Book Release and Signing with Amye Archer, Writing Center Coordinator

You are invited to join us for a Book Release and Signing with Editor Amye Archer

Where: Weinberg Memorial Library’s Heritage Room
When: Wednesday, October 23rd 4:00 – 6:00 PM

Join us as we celebrate the launch of CTLE Writing Center Coordinator Amye Archer’s new book, If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings. This collection features primary narratives from 83 survivors of 21 different school shootings spanning 52 years. From the 1966 University of Texas at Austin shooting to 2018’s Santa Fe High School in Texas, survivors include students, parents, teachers, staff, medical professionals, and community members.

This book, an anthology of woe, offers a modicum of succor and hope to anyone interested in learning how gun violence is affecting our nation. – Washington Post

Amye Archer holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Wilkes University where she received the Beverly Hiscox Scholarship. Her memoir, Fat Girl, Skinny received an honorable mention in the 2015 Red Hen Press nonfiction contest and was published by Big Table in 2016. Amye’s writing has appeared in Longreads, Scary Mommy, New York Magazine, Marie Claire, Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, and HuffPo. Amye’s essay, “Slow Motion,” received a notable in The Best American Essays of 2016 edited by Jonathan Franzen. Amye is the Writing Center Coordinator at The University of Scranton where she also teaches in the English Department.

Books will be available for purchase. All methods of payment are accepted. A portion of every book sold will benefit groups working with survivors of gun violence.

Pop-Up Writing Center!

Struggling with that final paper? Overwhelmed with writing assignments? We can help!

The Writing Center will be hosting additional hours on Sunday, April 30th from 6pm-9pm in Collegiate Hall.

These hours will be walk-in only, and you will not need an appointment!

What: Pop-Up Writing Center Hours

When: Sunday, April 30th from 6pm-9pm

Where: Collegiate Hall

Why: Because we love you.

Students will be helped on a first-come, first-served basis and range anywhere from 15-25 minutes.

Get there early to snag a spot!



Welcome back students!

Are you struggling with that first paper? The CTLE Writing Center can help!

The Writing Center Fall 2016 hours are as follows:

In the CTLE (LSC 588):

Monday through Friday 9am-5pm

In the Reilly Learning Commons (1st Floor Library):

Monday through Thursday 5pm-9pm

Saturdays: 1pm-5pm

Sundays: 1pm-9pm

*In the Reilly Learning Commons, we are located in the first two study rooms on the left.

To make an appointment email your availability and course name to:



Scranton + Poetry= Spoetry!

Last night, to mark the National Day on Writing, the Writing Center held a poetry reading and open mic.  The event was a huge success.  Students and staff from across the campus came to hear four featured readers: Dawn Leas, Ginny Grove, Amye Archer, and Stanton Hancock.  The reading was followed by a very well-attended open mic led by CTLE Reading Specialist, Dr. Andree Catalfamo.

The Writing Center would like to thank everyone who came out in support of poetry and spoken word.  We hope this event will be the first of many.  Don’t forget, the Writing Center is located on the 5th floor of the Loyola Science Center, and in the Reilly Learning Commons.  You can make an appointment by calling 570-941-6147, or emailing us here.

Poet Stanton Hancock
Poet Stanton Hancock
Poet and Writing Instructor Virginia Grove
Poet and Writing Instructor Virginia Grove
Dr. Andree Catalfamo
Dr. Andree Catalfamo
Scranton Alum Dawn Leas
Scranton Alum Dawn Leas

Writing Center Summer Hours

The CTLE Writing Center is open for summer!

Our summer hours are:

Monday through Thursday from 12pm to 4pm.

Please call 570-941-6147 to make an appointment, or email

We look forward to seeing you!


English Professor to Particpate in StorySlam

I’m a big fan of storytelling.  I’ve been doing it ever since I convinced my second grade class that Susan Lucci was my birth mother.  So when I heard that Scranton would soon have its own StorySlam, I was very excited.  Started by Abington Heights Senior, Madeline Zoe McNichols, StorySlam is an homage to New York City’s legendary storytelling series, The Moth.  Participants must tell a TRUE story in five minutes or less.  What you get, is a blend of memoir, performance, poetry, and laughter.   Tonight, University of Scranton’s, Dr. Michael Friedman, will be taking the stage in Slam in the Summit: What Doesn’t Kill You.    Come out and show your support for Dr. Friedman and all of the storytellers!

slamWhat:  Scranton StorySlam Presents: Slam in the Summit.  Theme:  What Doesn’t Kill You.

Where:  The Clarks Summit Borough Building, 304 S. State Street, Clarks Summit

When: Tonight at 7PM

Cost:  Admission is free with the donation of a canned food item.




