Linda Adler-Kassner, a professor of writing, has joined the Writing Program at UC Santa Barbara as its new director. She replaces acting co-directors Michael Petracca and Madeleine Sorapure, who served in that capacity since the retirement of former director Susan McLeod in 2008.
Adler-Kassner comes to UCSB from Eastern Michigan University, where she was director of First-Year Writing and director of the University Writing Center. Prior to that she served as an assistant professor of composition and rhetoric, and director of the Writing Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She completed her doctoral degree in mass communication at the University of Minnesota, where she also taught composition in the university’s General College and co-directed the College’s writing program.
The author, co-author, or co-editor of several books, Adler-Kassner’s work includes The Activist WPA: Changing Stories About Writing and Writers, which received the Best Book Award from the Council of Writing Program Administrators for 2008-2010. She is also co-author of the forthcoming Reframing Writing Assessment to Improve Teaching and Learning, and of Basic Writing as Political Act: Public Conversations About Writing and Literacy. In addition, she has written many articles and book chapters on writing program administration, pedagogy, and public policy and writing instruction.
“I come to rhetoric and composition through communications studies, which is a somewhat unusual approach,” she said. “But it leads me to think about language practices in lots of different ways.”
UCSB’s Writing Program offers a variety of interactive courses in which students learn how to write effectively for different disciplinary and social contexts. The program also includes a Professional Writing Minor, as well as opportunities for students to conduct independent research with expert faculty members.
The program here is particularly strong, Adler-Kassner said. Associate professor Karen Lunsford is a noted researcher and teacher, and the program’s other instructors – an extremely qualified group of 34 lecturers – are experts in the field. “We offer lower and upper division writing classes that really help students develop strong writing foundations when they enter the university and then build on those foundations throughout their educations,” Adler-Kassner said.