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Pomona College Appoints Director of College Writing

Dara Rossman Regaignon has been appointed director of college writing and assistant professor of English at Pomona College. In this newly created position, Regaignon will oversee the operation of the college’s writing program, including the writing intensive freshman seminars. Regaignon comes to Pomona from Princeton University, where she was assistant director for faculty and tutor development for its writing program.

Regaignon has a doctorate in English Literature from Brandeis University. She earned a master’s at Brandeis and a bachelor’s at Amherst College, from which she graduated summa cum laude. Regaignon later served as assistant director of university writing at Brandeis.

Pomona’s writing program has consisted of freshman writing seminars in various disciplines, accompanied by supplemental writing seminars. The writing seminars all have different and specific content, depending on their topics, so professors have taught writing in different ways. Regaignon will help shape the program to teach writing more efficiently and consistently in all academic disciplines. She will help create a curriculum that uses different disciplines from the humanities to the sciences to teach common writing goals and techniques needed by all college students.

She’ll “work to make the culture of writing at the college become more varied and vigorous,” said faculty member Paul Saint-Amour, head of the search committee that hired Regaignon.

Regaignon will also expand the college writing fellows program, which identifies and trains students to assist their peers.

“Experienced writers consistently turn to other thoughtful writers for outside readings of their work, but too often students think that asking for that type of feedback is a sign of weakness,” she said. “It’s my hope that we’ll be able to make a visit to the Writing Center a part of most students’ normal writing process.”

Regaignon, who attended a liberal arts college, said the mission and feel of Pomona are appealing to her, especially the emphasis placed on writing.

“The commitment that Pomona has made to writing as a central piece of a liberal arts education is one that I find inspiring,” she said. “In my conversations with faculty, I’ve already gotten a sense of the generous energy and thoughtfulness that they bring to the work of teaching. With that kind of enthusiasm and commitment on the part of both the institution and the individual faculty, I’m inclined to think that all things are possible.”

Regaignon’s own writing immediately caught the attention of the search committee, and when she came to campus, the choice was clear. Regaignon held a mock writing workshop and faculty watched her work through a student paper: “By the end of it, those of us on the search committee were already thinking in new ways,” Saint-Amour said. “It was really clear to us that she would be able to excite the faculty about writing instruction.”

Pomona College enrolls about 1,500 students and offers a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research.