Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Kelley Calvert

Assistant Professor & Writing Center Director

"Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world." – Paulo Friere, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

“Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us.” –Don Delillo, American novelist


I am a writer, a writing teacher, a lover of words. It is my great fortune that I also have the opportunity to instill this passion in others.

We hold a collective misconception that academic writing must be boring and full of passive voice distance. Students often view writing as a mundane task to be attended to with the stunted conviction of eating one’s vegetables or getting thirty minutes of exercise per day. I currently teach two classes—EAPP 8456: Advanced Genre and Rhetoric and EAPP 8494: Navigating the Process: Advanced Skills in Rewriting. If there is one idea that I try to get across to all students, it is that writing can be pleasurable.

The international students with whom I have the privilege to work with come from far flung regions of the world. I daresay that I have had students from every continent on earth (excluding Antarctica, of course). Many, if not most, love writing in their first languages, but fear the prospect of writing long papers in English. My job is to turn that fear into action; fear is ultimately just a psychological barrier to self-actualization.

How do we accomplish this feat as a class? We form a tightly-knit learning community. We trust one another to give honest and thorough feedback on written prose. We learn theory and principles to inform our writing. We apply these principles to our own writing as well as to the writing of others. We digest rules of thumb, such as “Avoid long introductory phrases and overly-long subjects,” and “Use active verbs!” We apply this wisdom to our own writing; we replace writer’s block with a plan of attack.

Without language, there is nothing. It sounds ludicrous, but we cannot change the world without changing our words, our thoughts. I often say this phrase to my students in jest, but in the end, I think it contains a great deal of truth: We can make the world a better place one sentence at a time.


Kelley Calvert has worked as a professional writing tutor at California State University Monterey Bay, providing workshops for students in English conversation skills, grammar, and composition. She is also a professional freelance editor and writer.

Prior to MIIS, she served as a professor of English for Peace Corps in Benin, West Africa, and as an AmeriCorps writing and technology tutor for inner city youths in the Washington, D.C. area. Her teaching experiences include work with undergraduate and graduate students, community college students, and children.

In addition to her teaching, she is a frequent contributor to the area newspaper Monterey County Weekly. She has also been featured in Best Travel Writing 2008, Pology Magazine, and Fringe Magazine.  Ms. Calvert's academic work recently appeared in International Students: Strengthening a Critical Resource, edited by Maureen Andrade as well as in Michel Gueldry's anthology entitled How Globalizing Professions Deal with National Languages: Studies in Cultural Studies and Cooperation.

Ms. Calvert also coordinates the Graduate Writing Center (GWC) at the Institute.


Advanced Research Writing, Editing Writing, English conversation skills, grammar, rhetoric and composition skills

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