STARKVILLE, Miss.--Mississippi State recently reinforced its commitment to developing a university-wide writing culture by bringing a nationally recognized writing-to-learn expert to campus.
Award-winning author Kathleen Blake Yancey visited campus to share her expertise on how any teacher in any course may use writing activities to foster student learning.
Writing-to-learn is the focus of MSU's "Maroon & Write" quality enhancement plan, or QEP, which aims to improve student learning across all university disciplines. Approximately 120 faculty members attended the presentation by Florida State University's graduate school rhetoric and composition director.
Yancey explained that writing-to-learn strategies can work in any course. Short, frequent and informal writing assignments can enable students to articulate understanding of key class concepts.
"We have evidence that writing-to-learn actually does make a difference in terms of student learning, and the good news is that we have lots and lots of strategies," Yancey said. "Writers are not just born; they are practiced. One thing we're doing in writing-to-learn is helping people to understand, since writers are not born, that this is the way learning works."
Yancey continued, "The reason that we want to do these kinds of activities is improved attitude, understanding, knowledge, practices and action. This is what we're all striving for."
The "Maroon & Write" writing-to-learn QEP is being implemented in three MSU classrooms during the fall semester: English instructor LaToya Bogard's introduction to literature, associate professor Matthew Little's American literature survey and forestry professor Stephen Grado's forest resources survey.
During the spring semester, five others members will launch writing-to-learn courses: music department head Michael Brown in history and music appreciation, animal and dairy science assistant professor Jamie Larson in physiology of reproduction, marketing professor Robert Moore in Internet marketing, part-time human sciences instructor and senior extension associate Rick Noffsinger in agricultural communication, and English and African-American studies assistant professor Donald Shaffer in African-American studies.
Learn more about the "Maroon & Write" QEP at http://www.qep.msstate.edu.