ASA Document #296
MEMORIAL RESOLUTION OF THE ACADEMIC STAFF ASSEMBLY
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON
ON THE DEATH OF FACULTY ASSOCIATE JOYCE MELVILLE
Joyce Melville, 61, died on Memorial Day, May 30, 2002 after an extended illness.
Joyce joined the English Department in 1982 as an instructor of writing and coordinator of introductory writing programs. She was a significant force in modernizing post-secondary writing instruction on this campus and a persistent advocate for the voices of student writers. Joyce received degrees in comparative literature and English literature and linguistics from Columbia University and the University of California-Berkeley. She held previous appointments at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of North Dakota. Joyce will be remembered for her passion for good writing, her vision for improving teaching, her unshakeable faith in the potential of new teachers and young writers, and her unending thirst for learning and experimentation.
Joyce taught a broad range of writing courses and never stopped experimenting pedagogically. Among her many provocative curricular materials were titles such as "Does America Exist? A Freshman Seminar on Cultural Diversity," "What on Earth Are We Doing in Cyberspace? A Freshman Honors Seminar," and "Making Ourselves at Home in Language," a reader for intermediate writers. Most recently she taught Writing in the Marketplace, a course in professional writing that placed upper-level students in internships, many of them service learning sites, in the Madison community. Joyce was particularly dedicated to broadening the audiences for student writing, pioneering peer response workshops and engaging students in public, "open mic" readings of their work. With funding from a series of campus grants, and working in collaboration with her students, Joyce developed an innovative campus-wide magazine for the best undergraduate non-fiction writing, Back of the Cereal Box. She was an early experimenter with electronic communication and by 1996 was editing, with her students, the on-line campus journal, Cafe Xanadu. She also was faculty advisor for GreenNet, an environmental newspaper and project of the UW-Greens. Joyce served as a judge for a number of undergraduate and graduate writing competitions in the English Department as well as the UW Bookstore Academic Excellence Awards Competition in creative writing. Her unerring sense of value in student work made her a treasured member of these judging panels.
Joyce's involvement in professionalizing writing instruction and assessment extended to the hundreds of teaching assistants that she mentored in her administrative capacity, organizing staff training, observing classes, and providing detailed, constructive criticism of TA teaching. For nearly two decades she served on the UW-System Placement Test Committee, making sure that test items in reading and writing were compatible with current research in evaluation. She also was an essay reader and trainer for the Educational Testing Service.
Beyond campus Joyce Melville was an activist and spokesperson with the Wisconsin Greens, with a special interest in mining issues in Northern Wisconsin. She used her own writing to educate and agitate for environmental justice and to express her affinity with the natural world.
Joyce is survived by her husband, Robert Melville, a professor of political science at Ripon College; her beloved daughter, Bryony, currently a medical student at Cambridge University; her son-in-law, Dr. Duncan Taylor; her mother, Ruth Woolsey, and brother, Mark Woolsey of Connecticut; her stepmother, Amy Callison of Missouri; a brother, Stuart Callison, presently in Indonesia, and a sister, Bette Callison-Palmero of New York.
To every graduating senior in her classes Joyce would give a postcard, asking them to write when they settled into life and work beyond college. Sooner or later, the postcards would come back to Joyce, usually with deep expressions of gratitude, and she would reply to every one of them. Though the circuit now is broken, Joyce's influence continues to move through the lives and language of her students and through the thoughts and actions of all of us who were lucky enough to have fallen into her sphere.
The Memorial Committee
Deborah Brandt, Chair