Assistant director of University Writing for ePortfolios selected

AUBURN UNIVERSITY – After a national search, Laura Elmer has been named the inaugural assistant director of University Writing for ePortfolios effective May 15, announced Margaret Marshall, director of University Writing.

Professional ePortfolios are personal websites designed to communicate and showcase students’ skills, experiences and learning. Auburn University will introduce ePortfolios to the campus over a five-year period, starting with the first participants that include both academic and co-curricular groups.

As a process, ePortfolios engage students in assembling artifacts from across their academic career – written texts, drawings, video, oral performances or other media products from their course work and other experiences – and in revising and contextualizing these items to demonstrate for a specific audience the themes in their learning experiences. As a product, ePortfolios offer evidence of learning and capacity for graduate study or employment.

“Laura was a terrific member of the development committee and has helped launch the project in her role as the graduate assistant for the Office of University Writing,” Marshall said. “Her understanding of how ePortfolios can promote student learning is simply remarkable and we know her leadership and energy will help us make this project better. We are very fortunate to have a rising star in ePortfolio scholarship at Auburn to help with implementation.”

“From the first meeting of the development committee it was obvious Laura fully understood what ePortfolios were about and the impact they could have on student learning,” said Richard Burt, chair of the Development Committee. “One of Laura’s strengths is conceptualizing and graphically illustrating key components of the project. She took the lead in developing an overview presentation and producing a video of student perceptions on their experiences with ePortfolios,” Burt said.

“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to work with such an interesting and unique project. The groundwork that has already been established provides a strong foundation for success, and I look forward to growing and expanding this project in collaboration with faculty, staff, students and alumni,” Elmer said.

Elmer will complete her dual master’s degree in English literature and rhetoric and composition from Auburn University at the end of this term, but already has given several conference presentations on ePortfolios at the highly selective Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy and the Southeast Regional Conference for the Association of Authentic, Experiential, and Evidence-Based Learning. Next month she will present her work as a graduate student with Auburn’s ePortfolio Project at the Conference on College Composition and Communication. As a student Elmer was awarded several scholarships for her academic excellence and served as the DeFoe Research Fellow in her first term as a graduate student.

Elmer also taught first-year composition and gained administrative experience in both the composition program and the Office of University Writing during her time as a master’s student. She was responsible for leading the pilot project for ePortfolio Student Ambassadors last summer and received stellar evaluations from students for the Getting Started Workshop she delivered during the interview process.

“In my more than 35 years of teaching, I have rarely seen so much teaching talent and pedagogical sense,” said Marshall. “I am simply amazed by Laura’s strong instincts, the depth of her thinking about how to help others learn, and her eagerness to learn more. We are so excited to have her stay with this project and take on more responsibility for shaping the implementation.”

“My goal for the ePortfolio Project is to help students have a more holistic view of their learning experience at Auburn to share with future employers and educators. Simultaneously, supporting faculty and staff in all that they already do and helping them to understand how ePortfolios might enhance the goals they have for their students, classrooms and research will be an important part of my work in this position,” said Elmer.

For more information on Auburn University’s ePortfolio Project, go to https://fp.auburn.edu/writing/ePortfolios.aspx.