Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Making a Difference”: Undergraduate Teaching Assistants

Three, former UTAs, Catherine Hyman, Katlyn Lee, and Anna Patton

Three, former UTAs, Catherine Hyman, Katlyn Lee, and Anna Patton

Who are the Undergraduate Teaching Assistants? Every fall and spring semester, the English Department hires paid Undergraduate Teaching Assistants (UTAs) to work with English 101E students in the “English lab” or Writing Studio (Founders Hall 114A). In addition to these hired UTAs, students enrolled in English 340 work in the Studio for class credit. Whether hired or working toward class credit, all UTAs fulfill the same important function — supporting English 101E students as they develop analytical and argumentative writing skills.

What do UTAs do? UTAs provide meaningful support to English 101E students in a variety of ways; for instance, they often tutor students one-on-one in the Studio about their writing projects by addressing issues related to brainstorming, drafting, and revision. Additionally, they assist professors with lesson plans and lead group activities.

Read how one former UTA describes her experience:

“Being a UTA is a serious job. This is not something you do simply to get a paycheck. You are working to benefit all types of students. These students come from different levels of academic success and resources and are going to be studying diverse topics in their college careers. As a UTA, you are helping them in the writing process, which will be a part of each student’s college career, and you should be prepared to take it seriously. It is also an exciting and rewarding job—making a difference matters.”

– Catherine Hyman

Who can apply to be a UTA? Any full-time student who has passed English 102 (or English 200) with a C or higher is eligible to apply. We are always looking for helpful, responsible students with strong writing skills to work in the Writing Studio.

How many hours do UTAs work a week? Typically, UTAs work 2 to 4 hours per week.

Who can I contact if I have questions about becoming a UTA? Contact Dr. Rachel N. Spear, the Composition Coordinator (RSpear@fmarion.edu), or Dr. Catherine England, the Assistant Composition Coordinator (CEngland@fmarion.edu), if you have questions.

I am interested in being a UTA. What do I do next? Fill out this application and turn it in by 12 April 2017. We look forward to creating a great team of UTAs for Fall 2017!

“If you want to make a difference at FMU or in your own life,
consider applying to be a UTA!”
– Anna Patton

FMU Writes for NDoW

Students participate in the National Day on Writing (NDoW)

Students participate in the National Day on Writing (NDoW)

Can you write your life story in six words or fewer? Sigma Tau Delta, the Snow Island Review, and the Writing Center challenged the FMU community to create something new during the English Department’s celebration of the National Day on Writing.

Students draft their work under the shade of a tent.

Students draft their work under the shade of a tent.

The National Day on Writing is sponsored by the National Council for Teachers of English, a US- based organization supporting those who teach English at all levels. The Day On Writing was created because “writing is critical to literacy but needs greater attention and celebration”.

ndowhorror

Once again this year, Sigma Tau Delta partnered with the Writing Center and the literary journal Snow Island Review to give students a chance to stretch their creative writing skills in two quick activities: the six word memoir and the two sentence horror story. By the time the event ended at two, sticky notes covered the boards.

Students, faculty, and staff were encouraged to post their writing on boards outside the Fountain

Students, faculty, and staff were encouraged to post their writing on boards outside the Fountain

Also this year, the English Department’s Composition Program sponsored a 15 minute writing break at noon. Professors from English, Political Science, Biology, Spanish, and Psychology encouraged students to write on topics of interest to sir classes–some creative, some academic.

Dr. Kristin Kiely's Spanish 301 class took time to write about immigration issues.

Dr. Kristin Kiely’s Spanish 301 class took time to write about immigration issues.

Participants were encouraged to share their work and experiences on social media, to join in the national conversation and encourage others to write. NCTE nationally used the tag #WhyIWrite, resulting in several thousand posts. #FmuWrites had a few local users, including Composition Coordinator Rachel spear, who headed up the noon writing challenge with Assistant Coordinator Catherine England.

Dr. Spear promotes the NDoW on Twitter

Dr. Spear promotes the NDoW on Twitter

FMU student McKayla Parker joined Spear in promoting the NDoW

FMU student McKayla Parker joined Spear in promoting the NDoW

Spear hopes to grow the noon writing break from the four hundred or so participants involved this year. Hurricane Matthew forced some instructors to cancel their NDoW plans, so the Composition Program looks forward to an even bigger event Friday, October 20, 2017.

Faculty and students write together at the Writing Center-Sigma Tau Delta-Snow Island Review table

Faculty and students write together at the Writing Center-Sigma Tau Delta-Snow Island Review table

For more information about the Writing Center and, Composition Program, browse the rest of fmuenglish.com

English professor Kathryn Mann enjoys a quiet moment writing by the fountain.

English professor Kathryn Mann enjoys a quiet moment writing by the fountain.

Photos by: Christina Xan, Meredith Reynolds, and Rachel Spear

FMU Premieres New Composition Sequence

Leah Power’s Q&A with Dr. Rachel N. Spear,
FMU’s Composition Coordinator

Q: How has the composition program changed?

A: The composition program moved from a three-course sequence, which included English 111, English 112, and English 200, and to a two-semester model with these courses:

  1. English 101 or English 101E (plus English 101L)
  2. English 102

Upon entering FMU, students will self-select into English 101 or 101E, the “extended” version which provides supplemental instruction in a writing studio. Once students successfully complete their first semester, they will progress to English 102.

English 101, English 101E, and English 102 will be capped at 15 students per section, enhancing teacher-student interactions as well as writing communities.

Q: What brought about these changes?

A: When we examined our former program closely, we noticed several things: the need for students to learn analytical and argumentative writing earlier, a stark disparity with similar institutions and within the discipline itself, recent changes in South Carolina’s high school standards, and issues with transfer credit. Based upon internal and external data, the English Department worked collaboratively to imagine a better program for our students while also staying true to our programmatic goals. Continue reading