Following a competitive national search, The Office of Undergraduate Studies at The University of Texas-Pan American has appointed Dr. Rebekah Hamilton as the director of the University Writing Center.
Hamilton, who has served as the center's interim director since Fall 2010, said she was delighted to be selected as its permanent director and is eager to find creative ways to expand the scope of the writing center's services.
"Writing is so much more than an end-product; it is an excellent tool for learning and can be used to increase students' retention and success in any course," she said.
Hamilton received both her Ph.D. in English, with focuses on 19th century British literature, rhetoric and composition, and management, and her M.A. in English from Texas A&M University. She earned her B.A. in English and German, with Texas Secondary Teachers Certification, from Baylor University.
She came to UTPA in 1989 and was appointed as the English Department's lower division coordinator. She was later appointed and served as the faculty activity coordinator from 2001-2006 for UTPA's Title V grant and was involved in the planning and implementation of the University's UNIV 1301 - Learning Framework course - and learning communities during that time. From 2006-2009, Hamilton also served as associate dean of the College of Arts and Humanities.
The University Writing Center, located in the UTPA Library, offers UTPA students and faculty assistance with academic writing in all disciplines. Peer tutors, certified by the College Reading and Learning Association, assist students meeting class writing assignment requirements. Other components housed within the center are a faculty-reserved computer classroom and the UTPA Writing Across the Curriculum Program.
As the center's interim director, Hamilton helped implement the Writing Fellows Program, which pairs an experienced University Writing Center tutor with students in a specific section of a class to assist with writing assignments and projects. So far, a writing fellow has been assigned to and worked successfully with students in three courses. The center has also extended expanded outreach to students in the College Assistance Migrant Program and the Guerra Honors Program, providing experienced Writing Center tutors to meet weekly with those students.
Under Hamilton's leadership, the center provided extended graduate student hours from 6-8 p.m., Monday through Thursday, to better serve graduate students' needs.
Hamilton said upcoming initiatives of the center for 2012-2013 include further expanding its services to include tutoring in critical reading and critical thinking beginning in October 2012. This initiative - titled College Literacy Academic Success - funded by a TG Public Benefit Grant Program will target selected sessions of Political Science 2313 and 2314 but tutoring in these skills will be offered to students in any course, Hamilton said.
Hamilton's appointment was effective Sept. 1, 2012.
For more information, contact the Office of Undergraduate Studies at (956) 665-7919. For more information on the University Writing Center, visit its website.