My assignment at Hunter College during the 2009-2010 academic year was to work with the Political Science Department, particularly with the POLSC 110 Freshman block class, to help assess, define, clarify, evaluate, and meet learning objectives as they relate to student writing and critical thinking. As a Writing Fellow, my efforts were to implement WAC/WID initiatives through building relationships and strategies to further departmental goals. To meet these goals, I refined a series of out-of-class workshops I developed during the 2008-2009 academic year that emphasized the idea that writing is a process, and that it is related to the process of critical thinking. In collaboration with the Political Science Department faculty, I expanded the workshops to include ones specifically designed to help students develop and write their honors theses.
To supplement the workshops, and to be available as a departmental resource, I held regular office hours to consult with individual students and faculty on virtually all aspects of writing, from ESL issues and grammar, to argument structure and thesis refinement. I also worked to help students "find their voice" when writing personal statements, important email correspondence, letters of intent, and grant proposals. I initiated and maintained a dialogue with faculty to suggest how WAC/WID techniques could be included in syllabus, assignment, and rubric design, as well as applied to effective in-class exercises and scaffolding strategies. Finally, I designed a web site that brings materials and resources together in one place for faculty and student use as a writing resource.
Currently, I am working on a doctoral dissertation at The Graduate Center (CUNY) in the Art History Department, which examines landscape aesthetics and the sublime in eighteenth-century France.
This year I continued my work in support of the students, faculty, and coordinator of English 220, the required Introduction to Literature course at Hunter College. My focus has increasingly been on conducting workshops that model how to apply what are often referred to as "basic writing skills" to the discipline-specific practices of writing about literature. The topics of these workshops have included thesis development, quotation, essay organization, and paragraph revision and development. Just as rewarding has been my involvement in monthly English 220 faculty meetings and new instructor orientations. In this context I've led discussions and workshops on group work, peer review, scaffolding and sequencing assignments, teaching thesis development, and responding to student writing. Such work with faculty and students has given me the opportunity to develop various pedagogical resources, including handouts, PowerPoint presentations, and a collection of pedagogical articles addressing the topics covered during faculty meetings. As a continuing resource for future instructors, I've gathered all of these materials onto the English 220 instructors' blackboard site, in addition to posting the instructors' own teaching materials, writing assignments, and exam prompts. Throughout the semester I've also met with students for individual tutorial sessions.
During this year I've been able to complete two chapters of my dissertation, American Minds: Phrenology and Self-Recovery in the American Renaissance, which examines the texts of the phrenologists Orson and Lorenzo Fowler alongside those of Walt Whitman and other Romantic writers of the antebellum period. I'm interested in not only how Whitman's deep engagement with phrenology provides a key to understanding many aspects of his poetry, but also how texts on phrenology themselves read as Romantic texts.
During the 2009-2010 academic term, I worked with the Thomas Hunter Honors Program (THHP) and two classes in the Biology program. My responsibilities included incoming student assessment, development of longitudinal student writing assessment, tutoring, and conducting workshops. In a 200-level Biology seminar, which covered issues of science and society, I worked closely with students in the development of their term papers throughout the course of the Spring semester. Working in this space afforded the opportunity to establish a learning community, where I shared my work in political ecology while mentoring the students in the exploration of their own concerns. I also assisted in the development of assessment and interactive technology programs for THHP. From interviews with incoming students, the program staff and I felt that students would benefit from assessing their progress across courses, not just within them. Lastly, based on my experience in the Biology seminar, I developed a 'Brown Bag Lunch' seminar for THHP students and staff to present their work in the coming semester.
My research concerns the political ecology of environmental protection in the bauxite-rich Cockpit Country of central Jamaica. Working with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), USAID, The Jamaican Forestry Department, and Cockpit Country residents, I am currently examining the alternatives to the environmentally destructive practices currently employed in bauxite mining in Cockpit Country. My objective is to document and develop an understanding of the relationships among the people at all levels of these programs, their varying conceptions of nature, and their collaboration in the development of livelihood practices promoting a more social and equitable process of sustainable development.
This past year I have served as the Film & Media Department's Writing Fellow. In the fall I provided individual tutoring hours to students in the Aesthetics of Film Sound and Study of Selected Directors: Vincente Minnelli courses. In the spring I expanded my relationship with the department and became available to all students and faculty in the department. I have gone on to help undergraduate and masters students in production, film and media analysis, and journalism courses. Students have seen me with a wide array of concerns, from ESL issues to problems building a strong argument and advice for writing grants. This spring I held in-class workshops tailored to the content of courses. Topics ranged from how to formulate a paper topic to how to write an artist's statement. When I wasn't working with students and professors, I helped create the content for an online APA tutorial for the Reading and Writing Center's and Hunter Library's website.
Aside from my work with Film & Media, I stay busy researching and writing my dissertation as a PhD candidate in Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center. I am studying the process by which Barack Obama was turned into an iconic leader during his run for president.
Kiersten Greene is a doctoral candidate in Urban Education, and her research interests lie at the intersection of policy, practice, and teacher experience. She spent the last academic year as a Writing Fellow in the Philosophy Department at Hunter College, where she supported the development of undergraduate student writing in four introductory philosophy courses. She conducted workshops on both large and small scales-in lecture, in discussion sections, and in smaller groups of 5-10 students at a time-around concepts such as MLA documentation, voice, audience, proofreading, and organization. She also worked with students in individual, thirty-minute meetings on an as-need basis during office hours.
Kiersten was asked to provide feedback to TAs and professors about various writing assignments, and she worked with professors to streamline these assignments as needed. Professors welcomed her participation as an instructor on Blackboard, and she occasionally created and posted graphic organizers, editing checklists, and exemplars for assignments online.
As a Writing Fellow, Ann Larson participated in the redesign of English 120: Expository Writing, Hunter College's Freshman Composition course, assisting the program Director and Coordinators to plan the new curriculum, coordinate development meetings for the teaching staff, organize portfolio review sessions, and implement a new exit exam for all English 120 students. Ann also served as mentor to Hunter's part-time teaching staff by working individually with instructors to help them design syllabi and assignments. Since all Freshman Composition students must write a documented research paper, Ann met with instructors to assist them with the design of research assignments. She also conducted classroom workshops for students on the research process, including finding and evaluating sources, integrating quotations, and using MLA documentation style. Ann also assisted in the development workshops for faculty on a number of topics including writing assessment.
Working as a Writing Fellow afforded Ann the time to complete her dissertation, which she defended in March 2010. Her research in English (Composition and Rhetoric) focuses on the literacy skills, graduation rates, and post-college employment prospects of basic ("remedial") writers, working-class students, and people of color.
Ellen Zitani served as the Writing Fellow for the History Department at Hunter College during the 2009-10 school year. Working primarily with the American History survey students, she developed a series of workshops on study skills, historiography, developing a research topic and thesis statement, conducting research, writing a research paper, editing, and Chicago style citations. Additionally, Ellen visited various classrooms and conducted in-class workshops on annotated bibliographies, catching common errors, the mechanics of writing a paper, and how to read challenging texts. She also tutored students individually and in groups. Ellen is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her fields of interest include Modern Europe, Modern Italy and Queer History