Lauren FitzgeraldProfessor Lauren Fitzgerald chairs the Yeshiva College English Department and directs the Wilf Campus Writing Center, which, along with the Beren Writing Center, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. In the YC English department, she teaches courses on academic writing, digital and multimodal composing, writing research and pedagogy, authorship, and Romantic-period British literature. In the Writing Center, she has prepared hundreds of student tutors and dozens of faculty consultants to work with thousands of writers from the YU community—students, faculty, staff, and alumni. She double majored in Rhetoric & Writing and English as an undergraduate at the University of Tulsa and earned a Ph.D. in English at NYU. Before coming to YU in 1997, she directed the writing center at Barnard College.

  1. What is your favorite aspect of your job at YU?

Hands down, the part of my job that I enjoy most is working with students in classes, in the Writing Center, and as Chair of English at YC. I’ve learned so much from YU undergraduates, particularly about collaborative learning and ways religious practice can frame how people write and think. What they taught me profoundly influenced my scholarship and teaching.

 

  1. What do you consider the best piece of advice to give a burgeoning writer?

Share your work with readers you trust, ask them to tell you how they understand what you wrote, and listen carefully to what they say. If they describe your writing in ways that don’t line up with what you’re trying to do, take another shot. Don’t be afraid to revise—a lot. Because writing is nobody’s first language, no writer gets it right the first time.

 

  1. What profession did you think you would one day hold when you were a child?

My Dad tells me I always wanted to be a teacher. By the time I was in high school, I also wanted to be a writer. I think that being an English professor who directs a writing center and teaches writing is the best of both worlds.

 

  1. How do you stay connected with students once they graduate?

I always look forward to catching up with students when they need recommendations or confirmation of their work at the Writing Center. In addition, I maintain a Facebook group for former Wilf and Beren writing center tutors and, last spring, my colleagues and I hosted a panel of English major alumni to speak to current students, which was enormously gratifying. My email address hasn’t changed in nearly 20 years; I hope alumni will drop me a line!

 

  1. Who is your favorite writer and why?

It’s impossible to pick just one, but over the years I keep returning with admiration and joy to the poetry of William Wordsworth. I love especially the way he struggled to describe the creative process by reflecting on his own thinking and writing. My efforts to understand how he did so solidified my interest in authorship—how writers write—and led to a course that I now teach on this topic.

 

  1. What would your colleagues and students be surprised to learn about you?

Maybe because I’ve lived in NYC for more than half of my life, some people are surprised to learn that I grew up and went to college in Oklahoma.

 

 

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