Jon Olson, Ph.D.
Jon Olson is a scholar in the field of rhetoric and composition who studies how people learn to read and write and what that means to them. He specializes in practices and theories of writing program administration, especially writing centers and writing-across-the-curriculum programs. At Penn State, he has a split appointment between Penn State Learning and the Department of English where he is an Associate Professor. He educates and supervises writing tutors at Penn State Learning and advises faculty who teach writing-intensive classes. He also directs the Graduate Writing Center and is a member of the Graduate Faculty. He is faculty advisor to the Public Writing Initiative. During the summer since 2009, he has directed the Ken Macrorie Writing Center at the Santa Fe, NM, campus of the Bread Loaf School of English (a summer graduate program of Middlebury College), and he sometimes teaches a course there.
He teaches his classes (such as Peer Tutoring in Writing, Rhetorical Traditions, Issues in Rhetoric and Composition, Teaching Writing One to One, and Supervised Instruction in College Teaching—Writing Tutorial) based on a theory of collaborative learning and an invitational rhetoric of inquiry. Every class has the same long-term goal: to connect activities in the classroom to practices of citizenship outside the classroom that will sustain a social ecology within a deliberative democracy.
Olson received the 2008 NCPTW Ron Maxwell Award for Distinguished Leadership in Promoting the Collaborative Learning Practices of Peer Tutors in Writing. He was President of the International Writing Centers Association 2003-2005. He has a Ph.D in Rhetoric, Linguistics and Literature from the University of Southern California.