Welcome to the Transitioning to College Writing Symposium website and the 2012 Symposium blog! I’m Alice Myatt, and I have the privilege of being this year’s chair of the program planning committee for the Symposium, which will be held on the Oxford campus of The University of Mississippi on Friday, September 28, and Saturday, September 29.
Over the past few months, it’s been my privilege to work with a wonderfully diverse and talented group of writing teachers from high schools, community colleges, universities, and writing centers to create a symposium program that will enrich the work we all do. This year’s program builds on the 2011 Symposium; we had some of the program planners from 2011 return this year to work on the program development, and we also welcomed some new educators to our program planning committee.
I encourage you to learn more about our program planners by reading their profiles. Their contributions ensure that our program is exciting, informative, and challenging, with opportunities to learn from national and local scholars while gaining practical experience by means of workshops and roundtable discussions.
This year, our program planners identified important issues that we want to engage with: the expectations and realities of college writing, fostering student engagement, and helping students develop into lifelong writers. The Symposium is made possible by support from the University’s Center for Writing and Rhetoric, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Education, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and the Division of Outreach. In other words, it’s a true collaboration across campus and represents the Ole Miss commitment to excellence.
Our program begins on Friday morning with opening remarks by Dr. Andy Mullins, Chief of Staff to the Chancellor; many of you may be familiar with his contributions to Mississippi’s educational landscape and his work for many years with the Mississippi Teacher Corps. After hearing from students in high schools, college, and writing center settings, attendees will be able to learn more about the Common Core Standards Initiative and getting writing centers started in settings where resources may be limited in both staff and funding.
Professor of English Chris Anson of North Carolina State will be one of our featured plenary speakers on Friday, and he will be examining the places and spaces of learning, and how such connect to the writing development of student writers. Friday afternoon workshops will feature “Idea Exchanges” – we invite all attendees to bring resources, handouts, assignments, and questions into these forums. Two cluster sessions will encourage strategy-development and generate ideas to help us when we engage with the issues connected to our teaching.
We’ll also have the opportunity to hear from Professor of English Larry Armstrong, who for many years was chair of the Itawamba Community College English department; he was a leading figure in the implementation of a recent ICC Quality Enhancement Plan focused on improving and developing the Writing Center at ICC. He’ll be joined by Amber Jensen, whose work has resulted in the implementation of a writing center program at Edison High School in the Fairfax County School District of Virginia: learn more about her innovative work by watching this informative video.
Friday evening, we’ll gather at the historic Oxford Depot on the Ole Miss campus. We’ll host a meet and greet while viewing some excellent short documentaries on student writers and responding to student writing. The evening will be structured to provide opportunities for conversation and resource sharing.
We come back on Saturday to another morning of activity. Something we hope you’ll take note of is the opportunity to engage with the Common Core Standards initiative, to learn how writing centers can be developed in high schools settings with little or no budget or staff, and to gain strategies and design assignments that increase students’ digital literacies.
So, please, make plans now to join our conversation. It will be lively, challenging, rewarding, and we hope that it’s an event you’ll return to year after year!