About us

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Rene D. Caputo, Co-Leader and Content Developer

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Rene is the ESL Specialist for the Thompson Writing Program and Writing Studio at Duke. In that role, she advises writing program fellows and studio consultants on effectively supporting ESL writers, hosts an international conversation group, designs support materials, and meets with international undergraduates to discuss strategies and resources for improving their writing. Over the past 20 years, she has taught non-native English speakers at Duke University Graduate School and Trinity College, Universidad Interamericana in Puerto Rico, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, and beyond. Rene currently teaches Duke graduate students in the English for International Students program. During the summer, she directs the writing component of the International Student Bootcamp at The Fuqua School of Business. Rene earned a Master’s degree in Education, specializing in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). In her leisure time, she enjoys traveling and listening to live local music..

Denise Comer, Co-Leader and Site Developer

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Denise is Director of First-Year Writing at Duke University. She earned her Ph.D. in English Literature and has been teaching writing at Duke for fourteen years. In her role as director, she has collaborated to integrate civic engagement initiatives, digital research and writing, and increased responsiveness to international and intercultural undergraduates at Duke. Her research explores writing pedagogy, writing program administration, and teaching with technology.  Her recently published books include: Writing in Transit: A Reader (ed.) and It’s Just a Dissertation: The Irreverent Guide to Transforming Your Dissertation from Daunting to Doable to Done (co-written with Barbara Gina Garrett). Denise grew up in a suburb of Washington, D.C. When not working, she enjoys traveling and spending time with friends and family. She lives in Raleigh with her husband and their three children. Learn more about Denise at http://sites.duke.edu/denisecomer/

Mich Donovan, Instructional Media Consultant

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Mich works at Duke with professors and faculty to film, edit and distribute online courses for a variety of subjects. Mich has extensive video production experience and a focus on interactive development. He enjoys not only creating all types of media, but studying the impact they can have on an audience. He has worked and studied in such places as Los Angeles, London, Washington D.C., and Panama City. In the spring of 2014 he traveled to Tanzania to collaborate with members of an institution there about online course development.

Beth Long, Content Developer

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Beth has over 15 years of experience teaching and tutoring ESL. She currently works as a Graduate School instructor in the English for International Students Program at Duke. She has taught English as a Second Language (ESL) in Germany, at Penn State University, at Central Carolina Community College, and in public schools. She has tutored undergraduate and graduate students, as well as visiting scholars, in ESL writing and conversation. Beth received an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language and a B.A. in English from Penn State University.

Kelly Goyette, Video Editor and Site Developer

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Kelly works as a consultant for the Duke University Writing Studio. She earned her master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her methodology synthesized studio practice, specifically video installation, and theoretical writing. She received her B.A. in psychology and art at UC Santa Cruz.

Randy Riddle, Academic Technology Consultant

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Randy consults with faculty in the Social Sciences on integrating technology into teaching.  His professional interests include e-learning, social networking, online productivity tools, video and multimedia, and visualization. Randy’s current work includes management of the CIT’s Faculty Fellows program, supporting faculty participating in Duke’s Coursera experiments and exploring areas such as e-textbooks. His other interests outside of work include restoration of vintage recording formats and broadcasting and film history.  He volunteers for the Old Time Radio Researchers Group, maintains an ongoing blog on radio history research, and is working on a discography of radio programs released on records. Read more about Randy at his Duke University Center for Technology profile.

Vicki Russell, Project Consultant

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Vicki is the founding Director of the Duke University Writing Studio. She received her MA in English from the University of Georgia in 1972. Her research interests include the theory and pedagogy of composition and writing as well as the public health issues that affect college students.  She taught writing at Duke as well as at the Duke Kunshan University campus in China, where she shared her expertise in creating a writing studio for international and intercultural undergraduate and graduate students.

Margaret Swezey, Content Developer

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Margaret is the Assistant Director of the Duke University Writing Studio. She has 16 years’ experience in tutoring and teaching writing, and she leads a workshop series for multilingual writers. She holds a Ph.D. in medieval English literature at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she wrote a dissertation on courtship and marriage in Middle English romance, taught writing and literature, and tutored at the Writing Center. She received a B.A. in History from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

General Acknowledgments

We are grateful for the support of a CIT JumpStart grant for providing funding for this project. We also appreciate the input of students, faculty, staff, and administrators across several units at Duke, including the Thompson Writing Program, International House, and the Center for Instructional Technology. Special gratitude to Li-Chen Chin and Kristen Neuschel for their support.