2023 SAW Staff & Faculty
Elizabeth Lenaghan is an associate professor of instruction and the director of the Cook Family Writing Program. At the undergraduate level, Elizabeth teaches courses in expository writing, intermediate composition, first-year seminars, and practical rhetoric. Additionally, she serves as the assistant director of the Writing Place, Northwestern’s center for peer-to-peer writing consultations.
Elizabeth’s teaching and research focus on the way new media impact the reception, consumption, and production of traditional cultural objects and modes of expression. As a teacher and mentor, she aims to cultivate students’ communication skills while helping them develop more mindful habits of digital consumption and production. As a member of the Provost's Generative AI Advisory Committee, she's also engaged with educating students, faculty, and staff about the potentials for generative AI to transform our writing processes and products. She's especially interested in disentangling productive uses of such technology from uses that might hinder learning and critical thinking.
Elizabeth is also one of five Northwestern faculty members who live on campus. Specifically, she lives in Elder Hall with her husband Jason (who also works at Northwestern). Together, we host students for dinners, listening parties, and much more.
Charles Yarnoff, who received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University, teaches a variety of undergraduate writing courses, including Intermediate Composition, Writing and Speaking in Business, and First-Year Seminars.
He was named a Charles Deering McCormick University Distinguished Lecturer, an award recognizing faculty members who “have consistently demonstrated outstanding performance in classroom teaching.” He has been voted to the Associated Student Government faculty honor roll four times and has received the Distinguished Teaching Award from NU's School of Professional Studies.
He especially enjoys working with students at the start of their NU careers. He has taught in SAW for over 20 years and has been a Weinberg first-year advisor since 2000. He also finds it extremely rewarding to work with students even before they are in college, as he has since 2014 when he began teaching “Writing for College Success” in a program at Northwestern for high school students.
Teaching college English and writing since 1981, Leslie Fischer has worked with thousands of students to improve their writing. Fischer has taught at Northwestern University since 1987, joining the Cook Family Writing Program faculty in 1998 where she teaches Design Thinking and Communication.
Fischer is an experienced mentor in writing, communication and teamwork who also teaches graduate and undergraduate writing courses at Northwestern University's School of Professional Studies. Experienced as both a student and teacher of traditional, blended and online courses, she understands how students learn in-person and online and the particular challenges for both traditional and adult students.
In addition to her teaching, Fischer was the president of a consulting firm that helps businesses to communicate more effectively and assists individuals in career development. She was an editor on a variety of special interest publications, most recently The Daylily Journal. When she is not teaching, she hikes, attends the theatre, and goes letterboxing--an activity that combines art, orienteering and mystery.
Michele Zugnoni teaches Design Thinking and Communication, Writing & Speaking in Business, and two first-year seminars. Zugnoni’s seminars include LGBTQ in Popular Culture and Through the Looking Glass: Intersections of Identity. Zugnoni also serves as co-director of Design Thinking and Communication.
Zugnoni teaches with two goals in mind: (1) help her students learn to enjoy writing by engaging their own voice and unique knowledge; and (2) teach her students fundamental writing skills important to their continued success in writing at the university level and beyond. Zugnoni strives to create a safe space in each of her writing classes, where she and her students work together to build a community.
Zugnoni graduated from UC Davis during the summer of 2019 with a PhD in Education, and a designation in Writing, Rhetoric and Composition. Zugnoni’s dissertation focused on the narrative experiences of first-generation college students, and in particular, on how self-reflective writing can help students to cultivate a sense of community and professional identity in the writing classroom. Working in small groups, Zugnoni's students wrote about their experiences and shared their insights with their peers. They formed important bonds with each other and found a place of belonging.
Beyond teaching and research, Zugnoni spends many hours writing creative fiction, playing piano, traveling to new locales, and educating herself on writing and popular culture. She's originally from the San Francisco Bay Area.