Bobbi Olson Wins 2017 Maxwell Leadership Award

October 10, 2017

Dr. Bobbi Olson, Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Grand View Writing Center, has won the 2017 Ron Maxwell Award for Distinguished Leadership in Promoting the Collaborative Learning Practices of Peer Tutors in Writing. The award will be presented at the 34th annual National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW) October 14 at Hofstra University in New York City. 

The award recognizes a professional within the NCPTW organization for dedication to and leadership in collaborative learning in writing centers, for aiding students in together taking on more responsibility for their learning, and, thus, for promoting the work of peer tutors. Its presentation also denotes service to the evolution of the conference organization.

 A committee of previous award recipients selected Dr. Olson. She was nominated by her Department of English colleague Dr. Brittany B. Cottrill Lloyd, with the help of a second letter written by former writing tutor and Writing Center Student Director Sierra Thomas. They praised Olson’s collaborative vision, student advocacy, mentoring of tutors as scholars and writing center student administrators, innovative curriculum development, influential publications, and influence on colleagues by modeling best practices in tutor education.

Olson “created a place where tutors could talk and help each other,” said Thomas, “but she also created a place where we could talk to her. Despite her relatively new status as a professor at Grand View, she maintained her professorial authority while showing us that she’s a human being, too.”

Olson’s leadership “forever changed” the way Thomas viewed the role of a supervisor: “When asked now about what the perfect supervisor or boss looks like, I think of Dr. Olson. She was kind, firm, compassionate, determined and unwavering in her support for me and my fellow tutors. She sought opportunities for us to grow through scholarly articles, research projects, conference presentations and campus outreach—all while teaching her own classes and improving the educational experience for others.”

Olson is currently writing a collaborative article for publication with tutors on their innovative approach of linking the classroom to credit-based tutoring from the Writing Center.

 Olson will receive a check from the Maxwell family and a plaque engraved with two quotes she chose as having informed her career: “Freedom of inquiry is not a one-person job; it is a many-person job” by Mariann Regan (quoted in Elizabeth Boquet’s Noise from the Writing Center, p. 59); “Humanity tells us that we should allow every man the dignity of his own way of talking” from Students’ Right to Their Own Language, p. 22, a statement published by the National Council of Teachers of English.