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ACW Principal and Founder
Dissertation Doctor® Principal and Founder
Dr. Sally launched dissertationdoctor.com in 1997 to help doctoral students achieve their goals. Since then she has coached over 200 dissertation writers to complete their degrees and advance their careers. In 2009, she founded ACW to support graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty members, and administrators to advance their academic dreams; to create a community to help these academics overcome isolation; and to empower them with the tools they need to succeed. Dr. Sally listens to academics to co-create with them a vision of their academic dream. Then she assists them determine the steps needed to successfully reach their goals, and supports them on the lonely academic journey. Dr. Sally is a Master Certified Coach (MCC) and encourages ACW writing and research consultants to combine their consulting expertise with a coaching approach to working with academic writers. Dr. Sally’s graduate training is in educational psychology with specializations in research design, cognitive psychology, and developmental psychology. She is experienced in the use of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Dr. Sally’s dissertation research was interdisciplinary, drawing on research in education, psychology, anthropology, computer science, and geography. Before launching her academic coaching enterprises, Dr. Sally held research appointments at the Salk Institute and at the University of California-Santa Barbara. She also worked as an Associate Professor in a graduate program in Education at Alliant International University San Diego. Dr. Sally received her BA from Middlebury College and both her MA and PhD from the University of California-Santa Barbara.
ACW Director of Coaching
Academic Coach and Consultant
Moira is a professionally certified coach with experience in leadership, academic career and dissertation coaching, as well as in qualitative research consulting. As a consultant, she has worked extensively with faculty members, university administrators, and graduate students, assisting them to complete manuscripts, dissertations, and grant proposals. She also has worked with academics to transition out of academia and into new industries. Moira leverages her certification as a leadership coach and her training as a cultural anthropologist, highly attuned to the nuances of impression management in organizations to assist academics to see past the unspoken rules, and to courageously engage in exceptional performance and leadership. As a qualitative methodological consultant, Moira assists clients to understand the intrinsic nature of doing qualitative research and helps them with key components of the work, such as deciding upon a qualitative data management and analysis software program or system, thematic analysis, and the write-up of findings. She has been principal investigator (PI) or co-PI for a variety of studies, and has been funded by the NIH, DOD, and SSRC. Moira’s publications focus on gender and identity construction, organizational culture, substance use, and doctor-patient communication. Her faculty appointments have included positions at George Washington University and Whittier College. She received her PhD in cultural anthropology from The University of Texas at Austin, and has post-doctoral training from the University of California-Berkeley and the University of California-San Francisco in medical anthropology.
Amy Benson Brown
ACW Director of Academic Writing
Academic Writing Coach and Developmental Editor
Amy is a writer and developmental editor, with over a decade of experience working with academic authors to help them develop book and article manuscripts for publication. As Director of the Author Development Program at Emory University from 2002—2012, she worked with faculty in disciplines that range from Political Science to History, Medicine, Sociology, Theology, Public Health, Nursing, Music, and Law. As a contract writer and editor for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she has worked with scientists investigating asthma prevention, pedestrian safety, and systematic reviews of research on skin cancer, cardiovascular disease and other public health topics. She brings to ACW particular experience in book proposal development and enjoys working both with first-time authors and senior scholars who seek to reach broader or “cross-over” audiences. Her essays about the challenges of academic writing have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Journal of Scholarly Publishing. Her approach to developmental editing is informed by both her own background as a teacher of writing and her own continuing practice as a writer. Her publications include a book of literary criticism that grew out of her dissertation, two edited collections, academic articles, science journalism, and, most recently, a book of poetry. She received her BA at the University of South Carolina, an MA in English Literature from Rutgers University, and a PhD in English Literature from Emory University.
ACW Director of Instructional Development
Dissertation Coach and Consultant
As a dissertation coach, Chris is passionate about helping writers complete their dissertations. Since 2010 Chris has guided dissertation writers with quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research designs. For the past 7 years, Chris has been a faculty member (Course Director) at Full Sail University in their online Instructional Design and Technology Master of Science program where he has taught various courses including Educational Design and Evaluation, Digital Media and Learning Applications, and Music and Audio for Instructional Design. Chris is a member of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education and sits on the advisory board for the online Global Education Conference (GEC) organized by Steve Hargadon and Lucy Grey. Chris peer referees for the following journals: Education Technology Research and Development (ETR&D), Journal of Educational Psychology, and the Journal of Information Technology and Application in Education (JITAE). Chris’ research interests include culturally relevant pedagogy in the digital age, and applications of digital tools for teaching. Chris’ most recent research and publications efforts have focused on culturally relevant (i.e., hip-hop pedagogy) applications of digital audio workstations in K-12 classroom environments. His recent conference presentations address leveraging Skype to promote world peace, applications of Gestalt design principles to guide curriculum development, and historical role-play for high school history teachers in Second Life. Early in his career, Chris spent 11 years as a high school Algebra and History teacher. During that time he completed an MEd and an EdD in Educational Instructional Technology at Texas Tech University.
