Top HWS Essays Showcased – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Top HWS Essays Showcased

When you’re a student at HWS, writing is essential. Especially research papers for academic coursework. Knowing the high quality of this writing, Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Mary Salibrici began ‘One Essay: Showcase of Student Writing,’ a Web site that features some of the best essay writing by HWS students.

“I wanted to be up front with the quality of writing that many of our professors get to see,” explained Salibrici. “Our creative and more artistic publications are phenomenal; this is an attempt to try to showcase academic writing, the writing done week-in and week-out by our high caliber students.”

In the fall of 2005, Salibrici started accepting nominations from professors for outstanding academic essays written by HWS students and was pleased with the results. “In the beginning, I thought that we would be doing well if we got one or two essays each semester,” said Salibrici. “To my surprise, we’ve gotten two or three essays some semesters and four to five essays others.”

In the past three years, 17 essays have been showcased on topics that encompass all three course divisions-the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences-as well as the fine and performing arts.

This semester, Salibrici received two new essays, Petrouchka Premiers at the Theatre de Chatelet” by Meg Stirling ’10 (photographed above) in dance and “Abortion: Should Any Level of Government Decide Its Citizens’ Liberties?” by Matthew Hursh ’12 in public policy.

“The Web site gives faculty and students access to a great resource,” explained Salibrici. “Whenever a new essay is featured, I send out campus-wide e-mails letting students, faculty and staff know that they should check out the latest essay, read the interviews with the student writer and the professor who assigned the essay.”

The interviews, which are published online along with the essay, include three questions for both the professor and three for the student writer about everything from the assignment to its context in the course to the writing process.

“Being able to read the interviews as well as the essays, students can get an inside perspective into how their peers are doing extraordinary work,” Salibrici said. “Likewise, professors can use both interviews and essays as examples of high quality work, employing them as a great teaching resource, even displaying the work for class discussion.”

To read the essays and interviews in the showcase, click here.

Photographed above is Stirling with research materials from her recently published essay in “close textual analysis.”