Mullis named OU Writing Center director

Dr. Courtney Mullis will join the staff of Oglethorpe University as the new director of the Writing Center on July 1, 2024. Mullis currently serves as a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow and is Assistant Director of the Communication Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Dr. Courtney Mullis in black blazer and yellow shirt

Dr. Courtney Mullis

“Writing is at the heart of critical thinking and self-expression,” said Dr. Kendra King Momon, interim provost. “The role Dr. Mullis is taking on is vital to Oglethorpe students as they build capacity in an essential skill of liberal arts study. We are excited to have her join us and look forward to benefitting from her expertise and passion.”

Prior to her work at Georgia Tech, she worked in student support at the Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania and was an instructor at Duquesne University. Mullis earned a bachelor of arts degree in English Language and Literature from Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., a master of arts degree in English Language and Literature from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., and a Ph.D. in English Literature from Duquesne.

“I was interested in applying for the position because of the exciting opportunity to start a writing center and establish a vibrant writing culture at Oglethorpe,” said Mullis, who will be located with Student Success on the lower level of Robinson Hall. “This university was especially appealing to me because I have always aspired to join the faculty of a small, diverse close-knit university. When I interviewed for the role, I was thrilled to meet so many faculty and staff from all disciplines and programs who were similarly dedicated to helping support Oglethorpe’s student writers.”

Mullis described her approach to teaching writing as a recognition of the process as well as a mode of learning.

“When I teach writing, I prioritize multiple drafts and detailed feedback on each draft to help students develop the kinds of writing processes that they will need to write successfully in various situations,” Mullis said. “My goal is to help students develop the skills they will need to write well not only in writing-intensive courses, but also in courses across the curriculum and in their professional lives.”

She plans to approach her new role by highlighting and building on student writers’ existing strengths while helping them acquire new skills in writing and communicating. Her recent teaching and writing center work has focused on multimodal writing, which includes writing as well as oral, nonverbal, visual and electronic communication.

“I believe multimodal writing is essential for students entering the contemporary workforce, so I look forward to building a writing center that supports all of these different ways of communicating,” Mullis said.

Her first priority will be standing up the center to serve students at the start of the fall semester. She will extend the work of the experienced writing tutors who have been working with Student Success while recruiting and training new tutors. In the long term, she said she wants to work with faculty across the disciplines to learn about student writing at Oglethorpe so she can develop effective workshops and other support that will help students’ writing improve in the ways that are most important for their classes and future careers.

As a writer, Mullis has published journal articles on fiction by Gayl Jones and Zora Neale Hurston as well as a chapter in an edited collection about the novel “The Submission” by Amy Waldman. Her article, “Don Delillo’s Falling Man as Cultural Trauma Fiction” is forthcoming in the journal “English: The Journal of the English Association,” and her chapter on James Baldwin’s short stories will appear in “The Routledge Companion to James Baldwin.”

“Whether students come in for one-on-one tutoring, attend a workshop, or learn writing skills from faculty who receive support in writing instruction, they are bound to receive either direct or indirect help from the writing center,” Mullis said. “The potential to have such a broad impact on Oglethorpe really excites and inspires me.”

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