Summer Writing Institute Will Expand, Thanks to Grant
KEENE, N.H. 12/12/04 - Keene State College’s summer Institute on the Teaching of Writing will be given a boost thanks to a grant from the Calderwood Writing Initiative, a private foundation in Boston.
After observing the work of the Task Force on Writing (newsletters, workshops, and presence on campus), the advisory board of the Calderwood Writing Initiative invited Phyllis Benay, associate professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and director of the Center for Writing, Mark Long, chair of the English department, and Kirsty Sandy, assistant professor of English, to present a proposal for funding at the Boston Athenaeum.
The grant, worth $45,000 annually, will be supplemented by an additional $15,000 each year from Keene State, says Benay.
The Institute, which started in 2003, is a one-week workshop for tenure-track faculty from all disciplines on campus. Each summer, eight faculty members are selected to attend the Institute. The goal, Benay says, is to encourage faculty to consider new and different ways to incorporate writing into discipline-specific courses.
“The Institute helps faculty examine the connection between writing and learning,” Benay says. “Whether they teach biology, physical education, or English, faculty have the opportunity to design new writing assignments and establish new criteria for evaluating student writing.”
Dick Jardine, professor of mathematics, who attended the first Institute, says he learned to craft writing assignments designed to help students learn mathematics. “By writing about the mathematical concepts,” Jardine explains, “students more deeply understand the mathematics as they have to take the time to think about the processes and to explain them in their own words.” He also learned techniques for more efficient grading of student writing.
The funding will enable the Institute to provide more follow-up in the semesters following the week-long seminar portion of the Institute. It’s likely that a part-time assistant will be hired to help run the tutoring portion of the Center for Writing, freeing Benay up to work more directly with faculty members. “The grant will allow Mark, Kirsty, and me to continue helping faculty as they transition from theory into practice,” she explained.
The Institute will now be known as the Calderwood Institute on the Teaching of Writing.