Moneyhun’s Got the Write Stuff

April 6, 2010, 12:52 a.m.

With his polished, trimmed beard and flowing gray-white hair, Clyde Moneyhun looks the part of the modern, laid-back academic. Turns out he’s a very well-traveled academic.

Moneyhun's Got the Write Stuff
(Courtesy of Clyde Moneyhun)

“Clyde’s absolutely amazing and a bit of a badass,” said former Branner resident Gabrielle Gulo ‘12. “Check out his earring!”

Clyde Moneyhun, the Branner Resident Fellow (RF), director of the Hume Writing Center (HWC), Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) lecturer, family man and all around “badass” has had a long career of writing and teaching that has taken him around the world, from the Deep South, to Japan, to the Farm.

Growing up in a family that never settled in one place for too long, Moneyhun crisscrossed the United States as a child. He was born in Florida and spent a considerable part of his childhood in the Deep South until college, when he headed to New York to get his undergraduate degree in comparative literature at Columbia.

“New York City was the ultimate culture shock, but I loved it,” Moneyhun wrote in an e-mail to The Daily. “I knew absolutely nobody there, but I was turned on by the electricity of the city, the challenge of the classes, and the tight group of smart friends I made. I still love going to New York every chance I get.”

After college, Moneyhun opted for another change of scene and headed to Japan for four years, where he taught English as a break between earning his MFA in fiction writing from the University of Arizona and his Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition from the same institution.

“I was going to be between degree programs and thought I’d go have fun for a year or two,” Moneyhun said. “But I loved it so much that I stayed for four years. I taught at a delightful women’s two-year college in the big city of Nagoya, traveled all over the place, made many friends. It was a blast.”

Moneyhun’s love of the English language was heightened through his stay in Japan and he decided to continue helping people improve their writing when he returned to the states. He now helps students hone their writing technique through his work as director of the Hume Writing Center at Stanford.

“I direct all aspects of the center’s operations,” Moneyhun said. “The activity we’re most famous for, of course, is tutoring. We did over 7,000 tutoring sessions last year.”

The HWC also organizes other writing events.

“We also do small class workshops, special evening and weekend events — like readings and celebrations of writing — outreach to public schools in the area and more,” Moneyhun continued. “The fun never stops around here!”

Moneyhun’s passion for writing is a major part of his job description, which includes training HWC peer tutors. Aaron Kalb ‘11, one of over a dozen Resident Writing Tutors (RWTs), described Moneyhun’s passionate teaching style.

“Clyde was incredibly enthusiastic, upbeat, and supportive,” Kalb said. “Clyde repeatedly shared his mantra: ‘our goal is to make better writers, not better writing,’ so we weren’t taught how to mark up particular papers to reduce grammar mistakes. We were taught to interact with students to empower them.”

On top of his administrative work, Moneyhun also enjoys teaching, though he admits that the director position does not leave much time to spend in a classroom.

“I teach the tutoring training class every spring and a very occasional PWR or Introduction to the Humanities (IHUM) section, and I do one-on-one tutoring, too, but I’m looking forward to more teaching in the future,” Moneyhun said.

Moneyhun also has his hands full with his family, raising his two sons, Jesse and Gabriel, with his wife, Nancy Buffington, a fellow PWR lecturer.

“Our world pretty much rotates around them,” Moneyhun said. “Nancy and I are also juggling these two jobs with a family life, raising two boys, helping with homework, attending school events, taking weekend drives and hikes, etc.”

“How do we do it?” he continued. “With a lot less sleep than I’d prefer, for starters! It’s definitely a strain.”

One of Moneyhun’s greatest strengths — as a father as well as a mentor — is his warm and compassionate personality. RWT Cara Brook ‘10 recalled a stressful time during her freshman year in Branner when Moneyhun and Buffington took her under their wing and provided personal guidance.

“Nancy and Clyde invited me to their apartment for the evening and we watched ‘The Full Monty’ together,” Brook said, remembering a night when she needed to be cheered up.

It was this personal touch and close friendship with the couple that ultimately inspired Brook to become a writing tutor.

“I am a science major, but they always supported me in my writing endeavors and wanted me to make my voice heard,” Brook said. “I will always value how they made a home for me as a frightened and fragile freshman.”

Brook was not the only life that Moneyhun touched with his gentle manner. Colleagues, too, pointed to his accommodating nature and range of interests as some of Moneyhun’s best assets.

“I have always been impressed with Clyde’s amazing breadth of knowledge about tutoring, writing and teaching, and his clear and comprehensible but powerful manner of communicating it,” said Donna Hunter, a PWR lecturer who tutors in the HWC.

But Moneyhun’s days of wanderlust are still not behind him, and his love of writing is again drawing him away from his current home. This will be Moneyhun’s last year at Stanford as HWC director and Branner RF before he relocates to Boise State University.

“I’ll still direct a writing center, but I’ll also teach in the English department, especially in their Ph.D. program in rhetoric and composition,” Moneyhun said. “It’ll be a very different life.”

Moneyhun said Stanford has yet to find a replacement for him but expressed his confidence that the University “has a deep bench of very qualified people” for both jobs.

Still, many Branner residents are skeptical of finding a suitable replacement for Moneyhun.

“He’s easy to talk to, really chill, and he doesn’t make you feel guilty when you go to him for advice on your mistakes,” Gulo said. “With him and his family leaving, the next Branner RF definitely has some big shoes to fill.”

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