It Matters

Last night, I had the honor of speaking at the Part-time Faculty Appreciation Dinner.  The event was hosted by the CTLE and was a wonderful opportunity for adjuncts to network and to “talk shop.”  Here is a copy of the speech I delivered.

It Matters
By: Amye Archer

In second grade, Bobby Lewis caused our teacher to have a nervous breakdown.  I was nine and her screams sounded like a siren in the dead of night.  The girls in the class cried as the Principal paddled Bobby in front of us.  I can’t remember what Bobby said that set her off, or what triggered her spontaneous madness.

Image from
Image from

In fourth grade, unable to stop me from talking, my teacher picked up my desk, dumped its contents on the floor in front of me, and threw the empty desk across the room.  My father grounded me for a month.  I have no memory of to whom I was speaking or what was so important that it just couldn’t wait.

In seventh grade, Jenna Beckwith and I walked once or twice a week to the small store across the street from our middle school and purchased a pack of Marlboro Reds for our social studies teacher.  He sent the boys for booze, the girls for smokes.  I can’t remember how he managed to pull this off.  I can’t even remember his name.

In ninth grade, we learned we could leave at lunch and not return, explaining our absence the next day to our young, green, vice-principal by saying we had “female troubles.”  I don’t know why we needed the extra time, who discovered this loophole, or how many times we used it.

During my senior year of high school, I was lost.  I had transferred out of public schools and had been at Bishop Hannan for two years.  I didn’t fit in.  I wrote poetry, listened to John Lennon, and read Bukowski.  I watched around me as my classmates, nestled warmly in the comfort of a better pedigree, walked forward into their future like the road had been paved for decades.  Like they had the map of their life tattooed on the backs of their hands.  I couldn’t commit to a college, I couldn’t commit to a path.  But the clock was ticking and the forest thickened around me.   The irony that I was a poet standing at two roads diverged was not lost on me.

Then, I met Anne Langan, my senior-year English teacher.  Her classroom was number 214, at the end of the second floor hallway.  At Hannon, we operated on semesters, so it wasn’t until the dead of winter that I first walked into her classroom.   Over the course of a few weeks, we had the chance to do some creative writing.  I wrote some poems, some short stories, and of course, lengthy papers on the role of women in Macbeth.  Then, about halfway through the year, we were asked to write our own myth, in the tradition of the Greeks.  I eagerly wrote mine after school.  I think it took me an hour.

Continue reading “It Matters”

Three Things I Learned This Semester

Every year, around this time, I ask my students to write a reflection regarding what they learned in my class.  The reflections are kept anonymous, so the students can write how they truly feel without censoring themselves.  This year, my first as the Writing Center Coordinator, I’ve decided to join them in this exercise and to write about the three things I’ve learned this semester.

1.  Peer Review skills need to be modeled.  Last month, I attended a workshop given by the CTLE’s Dr. Mary Goldschmidt.  In this workshop, Mary gave me wonderful advice to help with my student’s peer reviewing skills.  She suggested breaking my students into small groups, rather than pairs, and to join them in the review process.  Taking her advice, I divided my class into groups of four and we held peer review sessions in which each student had a chance to read his/her paper out loud and to receive feedback from three peers, not one.  But what really made this method work well was my presence at these meetings.  With me guiding them, my students were able to discuss higher-level concerns like content, support for thesis and ideas, and organization, rather than just line-editing for one another. 

In their reflections, my students raved about this method and highly recommended that I use it again next semester.  My plan, however, is to change it up slightly by using this method for papers one and two, and then giving my students the reigns to run their own peer review groups on papers three and four. 

You can see upcoming workshops offered by Dr. Mary Goldschmidt here.

2.  Sometimes students need to know where the bull’s-eye lies.  This semester, I decided to give my students a blueprint for good writing.  Every single time I handed them an assignment sheet, I gave them a sample paper to accompany it.  Then, as we discussed the assignment in class, I showed them more samples from books, journals, magazines, whatever I could get my hands on.  I will admit that I used to be against showing my students sample papers.  I felt that it might steer them in a direction they normally would not have traveled.  However, that all changed when I was asked to write a guest column for my good friend’s literary magazine. 

My friend asked for a column.  No further description or instruction was given.  I knew the magazine, had a pretty good idea of its audience, yet, I still really struggled to decipher exactly what my friend, the editor, expected of me.  I asked for clarification.  Instead of telling me what to write, he sent me a few samples of what others had written in the past.  A light bulb clicked on and I wrote a column that was still entirely mine, still embodied my voice, and was exactly what my friend was looking for.  I then realized that as a professional writer, I do this often.  If I’m submitting to a magazine, I read the magazine first.  Why not afford my students the same opportunity? 

