2017 Election – Candidate Statements



Paula Patch

Senior Lecturer

Elon University


Paula Patch is a senior lecturer in English at Elon University in Elon, NC, where she has taught first-year writing and language courses for a decade. She has been the coordinator of the College Writing program, Elon’s first-year writing program, since 2011. Paula has served as the at-large representative for North Carolina for the Carolinas Writing Program Administrator. She currently serves on the executive board of the Council of Writing Program Administrators and is a member of the Diversity Committee and co-chair of the Tenure-Free Caucus (formerly the Task Force for Untenured and Non-Tenure Track WPAs) for the Council of Writing Program Administrators.



Jan Rieman

Associate Director of First-Year Writing

University of North Carolina at Charlotte


Dr. Jan Rieman is an Associate Director of First-Year Writing  in the University Writing Program at UNC Charlotte. Her research interests include writing program assessment, translingualism, and anti-racist writing assessment. She is co-editor of Next Steps: New Directions in Writing about Writing, under contract with Utah State UP.  She has been an active member of Carolinas WPA for five years.




At-Large Position: North Carolina Representative


Heather Bastian

Associate Director of the Communication Across the Curriculum (CxC) Program

University of North Carolina at Charlotte


I am committed to regional collaboration and outreach. At my former institution in Duluth, MN, I was a founding member of the Lake Superior Summit on the Teaching of Writing and the chairperson of the 2016 Summit. This annual event brings together regional teachers of writing and literacy from secondary and post-secondary institutions. I also collaborated with colleagues from area universities (in Duluth, MN and Superior, WI) to present at conferences. I look forward to bringing this energy to North Carolina.



Laura Giovanelli

Assistant Teaching Professor

Wake Forest University


Laura Giovanelli is a fiction writer, essayist, and journalist who teaches first-year and upper level writing courses at Wake Forest University, where she is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Writing Program. She earned her masters in creative writing in 2012 from NC State University and was a faculty member in the NCSU’s First-Year Writing Program from 2012-2014. In her most recent service to Wake, she helped re-design a classroom into a flexible learning space and co-led a workshop on best practices on active learning. She advises undergraduates, and in addition to teaching first-year composition, she’s developed and taught courses in Wake Forest’s new interdisciplinary writing minor. These activities dovetail with her interests: first-year writing; classroom design and active learning; writing in the disciplines, particularly in the sciences; and personal essay writing. As a candidate for the At-Large Position representing North Carolina, she is interested in attracting more non-tenure track and contingent faculty to the Carolinas WPA, particularly from institutions that traditionally have not participated in the CWPA’s networking, research, and collaborative opportunities.



Jessica Pisano

Associate Director of First-Year Writing and Lecturer

University of North Carolina at Asheville


I have worked as a Lecturer in the English Department at UNC Asheville since 2012 and have served as Associate Director of First-Year Writing for over two years. Before coming to UNCA, I taught in the public school system for nine years, and then worked at A-B Technical Community College for six years as both an adjunct English instructor and Writing Center tutor. This coming semester, I will take on the new role of English Department Liaison to the Writing Center, helping to coordinate a support course for first-year writing students, train tutors, and enhance collaboration between the English Department and the Writing Center.


I am passionate about providing my first-year writing students with meaningful service-learning and community engagement projects, giving them opportunities not only to research, but also experience the topics they’ll explore in writing. As Associate Director of First-Year writing, I strive to create time and space for collaboration and discussion among writing instructors, scheduling meetings and workshops for our community of teachers, observing newly hired faculty, and carving out time for social interaction. In the two years that I have been active in the Carolinas Writing Program Administrators organization, what I have most appreciated is the commitment to fostering such collaboration and discussion between colleagues across the region. I would love the opportunity to help continue this mission and to further awareness of the needs of smaller writing programs.




At-Large Position: South Carolina Representative


Denise Paster

Associate Professor and Coordinator of First-Year Composition

Coastal Carolina University

Denise Paster, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Composition and Rhetoric at Coastal Carolina University where she coordinates the First-Year Composition program. She is nominated for the At-Large South Carolina Representative Position. She has co-created a digital badging initiative, The Coastal Composition Commons, which works to unify how composition is taught at Coastal without standardizing student or faculty experiences. She is also completing a composition textbook with Eleanor Kutz and Christian Pulver titled Writing Moves.






Brian Graves


University of North Carolina at Asheville


Brian Graves (for secretary): Brian has been a lecturer in the UNC Asheville English department and a regular presence at Carolinas WPA conferences since fall 2012. In the past four years at UNCA, Brian has taught first-year writing (FYW) every semester, as well as courses on English language arts pedagogy, LatinX writers, and the Hebrew Bible. He has also served on University QEP assessment and departmental FYW committees, as FYW assessment liaison (an administrative/reporting role), and as an advocate for renewed WAC/WID efforts on campus. His research interests (and most frequent reading) have focused on style and corpus-based grammar instruction, genre theory, transfer, critical pedagogy, and public discourse. He holds a BA in history and Spanish from Mars Hill College, an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, an MDiv from the Wake Forest University Divinity School, and an MA in rhetoric and composition from Western Carolina University, and is a member of NCTE/CCCC and the national CWPA. Prior to joining the UNC Asheville faculty, he taught at several NC community colleges as an adjunct (2006-2012). He remains deeply grateful for the work of regional professional organizations like Carolinas WPA, and would be honored to serve the executive board as secretary.