Bedford / St. Martin's Continues Investment in Rhetoric and Composition with Ten New Scholars

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New York, NY, June 26, 2023 – Artificial Intelligence is a topic of critical importance in college classrooms around the world, and its intersection with the Composition classroom is one of the many topics being addressed with promising graduate students this week. Today, Bedford/St. Martin's welcomes ten members to their 2023 Bedford New Scholars Advisory Board, an annual program that unites graduate students who share trends and insights on the various teaching challenges that they face in college composition classrooms.

The Bedford New Scholars program was established 15 years ago to gain insights about topics critical to teaching the next generation of rhetoric and composition students. Topics addressed include creating equity in the classroom, how course materials are chosen, and how new pedagogies are being used. The scholars join more than 100 program alumni who have taught or will soon teach these critical classes.

Composition courses are some of the most common and important prerequisite and gateway courses students must pass in order to graduate. In these classes, students learn the critical thinking, communication, and research skills that are necessary for their success in upper-level courses. However, a 2019 study by the Gardner Institute found that gateway courses like Composition can stand as “gatekeepers” to degree completion.

Bedford/St. Martin’s has long been connected to the Composition community with its widely used titles like A Writer's Reference and The Bedford Reader. We deepen that connection each year with ongoing investment in the discipline, and the input of the Bedford New Scholars is an important part of that process,” said Leasa Burton, Vice President of Humanities at Macmillan Learning. 

The Scholars will gather virtually throughout the week to share their perspectives on topics like AI, ethical argumentation, and creating diverse and equitable learning environments. Further, the scholars will have the opportunity to learn more about the publishing process and see what goes into producing widely-used writing pedagogy books such as A Writer's Reference, The Bedford Reader, The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing, The Hub, and Everything’s an Argument, as well as Macmillan Learning’s digital learning platform, Achieve.

Throughout the program, the Scholars participate in market research and focus groups that inform product development. This year’s Scholars come from diverse backgrounds and have a range of experiences and perspectives, and the week-long summit offers opportunities for them to connect with each other to foster a more supportive and inclusive academic community. “This year’s scholars are creative and innovative problem-solvers, and we’re looking forward to learning more about how their teaching experiences can inform how we develop our products and services,” Burton added. 

The program culminates with each graduate student sharing their “Assignments That Work” on the Macmillan Community. The assignments are complimentary to all within the education community and showcase the Bedford New Scholars pedagogy skills as well as build a valuable community of practice, feedback, and implementation. 

This year’s Bedford New Scholars include: 

Emily Aguilar is a Master's student in English and a Teaching Associate at California State University, Los Angeles. Her experience teaching first-year writing has amplified her approach to equity-based teaching, especially for ESL students and students with disabilities. 

Hannah Benefiel is a Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition PhD student at Arizona State University. She serves as the Assistant Director of Writing programs and teaches Professional and Technical Communication, Composition 1&2, and the First Year Composition TA practicum. She writes about eating disorders, food as medicine, embodied technical communication, and religious trauma. 

Jacqueline Cano Diaz is pursuing an English MA in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Central Florida, where her thesis work centers on the rhetorical aspects of clothing choice, particularly as a woman of color in academia. She teaches Composition I and Composition II as part of the First Year Composition Program. 

Ronada Dominique is pursuing her PhD in English, concentrating on Writing and Rhetoric at George Mason University. She teaches First Year Composition courses and was the Graduate Writing Program Administrator, overseeing PhD mentoring and professional development. She explores the representation of Black scholars in Writing Studies publications and how research impacts the Black experience in higher education classrooms. 

Samira Grayson is pursuing her PhD in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Composition at Middle Tennessee State University. She has taught Expository Writing and Research and Argumentation, and currently serves as the University Writing Center’s program coordinator. Her research interests include writing center and writing program administration, spatial rhetorics and place-based pedagogy, feminist historiography and research methods, and notions of authorship in collaborative writing. 

Hannah Hopkins is pursuing a PhD in Rhetoric & Writing at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is an Assistant Director of the Digital Writing and Research Lab and an Assistant Instructor for the Center for Teaching and Learning. With a focus on digital rhetoric, she teaches a variety of courses in writing and pedagogy. Her research generally investigates storytelling with and about data.

Amanda E. Scott is pursuing a PhD in English with a concentration in Creative Writing at Western Michigan University, where she currently serves as an Assistant Director of First-Year Writing. She's taught a variety of undergraduate writing and editing courses as well as graduate-level courses in publishing. Her research often explores the intersections between inclusive writing practices, ethical design, and social inequities.

Christopher Luis Shosted is currently enrolled at Lehigh University where he studies the intersection of rhetoric and literary studies. He teaches courses and served as the assistant in the First-Year Writing Program at Lehigh. His research areas focus on applications of classical rhetoric to modern situations and the assessment of student writing along large and small scales. 

Kristen Wheaton is pursuing her PhD in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Writing Studies at the University of Oklahoma. She is currently Senior Assistant Director and an instructor of First-Year Composition and is one of only three instructors leading the co-requisite course first introduced in Fall of 2022. In addition to her teaching role, Her research interests include resistance rhetorics, genre theory, ethos, and rhetorics of difference.

Ashleah Wimberly is pursuing their PhD in Rhetoric and Composition at Florida State University. They teach a variety of courses, including first and second year composition and upper-level courses in FSU's Editing, Writing, & Media program. As a mentor and an assistant to the Composition Program, they have overseen the mentoring and training of graduate instructors and helped design and implement assessment protocols.

Many Scholars have gone on to take leadership roles in writing programs in colleges and universities across the country (read more about three of them here). Or learn more about this year’s Bedford New Scholars.

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