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Dr. Katherine Schmidt
Writing Center Director & Professor of Writing
The following content is taken from Western Edge on June 14, 2014
Few people could handle what often feels like an equivalent to two full time jobs with the gusto, positivity and grace that Dr. Katherine Schmidt demonstrates on a daily basis. Since joining Western Oregon University (WOU) 11 years ago, Schmidt serves the university as both the director of the Writing Center and a professor of writing. She is also this year’s recipient of the Mario and Alma Pastega Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Through both roles Schmidt works with the students of WOU to help them become stronger writers and communicators. “Teaching is what I was born to do,” Schmidt said. Through this job, Schmidt found a true passion: writing. She began taking classes and fell in love with linguistics.
As a faculty member and director of the Writing Center, Schmidt works tirelessly to give students the tools they need to achieve their goals. Whether that is through improving their academic assignments, writing for scholarships, improving personal statements for graduate school applications or writing artist statements for shows – her goal is to teach people how to communicate well and get excited about their work. While teaching English, Schmidt gets to work with students for 10 weeks through introductory writing courses and creative writing workshops. In contrast, Schmidt only has two hours to make a difference for a student in the Writing Center. “My objective is to impact each and every one of them in ways that will linger long beyond my short time with them,” Schmidt said.
Her role in the Writing Center enables her to teach faculty, as well as students, directly. Some faculty will call Schmidt when they feel their students aren’t writing to expected standards. Schmidt can then look over the assignment and directions that were given to the students, and if necessary, provide feedback to the faculty member. Often that discussion turns in to an opportunity for her to help them find a way to be more equitable and efficient in grading through rubrics and global revisions. This can also aid to foster transparency, and help students to eliminate vagueness from their writing style.