Martha Wilson Schaffer

Director of First-Year Writing

Guilford 219

Other Information

Degree: PhD, Bowling Green State University
JD, University of Toledo College of Law

Specialty: English Program Faculty, Writing Program Faculty

I serve as Associate Director of Composition and as an instructor in the English Department, where I teach and provide support in courses on linguistics, grammar, and writing pedagogy. In addition to my work in the English Department, I coordinate the Foundational Writing Program and first-year writing placement for CWRU’s unique SAGES Program (Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship). I am fortunate in my work to collaborate with students, teachers, and administrators from all around the campus.

Before coming to CWRU, I was an attorney specializing in representation of injured and disabled workers. In 2011, I decided to change careers and pursue my PhD in English (Rhetoric & Writing) at Bowling Green State University, where I became intensely interested in the ways first-year college students develop as writers. My dissertation, Affective Possibilities for Rhetoric & Writing: How We Might Self-Assess Potentiality in Composition, explores how student writers evaluate their own writing and seeks a useful definition of “potentiality” to help students recognize and consider their capacities for growth and development into future writing projects and writing selves.

At CWRU, I continue to research writing assessment, the growth and potentiality of novice writers, and the ways in which we use writing to interact as humans in the writing classroom and in our real lives.