MidSouth WPA was formed in 2016, and our primary purposes in creating the affiliate are to:

  1. Meet and get to know peer institutions
map of midsouth region.
MidSouth regional map.

Share concerns and strategies for addressing local issues Identify a community with which to collaborate on research, grants, and teaching opportunities Establish a protocol for educating the region about what writing is and does in people’s lives, as well as best practices for teaching writing at all levels.

Members represent a variety of writing programs, including writing centers, writing across the curriculum programs, first-year writing programs, professional writing programs in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Our institutional members are:

  • University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa: Luke Niiler, Natalie Loper 
  • University of Tennessee Chattanooga: Lauren Ingraham, Rik Hunter, Beth Leahy
  • Middle Tennessee State University: Amy A. Harris-Aber, Rachel Donegan, Laura Morgan Hanson,  Megan Donelson, Heather Listhartke, Ron Kates, Julie Barger, Kate Pantelides
  • Volunteer State Community College: Joshua Hite
  • University of Mississippi: Alice Myatt
  • Belmont University: Jason Lovvorn, Linda Holt, Andrea Stover
  • Tennessee Tech University: Tony Baker
  • Western Kentucky University: Christopher Ervin
  • Roane State Community College: DeAnna Stephens
  • Fisk University: Holly Hamby
  • University of Alabama-Huntsville: Alanna Frost


  • President – Luke Niiler, University of Alabama

Luke Niiler is an Associate Professor of English and Director of the First-Year Writing Program at the University of Alabama. He earned his BA in English from Gettysburg College, and his MA and PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Prior to assuming the role of WPA at UA, he directed writing centers at the University of Missouri-Rolla, the University of Texas-Tyler, and the University of Alabama. His teaching and research interests include writing centers, writing program administration and assessment, creative nonfiction, and the work of JRR Tolkien. He regularly teaches first-year writing and UA’s graduate-level teaching practicum, and is working on an auto-fiction manuscript tentatively entitled Free Beer Tomorrow.

  • Vice President – Jake Castle, Middle Tennessee State University

Jake Castle is currently a Ph.D. student in English at Middle Tennessee State University, where he serves as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. He received his B.A. in English from the University of Virginia in 2013 and his M.A. in English from East Tennessee State University in 2016. His primary concentration is in Rhetoric and Composition. His research interests include Writing Across the Curriculum, Rhetorical Genre Studies, and transfer theory.

  • Secretary – Katie Musick
  • Treasurer – Lauren Ingraham, University of Tennessee–Chattanooga

Lauren Ingraham is professor and internship program coordinator in the English department at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. From 1998-2011, she directed the first-year composition program at UTC. Her work has appeared in WPA: Writing Program Administration, Composition Studies, The Promise and Perils of Writing Program Administration, and The Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing: Scholarship and Applications. Her current teaching areas include writing for pre-service teachers, grant writing, and writing for nonprofit organizations.

  • Webmaster – Rik Hunter, University of Tennessee–Chattanooga

Rik Hunter is an Assistant Professor of Digital and Professional Writing at the University of Tennesee-Chattanooga. He was previously the WPA and Writing Center Director at Quest University Canada before joining the faculty at UTC. His work has appeared in KAIROS: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, and Computers and Composition, Computers and Composition Online, Literacy in Composition Studies, and LORE.

  • Immediate Past Presidents – Julie Myatt and Kate Pantelides–Middle Tennessee State University

Executive Board

  • Alabama – Natalie Loper, University of Alabama

Natalie Loper is a full-time instructor and Assistant Director of the First-year Writing Program at the University of Alabama. She earned her BA in English from Quincy University and her MA and PhD in English from the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at the University of Alabama. Her teaching and research interests include Shakespeare and film, adaptation and appropriation theory, and pedagogy. She regularly teaches first-year writing and the graduate-level teaching practicum, as well as British literature and Shakespeare. Her administrative duties include creating and revising the online sections of EN 101 and EN 102, for which she was recently honored as an Innovation Scholar in Residence (2017) and Innovation Mentor (2018). She works closely with online instructors and new graduate student teachers.

  • Georgia – Marcia Bost, Shorter University

Marcia Bost received her doctorate in Rhetoric and Composition August, 2014, from Georgia State University and has taught English on the college level since 1996. She also has master’s degrees in English Education and Professional Writing. She has served as assistant editor of The Journal for Biblical Ministry, contributed to Academic Publication and Contingent FacultyCCC Journal, and Open Words, and published her own webzine. Her research interests include epistemology, online teaching, and visual rhetoric (especially quilts).

  • Kentucky – Jill Parrott, Eastern Kentucky University

Jill Parrott is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Eastern Kentucky University, where she is the Coordinator of First-Year Writing and Co-Director of the Quality Enhancement Plan, Read with Purpose. Her research interests include the material nature of contemporary authorship and copyright law and the integration of reading and writing for disciplinary information literacy. She currently provides interdisciplinary faculty professional development on the importance of critical reading for the development of independent learning strategies, and you can find her essay about the “bad idea” that “Some People are Just Born Good Writers” on Inside Higher Ed. 

  • Tennessee – Beth Leahy, University of Tennessee–Chattanooga

Beth Leahy is Director of the Writing & Communication Center (WCC) and Assistant Professor with the Library at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). She received her PhD in Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English from the University of Arizona and her MA in Rhetoric and Writing from the University of New Mexico. She served in a variety of administrative roles at both institutions. At UTC, most of her time is spent overseeing the daily operations of the WCC, consulting with faculty across the disciplines, collaborating with librarians to provide UTC students with quality research and writing support, and developing assessment projects that can double as research projects. Her previous research has focused on borderlands composition histories, the intersections of WAC and L2 Writing, and supporting multilingual graduate writers in the writing center. She has just begun a new research project investigating faculty perceptions of writing and the role of a campus writing center.

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