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University Writing Program

Move and Name Change

This fall, the Writing Commons (formerly the "Writing Center") opened its doors on the newly renovated first floor of the Wallace Center! Behind the circulation desk and across from the Rochester Area Deaf Studies Community Center (RADSCC), we look out onto the construction of the Gene Polisseni Center. From this new vantage point, professional writing consultants engage in goal-oriented conversations with students about writing projects at any stage of the composing process, from invention to final draft, and the rhetorical moves of academic and professional writing. Activities include walk-in and scheduled appointments, weekly appointments, class visits, and online writing support. Come in and visit us! The Writing Commons staff will be happy to show you around the exciting new space. "Like" the Writing Commons on Facebook to receive up-to-date announcements and see what they are up to throughout the semester.

New Website for the University Writing Program

The website for the University Writing Program (UWP) went live in August at At the new website you can find out about each of the three units of the UWP: the Writing Commons, First Year Writing (FYW), and Writing Across the Curriculum. In addition to learning about the mission and goals of these interrelated areas, you can schedule an appointment in the Writing Commons, meet the faculty teaching FYW: Writing Seminar, find out the latest information regarding the Institute Writing Policy, and see the other units the UWP has partnered with at RIT.

New UWP Intersession Course

With the support of Fernando Naveda and Anne Wahl, David Martins, UWP director, has designed a new course entitled: UWRT325: Writing Genre, Theory and Practice for the January TigerTerm session. The course offers students the opportunity to develop their own writing abilities and learn how to help others improve their writing through the study of genre. Students will explore writing found in disciplines across the curriculum, analyze writing-related artifacts, assess their peer’s writing, and revise their own writing. The reading, writing, and communication skills developed in this course will be utilized in other classes, and in other academic and workplace contexts. Course activities will be intensely collaborative and include work in the Wallace Center, the Cary Collection and the Artist Books Collection, as well as interviews with college librarians, a panel presentation by faculty, and a large amount of peer review.

Innovative UWP/NTID First Year Writing Collaboration

Professors Linda Rubel, Dianna Winslow and Rose Marie Toscano have been teaching an innovative, collaborative First Year Writing course this fall, which grew out of a University Writing Program initiative on internationalized and globally networked writing classes using translingual methodology. They received an NTID Dodge Grant for this project and are using it to test some of the assumptions of the translingual approach. The translingual approach posits that readers of texts by multilingual writers adopt an attitude of openness and inquiry towards language and language differences. One of their goals is to help faculty and students see that linguistic differences, as well as cultural differences, are resources to be preserved, developed, and utilized, rather than "obstacles" to be "overcome."

Rubel, Winslow and Toscano became interested in developing this project because they recognized research on Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH) writers, for whom written academic American English is indeed a second language, as notably absent from the translingual conversation. They posited that texts by D/HH learners might productively complicate some of the assumptions and recommendations of translingual scholarship. Recognizing the similarities between work with domestic and international students and D/HH and hearing students, these teacher researchers have designed a conjoined first year writing course that has two separate sections of Writing Seminar working together: one NTID-supported D/HH section and one University Writing Program hearing section. The center unit of the course is a fully collaborative researched writing project produced by groups of four students each, pairing two D/HH students with two hearing students.

Rubel, Winslow and Toscano, will share their research and case study of this collaboration in their panel, "Access to Openness: National and Global Futures and the Translingual Approach," presented at the annual Conference on College Composition and Communication in March, 2014, Indianapolis. Their conference session will focus specifically on the pedagogical considerations and challenges of adapting a translingual approach for first year writing when the cultural and linguistic diversity is among students in Deaf/ Hard of Hearing (D/HH) and hearing cultures. They will present preliminary findings on the challenges of adopting a translingual approach for both students and faculty who took part in the experimental first year writing class collaboration.

National Day on Writing

On October 21st, the UWP celebrated the 5th National Day on Writing. In addition to the sessions with professional writing consultants, students, faculty and staff wrote stunning haiku for the "Haiku Tree" while they sipped lemonade and snacked on animal crackers and red licorice. Consultants also spread out throughout the stacks handing out UWP Bookmarks (available on request) and asked students to share their ideas and creativity. The results were some insightful comments on what "Writing is/does..." and a couple hilarious "stories" written collaboratively, one line at time. Stop by the Writing Commons to see everything that was written to show how we use writing "2connect."