Van Kley to Lead Student Writing Support Services

The Institute for Writing and Rhetoric is proud to announce that Dr. Nick Van Kley has accepted the position of Director of Student Writing Support Services. Professor Van Kley comes to Dartmouth from Brandeis University, where he was the Assistant Director of the Writing Program and, formerly, the Director of the Writing Center.

Professor Van Kley is extremely enthused about his new position with the Institute and his work with its faculty and students. "I couldn't be happier to be joining the talented faculty in the Institute," he states, "but I'm just as excited to be working with RWIT's student staff. The tutors and writing assistants working in student writing support are a remarkable bunch--diverse, passionate, intelligent, and excellent at their work.”

In addition to his teaching and administrative duties with the Institute, Professor Van Kley will pursue two important research projects, both of which focus on peer writing tutorials. The first engages with current scholarship on knowledge "transfer" and explores what kinds of peer tutoring practices best help students write in new disciplinary contexts. As Van Kley explains, "This endeavor will involve examining cross-disciplinary conversations between tutors and clients in writing tutorial environments. I hope to see how these conversations shape writing outcomes for student writers and to get a clearer sense of what writing centers should do to support students in their first terms in higher education."

A second project contributes to recent scholarly conversations about the role of self-efficacy beliefs in a student's academic performance. "Writing studies has taken up self-efficacy as an important motivational concept for developing writers," says Van Kley. "But we know only a little about how peer writing tutorials shape self-efficacy beliefs for writers. RWIT is a wonderful place to explore that topic, and the expertise among the faculty in the Institute makes for an ideal environment in which to make some discoveries on this front."

Significantly, Professor Van Kley plans to include RWIT's student staff as collaborators in his future research. “In the coming years,” he states, “I hope to see these student-experts more engaged with writing-center research as a field of inquiry and to get them involved in robust, ongoing program assessment projects. Student centers like RWIT are at their best when they align with and supplement the broader educational goals of the institutions they inhabit. As we integrate tutoring and broader student writing support efforts at RWIT with rigorous program assessment, I hope to see our students participating in and even leading discussions about writing education at Dartmouth."


The image associated with this article is entitled "Philosophy," by Michael Biech