Director of WLU’s Writing Center, Dr. Amanda Tennant, prepares to leave the Hilltop

Dr. Amanda Tennant welcoming visitors to opening day of the Robinson Writing Center in 2017.

With the semester coming to an end, West Liberty University (WLU) must say farewell to the graduating seniors as well as Assistant Professor of Composition and Director of the Writing Center, Dr. Amanda Tennant.

Looking back on Tennant’s five years of professing here on the Hilltop, there are many things to acknowledge as she leaves for Morgantown, W.Va. to live closer to her family. Being a mother of two, Tennant values the importance of raising her young sons closer to her parents and having reliable childcare. Tennant will miss the career and relationships she has formed at WLU, but explains that this decision is best for the future of her family.

Transforming the Robinson Writing Center from a student lounge to what it is today in the fall of 2017, Tennant has created a space where students of all majors can seek assistance in all stages of the writing process from trained consultants.

Tennant says the opportunity to start the writing center from scratch and recruit consultants was one of the appealing factors that piqued her interest when first applying for her current position at WLU.

The English department has a large population of faculty that specialize in literature, so WLU was intrigued to expand their staff’s level of expertise when hiring Tennant, an educator with a Ph.D in writing studies and rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University. Specializing in composition, Tennant currently teaches a variety of upper-level English courses in addition to the writing tutor practicum course (ENG 451).

Among these courses, Tennant explains that her fondest memories as an educator have been spent in ENG 451. As the director, Tennant is able to design this course and educate future writing center consultants based on her direct involvement in the writing center. The small class size allows for in-depth group discussion in which Tennant can help the students put valuable writing principles in practice. A favorite component of this class that Tennant spoke of is the final project that students must compose at the end of the semester.

“I like to see in the final project how students connect what we’ve learned in the course to their own interests. Just knowing that I get to keep working with the students is a unique feature of that course.” On the topic of continuing her work with consultants after this course, Tennant added, “Seeing how the students continue to grow as students as they work in the center is a good experience. The consultants seem to like it and it’s important to me that they find this helpful too.”

Tenant has accumulated many accolades to acknowledge ranging from her ability to grow the center in addition to her arrangement of the African American Read-In that has taken place over the past three years. Other accomplishments to note originate in the classroom in the form of her students and what they’ve achieved.

“One of the things I’ve done here that I’m proud of is my professional writing course. Two of my students have won funding through the Awesome Project”, an on-campus class taught by Lou Karas that funds campus proposals to better the student community. A current consultant in the writing center and winner of the Awesome Project proposal, Alexis Walton, won funding for a little library that will feature literature by diverse writers. Tennant added that seeing this project come to fruition is a rewarding experience and she hopes to see the final library before she leaves.

Beyond Walton, Tennant has touched other students as an educator and mentor of students. Creed Kidney, an art therapy major and current consultant in the writing center recalled his time with Dr. Tennant by stating “My biggest takeaway from my time with her as a teacher and as a director of the writing center is how much she opened my eyes to how I can help others. She made me want to teach and want to help people, and I know when I’m proud of how a consultation went or when I feel that the student is understanding the concepts I’m presenting them with, it’s because of her.”

Tennant will miss her time with students, but also pays tribute to the time she has spent with faculty. “I have really enjoyed working with the other English faculty so that is something I will also miss about working here. I feel like the English faculty here are really invested in student success and creating good courses.”

Tennant has formally accepted the position of Teaching Assistant, Professor of English and Associate Coordinator of Undergraduate Writing at West Virginia University. Within this position, Tennant will assume the role of teaching English and training graduate students who will go on to teach English 101 and 102.

“So that’s a little bit different from what I do here because we don’t have graduate student instructors in English at West Liberty, but it’s also similar because just as I’ve taught students to be consultants in the writing center, I’ll be teaching them how to teach.”

To learn more about Dr. Tennant’s time here as a professor of English, please reach out to her via email at [email protected].