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Illinois State Writing Project

Directors

Running a local site of the National Writing Project takes a lot of work during the summer and throughout the school year. The people below are in charge of writing grant proposals to fund the ISWP Summer Institute and various programs during the school year, as well as publicizing the project at conferences, through print and digital media, and maintaining the ISWP web site.

Julie Cheville, Director

I began my career teaching English Language Arts in middle and high schools throughout the U.S. and Europe. Ten years later, I returned to my home state to complete a Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture from the University of Iowa. In higher education, I have taught and conducted scholarship at the intersection of English education and composition studies. From 2003 – 2006, I directed the National Writing Project at Rutgers University (NJ) and also served as a member of a national research team investigating the perspectives of career-long leaders in the NWP. In fall 2011, I joined the faculty of the Department of English as an associate professor and director of English Education. I have enjoyed working with teachers affiliated with our clinical placements, with ISWP, and with IATE. In addition to directing the program, teaching, and working with teachers, I’m in the midst of composing a biography of the late literary theorist Louise M. Rosenblatt, whom I befriended during the years we both lived in Princeton, NJ.

Jan Wirsing, Co-Director

Currently I teach junior high language arts at Trinity Lutheran School in Bloomington.  I joined the ISWP as a fellow in 1997 and as director in 2002.  Meeting teachers and sharing the teaching of writing is great!

The teaching of writing became much more fun for me when I became a writer myself by journaling—a practice my students now enjoy too.  This was a complete 180-degree turn for me from my formal training; ISWP helped me see myself as a writer and removed my fear of writing.  A nontraditional woman, I preferred playing baseball to playing with dolls as a child and have always embraced a challenge.  After 20 years of teaching I was invited to the ISWP, where I learned from other teachers how writing benefits the writer and the reader, no matter what age or subject area, and even I, a veteran teacher, can still learn and grow as I model writing with my students.