Valerie Balester, Professor of English and Executive Director of the University Writing Center and the Academic Success Center, specializes in rhetoric and composition. Her 1993 Cultural Divide: Case Studies of African American College-Level Writers (Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook-Heinemann) earned an Honorable Mention for the W. Ross Winterowd Award for best book on composition theory. In 2004 she collaborated with Michelle Hall Kells and Victor Villanueva in editing Latino/a Discourse and Teaching Composition as Social Action, a collection of essays on Latino/a discourse and writing pedagogy (Boynton/Cook). More recently (2014), she contributed “How Writing Rubrics Fail: Toward a Multicultural Model” to Race and Writing Assessment (Eds. Asao B. Inoue and Mya Poe).
Balester first worked in a writing center in 1978 at The Pennsylvania State University and was a Graduate Assistant Director at the University of Texas Writing Center in 1986-87. She worked with English graduate students to start a center at Texas A&M in 1990. She also served as the Director of Writing Programs in the Department of English at A&M, training and supervising writing teachers for FY composition, technical writing, and writing about literature. In 2001-02, she served as Interim Director of the newly created University Writing Center and became its Executive Director in 2002. In 2014, she became Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Studies, and in 2015, she became the Executive Director of the Academic Success Center.