ACW Writing Room Coordinator
Mindful Writing Coach
Denise has been instrumental in developing a community of writers at ACW. She has been a dedicated yoga practitioner for the past fourteen years and views writing as another way to observe what is happening in the present. Over time, Denise has shifted from a mentally and emotionally charged way of writing to a more mindful writing practice. As the Coordinator of the ACW Virtual Writing Room, Denise has learned that creating a supportive structure, providing accountability opportunities, practice, and mindfulness are crucial steps towards finishing big projects. She published 14 poems: A Collection in 2009, and several of her book reviews, short stories, and poems have appeared in literary magazines and journals such as Burningword, Bombay Gin, Caesura, Not Enough Night, The San Diego Reader, and A Year in Ink. Denise has also written grants for non-profit art organizations and most recently won an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has been involved with theatre companies in New York, Portland, and San Diego and received a certificate from the New York Film Academy where she wrote, produced, and directed three short films. Denise holds a BA in Arts and Letters from Portland State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University where she received a contemplative education and wrote a critical thesis, "The Spiritual Philosophy of Mina Loy" and creative thesis, "Her Desert Mind."
Dissertation Coach and Consultant
Cliff has 20 years of experience in both higher education and industry. Cliff has worked with Capella University since 2000. As a member of the Research Methods faculty, he has worked extensively as a coach at dissertation residencies, chaired over 60 dissertation committees, and served as both a scientific merit reviewer and IRB reviewer. In 2013, he was honored at Capella with the Harold Abel Distinguished Faculty Award. Cliff also teaches research methods courses at Keiser University covering qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. He has served as an adjunct faculty member for the College of Extended Learning at Central Michigan University, teaching in the Midwest division since 1995. Previously, he taught over 300 MBA courses for City University in Bellevue, WA in the Seattle area, Europe, and China and authored the university’s first marketing curriculum. Cliff’s industry experience has included experience as Learning and Development Manager at Microsoft and Atlas, Director of Courseware and Market Development at Proquest, and Director of Online Programs and Technology as well as Marketing Manager at International Thompson Publishing. Cliff is currently working toward completing his professional coaching certification in 2014. His academic credentials include a BS in Communication Arts from Cal Poly State University, Pomona; an MBA from Golden Gate University; a DBA from Nova Southeastern University (Marketing); and over 57 PhD credits from Northcentral University in Methods and Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
Academic Coach and Consultant
As a professional coach and adjunct faculty member, Paula works collaboratively with faculty and graduate students to help them develop the skills they need to achieve their academic goals. Her areas of expertise include pre-tenure career management, mid-career navigation, leadership development, mentoring, job searching, academic branding, and non-tenure track careers. She has supported faculty development and career success as an Assistant Dean for Faculty Affairs at the University of Southern California and the Program Director for Faculty Development at the Duke University School of Medicine. She specializes in coaching high-performing individuals as they strive toward achieving their next level of personal and professional success. She takes a strength-based approach to coaching, emphasizing what naturally works best for individuals and helping them align their career path with their core values. Paula’s graduate training is in organizational change with a focus on internal cognitive, communicative, and neurobiological processes as a contributing factor in organizational relationship management and job performance. Her research explores the phenomenon of mentally imagining oneself in conversation with real-life coworkers. She also studies the application of positive psychology and prospective psychology to self-leadership. Paula has her BA in biology from Washington University in St. Louis, MPH from UCLA, and EdD in Organizational Change from Pepperdine University.
