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WKU English faculty member wins national award

Christopher Ervin receives 2015 NCPTW Maxwell Leadership Award

Christopher Ervin, Director of Composition and assistant professor of English at WKU, has won the 2015 Ron Maxwell Award for Distinguished Leadership in Promoting the Collaborative Learning Practices of Peer Tutors in Writing.

Christopher Ervin

Christopher Ervin

The award was presented Nov. 6 at the 32nd annual National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW) in Salt Lake City.

The award recognizes a professional within the NCPTW organization for dedication to and leadership in collaborative learning in writing centers, for aiding students in together taking on more responsibility for their learning, and, thus, for promoting the work of peer tutors. Its presentation also denotes extraordinary service to the evolution of the conference organization.

A selection committee of nine previous award recipients selected Ervin because of his consistent, diligent, innovative, transformative, fair-minded, and wide-ranging contributions to NCPTW, many of them behind the scenes.

“Chris has been a true leader in NCPTW for years and has been committed to increasing the number and quality of awards available to tutors to attend the conference,” said a member of the selection committee. “He captures the true spirit of NCPTW and invests himself wholly in collaborative learning in the form of peer tutoring through his research and work with students. Chris works tirelessly to ensure the conference organization continues to offer tutors and writing center professionals a meaningful learning experience. He always comes through.”

“Chris has always looked for ways to make the best use of funds available. His work and foresight has strengthened our organization and extended its value to tutors,” said one of Ervin’s nominators.

Nominators and committee members also noted Ervin’s research and writing that remain focused on writing center pedagogy. Of particular value is an extensive ethnographic research project with Coe College peer writing tutors over the past 10 years. Ervin has just submitted the study for publication.

Ervin received a check from the Maxwell Family and a plaque bearing two quotes that have informed his career. He chose the first quote from the Coe College Writing Center’s handbook The Enchiridion: “One of the easiest ways to learn how to write is by talking about the writing: Let the tongue compose meaning.” Ervin has just submitted for publication the results of a long-term, ethnographic research project with Coe College peer writing tutors.

The second quote is from a song lyric: “The bus came by and I got on. That’s when it all began” (Bob Weir, Jerry Garcia, and Bill Kreutzmann, “That’s It for the Other One”).

“For me, the bus was the writing center back in 1992,” Ervin said. “I got on, and that’s when it all began.”

Contact: Jon Olson, (814) 865-6383; or Christopher Ervin, (270) 745-4650

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