Eleven graduate from writing excellence program

Eleven MSU faculty members are new graduates of a summer program designed to help them better incorporate writing strategies into class assignments. They include (seated, l-r) Erdoğan Memili, Kristin Boyce, Jarrod Fogarty and Charles Fulford (standing, l-r) James Sobaskie, Leslie Baker, Kasia Gallo, Veera Gnaneswar Gude, Brandon Barton and Mike Duff. Not pictured is James Dunne. PHOTO: Megan Bean | Public Affairs

Eleven Mississippi State faculty members are new graduates of the university’s Maroon Institute for Writing Excellence program.

Now in its fourth year, the three-week intensive institute recently trained teachers from nearly a dozen university departments to modify course syllabi to incorporate more writing-to-learn strategies into class assignments.

The professional development program is part of “Maroon and Write,” which is the university’s quality enhancement plan -- QEP, for short -- to improve undergraduate writing and learning skills across all colleges, curricula and class levels. The QEP is required to maintain accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

As part of the 30-plus hour workshop held during May, participants read a variety of theory-related literature selections and engaged in activities such as journaling, free-writing, peer-evaluation and reflective essay development. In coming semesters, they will incorporate many of the activities into their respective courses.

In addition to teaching one QEP course that incorporates writing-to-learn techniques and a formal writing component, MIWE graduates will continue interacting with the Maroon and Write QEP staff throughout the school year.

“There’s no substitute for the impact that a teacher can have in the classroom,” said Deborah Lee, who co-directs the Maroon and Write QEP with English instructor Ann Spurlock. “Working to be your student’s hero is a big, big bar to aim for, but you guys have risen to that challenge.”

“We are so excited that you went through this process with us, and we can’t wait to see how you put what you’ve learned into action throughout the upcoming academic year,” Lee added.

Counseling and educational psychology lecturer Kasia Gallo said participating in the MIWE program afforded her the opportunity to explore her passion for writing. Along with freewriting, she looks forward to implementing “writing on writing” assignments in her classes.

“I imagine that reflecting on what is difficult about writing may make the student pay more attention to that particular feature, and, in turn, improve the quality of subsequent drafts,” Gallo said. “I am eager to explore different dimensions of peer review as well.”

Gallo also expressed appreciation for her fellow participants, each of whom she said taught her something helpful over the course of the MIWE program.

“I enjoyed getting to know all of these wonderful people I wouldn’t have met otherwise,” she said.

In recognition of their participation, Gallo and the other graduates received a commemorative framed certificate, T-shirt and portfolio embossed with the Maroon and Write program’s logo.

The 2016 MIWE summer graduates and the writing-to-learn courses they’ll be teaching during the upcoming academic year include (alphabetically):

-- Political science and public administration instructor Leslie Baker, gender and politics, spring 2017.

-- Biological sciences assistant professor Brandon Barton, special topic in biological sciences, spring 2017.

-- Philosophy and religion assistant professor Kristin Boyce, introduction to logic, spring 2017.

-- Building construction science visiting assistant professor Mike Duff, building construction studio, fall 2016.

-- Physics and astronomy professor James Dunne, honors physics, fall 2016.

-- Meridian Division of Arts and Sciences instructor Jarrod Fogarty, introduction to statistics, fall 2016.

-- Landscape architecture associate professor Charles Fulford, presentation methods and media, fall 2016.

-- Counseling and educational psychology lecturer Kasia Gallo, psychology of individual difference and exceptional ability, fall 2016.

-- Civil and environmental engineering assistant professor Veera Gnaneswar Gude, engineered environmental systems, fall 2016.

-- Animal and dairy science associate professor Erdoğan Memili, goat and sheep production, fall 2016.

-- Music associate professor James Sobaskie, music theory, fall 2016.

Learn more about MIWE and Maroon and Write QEP at www.qep.msstate.edu, www.facebook.com/QEPMSU and www.twitter.com/MSUQEP.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Sasha Steinberg | Public Affairs

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