Program leadership, community engagement, and service are integral parts of my academic life. Here, I highlight three engagement initiatives that I have helped shape--and continue to shape me.
Husker Writers is a network of college and secondary writing teachers committed to meaningful writing beyond the classroom, including secondary-university writing collaborations and public writing. Teachers selected for the program collaboratively plan curriculum with a local non-profit partner or an instructor at a different institution to create opportunities for students to write for and with public audiences. The program launched with 22 teachers, with generous support from the Coordinating Commission on Postsecondary Education. Husker Writers is part of a growing national network of secondary-university writing collaboration programs, including our sister program Wildcat Writers, which I coordinated for six years.
One of the largest National Writing Project sites, the Nebraska Writing Project hosts a range of youth and community writing programs, teacher professional development opportunities, festivals, and institutes across the state. We also run several grant-funded projects, including partnerships with national parks. Nebraska Writing Project is run in collaboration with an advisory board of 20+ local teachers and a directors' board of 4 local teachers, and new initiatives are driven by teachers' ideas.
Through my work with the Nebraska Writing Project, I am involved with our site's College, Career, Community Writing Program (C3WP). C3WP was launched by a Department of Education grant, and the program originally involved 45 hours of professional development for elementary and secondary teachers in rural and high-need districts on the teaching of argument writing, along with research on effective writing instruction. Results from a multi-site, controlled study of this work showed a statistically significant positive impact on student writing, and C3WP approaches are spreading in several local school districts and ESU's.