At the beginning of each semester, faculty, staff, and current and former Writing Colleagues gather to celebrate the students newly accepted into the Writing Colleagues Program.
Students themselves, Writing Colleagues act as an academic bridge between their classmates and professors.
“One of the things we’ve worked really hard on is to make sure all constituents benefit from the program — faculty, students, the Writing Colleagues themselves,” says Hannah Dickinson, assistant professor of writing and rhetoric and director of the Writing Colleagues program. “The Writing Colleagues continue to develop their own writing skills through the experience of supporting other student writers.”
Students undertake a competitive application process — this semester, 16 writing colleagues were selected from 34 applicants — with writing samples, faculty recommendations, and an application essay. Finalists participate in an interview that required applicants to act out a mock writing colleague session, which lets faculty “observe applicants’ skills at asking facilitative questions, understanding writing as a process, and drawing out students’ ideas and insights,” says Dickinson.
After the selected students complete the Writing Colleagues seminar, they are then qualified to work with professors in a series of field placements, associated with courses the professor is teaching.
“What initially drew me to the program was the fact that I could further develop my skills as a writer through fellow student’s writing,” says Ben Ayres ’14. “I thought it would be an excellent opportunity, especially as a first-year, to get involved in something different, especially if it was beneficial towards my education.”
“The program also really pushes interpersonal and leadership skills because the colleagues have to be able to work with a wide range of student writers and faculty members,” says Dickinson. “And because writing colleagues are placed in courses across the Colleges, they have a chance to work with professors they might not otherwise.”
“Joining means not only helping other students improve their writing, but also stretching the way you think about the world,” says Sarah Buckleitner ’14, a Writing and Rhetoric major with two Writing Colleague placements completed. “I watched as the reading and writing assignments made them rethink how language shapes our world, how authority figures play a role in the work we create, and how their own interactions with students can change the way they think about writing. I’m sure these new students will have a similar experience, and when they graduate they’ll have the privilege of joining an awesome community of young writers.”
This semester, the Welcome Reception was held on Jan. 30 in the Seneca Room, 603 S. Main St.
In the photo above, Hannah Dickinson, assistant professor of writing and rhetoric and director of the Writing Colleagues program, and Ben Ristow, visiting assistant professor of writing and rhetoric, hold class in Stern Hall.