Photo of Dr. Bump Halbritter
Dr. Bump Halbritter is currently in his second year as director of the First Year Writing (FYW) program at Michigan State University. As Director, Dr. Halbritter provides oversight for all Writing as Inquiry courses (WRA 101 and 195H) and Preparation for College Writing courses (WRA 1004/0102). Together, these courses enroll around 7000 MSU students per academic year. He also spends a good portion of his time mentoring First-Year Writing teachers, including both graduate students and faculty members. In addition, he makes himself available to any First-Year Writing student who may wish to discuss their experiences in their writing classes.
The First-Year Writing program is an experience-based curriculum, which brings diverse perspectives into one room. As a result, the writing classroom is a space where students encounter new ideas. Dr. Halbritter works with instructors to help ensure that the space is a welcoming and productive one. "Any typical day for me involves lots of conversations about people trying to understand one another better," Dr. Halbritter said.
This fall, the First-Year Writing Program is rolling out its new course, WRA 101: Writing as Inquiry, after many years of offering nine themed courses. Dr. Halbritter says that WRA 101 does not represent a dramatic change in the way that the First-Year course operates; rather, the name of the course has been changed to more accurately reflect what had already been similar in all of the different themed courses: a focus on inquiry and discovery in the learning of writing. Dr. Halbritter says he is looking forward to similar changes to WRA 1004/0102 in the coming years.
In addition to his work as Director, Dr. Halbritter is currently working on several collaborative projects with WRAC professor Julie Lindquist, among them, a book project, What Writers Do, that will help others enact their "preflective" pedagogy, and LiteracyCorps Michigan (LCM). LCM is a documentary-based research project in which students, particularly first-generation college students from Michigan, are interviewed about their educational lives. "My number-one interest is in learning about the social and material conditions of students whose life experiences are most unlike my own," he said. In his exploration, Dr. Halbritter hopes to better understand the needs of students he interacts with.
Dr. Halbritter enjoys the varied experiences he encounters as an administrator, teacher, and researcher in WRAC. "I get to work with and care deeply about a really broad group of people in the world: international students, students from urban centers, students from rural centers, students and teachers and graduate students and folks who are my colleagues and my peers from a lot of different backgrounds. The learning never ends."Photo and article by Rachel Nanzer for WRAC