Professor Courtney Werner

Professor Spotlight on Courtney Werner

Courtney Werner, Ph.D., is an associate professor of English. Those who have had her as a professor know that she is consistently helpful and affable, but many of her students may not be aware of the research she does outside of the classroom.

Werner’s research specialty is digital writing. Regarding the works that she has had published, Werner explained, “My most important pieces are about how my field defines new media and the practical applications of those terms. Other pieces I have published focus on pedagogy: what does it mean to use this ideology in the writing classroom?”

Another one of her research interests is delving into the importance of writing centers.  “My favorite topic to research is actually the ideology of writing centers like our own writing services, and I have a history of publication that looks at digital writing and writing centers,” Werner shared.

While teaching at Monmouth has lessened the amount of time that Werner has available for research, she does not view that as a bad thing. She loves to teach and is happy that since being hired at Monmouth in 2015, teaching now takes up most of her time.

Werner said, “My emphasis on teaching here also informs my research and allows me to think about new projects. It’s also helped me better manage my time and find like-minded, teacher-researchers, with whom I currently have a great writing group.”

It is likely that you may have had Werner for a first-year composition course. “I love the variety of classes I get to teach, but every semester, I insist on teaching either EN 101 or EN 102,” she shared.

If you missed out on her class as a freshman, you still have a chance to have her for upper-level courses. She often teaches Language and Linguistics, as well as Writing New Media. Werner can also be found teaching graduate courses.

Freddi Lake, a junior education and English student, is currently enrolled in Werner’s Language and Linguistics course. “My favorite part of Dr. Werner’s class is the openness of the class discussions. I like that I feel like I can ask any question and she is always willing to answer,” Lake said.

Brooke Walker, a junior English student, is enrolled in the same class as Lake this semester. “Creative in-group exercises and open class discussions where we all get to express different ideas and opinions has made challenging areas of English, such as Language and Linguistics, a discipline I now highly take interest in,” Walker said.

When she was a student herself, Werner was significantly influenced by some of her classes. Werner reflected, “There were two particular classes that impacted my life. Twentieth Century Feminist Political Theory was a class that helped me understand myself and my place in the world. It helped me give voice to ideas and troubles that had been stirring in me for a few years.”

She continued, “Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition was the other class. It made me realize that there was a career out there for me, and after studying Rhetoric and Composition in that class, I went on to earn both an MA and a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition.” 

As students, the classes that we take now can push us in the direction of the careers that we want to pursue. If we’re lucky, our professors will inspire us to learn more about a particular subject within our major. For instance, within the field of English alone, there are so many different avenues that one can pursue.  There are various concentrations that allow for everyone to be interested in different topics.

Walker has had an extremely positive experience in Werner’s class. “Dr. Werner has only helped me excel. She gives honest and exceedingly helpful feedback when it comes to critiquing my essays, which has undoubtedly improved the way I write,” she shared.

Werner is always available to help students in class, as well as through office hours and email. Walker added, “She is always willing to go the extra mile to help someone out, and truthfully, helps students grow even in the smallest of ways.”

Outside of class, Werner is always busy with projects. “I am currently co-authoring a piece with a colleague at Youngstown State University in Ohio. The piece is about online chat writing center consultations and how tutors and writers negotiate their language in a digital medium,” Werner said.

She continued, “I’m also working on two pieces about digital infrastructure and students’ software choices. In the summer, I hope to begin a substantial new project on web design.”

In professional research and as a professor, Werner is creating a lasting impact. She may even be guiding her students into futures with a similar career. 

Dr. Werner, thank you for being so passionate about your field. On behalf of all your students, we all appreciate how much you do for us!

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University