Just as the glass is half full or half empty, there are some people who “get to” go to work and some people who “have to” go to work. Mr. Daniel White is one of the positive ones. A beloved English professor at Mississippi College since 2012, Mr. White has been deemed the “Friend of the Writing Center” because of his consistent encouragement of students and tutors.
We followed up with Mr. White last week to see what this “Friend of the Writing Center” title is all about. What could make the Writing Center so important to someone who is not directly affiliated with it in their job description?
Before a single question was asked, Mr. White began to eagerly tell the story of his unofficial title:
“I don’t remember the exact date or when, but before a blog was our way of communication, they did a newsletter through email. This is probably three or four years ago, and they came by and interviewed me, and they asked, ‘Mr. White, what’s your thing with the Writing Center?’ and I said, ‘I don’t really know.’ I don’t officially work with it. None of my contractual elements were like ‘You do the Writing Center,’ so I was trying to find a way to describe what it was that I did.”
As it turns out, Mr. White worked with the Mississippi State Writing Center as an instructor seven years ago. His last ever interaction as a faculty member on the MSU campus was when one of his recurring appointment students remembered Mr. White’s tutoring and greeting him.
Mr. White’s consistent involvement with and excitement around the Writing Center led to the creation of his nickname around MC’s campus:
“We came up with ‘Friend of the Writing Center,’ which I legit adopted as my title…So much of my identity from undergrad to grad student to professor is wrapped up in the Writing Center.”
As an English professor at MC, Mr. White keeps his classes engaged with fun “White-isms,” his most common sayings, such as “life choices,” “glorious,” “here are prizes,” “alas,” and “be well, and do good work.”
In a warm gesture of familiarity, he always calls his students “friends,” uniting former students and newer ones within the classroom.
This simply perfects his title of “Friend of the Writing Center.”
“Why the title matters to me and to others is that one day most of us will walk away from…this whole other beautiful world that’s about pedagogy and composition and interacting with people to help them achieve their dreams through writing.”
Even if his role no longer involves tutoring himself, Mr. White teaches new tutors in ENG 398: Practicum in Writing Consulting before they come to work in the Writing Center.
Mr. White continues to pursue his higher education at Ole Miss, pursuing an EdD (educational doctorate) with an emphasis in Higher Education Administration.
“Mr. White is in graduate school right now, so he's a model student himself. We in the English Writing program are super proud of him!” says Dr. Price, Writing Center Director.
You can be a friend of the Writing Center too! Come see your favorite tutor today by making an appointment on our website or walking in.