Leigh Harris (PhD ’98, English Language and Literature)

What did you study at Yale, and what is your current profession/job?

I’m currently Associate Director of UCLA Writing Programs. I studied English Language & Literature at Yale, graduating with a Ph.D. in 1998.

What do you like most about your current role? What do you find most challenging and/ or rewarding?

Building programs that advance the public university’s access mission; coaching next-generation faculty in teaching/learning methodologies; teaching undergraduates and creating initiatives to help students graduate with 21st century critical thinking and writing capacities.

How did your time at Yale shape your career trajectory?

The teaching practicum I took as a graduate student opened up a professional world of writing pedagogy and literature on teaching that I didn’t know existed.

What are the main skills that you acquired as a PhD student which help make you successful in your current career?

The ability to talk to researchers outside my own field and to collaborate with colleagues.

Did you acquire any professional experience related to your line of work while in graduate school?

I attended a few conferences outside my immediate field, which gave me a broader view of postsecondary writing and composition studies.

What advice would you offer PhDs who are interested in your line of work?

Volunteer for committee work outside of your department, find a mentor, and take a teaching practicum!