About Us

What We Do

CITRAL is a research hub that promotes and supports inclusive, equitable, and just teaching and learning. We collaborate with others to systematically study teaching and learning and develop evidence-based programs and innovations across campus. CITRAL is a collaboration between the UC Santa Barbara Office of Undergraduate Education and the UCSB Library.

For more information about any of our programs, please contact us.

Our Team

  • Faculty Director/Associate Dean
  • Office of Undergraduate Education

I'm the Faculty Director of CITRAL. I am also Professor of Writing Studies and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education. I've been a writing teacher for almost 30 years, teaching undergraduate courses like first year writing (aka freshman composition) and writing and civic engagement and graduate courses on writing theory, practice, and assessment. In all of these roles I work with faculty and students to study structures and practices associated with knowledge-making (like writing!), and to make those practices more accessible. I do all of this because I'm passionate about creating inclusive and equitable structures and activities for learners and teachers. 

My interests in knowledge-making, teaching, and learning are also reflected in my research. I'm author, co-author, or co-editor of nine books (with a tenth on the way) and dozens of articles and book chapters. The primary audience for this work are other faculty members in my discipline of writing studies/composition and rhetoric; however, some of my work circulates among people interested in teaching and learning across disciplines. I'm author, co-author, or co-editor of 10 books and more than 55 articles and book chapters, including  Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies and (Re)Considering What We Know: Learning Thresholds in Writing, Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy. I regularly consult/conduct talks and workshops for faculty, administrators, and others around the country on issues related to writing, learning, and professional/faculty development.

Prior to my work in CITRAL I was Director of the UC Santa Barbara Writing Program; I also spent two years as Interim Co-Dean of the Division of Undergraduate Education in the College of Letters and Science at UCSB. I am the past chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication; a member of the National Council of Teachers of English Executive Committee, and a Past President of the Council of Writing Program Administrators. In these roles I've worked with writing and literacy teachers/faculty pre-K through graduate school on research, policy, pedaogy, and initiatives to support literacy educators and learners around the country and the world. To read more about my professional work, feel free to view the CV attached to this profile.

When I'm not writing, reading, or working with faculty colleagues, I spend time cycling, sometimes hiking, and being outdoors as much as possible.

  • Associate Director

I am the Associate Director at the Center for Innovative Teaching, Research, and Learning at the University of California Santa Barbara. I am involved in projects that explore the role of pedagogical innovations on students’ sense of belonging in large universities. My research focuses on the intersection of student academic and social experiences within the context of R1 institutions. I am also the project director for UCSB’s ECoach project, where I work with faculty members and students across the university to contribute to the development of successful learning behaviors of undergraduate students in large gateway courses. I collaborate with faculty across STEM, Social Sciences, and Humanities to develop and implement low-stakes class assignments that foster inclusive learning experiences for students. I received my Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at the University of California Santa Barbara. My research in Political Science focused on the role of university experiences on the political attitudes of ethnic minority students in Latvia and Kazakhstan. 

Throughout my time at UCSB, I have participated in the development of program assessment for graduate and undergraduate programs. My work with the undergraduate assessment program has extended to my research on student learning.  I am the co-author of “When are we ever going to have to use this?” Discussing Programmatic Learning Outcomes in the Classroom,” published in the Journal of Political Science Education.

In my free time, I spend my days either wandering through art museums or chasing after my dog on the beach.

  • 805-893-6134
  • Transitions Director
  • Program Assistant
  • 805-893-6137
  • Assessment Coordinator
  • Office of Budget and Planning
Elina Salminen Photo
  • Coordinator for Engaging Humanities