- Areas of Speciality
- Composition and Rhetoric
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Ph.D. University of Texas, 1988
M.A., Pennsylvania State University, 1982
B.A., Wilkes College, 1977
Dr. Balester specializes in rhetoric and composition. She started a writing center at Texas A&M in 1990 with the cooperation of English graduate students, and served five years as the Department of English Writing Programs Director, overseeing FY English, technical writing, and writing about literature courses. In 2001, she served as the first Executive Director of the University Writing Center at Texas A&M and initiated the writing-in-the-disciplines program, which expanded in 2007 to include public speaking. Currently, she continues to direct the University Writing Center and also directs the Academic Success Center and serves as Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Studies.
Honors and Awards
- 2014 CCCC Outstanding Book Award in the Edited Collection category.
- Winner of International Writing Centers Association Best Article of Year for 2001-02.
- Honorable Mention, 1993, W. Ross Winterowd Award for best book on composition theory.
Balester, Valerie, co-edited with Michelle Hall Kells and Victor Villanuevea. Latino/a Discourses and Teaching Composition as a Social Action. 2006
Balester, Valerie, co-edited with Michelle Hall Kells. Attending to the Margins: Writing, Researching, and Teaching on the Front Lines. 1999
Within the next few years, compositionists can expect the pedagogical borders between first-year composition and basic writing to continue to blur as we attend to students currently on the margins of mainstream academia. Our students will be older, poorer, female, minority, and immigrant; and we must be prepared to experiment with pedagogy that will serve them. This important new book was written to assist with that process.
Balester, Valerie, co-edited with Barbara Johnstone. Uses for Journal Keeping: An Ethnography of Writing in a University Science Class. 1994
This text reports on an ethnographic study of journal-keeping in a university science class. The author spent a summer semester attending a general education class in geology as a participant observer, took extensive notes, interviewed class members and the professor, and analyzed journal entries and other documents related to the class. She provides an example of ethnographic methods to be of use to other composition researchers, especially in her careful attention to reflexivity, that is, the effect of the researcher and the research on data.
Balester, Valerie. Cultural Divide: Case Studies of African American College-Level Writers. Honorable Mention, 1993, W. Ross Winterowd Award for best book on composition theory. 1993
Through rhetorical criticism of selected spoken and written texts of successful African-American students, Valerie Balester has made a first step toward a rhetorical focus.
- The Holt Guide to Using Daedalus. NY: Harcourt Brace, 1995. (Writing textbook supplement for use with computers.)
- Tutoring Against Othering: Reading and Writing Critically.” In Tutoring Second Language Writers, Eds. Shanti Bruce and Ben Raforth. Utah State University Press, 2016. 195-212.
- “How Writing Rubrics Fail: Toward a Multicultural Model” in Race and Writing Assessment. Eds. Asao B. Inoue and Mya Poe. New York: Peter Lang, 2012. 63-77. 2014 CCCC Outstanding Book Award in the Edited Collection category.
- “Discourse and Cultural Bumping: Introduction.” Co-authored with Michelle Hall Kells. Latino/a Discourses and Teaching Composition as a Social Action. Eds. Michelle Hall Kells, Valerie Balester, and Victor Villanueva. CrossCurrents Series. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 2004. 1-6.
- “Ebonics, Standard American English, and the Power of First-Year Composition.” Co-authored with Ellen Weber (graduate student). Against the Grain: A Volume in Honor of Maxine Hairston. Eds. Ralph Voss, David Jolliffe, Michael Keene, and Mary Trachsel. Hampton Press, 2002. 197-210. (Ms Weber conducted the research under my guidance, and I wrote the article.)
- “Writing about race and Ethnicity.” In Coming of Age: The Advanced Writing Curriculum. Eds. Linda K. Shamoon, Rebecca Moore Howard, Sandra Jamieson, and Robert A. Schwegler. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann-Boynton/Cook. 2000. CD-Rom. Print-linked publication. Coming of Age won the Council of Writing Programs Administrations Outstanding Book Award for 2000.
- “Voices from the Wild Horse Desert: Introduction.” Co-authored with Michelle Hall Kells. In Attending to the Margins: Writing, Researching, and Teaching on the Front Lines. Eds. Michelle Hall Kells and Valerie Balester. CrossCurrents Series. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1999. xiii-xxiii.
- “Vir Bonus Agendi Peritus.” Co-authored with Philip Sipiora. In Discourse Studies in Honor of James Kinneavy. Ed. Rosalind Gabin. Potomac, Maryland: Scripta Humanistica, 1995. vii-xxvii.
- “A Reexamination of Attitudes Toward Black English Vernacular.” In Constructing Rhetorical Education: From the Classroom to the Community. Eds. Marie Secor and Davida Charney. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois UP, 1991. 63-85.
- “The Evolving Computer Classroom for English Studies.” Ten Approaches to Computer Composition Classrooms. Ed. Linda Myers. Buffalo, NY: SUNY Press, 1993.135-48.
- “International Tutors Make a Difference” The Writing Lab Newsletter 37.1-2 (September/October 2012): 6-9.
- “The Idea of a Multiliteracy Center” co-authored with Nancy Grimm, Sohui Lee, David Sheridan, Naomi Silver, and Nancy Grutsch McKinney. Praxis: A Writing Center Journal 9.2 (Spring 2012).
- “Development of Student Writing in Biochemistry Using Calibrated Peer Review.” Co-authored with Adalet Barris Gunersel,Yasha Hartberg, and Nancy Simpson. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 8.1 (2008): 29-44.
- “A View of Status and Working Conditions: Relations between Writing Program and Writing Center Directors.” Co-authored with James McDonald. Writing Program Administration 24.3 (Spring 2001): 59-82. Winner of International Writing Centers Association Best Article of Year for 2001-02.
- “The Problem of Method: Striving to See with Multiple Perspectives.” Response to “History in the Spaces Left: African American Presence and Narratives of Composition Studies.” College Composition and Communication 52:1 (September 2000): 129-32. “Development of Student Writing in Biochemistry Using Calibrated Peer Review”
- “Research Portfolios: Connecting Projects to Products.” Co-authored with Lynn M. Burlbaw. The Journal of Staff, Program, and Organization Development. 13.1 (1995-96): 15-23.