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Our graduate students enjoy a wide variety of teaching and professional development opportunities.

  • The Writing Program - Graduate students in composition and rhetoric typically teach College Writing or Basic Writing in the UMass Writing Program, winner of the CCCC Program of Excellence Award (2009).
  • Western Massachusetts Writing Project (WMWP) - The English department maintains an active National Writing Project site (the Western Mass Writing Project). Charlie Moran was the founding site director in 1993; the current director is Anna Rita Napoleone. Graduate students have the option of taking courses that are part of the Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Writing (for an additional fee).
  • Undergraduate writing specializations - The undergraduate program in Professional Writing and Technical Communication, co-directed by Janine Solberg, offers teaching opportunities for one graduate student each year. Faculty (and occasionally advanced graduate students) teach courses in the undergraduate Study and Practice of Writing specialization.
  • The Writing Center - Faculty also direct the University Writing Center which offers writing support to UMass students faculty and staff. Currently, the Writing Center employs over 40 undergraduate and graduate tutors and conducts over 3,000 writing sessions a year. Anna Rita Napoleone is the current director.
  • Summer Symposium - The Peter Elbow Symposium provides opportunities for graduate students to connect with visiting scholars.
  • First Year Seminars - Graduate students may apply to teach a topic-driven first year seminar.
  • Graduate School Office of Professional Development - Graduate students work as writing or pedagogy consultants or in administrative positions related to graduate student professional development.
  • Office of Academic Planning and Assessment - Graduate students work as paid graduate interns supporting campus-level quantitative and qualitative assessment projects.
  • Junior Year Writing Program - Departments from across campus, including Engineering and Computer Science, hire graduate students to teach their junior-level disciplinary writing courses.

Writing Program Graduate Assistant Directors

Graduate Assistant Directors for Teacher Training: Four veteran graduate instructors serve as mentors to new TOs and work to enhance our teaching community. GADs attend weekly mentoring sessions, observe TO classes, are involved in the planning and running of orientation, and assist in maintaining the online WP Resource database. GADs for TT also teach College Writing. These positions last for one year. Any teacher in our program who has taught two semesters of College Writing is encouraged to apply.

Graduate Assistant Director of Assessment and Technology: GADs for A&T will provide technology pedagogical support to the Writing Program teaching staff in the form of workshops and be available for one-on-one consultations. The GADs for A&T are involved in the planning and running of orientation, assist with the online database, and meet regularly with a WP administrator. Any teacher in our program who has taught two semesters of College Writing is encouraged to apply.

Graduate Assistant Director of Professional Development and Placement: The GAD for PDP helps to provide training for teachers who have completed their first year in the Writing Program, including teachers new to Writing, Power, and Identity. The GAD for PDP may develop supplementary materials for the Writing, Power, and Identity curriculum; assist with the development and assessment of the placement questionnaire; co-lead summer placement consulting; and provide placement support (as needed) during the academic year. In addition to these responsibilities, this GAD teaches two sections of Writing, Power, and Identity or College Writing during the year for a full TO stipend; a stipend is also provided for work on orientation.

Placement Consultants: Placement consultants provide placement support to students during New Students Orientation in the summer.

Assistant Director of the Junior Year Writing Program

This is a half-time graduate Project Assistantship offers hands-on experience in writing program administration and an opportunity to support writing instruction in a variety of disciplines through long-term collaborative relationships.  Responsibilities include assisting the Faculty Senate’s University Writing Committee in planning and corresponding with faculty and departments about submitting materials for course reviews; preparing materials and minutes for the University Writing Committee, and attend monthly meetings (always on the first Fridays of the month at 1-2:15 pm); coordinating the Junior Year Writing Program’s reading process for the Charles Moran Best Text Contest; assisting Associate Directors with faculty consultations on teaching with writing; assisting in coordinating activities related to ongoing faculty development groups; working with Associate Directors to plan and facilitate 2-3 workshops for JYW instructors per semester and presenting at one or more workshops; and helping revise the content of the JYW pages on the Writing Program website and identify resources on writing pedagogy for instructors of JYW courses.

Writing Center Positions

Writing Center Graduate Writing Tutors: Writing tutors work with writers in 45-minute tutorial sessions, engage in ongoing professional development about writing and writing education, and assist with campus outreach like faculty and instructor workshops.

Writing Center Assistant Director: This is a full-time assistantship that offers hands-on experience in writing program administration and is an opportunity to tutor student writers, provide support for a large staff of undergraduate and graduate student tutors, and participate in the Center's ongoing development. Responsibilities include tutoring student writers, mentoring writing tutors, coordinating the Center's daily activities, maintaining the Center's materials, and engaging in outreach activities.

Professional Writing and Technical Communication (PWTC)

PWTC instructor: This teaching assistantship offers an opportunity for one graduate student each year to teach an upper-level course in professional writing.

Western Massachusetts Writing Project (WMWP)

WMWP Assistantship: an opportunity to work closely with the Western Massachusetts Writing Project Director and Professional Development Coordinator in running the office and planning programming and publicity. Graduate students have the option of taking courses that are part of the Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Writing (for an additional fee).