Carol Ray Philips
Dissertation Coach and Consultant
Carol is an adult developmentalist whose research focuses on the intersections of personal and professional transformation. She also studies aspects of higher education, including best teaching and learning practices and innovations, such as the practice-based doctoral study. Carol has taught and administered programs at higher education institutions for close to forty years. For the past decade, she has served as both core and contributing faculty member in the EdD program at Walden University, and, more recently, as Senior Honorary Lecturer at the University of Liverpool. As a doctoral faculty member, Carol has taught Qualitative Research, Learners and Learning, and Perspectives on Educational Research and Practice. She has also served on numerous doctoral committees as chair and as committee member. In addition to teaching at Walden, Carol was the Research Chair for the PhD and Ed. programs there. Previously, as co-director of the Writing, Research and Teaching Center at the Harvard Graduation School of Education, she mentored doctoral students who were developing proposals and writing dissertations. She worked with individuals and with small groups to facilitate that process. She also developed and taught in the Teaching in Higher Education program, which was designed to prepare doctoral students for the instructional aspect of their future faculty positions. Carol earned her BA at Brandeis and her MEd and EdD at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she studied in the Human Development and Psychology division.
Academic Writing Coach
As a certified professional coach and professor of English and Professional Writing, Kathy has worked with writers for the entirety of her professional career. Her passion is helping academic writers articulate the vision of the texts they want to write and in finding their own unique voices. Kathy has served as the program lead of an English department at American University of Kuwait, an American-style university in the Middle East, and has hired and mentored junior faculty and participated in designing peer review and assessment protocols for faculty teaching and writing. She received awards for faculty mentorship in 2006 and 2011. Kathy has also served as a director of Academic Advising and developed student support services in the form of peer mentorship programs and academic skills workshops. Kathy’s own research and publications have been in the areas of literary studies, pedagogy, student success initiatives, and global issues in higher education. Kathy has a BA in French from Humboldt State University, an MA in World and Comparative Literature from San Francisco State University, and a PhD in Comparative Literature from SUNY Stony Brook.
Academic Coach and Consultant
Carol is an Anthropologist, Emeritus Professor of Social and Cultural Studies in Education at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Visiting Scholar at Duke University. She is author of All Our Kin: Strategies for Survival in a Black Community and Call To Home: African Americans Reclaim the Rural South. She has received numerous academic fellowships and awards, including a Rockefeller Foundation Grant, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and a Russell Sage Foundation Research Grant. She was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University. At UC Berkeley, she served as the Chair of the Women’s Studies Department and as Division Chair of Social and Cultural Studies in Education. At Berkeley, she also served as the Chancellor’s Assistant on Affirmative Action and the Status of Women. In this capacity she helped create research groups for young faculty, and mentored faculty in their writing, research, and grant writing. At Duke University, she was Director of The Family Policy Center that initiated a statewide focus on poverty and social policy, and created a group of ‘public’ scholars studying local, state, and federal policies that affect the lives of those living in poverty. She writes on urban and rural poverty, family policy, social inequality, on gender, welfare, youth, and low-wage work in the U.S., and on ethnographic inquiry. She received her BA from UC Berkeley and both her MA and PhD from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.
Dissertation Coach and Consultant
As a dissertation coach, Heather is passionate about helping students create applicable and feasible research projects. For the last 8 years, Heather has been designing and teaching research methods and statistics classes and providing support for doctoral study students (PhD, EdD, DNP, DBA) in the online environment at Walden University, Capella University, and Northcentral University. She has been a member and co-chair of an Institutional Review Board (IRB) for 4 years and has supported research faculty in the online environment. She has been an invited speaker for both the Wiley Learning Institute and the Wiley Faculty to Faculty network in helping faculty create productive online environments. Her most recent research and publications efforts have focused on creating and building a sense of community in the online environment to enable faculty to best support students. Early in her career, as a biologist, Heather spent 10 years doing field ecology in studies that ranged from following Selkirk Woodland Caribou on snowshoes to look at nutrient requirements in the winter to studying the effects of desertification in the Jornada Basin Long Term Ecological Reserve. After completing her Ph.D., Heather became a licensed secondary science teacher and taught science in 6 -12 for 6 years. In addition, she has mentored preservice science teachers through state teacher licensing requirements. She has worked at the university level teaching science classes from Anatomy and Physiology to Ecology and Evolution for over 12 years. Heather still maintains a connection to science by editing Biology texts and creating test questions. Heather’s undergraduate degree is from Washington State University, where she studied wildlife biology. She earned her Master’s degree in Rangeland Resources from Oregon State University, where she studied invasive grasses. She earned her Ph.D. in Biology Education from the University of Northern Colorado, where she focused on exposing students to ecology and the natural sciences while helping train K-12 educators.
