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The Weekly Blast: September 17, 2010

Brought to us by Kelin Loe, this week’s exercise is a generative writing exercise that begins students on the process of identifying what elements can be used in developing a personal essay. To see the full details and other great exercises, click on:


“It’s a great opportunity and great fun!”
(2009 – 2010 committee member)

This year’s book of our students’ extraordinary writing is barely off the press, and it is time to start making decisions about The Student Writing Anthology: 2011-2012! Our spring 2010 submissions are ready for reading, so we are looking for TOs to join Deirdre Vinyard and me on the Anthology Committee.

Members’ responsibilities include reading and judging the essays submitted by our College Writing instructors. (Deirdre Vinyard manages the Basic Writing essays; I manage Junior Year Writing texts.) At most you would edit 5 (possibly fewer) of the essays we ultimately select for publication in the College Writing section of the book. (Deirdre and I also do the book’s final page proofs, though you are welcome to become more involved if you like.) Meetings take place at a time agreed upon by the committee, and we meet for an hour whenever we have a sufficient number of submissions for us to discuss.

Former members have been highly enthusiastic about the committee. Please consider joining in the fun and excitement of shaping the text that celebrates our students’ writing and is becoming a critical teaching and learning tool for an ever-widening audience. Email me at or drop by 305 Bartlett if you have questions or want to sign up!

Pat Zukowski

This semester, you can print, at no charge, 450 photocopies per section on the machine in Bartlett 305: that’s about 30 pages per section per week or about 2 pages per student per week. This is an increase over last year. Note, as always: the Writing Program photocopier is to be used only for teaching purposes. And remember: it’s a heavily used machine that, like all machines, occasionally breaks down. Please be gentle. Don’t rush the machine or the office staff. And be sure to log off when you’re done! Finally, even though you have 450 copies per section, try to think of ways to conserve paper: use SPARK, overhead transparencies, the board, email attachments, in-class projection, etc.

All Vets are required to turn in a syllabus and grading policy by this Friday, Sept. 17. Remember to write your name on them.

The last day to turn in your office hour/address form is Friday, Sept. 17. Every person must turn this form in whether changes have been made or not. Please complete the entire form. Extra forms are in the office.

All College Writing instructors need to introduce their students to the research resources, both print and electronic, of UMass Libraries. This is a key part of Unit III: Adding to a Conversation. We recommend that you do this early in the unit (in the standard calendars, we recommend a session in a computer lab sometime around October 27-29). You can reserve a 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 lab when you want it. Also, remember to talk to your students about plagiarism! See And don’t forget about the new “paths” through Unit III that we developed last year: .

EXPERIMENTAL WRITING WORKSHOPS – Proposals due Friday, October 1
The Writing Program is committed to offering several experimental writing workshops this upcoming spring semester. This is the opportunity for you to design a writing course that you have always wanted to give or take, the sort of course that breaks the usual bounds of form, content, or intended audience. The courses are 200 level workshops with the emphasis on experimental. Two-person teaching teams are encouraged, but teaching alone is fine as well. Everyone selected receives an additional stipend and attends a one credit practicum in the spring. For more information about the experimental workshops and to submit a proposal please refer to our website at:

The Writing Program has available a small amount of money for instructors to do a class project that will enhance the 112 curriculum. Instructors can request up to $200 for a special project. For more information about these projects and how to apply see our website at:

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