Jessica Kem has worked in the Writing Center at Amherst College since 2008, first as a writing associate, and currently as director. In this capacity, she offers writing tutorials for students, teaches writing workshops, consults with faculty, manages the operations and staffing of the Center, and serves on a number of campus working groups.
When working with students, either in one-on-one tutorials or in a workshop, she guides them towards active roles in their learning. She enjoys teaching strategies for writing more clearly and concisely, for brainstorming ideas, and for mapping out a project. In her work with students, she aims to be honest but supportive at all times.
In coordination with instructional staff in other departments, Jessica has co-taught pedagogy workshops, co-developed models for multifaceted course support, and co-facilitated dialogues about teaching, learning, and inclusivity. In addition to work supporting faculty teaching, she is a strong advocate for staff working across “silos,” for experimentation and reflection on collaborative work models, and for staff development opportunities.
She has learned and developed strategies for writing more productively, and so consults with and teaches students, faculty, and staff about building good habits and environments for writing, especially for long-term projects. She has spearheaded events that build communities of writers and encourage these healthy writing habits, such as the thesis writers’ retreat, the Amherst Write-In, and the writing retreat for faculty and staff.
As a former academic librarian, she works at the intersection of the research and writing processes, with an interest in effective reading and note-taking practices, introducing other voices while maintaining a sense of authorship, and learning (and interrogating) disciplinary scholarly conventions. She has taught workshops on designing research posters, with an emphasis on visual rhetoric. With a deep interest in exploring how technologies (both digital and analog) influence composing, she enjoys teaching and learning about writing, collaboration, and annotation tools (e.g., Scrivener, Google apps, Evernote) and discussing multimodal/visual rhetoric and composition.