Caroline L. Eisner
Academic Writing Consultant and Developmental Editor
Caroline has extensive experience working with faculty, administrators, graduate students, and undergraduates to discuss and deliver composition pedagogy theory and practice and to teach critical reading and writing seminars. Her previous experience includes positions as the Associate Director of the Sweetland Writing Center at the University of Michigan and as the Director of the Writing Center at Georgetown University. Caroline co-edited a collection of essays, Originality, Imitation, and Plagiarism: Teaching Writing in the Digital Age (UM Press 2008) and authored a recent article on plagiarism entitled, “Plagiarism: A Crime, Misstep, or Neither? Depends Who You Ask, and Is It Getting Worse?” Caroline also works on developing pedagogy for the successful integration of technology into academic courses. She worked on the Visible Knowledge Project at Georgetown, a five-year, four-million dollar project aimed at improving the quality of university teaching by focusing on both student learning and faculty development in technology-enhanced, intensive writing, learning environments. At Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English, Caroline is the Director of BreadNet, a telecommunications network that connects students, teachers, and faculty year round. As the director, she facilitates and maintains electronic, humanities-based projects among teachers in rural communities and urban centers across the country. Caroline received a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in English from Middlebury College, and a PhD in British Literature from George Washington University.
Dissertation Copyeditor and APA Editor
Peter has read approximately 10,000 pieces of student writing as a college teacher, writing center coach, and writing consultant, and he has worked for Academic Coaching and Writing as an editor since 2008. He specializes in helping students enter and succeed in the academic discourse community and has a particular expertise in the American Psychological Association’s formatting and referencing style. He served as a member of the APA’s electronic references advisory committee and provided feedback on the 2008 revision of the APA electronic references style guide. He specializes in working with faculty and students on assignment literacy—writing, reading, and understanding assignments and the assignment process—and has given talks and conducted workshops on assignment literacy at colleges in the Midwest. Peter originated two pedagogical techniques that have markedly improved student performance when applied—assignment templating and color-coded commenting. In addition to working with ACW clients, Peter is the Communication Lab Coordinator for the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. He earned his MA in popular culture at Bowling Green State University and his PhD in American Studies at Michigan State University. He is a nationally known expert on comics and superheroes.
Jeff Hume-Pratuch is a professional editor with extensive experience in scholarly publishing, technical editing, and association communications. The common thread running through her work has been a desire to help writers communicate their ideas to readers in the best possible way. For the past 8 years she supervised the copyeditors for the flagship research journals of the American Psychological Association. She also managed the APA Style Expert service, which answers questions from authors, students, and instructors about APA Style. Daily immersion in the APA Publication Manual and the real-life problems experienced by its end-users impelled her to develop creative ways of explaining complex issues and to propose new ways of addressing challenges not covered by the manual. As part of APA’s outreach mission, she wrote for the APA Style Blog, helped launch APA Style’s social media presence on Twitter and Facebook, and presented workshops on getting published and using APA Style. Prior to her time at APA, Jeff was Director of Publications for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, where several of her publications won national recognition. She received a BA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD.
Liana has several years of experience teaching writing at the collegiate level and providing writing support for academic writers. For two years, she worked at the University of Kansas Writing Center as a Graduate Writing Specialist, and has done research and blogged on graduate student writing/writers. She has also worked as a research assistant, developmental editor, and proofreader for faculty members. She loves talking about writing and learning about what makes for great writing. In addition to her work at ACW, Liana is currently Managing Editor and Regular Contributor at Sounding Out!: A Blog About Sound Studies, and Associate Editor and Regular Contributor at University of Venus at Inside Higher Ed. Liana’s dissertation examined representations of New York City as home in the works of African American and Puerto Rican writers. Liana obtained her BA from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, and completed her MA and PhD in the English Department at Binghamton University
Lee Skallerup Bessette
Social Media Coordinator and Academic Branding Consultant
Lee is an accomplished blogger and social media advisor. In less than two years, she grew her blog audience enough to draw the attention of a national publication, Insidehighered.com, where her blog now resides. She has used Twitter extensively as a professional development tool (co-founding #FYCchat for teachers of Freshman Composition) to grow a professional network, leading to presentations at the Modern Languages Association (MLA) and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) annual conferences, as well as the Conference on College Composition and Communication. She has consulted on social media and digital humanities with numerous higher ed organizations, such as the NCTE, the Canadian Federation for the Social Sciences and Humanities, and here at ACW. She has taught literature and writing in six universities throughout Canada and the U.S. She has several books under contract, and her writing has been featured online in the New York Times Motherload blog, Hybridpedagogy.com, and ProfHacker. Lee holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Alberta, Canada.
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