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News from the Purdue Writing Lab

The Purdue OWL News is an online newsletter addressing readers' writing-related questions and covering events in the Purdue University Writing Lab and the Online Writing Lab at Purdue (Purdue OWL).

The Grammar Gang offers grammar information and answers your grammar questions on their blog, a cross-cultural writing resource endeavor brought to you by the Purdue OWL and the UniSA/Adeliade University Possums.

The Purdue Writing Lab Welcomes a New Director


August 19, 2015 3:42 pm
By Daniel Kenzie

The Purdue Writing Lab is excited to welcome Harry Denny as its new Director and as Associate Professor of English. For the last nine years, Dr. Denny was faculty director of the University Writing Center at St. John's University in New York City. Under his leadership, that writing center, along with the university's Writing Across the Curriculum Program, were recognized as Conference on College Composition & Communication (CCCC) Writing Programs of Excellence in 2014. Before St. John's, he directed the writing center at Stony Brook University (SUNY). Harry's research focuses on composition studies, writing center theory and practice, cultural studies and research methods. His research also analyzes the rhetoric of social movements and identity politics, particularly around LGBTQ issues at the intersection of race, economic class and institutional or systemic oppression. Harry's first monograph, Facing the Center: Towards an Identity Politics of One-to-one Mentoring (Utah State University Press), explores how sociocultural dynamics impact the everyday interaction of writing conferences. His co-authored article with Anne Ellen Geller, "Of Lady Bugs, Low Status and Loving the Job," published in Writing Center Journal, won the Best Article Award from the International Writing Centers Association in 2014. Currently, he's at work on cross-institutional research on first-generation/working-class students and their experiences with writing centers and higher education. He's also developing a manuscript exploring the rhetoric of contemporary civil rights, and a collection of essays about marginal identities in the writing center. Harry received his Ph.D. in 1996 from Temple University in Rhetoric and Communication. He also holds an M.A. in sociology from the University of Colorado and a B.A. in American Studies from the University of Iowa.


New Purdue OWL Literary Criticism Resources - Critical Race Theory and Literary Terms


August 18, 2015 11:34 am
By Daniel Kenzie

The Purdue OWL is pleased to announce the launch of our latest literary criticism resources, Literary Terms and Critical Race Thery. The Literary Terms resource provides a glossary of terminology important to literary criticism and can be accessed by clicking here. The Critical Race Theory resource gives an overview of key ideas and questions in this approach, along with suggestions for further reading, and can be accessed by clicking here.

We would like to extend our thanks to Purdue OWL Content Developer Elizabeth Boyle for her work on both of these resources.


New Purdue OWL ESL Resource


May 22, 2015 11:01 am
By Dan Kenzie

The Purdue OWL is pleased to announce the launch of our latest ESL resource, "Sentence Clarity: Nominalizations and Subject Position," with exercises. This resource explains nominalizations and sentence position as they relate to sentence clarity. It can be accessed by clicking here

We would like to extend our thanks to Purdue OWL Content Developer Erin Brock for her work on this resource.


New Purdue OWL Literary Criticism Resource - Ecocriticism


May 22, 2015 10:07 am
By Joshua M. Paiz

The Purdue OWL is pleased to announce the launch of our latest literary criticism resource, the Ecocriticism resource. This resource introduces the reader to the ecocriticism approach, and provides a list of suggested further reading. It can be accessed by clicking here

We would like to extend our thanks to Purdue OWL Content Developer Libby Chernouski for her work on this resource. 


New Purdue OWL Creative Writing Resource - Poetry Invention


April 29, 2015 10:00 am
By Joshua M. Paiz

The Purdue OWL is pleased to announce the launch of our latest creative writing resource, the Poetry Invention resource and activities handout. This resource provides students with tips and strategies for creating and developing new poems. It can be accessed by clicking here. The 6 activities connected to this resource help the poetry writer develop a poem by engaging in activities such as: writing into an image, engaging in a personal history, or through erasing an existing passage of text.

We would like to extend our thanks to Purdue OWL Content Developer McKinley Murphy for her work on this resource. 


New Purdue OWL Professional Writing Resource - Stakeholder Considerations


April 23, 2015 12:52 pm
By Joshua M. Paiz

The Purdue OWL is pleased to announce the launch of our latest professional writing resource, the Considering Your Stakeholders resource and activity handout. This resource provides students with tips and strategies for approaching audience considerations in professional writing contexts. It can be accessed by clicking here

We would like to extend our thanks to Purdue OWL Content Developer Anthony J. Sutton for his work on this resource. 


New Purdue OWL ESL Resource - Email Elements Workshop


April 16, 2015 1:43 pm
By Joshua M. Paiz

The Purdue OWL is pleased to announce the launch of our latest ESL resource, the Email Elements Workshop. This resource provides students with tips and strategies for crafting professional and appropriate emails. It can be accessed by clicking here

This workshop was originally held as part of the Purdue Writing Lab's contribution to Purdue's PLaCE initiatives. 

We would like to extend our thanks to Purdue OWL PLaCE Developers Nisha Nagarajan and Kaitlyn Neis for their work on this resource. 


