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The Weekly Blast: January 30, 2009

Welcome back to the Writing Program. Hopefully you all had a nice relaxing holiday and were able to enjoy it with friends and relatives. This week has been a bit challenging with the snow and school cancelations. With all this behind us, I’m sure the rest of the semester will be eventful and prosperous. - Becky

We learned this week that the Writing Program has been named the 2008-09 Writing Program of Excellence by the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), the highest honor given to writing programs in the United States. The award will be presented on March 13, 2009, at 5:00 pm, at the annual meeting of CCCC in San Francisco (if you're planning to attend the conference this year, please put this event in your calendars!). CCCC will be sending out a press release to the Office of News and Information on campus, so you'll likely hear more about the award in the near future. It's a crucial year for us to educate others at UMass Amherst about what we do and why it's so important.

I want to thank everyone who helped with the application last year. I especially want to thank the past directors of the Writing Program - Charlie Moran, Anne Herrington, Peter Elbow, Marcia Curtis, and Donna LeCourt - whose thoughtful leadership made this award possible. I need to single out Charlie Moran, whose original vision for the development of student writing at UMass Amherst - occurring throughout students' time here and across the curriculum - continues to animate and inspire all of us. I want to recognize as well Haivan Hoang, director of our flourishing University Writing Center. And I want to acknowledge the support given over the years by members of the University Writing Committee, by past and present associate directors for Junior Year Writing, and by past and present Provosts and Deputy Provosts of the University. In addition, I want to thank the current staff of the Writing Program - Becky Blajda, Heidi Terault, Deirdre Vinyard, Peggy Woods, and Pat Zukowski - whose hard work keeps the Program running. And, finally, I want to thank the hundreds of past and present Writing Program teachers, whose talent in the classroom and commitment to our students is the heart of what we do and the reason we've been so successful at it.

Congratulations to all of you!

Our first Exercise of the Week this semester is brought to us by Amber Engelson. “Charting Writing ‘Rules’ is a great exercise that enables students to examine writer’s techniques as well as enables students to examine the difference between “correctness” and rhetorical choices. Check it out here.

All College Writing instructors need to introduce their students to the research resources, print and electronic, available through UMass Libraries. This is a key part of Unit III: Adding to a Conversation. We recommend that you do this soon after students return from spring recess. For MWF sections, we’re suggesting sometime around Friday, March 27; for MW sections, Wednesday, March 25; for TuTh sections, Thursday, March 26. You can reserve a computer lab in Du Bois Library by going to the librarians’ blog for College Writing: and clicking on “Reserving a Library Instruction Classroom.” Do this as soon as possible so you’ll be sure to get a computer lab when you want it.

The Resource Center staff will be hosting an informal workshop on using SPARK on Tuesday, 2/3 at 11:15-12:30 in the Resource Center Room (Bart 308). Come with ideas, questions, suggestions about how to use SPARK in 112. Light refreshments will be provided.

The Writing Program has available a small amount of money for instructors to do a project that will enhance the 112 curriculum. Instructors can request up to $200 for a special project. For more information and for the proposal form see the Writing Program website. Deadline for Special Project Requests is April 10, 2009.

All TO’s Welcome!

Every Thursday at 7:30

Thursday, February 5, Diversity on Tap will meet at

Wiggin's Tavern in Northampton

Join members of the Diversity Committee to discuss issues related to writing and the classroom every Thursday evening! Bring questions, concerns, and classroom situations and enjoy a lively discussion!

The “Plans for Next Year” memo will be distributed in your mailboxes by the end of the day on Monday, Feb. 2. Please return the form to the envelope located on the bulletin board in the Writing Program office by Friday, Feb. 13.

W-2 forms are available in the office. They need to be picked up as soon as possible. I will be mailing them to the address printed on the form sometime next week.

No Show Forms are due today, January 30. Please return them whether you drop students from your class or not. There are several students waiting to register for 111 and 112 when space is available.

Please do not let students sit in your class unless they are registered for it. We do not override seat capacities.

Reminder: Office hour/address forms are due today, Jan 30. Please complete the entire form, including the address section. We need your correct email and address to send important information to you.

The room assignment list is posted on the office bulletin board. You may pick up and return your old keys from Becky. Remember to let Becky know if you hold conferences outside your assigned office.

Please drop-off a copy of your syllabus and grading policy to the office if you haven’t already. The deadline date for this is Friday, Feb 6. A paper copy is needed for each semester.

Each instructor is aloud to print 600 single sided copies per class. Our copy machine is to be used for Writing Program work only! Each week a list of the total amount of copies each person has made will be taped to the wall behind the machine. Once you’ve reached 600 copies your number will be removed from the machine.

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