Linguistic Diversity Initiative


The Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors, along with the Director of Writing Across the Curriculum, the Knowledge Market Partners (Speech Lab & Research Consultants), members from the English Department, Anthropology Department, and the Division of Inclusion and Equity are joining forces to seek social justice for all students at Grand Valley with our new Linguistic Diversity Initiative.

Linguistic Inclusivity

We recognize that one's home-language is a foundational component to one's sense of self. The ways we speak, write, listen, or sign are expressions of who we are, have been, or hope to be. Our mission is to validate all identities and provide every person with respect for their dignity and understanding through empathy; therefore, we are passionate about creating and maintaining a space for all students to feel comfortable and encouraged to exercise their natural identities free from judgement, criticism, or rejection. 

Whether you're coming to the Writing Center or the Knowledge Market for help with writing, researching, or speaking, we believe you have the right to your own voice. 

Please click HERE for our printable flier. 

KM Consulting

Our Linguistic Inclusive Resolution

In alignment with members of the National Council of Teachers of English, the Linguistic Society of America, and the Conference on College Composition and Communication’s declaration of Students’ Right to Their Own Language (2014), the Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors accepts, validates, and promotes all language varieties represented by the students we serve. Our program does not judge any language or dialect as inferior or incorrect. 

Furthermore, our program agrees: “We affirm the students’ right to their own patterns and varieties of language–the dialects of their nurture or whatever dialects in which they find their own identity and style. Language scholars long ago denied that the myth of a standard American dialect has any validity. The claim that any one dialect is unacceptable amounts to an attempt of one social group to exert its dominance over another. Such a claim leads to false advice for speakers and writers, and immoral advice for humans. A nation proud of its diverse heritage and its cultural and racial variety will preserve its heritage of dialects." 


The Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors…

  • Aims to actively promote not only the acquisition and mastery of discipline-specific styles in writing, but also the acknowledgement, development, and mastery of one’s home language or dialect.
  • Does not acknowledge any inherent linguistic hierarchy among the many varieties of English.
  • Aligns itself with the GVSU community in stressing the importance of students becoming versed in the language of social and cultural power: Standard Edited Written English (SEWE).
  • Recognizes that it is theoretically and pedagogically proven that empowerment and mastery of one’s home language provides a better opportunity for mastery of another language or language variety.
  • Believes it is through the empowerment of one’s home language that writers and speakers from any background feel valued and more confident about learning new knowledge and skills.
  • Trains writing consultants to respect all language varieties, believing that when individuals feel respected, they are more likely to succeed.

Readings and Resources

This is a living collection. We will be adding resources as we encounter them -- will include educational materials, books, videos, news articles, etc. 

This is the cover of the book, "Writing Centers and the New Racism: A Call for Sustainable Dialogue and Change, edited by Laura Greenfield and Karen Rowan

Greenfield, L. & Rowan, K.(2011). Writing Centers and the New Racism: A Call for Sustainable Dialogue and Change. Logan: Utah State University Press. Retrieved June 7, 2019, from Project MUSE database.

this is the front cover to the book, Articulate while black: Barack Obama , language, and race in the U.S. by Samy H. Alim and Geneva Smitherman.

Alim, H. S., & Smitherman, G. (2012). Articulate while black : Barack Obama, language, and race in the u. s.. Retrieved from

this is the front cover of Talkin and testifyin: The language of black america, by Geneva Simtherman

Smitherman, G. (1977). Talkin and testifyin: The language of black america. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

If you would like more information about your rights, our initiative, or continued efforts across campus, feel free to contact anyone listed below. 

The Writing Center & SWS

Patrick Johnson 
Writing and Michigan Authors, Fred Meijer Center for 
119 Lake Ontario Hall 
Dept. Phone: 616-331-2922 

Melanie Rabine 
Writing and Michigan Authors, Fred Meijer Center for 
113 Lake Ontario Hall 
Dept. Phone: 616-331-2922 

Knowledge Market Partners


Jennifer Torreano 
Library - University Libraries 
240 Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons 
Dept. Phone: 616-331-3500 


Carl Brown 
Communications, School of 
153 Lake Michigan Hall 
Dept. Phone: 616-331-3668 
Dept. Fax: 616-331-2700 

English & Anthropology Departments

Colleen Brice 
English - Main 
226 Lake Huron Hall 
Dept. Phone: 616-331-3405 
Dept. Fax: 616-331-3430 

Lindsay Ellis 
English - Main; Lake Michigan Writing Project
218 Lake Huron Hall 
Dept. Phone: 616-331-3405 
Dept. Fax: 616-331-3430 

Michael Wroblewski 
230 Lake Michigan Hall 
Dept. Phone: 616-331-2325 
Dept. Fax: 616-331-2328 

Division of Inclusion and Equity

Relando Thompkins-Jones 
 Inclusion and Equity, Office of the Vice President 
4035 James H Zumberge Hall 
Dept. Phone: 616-331-3296 
Dept. Fax: 616-331-3684 

Have other questions? Stop in and visit! Or call us at 331-2922.