Katharine Jager is a PhD candidate in English and medieval studies, in the English department of the Graduate Center, CUNY. She has an MFA in poetry from New York University, where her thesis advisor was Marie Ponsot, and is currently writing her dissertation on the poetics of vernacularity in the late medieval British nation. She works with the Thomas Hunter Honors Program at Hunter College as a Writing-Across-the-Curriculum Fellow. With THHP students, she works on developing new writing, time management that makes better writing happen, and revision of more polished final products. With THHP professors, she works on clarifying writing assignments so that the best student writing can be clearly produced.
I am a student in the Ph.D. program in history at the Graduate Center, working on a dissertation on race and cancer in the United States in the twentieth century.
In my two years as a Writing Fellow, I have worked with students and faculty in Hunter's Geography Department. For the better part of this last year, I have consulted with Prof. Ines Miyares and other faculty members on a multi-semester project to assess the place of writing within the department's undergraduate curriculum and offer recommendations to strengthen it. In previous semesters I have supported students in an online class that required regular postings to a discussion board, read and commented on weekly low-stakes writing assignments, and led a series of workshops for Geography students on topics that included strategies for organizing papers and working with sources.
In my time as a Writing Fellow, I have been encouraged by the advancements that I've seen in the writing of the department's students. At the same time, I have been impressed by the care with which faculty members assemble their courses. Hunter's Geography instructors go to great lengths to prepare thoughtful syllabi, compelling writing assignments, and engaging research projects.
I am a doctoral candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center in English and American Literature. My dissertation involves an analysis of specters in post-colonial literature, particularly new world texts. My primary work this year as a Writing Fellow was sitting with students and going over the mechanics, organization and processes of writing. Working with students from History courses 151 and 152, Alia Tyner-Mullings and I addressed everything from taking notes on readings, to developing a detailed preliminary outline, to writing several drafts, which we closely re-read and revised. I also conducted several interactive workshops for history students on critical reading skills, constructing exam essays, and paper writing. The workshops allowed students to work collaboratively not only with me but with their peers, as we meticulously explored concepts, questions, and problems arising from our churning discussions.
I also worked with faculty, speaking to them informally during my office hours about the different processes of writing, note-taking, exam-essay writing, etc. These critical exchanges helped Professors start to rethink the language and organization of their assignments. I also attended History classes, getting a sense of what Professors were asking students for and becoming a visible presence for those students that needed help. Next semester I plan to conduct faculty workshops on assignment creation, wherein Professors productively discuss how their questions guide student writing and the ways in which those assignments could be improved.
In the first semester of my second year as a Writing Fellow in the Music Department, I worked again with Professor Carolyn Guzski in two of her classes: "Introduction to Music Research" and "Music History I." This year it was decided that I would come into her class at the beginning of the semester and conduct a workshop with her students on reading comprehension and paraphrasing as a lead-in to the students' first writing assignment: a summary of an article in a music encyclopedia. In the workshop, I created a similar "mock reading assignment" and had students do the reading in small groups. Afterwards, with the rest of the class, I worked through a series of reading and comprehension strategies, such as outlining, annotating, identifying key words/phrases, and understanding and breaking-down paragraphs for easier analysis. Prof. Guzski found that the summaries she received from students were more focused and comprehensible than in the past. This opportunity also allowed me to establish an early dialogue with her students, which gave us a foundation to work from and made it easier for them to seek my help on an individual basis.
Throughout the year I have continued to work closely with many students on an individual basis and on a variety of reading and writing issues (i.e. reading strategies, paraphrasing, essay organization and writing, grammatical problems, and sentence structure). I conducted group workshops on creating and writing a thesis statement, research paper organization, and special topics for ESL students. I also worked with several students who were taking an introductory ethnomusicology classes on how to write and organize fieldwork proposals and ethnographic surveys. In the spring semester, I worked with students in two sections of "Music History II," which were taught by Professors Ruth DeFord and Paul Schleuse.
In addition to my work in the music department, I also assisted Jennifer Lemberg to conduct two WAC Program workshops for significant writing faculty at Hunter College: "Writing-to-Learn Techniques" (October, 2004) and "Reading Problems are Writing Problems: Writing-to-learn Techniques" (March, 2005). My two years as a Writing Fellow in the Music Department have afforded me the opportunity to consider new techniques for assignment writing, curriculum development and pedagogical devices that I hope to implement in my own career in academia.
I am a Ph.D. Candidate in English Literature and I am currently working on my dissertation, The Evolution of the Caribbean-American Transnational Narrative. I was a Graduate Teaching Fellow in Hunter College's English Department and I have also taught writing preparatory courses for the ACT exam in John Jay College's Basic Skills Department.
During my second year as a Writing Fellow, I worked with Professors Joanne Edey-Rhodes and Juan Flores in the Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies Department. I designed a Blackboard Website for Professor Flores' class Afro-Latino Culture and History. The site was designed to be a resource for his students as well as a forum to encourage communication and writing among them. With the help of Professor Edey-Rhodes, I was able to provide services to the entire department by tutoring students as well as offering workshops for all of the students taking classes within the department. I also gave in-class workshops for Professor Edey-Rhodes' students.
I aid students in this department by guiding them through the process of writing scholarly article critiques, preparing oral presentations, and developing research project outlines. I pay special attention to guiding students through the process of researching and writing research papers.
This year, Richard Perez and I worked with students in History 151 and 152. These classes were chosen because of our ability to reach the largest number of students, as each student at Hunter College is required to take the courses before graduation. We used this opportunity to contact the professors, adjuncts, and teaching assistants involved in the courses to lay the groundwork for a dialogue on student writing. We have currently obtained a collection of sllyabi and assignments from the courses and we will use this foundation next semester, to include the faculty in workshops on student work and their interpretation of assignments.
I held office hours twice a week, to which students would bring their papers, ideas or assignments for an in-depth discussion. As a writing fellow, I attempted to help the students to think about their papers by asking them questions about their work and their interpretations of it.
In addition to the office hours, Richard and I also ran workshops on topics that we felt, from our experience in our first semester, the students were most in need of. We each ran one workshop and then ran one together. In my workshop on essay exams, I had the students discuss their issues with the exams, which evolved into a general discussion on these types of exams. The students also had an opportunity to apply the methods we discussed during the workshop to two questions on historical documents.