Vanessa Flora-Nakoski Becomes New Writing Center Director

Vanessa Flora-Nakoski. Photo by Tyler Van Dyke.Vanessa Flora-Nakoski. Photo by Tyler Van Dyke.

McDaniel’s Writing Center has a new director this semester.

With Professor Josh Ambrose’s reassignment as executive director of the Center for Experience and Opportunity, Vanessa Flora-Nakoski has recently been hired to serve as the new director of McDaniel’s Writing Center.

Flora-Nakoski also teaches several courses in the English department, and is currently teaching College Composition and Intro to College Writing.

Before her current position, Flora-Nakoski worked as an instructional associate and was part of the English faculty at Montgomery College. She has also held similar roles at Howard Community College, Stevenson University, University of Maryland University College, and the University of Iowa.

Flora-Nakoski was attracted to McDaniel for both professional and personal reasons. She values the liberal arts college’s emphasis on writing, as it is an important interdisciplinary skill. Professor Ambrose’s reputation within the field also brought McDaniel to her attention. Flora-Nakoski has family connections in Carroll County as well.

Flora-Nakoski’s transition to McDaniel has gone smoothly. She notes that she has made good connections here and has enjoyed getting to know all of the Writing Center tutors.

Professor Ambrose has been a significant help to Flora-Nakoski’s during her transition. Flora-Nakoski says both Professor Ambrose, as well as Professor Schafer, who served as the interim director of the Writing Center in the spring of 2017, prepared a guide about the Writing Center for her. She has also maintained regular correspondence with Ambrose, who has been helpful in giving Flora-Nakoski insight into the Writing Center and its role at McDaniel.

Flora-Nakoski has made some minor changes to the Writing Center. The Writing Center’s hours, for instance, are now shorter — the center now closes at 8 p.m. instead of 10. Additionally, appointments are now available in half-hour and full-hour slot, rather than the exclusively hour-long appointments of past semesters. Flora-Nakoski, however, says these changes may not be permanent, and that they depend on how McDaniel’s student body receives them.

Flora-Nakoski has significant plans for the Writing Center.  She is looking forward to the Writing Center’s tutor training course, which she will be teaching for the first time at McDaniel in the spring. Flora-Nakoski will be teaching Intro to College Writing in the spring as well. She is also excited about hosting writing workshops in the spring, which she hopes will be attended by many students.

The Writing Center is also continuing to plan events that are open to the McDaniel community. Flora-Nakoski recalls that earlier this semester, the Writing Center “partnered with the CEO to host resume workshops in early September in preparation for the Internship Fair.”

This semester, however, Flora-Nakoski says the Writing Center will host “a series of workshops for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).” The workshops are held each Friday evening at 8 p.m. in Hill Hall’s computer lab, room 101.

She notes that the workshops were “developed by one of our writing tutors who has published novels of her own along with the support of another writing tutor who is in the process of finishing a novel.”

Flora-Nakoski says the Writing Center is currently “in the process of revamping [its] website and social media” in hopes of improving outreach at McDaniel. She encourages students to “keep an eye out for a new look rolling out over Spring through next Fall.”

Students are welcome to make an appointment at the Writing Center and to meet Flora-Nakoski in the Writing Center or her office.