By Cecilia Cress
Washington College announced Dr. Rachel Rodriguez as the new director of the Writing Center in an email from Aug 30.
According to the email, Dr. Rodriguez began her education at McDaniel College in Westminster, Md. where she double-majored in English and Spanish. She went on to earn her Master of Arts in English with a concentration in gender and literature from Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, Md.
Dr. Rodriguez graduated this past May with a Ph.D. in English rhetoric and composition from the University of Louisville “with a focus on teaching and assessment of writing that values linguistic diversity in all students, especially multilingual students, and students of underrepresented dialects and vernaculars,” according to the email.
She previously held the positions of academic support writing specialist at Chesapeake College as well as assistant director of the Writing Center at the University of Louisville where she assisted student writers of all years.
Dr. Rodriguez said she was excited to see the Writing Center position open up and “leapt at the opportunity” because she has always regarded WC as a “dream place to work.”
She said she was also drawn to the College because it reminds her of her undergraduate experience at McDaniel College.
“I was very excited to come to a four-year, small, liberal arts college which is similar to my own,” she said. “I found that small liberal arts experience to be really formative in my own academic thinking.
Dr. Rodriguez also said she was interested in the College because of its reputation of intensive writing programs and respective curriculum.
“I love that especially WC has this focus on writing across all four years of an undergrad’s experience,” Dr. Rodriguez said. “Oftentimes in other institutions there might be a writing-focused class when a student is a freshman, and then maybe when they’re a senior they have to write a thesis. But at WC, that writing intensive experience is really woven throughout. As someone who studied writing, that was a really attractive feature of the College.”
Dr. Rodriguez said her main focus this year is to be welcoming and encouraging of all students who come to the Writing Center, especially new students who have never been there before or utilized its resources.
“This year my primary goal is to make sure that every student knows who we are and that we’re open,” she said. “Now that we’re back on campus it is a little bit scary for a student to come into a new building and try to seek out resources for the first time.”
Dr. Rodriguez said she is very encouraging of continuing the Senior Capstone Experience bootcamps, something that students have been voicing support of for quite some time, according to Dr. Rodriguez.
She always wants to continue the writing groups that meet on Sundays, beginning on Sept. 12, from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Sophie Kerr room in Clifton Miller Library.
“I’m hopeful that the project can start juniors and seniors thinking about that Senior Capstone pretty early on, that they have this dedicated time to make small bits of progress,” Dr. Rodriguez said. “Having been part of a writing group myself, it’s astonishing how much you can get done.”
Dr. Rodriguez said she also intends to begin extending support through new Writing Center initiatives to multilingual students and speakers on campus, as well as possibilities of summer tutoring for all students. The planning for the specific details of these programs are ongoing.
“Not only is [Dr. Rodriguez] very friendly and approachable but [she] is also very knowledgeable,” Director of the Office of Academic Skills Hilary Bateman said. “She definitely believes in WC’s vision and mission, especially as it relates to the importance of critical thinking and communication, which is going to support her in continuing the excellent work of the Writing Center.”
Photo by Izze Rios