Terese Thonus

Director, KU Writing Center
Associate Professor of English (courtesy appointment)
Primary office:
785-864-2398
424 Anschutz Library


Areas of Research

Writing centers, writing pedagogy, second language writing theory and pedagogy, educational linguistics, conversation analysis.

Selected Publications

“Tutoring Multilingual Students: Shattering the Myths.” Journal of College Reading and Learning 44 (June 2014): 200-2013.

Researching the Writing Center: Towards an Evidence-Based Practice (Peter Lang, 2012). With Rebecca Babcock.

 “Tutor and Student Assessments of Academic Writing Tutorials: What is “Success”? The St. Martin’s Sourcebook for Writing Tutors (4th ed.) Eds. Christina Murphy and Steve Sherwood. (Bedford/St. Martin’s 2011).

“Acquaintanceship, Familiarity, and Coordinated Laughter in Writing Tutorials.” Linguistics and Education 19 (December 2008): 333-350.

“What are the Differences? Tutor Interactions with First- and Second-Language Writers.” Journal of Second Language Writing 13 (September 2004): 227-242.

“Close Vertical Transcription in Writing Center Training and Research.” Writing Center Journal 24 (Fall-Winter 2003): 25-49. With Magdalena Gilewicz.

Faculty Profile

Since 2008, I have directed the KU Writing Center. As an applied linguist, I am particularly interested in relationships between speaking and writing in writing pedagogy. I explore these relationships in writing center consultations through a variety of lenses: cross-linguistic interaction, politeness and power, acquaintanceship and familiarity, and perceptions of “success.” Most recently, I have been studying session closings and their impact on student satisfaction and eventual revisions. Results of these studies impact how I educate and assess consultants in their writing center work.

My research continues to benefit from collaborations with co-authors. With Beth Hewett, chair of the CCCC Committee for Effective Practices in Online Writing Instruction, I am investigating the use of metaphor as metatextual practice by online writing consultants. Rebecca Babcock, Sheila Carter-Tod, and I are examining the practices of writing center directors as researchers. Most recently, I have engaged in debates about the disciplinary status of second language writing, and, linked to this, I plan a book on the relationships between second language acquisition and second language writing research.

I teach ENGL 400, Teaching and Tutoring Writing, each spring and summer, and in fall 2015 I will be teaching an honors seminar on laughter to first-semester freshmen.


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