Dr. Trixie Smith, Director

I’m Trixie G. Smith, Director of The Writing Center and a member of the faculty in Rhetoric & Writing as well as the Center for Gender in Global Contexts at Michigan State University. Since joining the faculty at MSU in August 2007, I have taught WRA/ENG 395 Writing Center Theory and Practice (formerly ENG 391) AL 891 Writing Center Theory and Administration, AL 878 Composition Studies, and AL 980 Queer Rhetorics. I’m excited to begin teaching for the Women’s Studies program, including the core course for our soon to be finalized LGBTQ concentration.

After earning a BA in English and Elementary Education from Mobile College, I spent several years teaching middle and high school students in southern Alabama. I then headed to The University of South Carolina where I earned an MA in English (Renaissance Drama), an MLIS in Library and Information Science, and a PhD in Composition and Rhetoric, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. My teaching and research are infused with issues of gender and activism even as they revolve around writing center theory and practice, writing across the curriculum, writing pedagogy, and teacher training. Likewise these areas often intersect with my interests in pop culture, service learning, and the idea that we’re just humans learning with/from other humans (you know, with bodies, feelings, lives outside the academy). I love it when my interests are able to intersect in faculty workshops, conference sessions, and professional development in the writing center.

Recent publications include Movies, Music, and More: Pop Culture in the English Studies Classoom (with Joseph Darowski, Fountainhead Press, 2011), the textbook The Pop Culture Zone: Writing Critically about Popular Culture (with Allison Smith and Stacia Watkins, Cengage/Wadsworth, 2009), and Teaching in the Pop Culture Zone: Using Popular Culture in the Writing Classroom (with Allison Smith and Rebecca Bobbitt, Cengage/Wadsworth, 2009). Other publications include a chapter in (E)merging Identities: Graduate Students in the Writing Center, several articles in Southern Discourse, and COMPbiblio: Leaders and Influences in Composition Theory and Practice (with Allison Smith and Karen Wright, Fountainhead Press, 2007) — a reference book focusing on the career arcs of leaders in composition studies. Upcoming work includes The WAC/WID Handbook (with Allison Smith in 2012), a second edition of The Pop Culture Zone in 2014, and a chapter in Supporting Faculty Writing, co-written with members of one of the faculty writing groups facilitated out of The Writing Center. I am also one of the series editors for the Fountainhead Press X Series for Professional Development.

You can email Trixie at

Dr. Grace Pregent, Associate Director

I’m Grace Pregent (she/her/hers), one of the Associate Directors of The Writing Center at Michigan State University and affiliate faculty in Rhetoric, Writing, and American Cultures and in Global Studies. Since joining MSU, I’ve taught WRA 395: Writing Center Theory and Practice and WRA 495: Organizational Storytelling and am co-teaching WRA 495: Community Literacies and Engagement Across Borders and WRA 899: Writing Center Administration. I’m also the Co-Director of the Community Writing Center and the Program Director for Community Literacies in Canada.  

I received my PhD in English (2020) from Loyola University Chicago, and I also have an MA in English from the University of Dallas (2010) and an MS in Higher Education Administration from the University of Dayton (2014). Some of my recent publications have appeared in The Writing Lab NewsletterEvelyn Waugh StudiesThe Thomas Hardy Review, and Victorians. I’m interested broadly in rhetorical narrative theory and higher education and particularly in the connections between storytelling, management, and strategic planning. Currently I’m the Conference Chair for the 2022 ECWCA Conference.

Before joining the Spartan community, I worked in writing center administration at Loyola University and international programming. When not teaching, traveling, or being present in the writing center, I’m usually spending time with my family, enjoying the beautiful state of Michigan, and training with friends in RunGR.

You’re welcome to connect with me at

Philip, Assistant Director

I’m Philip Montgomery (he/him/his), Graduate Assistant Director of the Writing Center. I am also a doctoral student in Second Language Studies, where I am developing my research capacity related to language policy, teacher agency, collaboration, language ideologies, and L2 writing. I grew up in Murray, Kentucky and then moved to Ohio, where I completed a B. A. in Spanish Language and Culture at the College of Wooster. I taught EFL as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan and then completed an M. Ed. in Educational Policy at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, with a concentration in Global Studies in Education. I spend the bulk of my free time exploring our neighborhood with my wife, daughter, and dog!

I joined MSU during the height of the pandemic in 2020, and since then I have worked as a Program Assistant for the Master of Arts in Foreign Language Teaching, a Curriculum Developer for the Online Teaching Initiative at the Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CeLTA), a Leadership Fellow in the Graduate School, and a research assistant for Dr. Peter De Costa. I joined the Writing Center as a Graduate Coordinator in 2021, where I helped navigate the Center’s transition back to in-person consulting. Through each of these roles, I have gained an appreciation for important behind-the-scenes work that make an organization work.

In the last year, I have had several enriching experiences that energize and motivate my work in the Center. I was chair of the Multilingual Writers Committee, which conducted training workshops for consultants working with grammar-related issues. Throughout those conversations, I saw how our consultants were thoughtfully and critically engaging with the Center’s Language Statement and the needs of their clients. I took WRA 889 Writing Center Theory and Administration with Dr. Trixie Smith, where I collaborated with my classmates and a writing center director at a university in Qatar to continually reconsider the role of language in the writing center, especially in relation to linguistic, racial, and social justice. Finally, I co-taught WRA 395 Writing Center Theory and Practice with Sharieka Botex, which ushered six new consultants into the shared values and practices of our community. That course highlighted for me the importance of relationship building, thoughtful reflection, and academic inquiry in the Writing Center. In the coming year, I am excited to further explore the relationship between language policies, professional development, and consulting practices through my dissertation and administrative work.

You can find my published research work in the Journal of English for Academic Purposes, the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, and the European Journal of Applied Linguistics (TEFL). I have also presented at conferences for the American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL), Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and the East Central Writing Center Association (ECWCA), with plans to attend the International Writing Center Association (IWCA) and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in 2022-2023.

You can email Philip at