Clemson faculty gather for lunch at the Picture a Scholar event.

What is the Faculty Fellows program?

The Pearce Faculty Fellows program seeks to meet the needs of faculty in departments from across campus who are interested in learning strategies for teaching writing in undergraduate and graduate disciplinary classrooms.

Faculty Fellows are selected for their interest in transforming writing instruction and professional communication on Clemson’s campus. Specifically, Pearce Faculty Fellows seek to enhance efforts to develop more interdisciplinary curricula and to enhance vital areas of graduate and undergraduate education: Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC), Writing In the Disciplines (WID) and Communication Across the Curriculum (CxC).

The Pearce Faculty Fellows program aims to enhance the academic profile of faculty and student research by developing strategies for effective professional communication, with an emphasis on scientific writing and digital and visual communication. The objectives of the program are to increase the visibility, quality and scope of writing on Clemson’s campus, to collaborate with faculty in the teaching of writing and professional communication and to support faculty in the use of technologies for digital and visual communication. To accomplish these objectives, the Pearce Center offers an opportunity to complete a year-long writing- or communication-centered research project.

Apply to be a Faculty Fellow

Interested in becoming a Faculty Fellow? Read more about the responsibilities of the program and fill out the below application.

Apply to be a Faculty Fellow

Faculty Fellows Project Descriptions

Amanda Bridges

Associate Professor: Graphic Communications

Dr. Bridges’ project, entitled “Using Critiques as Effective Writing Tools in a Graphic Communications Classroom,” builds from the framework from a recent research project she conducted on the most needed competencies for higher education graphic communications programs (Bridges, 2020). The top-ranking competencies included critical thinking skills, communication skills (written and verbal), teamwork, problem solving and analytical thinking skills and business and personal ethics. This project will focus solely on the second most needed competency: communication.

The project aims to develop and assess a more creative approach to writing in graphic communications by utilizing written student critiques. Dr. Bridges will first create a series of lectures and exercises to prepare students for written critiques. This project will be incorporated into her introductory graphic communications course. In this class, students are assigned several large-scale design projects where written critiques are applicable. At the conclusion of the semester, students will complete a survey regarding their experiences with written critiques as a learning tool for writing.

Based on the results, Dr. Bridges would like to create an academic paper and presentation discussing the relevance and benefits of written critiques in a graphic communications curriculum. The results of this project will also be used as an assessment to measure student learning in writing, which will be valuable for accreditation purposes.

Rachelle Beckner

Lecturer: Civil Engineering

Beckner’s visual, oral and written communication in civil engineering, or VOICE, project builds on a new model incorporating oral and written communication within the civil engineering curriculum. Industry partners and prospective employers continue to share that students excel with technical skills but lack good communication skills.

Beckner will spend her fellowship term building an online hub that will feature learning modules and assessments that address common writing mistakes in grammar, punctuation, organization and style. Using the Writing in the Disciplines model, this hub will provide writing resources and feature a department-specific style guide. Resources for this hub will be vetted through the Fellows workshops and cohort.

The VOICE hub will offer resources like Canva to create dynamic visual elements for presentations, posters and reports and will hold University-approved logos and exemplars of effective visual communication. In addition, the hub will house Pitch Vantage, an online tool that measures student public speaking performance in real time. At the end of the term, Beckner expects to have a robust online communication tool that civil engineering students can use to supplement their course instruction and polish their oral and written communication skills.

Cassandra May smiles and poses in front of a white background.Cassandra May

Lecturer: Biological Sciences

Teaching the conventions of scientific writing can be a daunting task, as the student must not only learn a different writing style but also understand the content of the text in order to do so. Dr. May’s project is to create a set of assignments using discipline-specific examples centered on the conventions of scientific writing to meet the needs of a student population with backgrounds in varying scientific disciplines. To implement this idea, she will explore the literature to learn what has worked for others when teaching science writing conventions. She is particularly interested in learning how others have incorporated primary literature into writing assignments. Dr. May plans to take the information gained from the exploration phase and craft three different assignments. Each assignment will allow the student to pick a scientific discipline to focus on. Initially, she will create assignments using examples from the disciplines of microbiology, cell biology and ecology. She hopes, through this fellowship, to create tools to aid in teaching scientific writing to a diverse audience.

Amy Scaroni

Assistant Professor: Forestry and Environmental Conservation

Communication is an essential skill for natural resource professionals who often find themselves speaking at public meetings, giving research talks, conducting interviews, meeting one-on-one with landowners, collaborating with other agencies and managing project teams. However, communications training is rarely required as part of a natural resource curriculum. Even fewer natural resource professionals receiving training on communication strategies specifically targeted at bringing about a behavior change, which is often the goal of natural resource outreach efforts. Dr. Scaroni’s project will create a series of workshops focused on effective communication for behavior change, with one track for natural resources students and another track for Clemson Extension professionals and natural resource managers. The primary objective of these workshops is for participants to develop the necessary skills to design and implement an effective outreach campaign. Dr. Scaroni will use the fellowship term to gain insights from her fellowship cohort, refine the scope of the workshops, gather information, design the curriculum and evaluation metrics and pilot the workshops.

