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Writing Matters - KeyNote Speakers


Jim Belshaw is in his twenty-ninth year at the Albuquerque Journal. He came to New Mexico in 1967 and is a native of Chicago. He graduated from the University of New Mexico in December, 1973. He has worked as a reporter, copy editor, assistant city editor, feature editor and for the past 25 years, columnist at the Albuquerque Journal.

Belshaw is the co-author of the non-fiction book “Closing the Chart – A Dying Physician Examines Family, Faith and Medicine,” by Dr. Steven D. Hsi, with Jim Belshaw and Beth Corbin-Hsi. The book is the recipient of a $10,000 grant from Pfizer, Inc. to be used for the purchase of books for incoming medical students at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Additional funding for books for medical students also has been donated by the First Presbyterian Church and Presbyterian Healthcare Services in Albuquerque.

Belshaw's work has been recognized by the Associated Press Managing Editors and the New Mexico Press Association. He also has been honored by The Arc of New Mexico and Adelante Development Center for his coverage of issues affecting those in the developmentally disabled community and by the Brain Injury Association of New Mexico for his coverage of Bryan Patterson, a story involving a young man's recovery from traumatic brain injury and its impact on his family and friends.

In 2001, the New Mexico chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union awarded Belshaw its First Amendment Award for his commentary.

Belshaw and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Corrales, N.M.


Chuck Paine is Associate Professor in English and Director of Rhetoric and Writing. His scholarship focuses on the history of writing instruction in the United States and on contemporary composition. He focuses much of his WAC efforts on faculty-development workshops designed to help teachers use a variety of writing activities in their classrooms. The goal of these workshops is to help teachers engage their students more deeply in disciplinary content and enhance their students' active learning and critical thinking. Contact Chuck if you're interested in workshop for yourself or your program.


Karen Olson is Director of the Center for Academic Program Support (CAPS), UNM’s undergraduate tutoring center where she has worked since 1993. Since early childhood her favorite activity has been reading fiction. However, writing was not a skill she honed until college. Karen has a Bachelors degree from UNM, and she clearly remembers the English professor who taught her to write and the embarrassing event that lead up to those writing lessons. During the last two years, her emphasis has been on working with the English Department, searching for ways to expand the CAPS writing lab and to find a role for CAPS in the WAC initiative.


Since he was a boy growing up on the border of Texas and Mexico, Eliseo Torres, known to everyone as “Cheo,” has been fascinated by the folk traditions and folkways of Mexico and of his Mexican American roots. Both of his parents were versed in aspects of herbal lore and healing, and as he matured he learned from them a love and respect for the history and folk knowledge of the ancient art of curanderismo, or Mexican folk healing.

Now an administrator at the University of New Mexico, where he is Vice President for Student Affairs and a member of the faculty of the College of Education, Cheo regularly lectures and gives presentations on the history and lore of curanderismo to audiences ranging from scholars and students of Latin American culture to people hoping to become knowledgeable about alternative and traditional medicine, including lay people and medical professionals alike. He has published two books on his life in and research on his subject area: Curandero: A Life in Mexican Folk Healing, and Healing with Herbs and Rituals: A Mexican Tradition, both available from the University of New Mexico Press.

Cheo can be scheduled for presentations on curanderismo by calling 505-277-0952, or by e-mail at

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, University of New Mexico
Professor, English


Ph.D. - English, The Johns Hopkins University
MA - English, The Johns Hopkins University
English, Oxford University
BA – English, McGill University

Business/Research Background

Recently named Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Reed Way Dasenbrock has been Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of English at the University of New Mexico since 2001. Prior to coming to the University of New Mexico, Dr. Dasenbrock was Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Director of Arts and Sciences Research Center at New Mexico State University. His responsibilities there included administering a staff responsible for grant accounting and compliance and working with faculty to increase externally sponsored research.

Particular Knowledge and Skills

He is the author, co-author or editor of eight books, including--most recently--Truth and Consequences: Intentions, Conventions, and the New Thematics. He has published on Modernism, post-colonial literature, literary theory, the relations between Italian and English literature from Dante to the present, and on issues facing the profession of literary studies.


Jane Selverstone is a professor in the Earth & Planetary Sciences Department. She was privileged to grow up in Boston in a house full of books, which encouraged an early interest in both reading and writing. As a child, she hoped to become a writer, but instead grew up to be a scientist -- and discovered that writing is still a major part of her job. She received her A.B. degree in geology from Princeton University, her M.S. from the University of Colorado, and her PhD from MIT. She was a faculty member at Harvard University and the University of Colorado before coming to UNM in 1995. Her research focuses on the evolution of mountain belts through time, and she carries out field research in the Alps and the western U.S.

Vice Provost for Graduate Education & Dean of Graduate Studies
Professor of Speech and Hearing Science
The University of New Mexico

Dr. Wohlert began her association with the University of New Mexico as a student, earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UNM. After working for a number of years as a speech-language pathologist in Albuquerque, she attended Northwestern University and received her doctoral degree there. Dr. Wohlert held faculty positions at the Ohio State University and at Purdue University before returning to UNM, where she chaired the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences from 2000 to 2004. Her research and teaching have focused on the neurological basis for speech and language. She has received the Honors of the New Mexico Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, and she serves as chair of the Council on Academic Accreditation of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.

As Graduate Dean, Dr. Wohlert is broadly concerned with the quality of graduate education at UNM. She is especially interested in improving access to graduate programs and in helping students to complete their graduate degrees as quickly as possible. She also oversees UNM’s assessment and accreditation efforts for undergraduate as well as graduate programs.

Ever since her first written work, The Gingerbread Girl (not to be confused with The Gingerbread Man, with which it shared certain plot elements), garnered accolades from her first grade teacher, she has appreciated the power of good writing.