“Writing is a job, a part of my job, a big part of my job actually–research is like 90% of it. And I’m a political scientist, so my work is represented in a written form, at the core of my job description. I wanna be good at it, but I don’t know if I’m good at it… [For my projects], I fill the gap with writing skills, so that’s where I’m struggling right now…I never thought I was a good writer. I think I’m getting better at making things clear, but I still think I have horrible prose. So I doubt myself all the time. Going back to the idea that I can still cut out some of the unnecessary stuff in drafts was just a gradual process that came to make me feel better.”
Byunghwan Son is an Assistant Professor of Global Affairs.
People new to teaching writing aren’t often sure what proven teaching strategies are and whether those practices are linked to research or simply lore.
Doug Hesse addresses concerns that are often posed by many writing teachers in programs across the country, such as Professor Joseph Teller who worries about his students’ writing abilities despite much instructional effort. Hesse, however, attempts to correct Teller’s position by stating that there are proven, research based practices to teach writing. Continue reading
On January 9th and 10th, Mason’s WAC Program held its 5th winter faculty writing retreat and its 10th overall. Mason’s WAC Program began hosting retreats in May 2014 to provide a distraction-free environment for faculty to work on scholarly projects. Since that time, the retreats have garnered a steady interest, but this retreat was our largest one yet: a total of 48 energetic writers convened in Fenwick Library for two productive days. Continue reading
Check back in January for new posts and profiles!
– The Writing Across the Curriculum Team
This year, our National Day on Writing celebration was a bit more familiar but no less exciting. According to the NCTE website, the National Day on Writing is a day to recognize all forms of writing, built on “the premise that writing is critical to literacy but needs greater attention and celebration.” This mission is one near and dear to our hearts. So, with tweets prepped, pens at the ready, and sticky notes shining brightly in the sun, we were ready to call attention to the diverse voices of the Mason community as they let us know their thoughts on writing. Continue reading
As we have written throughout this semester, many challenges that students encounter with writing stem from difficulties with reading. These difficulties range across disciplines, but each discipline might face its own set of challenges. The problem many faculty in the sciences experience, writes Laura Davies in her article on teaching reading in science courses, is that often “students regard scientific texts as collections of facts.” Thus, Davies says, students engage articles purely for content and can overlook how that content engages in broader disciplinary conversations and practices, which are often critical for entering into a disciplinary community. So, how do we help students read for more than facts? Continue reading
Earlier in the semester, we shared some resources that focused on using annotations and other strategies to support reading. The general intent of these strategies is to prompt students to engage more deeply and mindfully with their reading. In our post on “mindful reading,” we mentioned that effective readers often read for specific purposes that shape the way they engage the texts they are reading. For instance, if readers want to gain a general understanding of a text, they might skim it by noting the title, reading the introduction and conclusion, and browsing the main sections. But what if we have a different purpose? What if we are engaging a text not for its content but for its structure? Continue reading
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Earlier in the semester, we shared a few resources to support the ways in which faculty teach reading in (writing-intensive) courses. While literacy scholars and reading teachers suggest a variety of useful strategies to help students engage with their reading more deeply, one of the most commonly offered recommendations urges faculty to talk and model productive reading practices. That is why today we are sharing an article that does just that: interviews scientists about their reading practices. Continue reading
Dr. Gesa Kirsch, Professor of English and Media Studies at Bentley University, will join WAC Mason for a discussion of “The Advocacy, Activism, and Rhetorical Savvy of Dr. Mary Bennet Ritter, MD, and her Contemporaries.” Dr. Kirsch will explore Dr. Ritter’s life and legacy, trace her cohort of women physicians, and examine the role of the Woman’s Medical Journal in creating and sustaining a large professional network of early (mostly white) women physicians.
The talk will be held at 2:00pm in Johnson Center Room F on Mason’s Fairfax Campus. It will be followed by a reception at 3:30 and a coffee hour for graduate students at 4:00pm.
Tomorrow afternoon, the WAC Program is sponsoring a talk at Fall for the Book on “The Future of Academic Writing and Publishing.” The talk will feature five panelists who will consider how academic publishing is currently evolving and how scholars and editors might respond to that continuing evolution. One facet of this evolution concerns the prevalence of metrics that quantify the “impact” of a given article or journal. While impact metrics have been critiqued for a number of reasons, their use has remained prevalent, perhaps increasingly so. And that prevalence lead researchers John Rigby, Deborah Cox, and Keith Julian to wonder what impact factor metrics might reveal about academic writing beyond the circulation of a particular text. Continue reading