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April 25 Colloquium


Dr. Juan C. Guerra, an Associate Professor of English at the University of Washington, was born and raised in a Chicano/Mexicano barrio in the "borderlands" of South Texas. He taught writing for 15 years in an educational opportunity program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where he also earned his BA, MA, and PhD degrees. Dr. Guerra is the recipient of the Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, Ford Foundation Fellowship (Honorable Mention), and the Martin Luther King Jr. Award from UIC. In the course of his tenure as the director of the Expository Writing Program at the University of Washington at Seattle (UWS), Dr. Guerra and several of his colleagues completely revised the curriculum for the practicum course that all new teaching assistants in the English Department are required to take. More recently, he worked with Dr. Anis Bawarshi, the new Director of the Expository Writing Program, to revise the curriculum for the English Department's first-year writing courses. As the recently appointed Co-Director of a Carnegie-sponsored Teachers for a New Era Initiative and of the recently-founded Washington Center for Teaching and Learning, Dr. Guerra is working with colleagues from P-12 schools, the College of Education, and the College of Arts and Sciences to reinvent the way public school teachers are being prepared to meet the demands of educating our children in the 21 st century.

Dr. Guerra's principal areas of research in composition and literacy studies are highlighted in two recent books, Writing in Multicultural Settings (1997), a collection of essays he co-edited with Carol Severino and Johnnella E. Butler, and Close to Home: Oral and Literate Practices in a Transnational Mexicano Community (1998). His current work is reflected in two book projects in progress. The first, Transforming Cultures of Writing: The Role of the University in the Teaching of Writing in the Disciplines, is an edited collection of essays he is compiling with Dr. John Webster, the Director of Writing at UWS. The goal of the book is to examine the tremendous changes currently under way as the university works to implement the basic belief that the teaching of writing is everybody's, and not just the English Department's, business and responsibility. His second book project, Sin Vergüenza/Without Shame: Essays on Language, Schooling, and Ethnic Identity, is an autoethnographic study of the role that the rhetorical practice of transcultural repositioning has played in his life and in the lives of his siblings, most of whom dropped out of high school before the 9 th grade. Dr. Guerra teaches courses on writing pedagogy, language, literacy, and ethnography.

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