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News from First Year Writing

Shared Text Project

The English Department at the University of West Georgia and the First Year Writing Program adopted in fall of 2002 the use of shared texts in its two freshman English composition courses. In the introductory writing course, all English 1101 students read works of nonfiction: Janisse Ray's Ecology of a Cracker Childhood was the shared text in fall 2002, and Wally Lamb's Couldn't Keep It to Myself was the shared text for fall 2003. In English 1102 students continue their composition study but are introduced also to the critical study of fiction. The shared texts for these classes have been novels-Terry Kay's To Dance with the White Dog and Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone.

For summer 2004, fall 2004, and spring 2005, the shared text for English 1101 is Steve Almond's Candyfreak. The shared texts for English 1102 are Greg Fraser's Strange Pieta and Chad Davidson's Consolation Miracle.

Steve Almond is set to appear at the Townsend Center of Performing Arts during Fall Semester 2004. Greg Fraser and Chad Davidson will appear together at the Townsend Center during Spring Semester 2005. All three authors will present parts of their works to the audience and will answer questions related to them.

Professional Development

Full-time instructors are expected to be involved in ongoing professional development activities sponsored by the department. All other faculty members are welcome and are encouraged to attend whenever possible. Session topics are based on needs expressed by instructors as well as on Writing Committee recommendations and requests by the Department Chair.

Past workshops have included Grade Distribution, Shared Text Discussion, and Writing Center Collaboration. The First Year Writing Program is scheduled to hold its upcoming workshop on Friday, March 12, 2004-the workshop will be centered on the chosen shared texts for summer 2004, fall 2004, and spring 2005 and will include presentations/discussions from FYW faculty as well as Dr. Greg Fraser and Dr. Chad Davidson. FYW faculty will be asked to discuss particular works they have taught and/or plan to teach that may go well with the chosen shared texts. Both Dr. Fraser and Dr. Davidson will discuss their own individual works, what texts might go well with them, and approaches to teaching their poems. They will also include a discussion of how their texts may be taught in tandem with each other. The workshop is to be held in TLC 1200 from 3-5 pm.

Regents' Scores

UWG students, administrators, and instructors in First Year Writing will be encouraged to learn that recently released figures show marked improvement in our students' Regents' essay scores. According to the Governor's Office of Student Achievement, the percentage of UWG students passing the essay portion of the exam has risen. Among the thirteen designated State Universities, UWG ranks third in the percentage of students who passed the Regents' essay examination: in the period cited by this study, 1219 UWG students took the test, and 80.6 percent passed. For additional details and, perhaps, to savor these scores log on to

Writing Center

Now in the second semester of its association with the English department, the Writing Center offers writing assistance and composition resources across the disciplines to all university students. As tutors in the Writing Center, First Year Writing instructors and visiting assistant professors provide direct and accessible assistance to students seeking additional instruction in writing.

Having instructors tutor in the Writing Center creates a win-win situation for teachers and students alike. By seeking assistance in the Writing Center, students gain the immediate benefit of an instructor's expertise and knowledge. In turn, by working one-on-one with students, instructors acquire both an enhanced understanding of their own classroom teaching and a greater awareness of the goals of the First Year Writing Program. As the association continues, the English department and the Writing Center will continue their commitment to students and to the improvement of the critical skills of writing and reading.

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Last updated April 17, 2004