New Purdue OWL Content Coordinator Announced


April 9, 2015 1:00 pm
By Joshua M. Paiz

The winds of change are blowing at Purdue and the Purdue OWL is utilizing these winds to soar to new heights. Starting this summer, a whole new leadership team will be coming on-line at the Purdue OWL, as both our technical and content coordinators depart Purdue for new locales and new challenges. Below, our incumbent content coordinator, Joshua M. Paiz offers his parting thoughts and introduces our new content cordinator, Daniel Kenzie, who will be formally joining Purdue OWL leadership in Summer 2015. 

From Joshua M. Paiz

When I was first selected to take the helm at the Purdue OWL three years ago, I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised. During my time at the OWL, I have grown to love what I do; I have found a voice in my discipline; and, I have met and worked with some truely brilliant developers. 

When I first came online at the Purdue OWL, I had two goals: (1) to grow our ESL/L2 Writing resources, and (2) to continue to professionalize our behind the scenes work. I feel that I have been successful on both fronts. We have not only revised and expanded our ESL writing resources, but we have also engaged in a number of research projects and intra-departmental collaborations in order to better understand what our users need from us and how to deliver quality resoruces. In regards to further professionalizing what we do, it has been during my time here that we have fomalized the onboarding of both our content developers and our content coordinator. We have developed a number of manuals and guides to help us as we move into our next 25 years.

One developer and tutor with whom I have had the pleasure of working with has been Daniel Kenzie. He has partnered with us to execute a vidcast series detailing what to expect when you visit the Purdue Writing Lab, a resource that has been of use to many instructors here at Purdue. I can know happily introduce Daniel Kenzie as the next Purdue OWL Content Coordiantor. His experiences in academic administration and the writing lab will serve us well during this time of transition and growth.

By way of parting, allow me to say that my engagement with the OWL will not end here. I look forward to using the Purdue OWL in my own teaching and as a continued site of research when I join the faculty of Writing and World Languages NYU Shanghai this coming fall. I may be a world a way, but the Purdue OWL and her global wingspan will be there, supporting my teaching and research efforts. It's been a brilliant time being in the OWL's Nest.

Joshua M. Paiz, Content Coordinator, May 2012-May 2015

From Daniel Kenzie

Hello! I’m a PhD student in Rhetoric and Composition with specializations in professional writing, writing program administration, and public rhetorics. I am excited to return to the Lab after previously tutoring there for three years and working as Workshop & WAC Coordinator and Business Writing Coordinator. I know how much the OWL means to writers, students, teachers, and tutors around the world because I know what it has meant to me, and I consider it a privilege to help chart its future with the rest of the OWL team. As Content Coordinator, I hope to build resources for writing across disciplines, consider accessibility for differently abled users throughout the development process, and prioritize transfer of learning. I am also looking forward to the day-to-day work of identifying needs, recruiting and collaborating with content developers, and interacting with users. The OWL has a much longer history and future than my time with it, so I hope to be a responsible steward until it’s time for me to pass the torch.


New Purdue OWL Technical Coordinator Announced


April 9, 2015 12:49 pm
By Joshua M. Paiz

The winds of change are blowing at Purdue and the Purdue OWL is utilizing these winds to soar to new heights. Starting this summer a whole new leadership team will be coming on-line at the Purdue OWL, as both our technical and content coordinators depart Purdue for new locales and new challenges. Below, our incumbent technical coordinator, Caitlan Spronk offers her parting thoughts and introduces our new technical cordinator, Fernando Sanchéz, who will be formally joining Purdue OWL leadership in Summer 2015. 

From Caitlan Spronk

My time at the OWL has been immensely rewarding both personally and professionally.  

On the professional side, I have gotten to spend time strengthening my knowledge of PHP, JavaScript, and user experience, and version control. Working with university IT infrastructure has given me valuable insight about deploying sites in enterprise environments. I’ve also been developing an online scheduling system for the physical writing lab at Purdue, which has been a great opportunity to learn about PHP frameworks, design patterns, and responsive JavaScript.

On the personal side, I’ve had so much fun working with fellow OWL staff.  I’ll miss our impromptu discussions about OWL navigation or emails that morph into Star Trek references and imgur viewing fests. 

Although I’m very sad to be leaving the OWL soon, I’m pleased to hand the reins over to Fernando Sanchéz, who will be taking over as the OWL technical coordinator in August. Fernando has previously worked on web design for the writing center at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, and has also worked as an OWL content developer. Welcome Fernando! 

From Fernando Sanchéz

Greetings all,

As a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Composition with research interests in design, technical communication, and digital spaces I am excited to come on board as the Purdue OWL Webmaster for this academic year.

During my time at Purdue, I have developed content for the OWL and published in the WPA journal on making Writing Center websites accessible to ESL students. Moreover, before coming to Purdue, I served as the technology steward for the Writing Center at Saint Mary’s University in Minneapolis, MN, where I was responsible for completely redesigning our webspace. This required coordinating with several entities on campus, performing user testing on prototypes, and communicating technical information to administrative staff.

I am honored to further the wonderful work that has been done to expand the OWL into new usable platforms. I look forward to incorporating my knowledge of design and testing by reaching out to OWL stakeholders and implementing iterative design choices collaboratively.


New Purdue OWL Resource: Grant Writing in the Sciences


April 8, 2015 10:18 am
By Joshua M. Paiz

The Purdue OWL is pleased to announce the launch of our latest professional writing resource series, Grant Writing in the Sciences. These resource provides users with a guide to understanding the grant writing process in many disciplines in the sciences, as well as tools for planning and writing their grants.

To access these resource, click here

We would like to thank content developer Stacy Nall for her work on this resource.


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