3.  Students want to write better.  Never has this been more evident to me as it is during the 20 hours a week I sit in my office, which is nestled next to the Writing Center.  My proximity to the Writing Center affords me the opportunity to hear consultations in real time, and I often find myself smiling from ear to ear.  The consultants working in the Writing Center are wonderful; some of the best writers on campus, but the students are really the stars in our center.  Week after week, students return with rough drafts, outlines, revisions, and notes, willing to rework their papers, willing to listen, and really willing to improve their own writing skills.  Students will work hard if they have someone pushing them to their potential, but they will work harder if they feel safe and confident.  That’s what the Writing Center provides for our students, a safe place to grow.

Oh, and if you’ll allow me one more:

4.  Apparently, Twitter is king.  And no one, I mean no one, watches TV shows on an actual television anymore.

It’s My Revision and I’ll Cry if I Want To

photo courtesy of:
photo courtesy of:

Last week, I was standing in my kitchen with the setting sun streaming through the windows, my hands wrinkled from twenty-minutes of washing dishes, and tears pouring from my cheeks and plunking down into the dishwater like rain.  I was crying, really crying.  I’m not talking about the silent whimpers that trickle from me while watching Titanic for the third time, I’m talking about genuine sobs; the kind that originates in the center of you and pull your heart out of your chest on their way up.

What was it that had me so upset?  Revision.  You see, weeks earlier I had sent my book off to my agent, confident that I had revised it for the last time.  And I really, really thought I had.  I spent weeks deleting, rewriting, and reshaping my book.  I worked hard.   I (sort of) neglected my children, missed a few meals, lived under piles of laundry, and fell completely behind on Boardwalk Empire.  But when all was said and done, it was worth the sacrifice.   I nailed it.   I was in the clear.  Publication was just around the corner, I was sure of it.

Then, on an ordinary Monday evening, the familiar DING! I’ve assigned to my agent’s email address yanked me from the dinner table and I dove for my phone. 

I expected to read:  I love it!  I’m taking it out tomorrow to publishers.  I love you!  You are so talented, and you have great eyes. 

Instead, I got: We are so close! But…   

I was shattered.  I stood in my kitchen with my hands in that soapy water and I just sobbed.   Not because I had to rewrite the book again, but because I felt like a failure.  As a writer, my very existence hangs on my ability to write and to sell this novel.  I’ve dedicated my education to it, spent the better part of my daughter’s lives writing it, and promised my husband that our sacrifices would all be worth it.  Now, I had nothing.  No publication.  No reward.  Just that “but…”  I hated that but.   

Two days later in the Writing Center, I consulted with a student who had written a marvelous paper of which she was very proud.  She beamed as she read it out loud and she had every right to swell with pride.  The introduction was strong, the argument supported, and the organization was clear.  But something was off.  When I read the paper as a whole, it didn’t address the assignment.  I chose my words carefully, as I always do with students.  I asked her to interpret the assignment her instructor had given the class.  I then asked her to tell me how her paper aligned with those instructions.  She hesitated.  She searched the paper.  She looked at the ceiling.  She scratched an imaginary itch on her left ear.  “It doesn’t,” she said softly, “it doesn’t.”   She was visibly shaken.  She was defeated.  It was as if she was the one with the tears in the dishwater and I was the big “but.”

WCAs I explained the assignment and how she could address some of the larger issues, I was careful to point out all of the things she did well.  This is a good paper, I assured her.  You are a good writer.  And I wasn’t lying.  She was, by all accounts, a very talented student.  She simply missed the mark on this assignment.  She aimed left when the bull’s-eye was right.  This misinterpretation of her assignment was not an indication of her abilities as a student.  Just like my inability to properly construct a convincing arc for my protagonist’s best friend was not an indicator of my talent.   We just needed to revise, to reshape, and to try again.   The student left with tear-streaked cheeks and a much-improved paper, I’m sure of it.  And that night I went home and began working on revision number 13,886 of my novel.

Revision does not equal failure.  Revision is growth.  I never understood those words more than when I became a novelist.  My book has come so far from when I wrote the first draft.  It’s a different book entirely.  And with each draft, I learn and grow as a writer.  I am more proud of my book today that I have ever been of anything.  I pass this message along to my students, and it is a philosophy we hold dear in the Writing Center:  The first draft is the creating, the shaping, and the imagining.  The revision is where the real writing happens.

Bring us your creation.  Call the Writing Center today at: 570-941-6147 or

Ask about our weekend hours.