In 2023, Paul Kratwell moved all the way from Oregon to Minnesota to work at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Kratwell is the director of the Writing Center on campus and is a lecturer for Composition and Writing classes, plus he is in charge of U of M Crookston’s Inspired Art Journal.

Kratwell’s position includes managing a staff of undergraduate peer tutors, keeping records and statistics for the numbers of appointments in the Writing Center, and instructing classes. He meets with fellow faculty and staff members about grading papers, dealing with plagiarism, source finding for students, and strategies for teaching writing.

Kratwell has a PhD in English from the University of Oregon and received his Master of Arts degree in English from there as well. While at the U of Oregon he taught Composition and English, and did some work with their writing center. This was when he realized he had a passion for writing centers and aiding others with their written work.

“I spent over 20 years working jobs I didn’t like,” Kratwell continued. “Working at Writing Centers, I felt like I was finally doing something that mattered.”

Kratwell also has a Master of Science degree in Teaching English from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

“I didn’t start college until I was in my 30s,” Kratwell shared, expressing how he didn’t do well academically in high school. “Once I decided I was ready for college, I discovered I was a good writer and I enjoyed it.”

Kratwell has a vision for the U of M Crookston Writing Center to be a place that generates interest in writing for everyone. He has plans to initiate a creative writing club for students, a rhetorical theory group for students, faculty, and staff, and a group of faculty writing fellows where faculty can talk to each other about writing in their particular fields. Kratwell has a collective vision with the Student Success Center to create a nice, welcoming environment in the Writing Center.

Outside of work, Kratwell enjoys spending time outdoors, creative writing, rock music, and reading southern gothic literature. He also has a deep interest in researching posthumanism. Kratwell describes this as humans rethinking their relationship with the natural world, especially in the 21st century.

“We have to understand what we have control of in the world and what we don’t,” he explained.

Kratwell shared that he was nervous but excited to move to Minnesota, as he had never lived in a rural place before. Kratwell moved to East Grand Forks with his fiancé, Amber. The two of them had spent much of their time on the west coast, but were both excited to move back to the Midwest to be closer to family members.