Dr. Ryan Shirey
Teaching Professor, Director of the Writing Center
I arrived at the study and teaching of writing through my work as a Writing Center tutor and the pursuit of a Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of College Writing during my Ph.D. coursework in English and American literature at Washington University in St. Louis. While my initial training was in literary studies, I found that my teaching and research interests began to develop along lines that led me closer to the work being done by scholars and teachers in Rhetoric and Writing Studies. These interests include, among others, writing center pedagogies (across a wide spectrum of theoretical concerns), rhetorical ethics, critical reading and civic literacies, and L2 writing pedagogy. I also remain an engaged literature scholar with interests in Scottish literature, British Romanticism, and crime and detective fiction, but I devote most of my research attention to collaborating with the peer tutors of the WFU Writing Center and coordinating their hiring, training, and professional development as Director of the Writing Center (a position that I have held since January 2010). I have a passion for Writing Center work and believe deeply in our mission of empowering writers through intentional conversation and close textual and topical engagement.
Fundamentally, I believe that the practice of writing should be understood in rhetorical and ethical terms that invite mutual recognition between the writer and audience as well as a sense of responsibility to both wider (discourse) communities and to the exigencies of the kairotic moment. I strive to bring this understanding into all of my writing courses, and I enjoy learning alongside my students as we explore what it means to write well in ways that are less about simple persuasion and more about building identification.
My teaching and work as Director are informed by the same concerns about writers’ agency, writing in community, and approaching the writing process in intentional ways. I am committed to the idea of creating a vibrant, interdisciplinary culture of writing here at Wake Forest, and I believe that such a goal is precisely where the interests of the Writing Center and the Writing Program intersect and reinforce one another.
When I am not teaching or conversing with the Writing Center staff, I enjoy watching the St. Louis Cardinals, dabbling in music-making, and doing the occasional community theater production. I also enjoy spending time with my three cats: Muriel, Renton, and Begbie.