Arwen Declan smiles at the camera and poses in front of a dark blue background.Arwen Declan

Clinical Assistant Professor: School of Health Research

Communication is a key skill in both science and medicine. As a physician scientist, Dr. Declan mentors medical students, graduate students and young physicians who must communicate their medical and scientific work. As a Pearce Faculty Fellow, she will develop and enhance the individualized feedback she offers to each mentee by identifying a key opportunity for growth and an associated reference for each mentee. By pairing the opportunity with an existing reference, she will build a defined collection of insights and resources for training students and physicians to clearly communicate in writing. Thus, Dr. Declan’s work will develop an experiential, thoughtful approach to mentoring students and physicians as they build their writing skills.

Guest Speakers

At each of the monthly meetings, Pearce Faculty Fellows host a guest speaker to discuss relevant topics in WAC/WID/CxC. Find more information on our series of speakers below.

Joanna Wolfe smiles at the camera and poses in front of a large bookshelf. Dr. Joanna Wolfe is a professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research focuses on equity and communication, technical communication and Writing In the Disciplines. Her research has received awards from several distinguished organizations, including National Council of Teachers of English, the American Association of Engineering Educators, the IEEE Professional Communication Society and the Association for Computing Machinery.

Kathleen Yancey poses for a professional headshot in front of a light brown backdrop. Dr. Kathleen Yancey is the Kellogg W. Hunt Professor of English and Distinguished Research Professor at Florida State University. Yancey co-founded and is co-editor of the journal Assessing Writing, a refereed international journal providing a forum for ideas, research and practice on the assessment of written language. She also served as editor of College Composition and Communication, the flagship journal in the field. Her research spans several areas, including students’ transfer of writing knowledge and practice and the intersections of culture, literacy and technologies.

Chris Basgier smiles at the camera and poses in front of a brick wall. Dr. Christopher Basgier is the Director of University Writing at Auburn University. Since joining the faculty at Auburn, he has designed and implemented a variety of faculty development programs aimed at creating more meaningful writing assignments across the disciplines. In addition to these efforts, Basgier serves as an associate editor on the “Across the Disciplines Books” series, which publishes scholarship relevant to Writing Across the Curriculum, Writing In the Disciplines and interdisciplinary communication.

Alice Horning sits at a dinner table at a banquet and looks off camera with a smile. Dr. Alice Horning began teaching at Oakland University in 1982 where she taught English and linguistics until her retirement in 2016. She also served as the director of first-year composition for 10 years and helped secure the funding for Oakland University’s writing center, which is still serving students today. Her research is focused on the intersection of reading and writing, concentrating on students’ reading difficulties and how to address them in writing courses and across the disciplines.

Laura Palmer poses for a professional headshot in front of a yellow backdrop. Dr. Laura Palmer is a professor and chair of the Department of Technical Communication and Interactive Design at Kennesaw State University. She began her career working in publication design and production. She then decided to pursue her master’s and Ph.D. in technical communication before joining the faculty at Southern Polytechnic State University (now Kennesaw State University). Palmer seeks to reignite interest in technical communication and show a new generation that the field offers a number of exciting career paths. Currently, her research focuses on re-envisioning the technical editing class, roles for technical communicators in SEO and analytics, and the emerging use of blockchain for search marketing.


Chris Anson smiles at the camera and poses in front of several colorful buildings. Dr. Chris Anson is a distinguished university professor and professor of English at North Carolina State University. He also serves as the director of the campus writing and speaking program where he works with faculty across all disciplines to improve undergraduate education in both spoken and written communication. Anson has published 18 books and over 140 journal articles focusing on teaching and learning writing. He is also a member of several distinguished journals’ editorial or reader’s boards, including College English and Across the Disciplines. His most recent work is a co-edited collection of essays entitled “Writing-Enriched Curricula: Models of Faculty-Driven and Departmental Transformation.” 

Dr. Linda Flower is a professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research focuses on writing as a social-cognitive process and teaching rhetorical problem solving. She served as co-director of the National Center for the National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy at Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon and helped create Pittsburgh’s Community Literacy Center. Flower has published several works in a variety of publications, including her recent article Hidden Frames: Writing a Road to Change published in College Composition and Communication. 

Dr. Rebecca Hallman Martini is an associate professor of English at the University of Georgia. She also serves as the director of UGA’s writing center. Her research centers around writing center studies, writing across the disciplines, ethnographic research methods and composition pedagogy. She is especially interested in the potential of strategic partnerships between campus writing centers and WAC programs, which she explores I her recent book “Disrupting the Center: A Partnership-Based Approach to Writing in the University.” Hallman Martini is also the founding editor of the International Writing Center Association’s newest journal, The Peer Review: A Journal for Writing Center Practitioners.

A close up of Anne Geller smiling at the camera. Dr. Anne Geller is a professor of English at St. John’s University and serves as the director of Writing Across the Communities program. Geller’s research focuses on student and faculty writers, writing centers and co-authorship. She is currently working on a book titled “Funding a Future: Writing Programs, Literacy Politics, and the National Endowment for the Humanities” in which she is examining the impact of the millions of dollars devoted to seminars for teachers of writing and to the development of writing programs across the country. 

Julia Voss smiles at the camera and poses in front of a neutral background. Dr. Julia Voss is a professor of English at Santa Clara University. She teaches classes in subjects such as college writing, digital composition and technical writing. She also worked as a writing consultant prior to teaching. As her course selection illustrates, Voss studies composition and literacy and seeks to examine the relationship between reading and composition in the classroom, community and professional contexts. She is particularly interested in how literacies transfer across environments.  Voss strives to create an interactive classroom experience that focuses on discussions and composition activities. 

To see our previous Faculty Fellows and read their project descriptions, please visit the link below. 

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