English Lecturer Empowers Students, Fights for Equity in Writing

As a graduate student, Leslie Bruce linked composition and writing skills to such classes as “Sociology of Families” and “Environmental Science.” When Bruce was a middle school biology teacher, she developed a writing program for science classes in her K-12 school district.

Bruce in 2007 began her role as a Cal State Fullerton lecturer in English, comparative literature and linguistics. Her commitment to equitable writing opportunities and preparing students for careers using service learning, undergraduate research and internships earned her the university’s 2022 Outstanding Lecturer Award.

“I am so fortunate to work with CSUF’s outstanding faculty who dedicate so much time to their students’ success,” Bruce said. “I’m profoundly moved by my colleagues’ recognition of my efforts. My students and peers motivate me to keep improving and growing as an instructor.

Bruce has taught courses on British, Victorian, romantic, children’s and young adult literatures and composition. Her accomplishments include designing the department’s “Technical Writing” and “Scientific Writing” courses and redesigning its “Advanced College Writing” course.

In 2017, Bruce created the Writing Across the Curriculum program to provide faculty with professional development opportunities. As the program’s inaugural faculty fellow, Bruce helped faculty members across disciplines integrate writing instruction into their courses to improve student learning.

Bruce uses high-impact practices — activities outside the classroom like service learning, undergraduate research and internships — to enhance student engagement. For example, Bruce created “Thesis Retreats at Pollak Library” for students writing theses, dissertations and capstone projects.

“Dr. Bruce presents real-world opportunities to the students in her English classes,” said President Fram Virjee, when presenting this award. “She teaches them to collaborate by writing manuals, while at the same time, teaching them how to write well. She provides students with every chance to learn and grow.”

Framroze Virjee, Leslie Bruce, Stephen Stambough

A CSUF Faculty Enhancement and Instructional Development grant funded her partnership with the online repair manual company iFixit. Bruce’s students collaborate with iFixit professionals to reduce e-waste by posting online repair manuals for electronic devices. The manuals are free and available in 12 languages.

While serving on the Academic Senate’s University Writing Proficiency Committee, Bruce also helped revise the requirements of upper-division writing courses to ensure students receive equitable training in disciplinary writing. This year, she is co-leading a team that analyzes data to identify equity gaps related to writing at Cal State Fullerton as part of the California State University Student Success Analytics Certificate Program.

“Most recently, I have leaned into calls to eliminate structural racism in education,” Bruce said. “For instance, I’ve increased the amount and weight of ‘low-stakes’ assignments in my classes. On separate days, for example, my scientific writers summarize complex primary research articles, synthesize sources and even storyboard designs for their online annotated bibliographies about the impact of racism on the sciences.”

Bruce also won the 2015 College of Humanities and Social Sciences Outstanding Lecturer Award.

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