Dr. Clayann Gilliam Panetta, 2016 Writing Center Director, recently attended and delivered a presentation at the 2016 Conference on College Composition and Communication, held in Houston, TX April 6-9. Dr. Panetta’s presentation, “The Risks of Systematized Writing on Our Composition Classes: Lessons from Northern Ireland,” was centered on the standardized testing of writing, a common practice of the Common Core process through secondary schools in the United States. She argued that this systemization of writing is contrary to the core of composition programming, ignoring the multiple cultural nuances that make writing individualized and successful. This secondary school practice, though, claims to better prepare students for entry into the Academy, a claim that is not evident in first-year composition classrooms to date.
Alongside Dr. Panetta, Jonathan Worley, Writing Centre director at St. Mary’s University College in Belfast, Ireland, discussed the decades-old trend of systemization of writing measurement in secondary schools in Northern Ireland, showing the long detrimental effects of the practice on Northern Ireland student writers entering college. Dr. Panetta used this evidence to argue the systemization of composition in the United States risks the same detrimental effects on student writers. She proposed a movement toward a human development of what makes good writing and used efforts by CBU to demonstrate ways institutions of higher learning can collaborate with secondary schools to help students truly be better prepared for writing in the Academy.
Furthermore, Dr. Panetta, and Writing Center consultant, Mary Clark joined Dr. Scott Lawyer’s MBA students and presented information about our Writing Center services and offered basic writing advice to the new cohorts of MBA students. This presentation was a result of a new collaboration between the Writing Center and the CBU MBA program, instituted by Dr. Lawyer, who was interested in giving his students improved “scope” of their assignments and what is expected in the program. His new interest was motivated by several success stories from MBA students who have attended recent Writing Center sessions. Dr. Lawyer provides the following example:
“During the first term of this semester, one of the students in our new Healthcare Management MBA program sought the assistance of Dr. Panetta’s Writing Center, and she vastly improved her case as a result of that assistance. In fact, she received a perfect score on her case.”
This collaboration and outreach is a part of an ongoing effort to expand CBU Writing Center services to better meet the communicative needs of the entire CBU campus.