by Mary Stevenson, Coordinator of Writing Across the Curriculum
VAN JORDANíS NEW BOOK, RISE
Van Jordan, a faculty member, read from his recently published
collection of poetry, Rise at a reception in his honor,
April 4, 2002. If you missed the event (and you missed a great reading),
stop by the bookstore. Vanís book is featured in the window. Another
reminder: if you havenít gotten a copy of the novel, The Book of
Fred, by faculty member Abby Bardi, the bookstore has copies of
that book too.
THE TRACY WALKER WRITING CONTEST
Over the years, the college has granted prizes for writing done for
classes across the curriculum (Tracy Walker was a former student whose
family contributed money in her memory to award student writers). The
contest is back with only a few changes. Starting this semester, student
entries in both hard copy and disk will be submitted to the English
Department Office, Marlboro 3072. Entry forms and rules will be available
in the English Office and eventually from the college Web site. A $500
prize will be granted to the best entry for work done in spring 2002 and
fall 2002, to be given out at the Honorís Convocation in spring 2003.
Entries for this semester will be due the final Friday of classes in May.
For more detailed information contact Mary Stevenson, coordinator of
Writing Across the Curriculum.
WRITING ASSIGNMENTS: ARE THEY WORTH THE EFFORT?
We all know that including writing assignments adds to time required to
grade papers, and we all face the difficulties of trying to squeeze the
bare essentials into the few weeks we have the students. Is taking time to
give writing assignments worth the effort?
Research suggests the answer is a clear "yes." In Langer and
Applebeeís How Writing Shapes Thinking: A Study of Teaching and
Learning, NCTE, 1987, the authors found "clear
evidence that activities involving writing (any of the many sorts of
writing we studied) lead to better learning than activities involving
reading and studying only" (135).
RESOURCES TO HELP WITH DESIGNING WRITING ASSIGNMENTS
Longman Press has a good series on writing in different disciplines, a
series I have in my office and would be happy to lend to interested
faculty members. Written for students, the volume for biology, for
example, covers issues such as advice on reading, note taking, analysis,
documentation, revising, laboratory reports, research proposals, poster
presentations, oral presentations, and current computer software. Books
include A Short Guide to Writing About Art, About Biology,
About Chemistry, About History, About Literature, About Social
Science, and About Science.
Students also can get help with writing from the Writing Center,
extension 0748, where writers in any discipline can get tutoring from
faculty members (online as well as in person). Faculty who would like help
in designing assignments or help in incorporating writing assignments that
require less time to grade might talk to Abby Bardi of the Writing Center
or with Mary Stevenson. Bill Peirce, coordinator of Reasoning Across the
Curriculum, and Marlene Cohen, coordinator of Communication Across the
Curriculum, are valuable resource people too as you plan assignments.
Those who would like some guidance on evaluating writing might find useful
the "C Standard Paper" available through the English