Beth Parfitt has a dual appointment as Associate Teaching Professor in the English Department and Scholar in Residence in Writing and Communication with Penn State Learning. She has been teaching writing for 15+ years, and brings experience in peer tutoring, teacher training, community writing, creative writing, and rhetoric and composition to her role with Penn State Learning.
Parfitt has a B.A. in English from Penn State University and a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College where she taught until 2017. While at Emerson, Parfitt worked as a Senior Lecturer in the Writing, Literature and Publishing Department, and served as the Writing Center Coordinator for the college. Using her experience as a peer writing tutor at Penn State as inspiration, she initiated and developed the first undergraduate peer writing consultant program at Emerson. She also created a writing fellows program in multiple disciplines, integrating tutors into the classroom for course-specific projects.
At Penn State, Parfitt teaches for the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, as well as the Creative Writing program. As part of her role with Penn State Learning, Parfitt leads the Public Writing Initiative, a project designed to bring community speakers into classrooms, and activate students as writers in the community. In addition, through ENGL250: Peer Tutoring in Writing, she works to develop the undergraduate peer tutoring program.
Throughout her teaching career, Parfitt has led multiple community writing projects, including a multi-year tutoring program at East Boston Public High School. She has taught courses on Teaching College Composition, Creative Nonfiction, Community Writing, Rhetoric and Composition, Research Writing, and Peer Tutoring. Parfitt has also worked as a teaching mentor, and has experience in writing assignment and course design. She has written the instructor’s manual for the composition textbook The Call to Write, and her scholarship often focuses on writing pedagogy.
Parfitt frequently presents her work at conferences including the Conference on College Composition and Communication and the Conference on Community Writing. Her research has been published in Community Literacy Journal and Service Learning and Literary Studies in English, and her essays have appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Ed online, InsideHigherEd, The Writing Lab Newsletter and The Boston Globe. While living in the city, she was a City of Boston certified Artist.
As a writing teacher, Parfitt blends her knowledge of creative writing with rhetoric and composition to create classrooms where collaboration and student voices are at the forefront. She challenges students to build communities where their work is both valued and critiqued in an effort to drive public discourse, so they may grow as people, citizens, and writers.