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The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

Staff Spotlight: Chris Hassay

Photo courtesy of Lola Offenback.
Photo courtesy of Lola Offenback.

Chris Hassay is the Associate Director of the Center for Academic Excellence. He oversees the Writing Center and Writing Fellow program. He received both his BA and MAT at Moravian University. His scholarships with Dr. Crystal Fodrey, the Executive Director of the CAE, have appeared in Composition Forum and Writing-Enriched Curricula: Models of Faculty-Driven and Departmental Transformation.

What does your position usually entail? What department do you work in? 

As my job title suggests, I am part of the Center for Academic Excellence—otherwise known as the CAE! The CAE focuses on the academic experience at Moravian and is both faculty/staff and student-facing. As Associate Director, I primarily serve the student experience through academic support. I coordinate the Writing Center and Writing Fellows program; oversee our PASS & Course Mentor programs; and work as a program administrator for our peer tutoring platform, Knack. I also teach various writing courses; train our Writing Fellows, Writing Center Consultants, and PASS Leaders; and work directly with undergraduate and graduate students on various academic practices like reading strategies and study skills. 

What are some of the unique challenges that come with your position?

A major challenge that feels unique to this semester is the introduction of the Knack platform and our transition of some established forms of Academic Support onto that platform. We launched Knack at Moravian this Fall which brought with it a series of exciting opportunities and challenges. Fortunately, many of our PASS leaders, Language Resource Center tutors, and Course Mentors were quick to make the switch—which (I think) made the transition much smoother! 

What are your favorite aspects of working in your position?

I really enjoy the collaborative nature of my role … both internally with other members of the CAE and externally with our campus community. Academic support is something that extends across our campus and I am fortunate to get to interact with TONS of different folks. Dr. Fodrey and I have been working together on various projects since 2017, so we have really built a strong cooperative process. I think that process also extends to much of the work that I am doing with students in Academic Support. For example, Writing Center Consultants play a direct role in developing the policy and approach to writing consultation in our center. It is these sorts of collaborations that I find the most rewarding/enjoyable.

I would also say I love working with students individually or in small groups. This happens in a variety of contexts: training courses with Writing Fellows & PASS Leaders; with students in the Writing Center; and during workshops and write-ins. For example, I support our Graduate Writing Center and— as someone with an interest in Writing Studies— love that each session is wholly new/different. I am someone who teaches courses on collaborative worldbuilding, so perhaps that also contributes to why I love working with others 🙂 

What made you decide to work at Moravian?

The faculty at Moravian— specifically in the Department of English and Writing Arts and the Department of Education— is the main reason I decided to work here. As a student, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do post-graduation. Throughout my experience at Moravian, I was incredibly fortunate to work with a ton of fantastic faculty who helped me better understand my own interests and highlighted opportunities to explore those interests in higher ed. Beyond that initial, critical, support, I also find working at a place like Moravian means working within a community that has an established inquisitive and creative culture. Those things are good and (I hope) infectious. 

What’s an interesting fact about yourself that most people don’t know about you?

My mother used to design homes, which has manifested in an intense fascination with historic buildings & bridges. I think that living in Bethlehem’s historic districts has also helped nurture that interest. 

What do you do in your free time, or hobbies? 

I am a lover of all things speculative fiction! In practice that means watching movies, reading books, and listening to podcasts related to anything horror, science fiction, or fantasy. I also am a dedicated game master and player of a variety of tabletop roleplaying games. Outside of those things, I also enjoy working out and cycling whenever I can find the time!  

Are there any interesting projects or things you are working on?

The Center for Academic Excellence is currently working together to align academic support structures and the new General Education curriculum, which is forthcoming. I am so excited for those things to develop over the next few semesters!

Did you plan to work in higher education?

Not initially. I was really interested in working in public relations. Ultimately I found that I was more and more interested in higher ed as I continued to study at Moravian.

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