Professor Josh Ambrose: “Be ready to have fun and to write, a lot!”

by Bryn Blanchard

Josh Ambrose is a professor and the head of the Writing Center at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. But, for the duration of the Spring 2017 Semester, Ambrose will be residing in Budapest, Hungary to teach at McDaniel’s sister campus, McDaniel Budapest. He will be teaching a variety of courses at the college, and will be consequently working toward expanding and strengthening the extension of the Writing Center over in Europe.
What courses are you going to be teaching in Budapest?
I am leading some new writing center initiatives. I will be teaching prose creative writing (fiction and nonfiction). I will be teaching a class on online publishing, where we create and publish an online component of Contrast literary journal.
Have you taught all of these before? What excites you about teaching each of the classes?
Yes, I’ve taught creative writing before. I always look to incorporate a variety of texts (from online sources to graphic novels, from short stories to unusual novels), so I’m looking forward to a lot of good reading and interesting prompts. I’m excited to hear everyone’s ideas and listen to their creativity.

I’ve also taught numerous classes that have utilized online publishing (such as TheForestOnline.com, my current “Writing for Main Street” class, English composition, etc). Additionally, I was the web editor for a national literary journal for two years, during which time I also introduced nonfiction to the magazine.

As for Writing Center work–I’ve been doing that for nearly 8 years, now! I’m excited to continue such valuable work in a new setting, and continue to explore ways to bring our campuses together.
What advice could you give your prospective students to prepare for/succeed in your class?
Be ready to have fun and to write, a lot! A willingness to consider things from all different angles is good, and a commitment to creativity essential. Both classes will be very different from almost all other kinds of classes, so students with curiosity will be rewarded!
What do you hope to accomplish in your time at McDaniel Budapest?
Great classes that change students’ lives, the implementation of a sustainable writing center initiative, and additional support for the awesome staff at the Budapest campus, as they work to build community and enrich academic experiences.

What would you say to a student who questions the writing center’s credibility as a valid resource?
What I would tend to say is that EVERYONE benefits from reviewing their work. Every NYT bestselling author has a review panel, every academic journal article goes through a review process, every song benefits from a test audience before it goes to the radio, etc.

Even if you are a “good” writer, the writing center is an ideal way to build review into the process, before submitting the final product to your intended audience–whether that be a professor or the world beyond campus. Together, we can make whatever it is that a student is working on better!
Is this your first time traveling to the sister campus?
I actually was there a few years ago, as part of the first Jan-term I led at McDaniel. Kirsten was with me—we loved it! But we were there for less than a week, so my wife and I are very excited to return for a longer time.
Are you two planning any travels in your semester overseas?
Yes, we’ll be accompanying the McDaniel students on their spring trips! On our own, we have some aspirations for at least Croatia and Prague. We’ll see what else happens!