WAC Consultants Bios

Associate Director for Writing Across the Curriculum

As the Associate Director for Writing Across the Curriculum, Melissa Bender (Ph.D. English, UC Davis, 2009) organizes the WAC team’s efforts to support writing at both the graduate and undergraduate levels and to bring greater awareness of best practices in writing instruction to the broader UC Davis community. She leads workshops for graduate students and faculty and confers with instructors and teaching assistants on all aspects of writing instruction, from designing discipline-specific assignments to responding effectively to student writing. As a continuing lecturer in the University Writing Program, Melissa teaches courses focused on writing in a range of disciplines and professions. She is the co-author of Twenty Writing Assignments in Context: An Instructor’s Resource for the Composition Classroom (McFarland, 2017) and Who’s Your Source? A Writer’s Guide to Effectively Evaluating and Ethically Using Resources (Broadview Press, 2019). Her monograph Dysfunctional Family Values: Nurturing the Neoliberal Self in U.S. Memoir will be published by Lexington Books in 2020.

Advisor to the Graduate Writing Fellows

Lisa Sperber facilities the training of our Graduate Writing Fellows, who tutor other graduate students in writing. In addition, she runs writing workshops for graduate students and helps faculty and TAs across campus integrate writing into their courses. In addition to WAC, Lisa enjoys teaching a range of undergraduate composition courses. Her teaching and research interests include educational equity and learning transfer. Her publications include an anthology of interviews with composition scholars, Teachers on the Edge (Routledge, 2017) and an article for undergraduates on a form of assessment called contract grading ("So, Your Instructor is Using Contract Grading...," Writing Commons, fourthcoming). She is currently researching the benefits and challenges of contract grading in the University Writing Program.

WAC Consultants

Jillian Azevedo earned her Ph.D. in early modern British history from UC Riverside in 2014. She is a lecturer in the University Writing Program at UC Davis, frequently teaching UWP 101: Advanced Composition, UWP 102C: Writing in History, and UWP 104A: Business Writing. She also volunteers as a college writing instructor with the Prison University Project at San Quentin. She is the author of Tastes of the Empire: Foreign Foods in Seventeenth Century England (McFarland 2017), which explores the intersection of British history, food history, and gender studies. 

Matt Oliver has served as a lecturer in the University Writing Program since 2014 and specializes in writing in the sciences, writing in engineering, and technical writing. He worked extensively with faculty across the disciplines to establish requirements for discipline-specific composition courses at Old Dominion University, where he directed the composition program for five years. He has also worked as a communication consultant for the Department of Defense, Warwick Plumbing and Heating (a mechanical engineering contractor), and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. This, in addition to his ten years of experience in aviation maintenance, where he wrote and revised technical manuals, and ten years of experience running a small business provide him with a wide-ranging background in writing across the curriculum.

As a lecturer in the University Writing Program, Bill Sewell has taught all levels of writing, including multilingual writing for first year students. He primarily teaches upper division writing, including Advanced Composition, Writing for the Health Professions, and Writing for Business. His past work experience includes technical writing, and his research interests include rhetoric, prose style, inquiry-based teaching, professional communication, and multimodal composition. He also serves as the editor of Writing on the Edge (WOE), a publication of the University Writing Program.