This post was written by Dr. Veenstra, Assistant Director of Composition.
On Monday, October 20, the English Department hosted Pastries with Professors, a regular event that brings together students and professors with the lure of delicious goodies and information about English courses offered next semester.
This semester’s gathering had a strong turnout, with over 35 faculty and 50 students in attendance. Among the students were those with majors or minors in English, Education, and Professional Writing. These students met professors who will teach specific classes in the spring. For example, Dr. Kellye Corcoran explained to students her ENG 328 class, which promises a “sassy” take on Neoclassical British Literature and will include film clips that paint vivid portraits of life in the 18th century. Other students got guidance about how to structure the courses they’ll need to take over the next few years. There were also several non-English majors who stopped by to get a copy of the Schedule of Courses for Spring 2015 while snacking on some sweetness. A few professors encouraged their whole classes to visit, and many of the students in Dr. Linda Jacobs’ Shakespeare class did so.
Niki Gause, a sociology major with collaterals in professional writing and psychology, talked with several professors about courses and bragged about her successes with the professional writing program. As a student employee who works with both the Orientation Office and Campus Police, she has learned that, in her words, “communication is key” to success in the working world. People don’t realize how important good speaking and writing are, she says, and she explained how she has benefitted from her training in professional writing. By crafting an informative and purpose-driven memo about a discrepancy in her paycheck (she had worked 12 hours but only got paid for four), she got to the root of the problem: one of her timecards had been lost. She was pleased to be able to tell this success story of how her writing helped solve a problem and gave her a clear reward: more money. In contrast, she has noticed how unprofessional communication can be confusing and frustrating. Since she frequently interacts with prospective and new students as well as their parents, she has seen badly worded emails that read more like texting shorthand than formal messages.
Another attendee was Nisheeka Simmons, a Writing Center tutor who brought an ENG 111 student she is working with in the Write on Target program. Although he is a business major, Julian grabbed a donut and a schedule, taking some time to plan out his Spring semester, along with a few of his teammates from the soccer team.
Maybe it was all the sugar and coffee, or maybe the combination of so many great personalities, but the room was full of energy and smiles. For both professors and students, it was a great opportunity to connect with each other outside the classroom.