admit) my own writing has slipped into the back seat as I’ve spent more of my time teaching writing, working with other teachers of writing, and doing daily admin work for the English 100 program. Besides a deep interest in writing pedagogy and writing practice, I have an ongoing fascination with the myriad ways writing entwines itself with daily life. Sometimes I write about this. In my classes, my work always includes helping students negotiate those complex, mundane relationships along with planting possibly unfamiliar ideas about literacy, language, and the craft of writing. When I’m not working, you might find me walking in the forest behind my house or throwing a ball to Ruby and Zelda, two rambunctious mixed-breed canines who keep me laughing and give me respite from obsessing about writing and teaching.

Morris Young, Director of English 100
It’s hard to believe that I’m entering my thirteenth year as Director of English 100. If you know a little of the history of writing program directors at UW-Madison, thirteen is not the record! But in my time as director I have found it to be among my most meaningful professional and scholarly experiences. I have always approached this work as a teacher and mentor and my goal is to help instructors who teach in our program to think about the work they do in creative, innovative, and meaningful ways. While one goal of our program is to help students develop as writers, another goal is to help instructors develop as teachers whether you see this as a long-term career path or as an experience that will help you pursue other opportunities. When I’m not working with English 100 instructors, I’m engaged in research about the relationship between writing and identity and the uses of rhetoric and literacy by Asian Americans. At home I’m a dog dad to Lucy (who you can find on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B1_gZbjH2A3/) and a fan of Molly Krochalk Ceramics (https://www.mollykrochalk.com).

CompPost’s goal is to create an online learning community where we capture ongoing conversations about teaching writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. If you’re interested in contributing, please email Tori Thompson Peters at tlthompson5@wisc.edu.