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, the Nebraska Writing Project, and the Desert View and Sunnyside High School Writing Centers.
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 currently involves 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, professional development opportunities, festivals, and institutes. As a committed member of the Nebraska Writing Project, I am taking a lead role on our site's College, Career, Community Writing Program (C3WP). C3WP is supported by a Department of Education grant, and the program involves 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. Currently, 24 local teachers are participating in the program, which involves a 3-week summer institute, workshops during the school year, and regular analysis of student work. Next year, the work will expand to involve a multi-year study in a control and experimental school district on argument writing.
Desert View and Sunnyside High School Writing Centers
Through a grant with GEAR-UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), I worked with two local high schools to publish a book of student writing and launch peer-staffed high school writing centers over the course of two years. I collaborated with teachers to create tutor training curriculum, train tutors, supervise sessions, market the center, and collect data. Both centers are still thriving, thanks to the strong teachers who are coordinating them.