Michigan State University
Michigan State University
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Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
Department of Writing
Rhetoric & American Cultures

Meet Joyce Meier

Meier_Joyce.pngDr. Joyce Meier serves as the assistant director of the First-Year Writing (FYW) Program at MSU, where the work she does positively impacts thousands of MSU students each year.

Dr. Meier came to MSU back in 2010 when a teaching position opened up in the WRAC department, and the following year she was appointed to her current role with the FYW program. As assistant director, Dr. Meier’s main responsibility is to help support the MSU faculty who teach the FYW courses. She organizes workshops where faculty can share ideas and insights with fellow FYW instructors and other members of the WRAC department. She also sits in on different FYW classes and provides letters of recommendation for instructors.

Beyond WRAC, Dr. Meier works to maintain good connections between the FYW program and different organizations on campus such as the English Language Center and the Department of Student Life. Her overall goal is to make sure the FYW program provides the most it can to each of the roughly 7,000 MSU students it serves each year. Her efforts are especially appreciated by her fellow FYW instructors and the director of the FYW program, Dr. Bump Halbritter. “Our community of students and teachers owes much to Joyce’s patience, compassion, tireless efforts, intellect, and the administrative insights that have emerged through her impressive scholarship and teaching experiences,” he says. “In short, Joyce is a superstar who makes everyone around her better.”

Aside from her assistant director role, Dr. Meier also teaches WRA 1004 Preparation for College Writing, a course that helps students prepare to make a successful transition into WRA 101. Dr. Meier usually teaches sections of the course that include many international students. She is passionate about helping these students understand that their cultural difference should not be seen as a deficit to their writing, but instead “as an asset and site of discovery and learning,” she says.  One of the main topics her course deals with is breaking down assumptions we make about people from different places and cultures. Her class becomes a safe place for her students to ask complicated questions and explore each other’s cultural backgrounds. “It is only by knowing one another deeply that some of our ideas about one another get dismantled,” she says.

Dr. Meier also regularly teaches WRA 453 Grant and Proposal Writing, a course in the Communities and Cultures track of the Professional Writing program. Having worked on several successful grant applications and other community-based writing projects herself, she is excited for her students to see what their peers are working on and to make professional networking connections within and beyond the classroom.

With bachelors’ degrees in history and English and a PhD in English, Dr. Meier has always had a great interest in writing, particularly the ways in which historical factors affect how people write. For her PhD. dissertation, she focused on women’s literature, including writers from African American and other minority communities. This exploration of other cultural communities helped in her approach to transnational learning through the FYW courses and is one of the reasons she is so passionate about her international students sharing their cultures through writing.

Dr. Meier’s enthusiasm for helping others learn to express themselves through writing makes her a natural fit for WRAC. “I love being part of a department of scholars and teachers who are so committed to their fields,” she says. ”It is like swimming in a wonderful sea of ideas.”


Written by Suzanna Smentowski