Nick Van Kley
Director of Student Writing Support ServicesResearch Assistant Professor
When it comes to writing, I’m a big believer in context. What we mean to say, how we mean to say it, even what procedures we use to establish truth—these elements of our writing practice are all shaped by the many contexts we inhabit. We are driven by the languages of our home communities, the rhetorical conventions of the audiences we persuade, the knowledge-production strategies of the thinkers who influence us, and countless additional conventions that are often difficult to disaggregate. As a teacher and a peer-tutoring-center administrator, I push myself and my students to examine and articulate our use of and response to these contexts. If we learn more about what shapes our lives as writers and we approach new rhetorical situations with a spirit of curiosity, we gain control over our writing practice. We prepare ourselves to face new and unanticipated challenges down the road. We make ourselves more flexible communicators.