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The Weekly Blast: April 8, 2011

This week Sarah Boyer brings us activity for our final meeting for the semester. “Reading Moments” provides students with an excellent opportunity to share their work. To see the full details click on:

Add to the conversation on the Resource Center Teaching Blog: (If you cannot access the blog, please let Peggy know (

I wish to thank all who submitted such wonderful essays to the 2011-2012 Anthology competition. The committee is just about finished making our final decisions (not an easy task), and the winners’ names will be released soon! We are now collecting texts for the 2012-2013 text. Please look through your spring semester Unit 2 papers and make your submissions to the 2012-13 Anthology. The final due date for Unit 2 papers is April 15. If there is any problem with getting your texts in by that date, please see me. Thank you.

Pat Zukowski

Dream Sheets for the Fall 2011 teaching requests will be distributed to your Writing Program mailboxes by Wednesday, April 13. Please read all directions carefully. If you have any questions about the Dream Sheet, please see Heidi Terault 303D or email at Completed forms (Practicum/Dream Sheet) should be returned to the Writing Program office no later than Friday, April 22.

Congratulations to our instructors who are this year’s Residential First-Year Experience Student Choice Award recipients!! The Student Choice Award recognizes faculty and staff who have meaningfully impacted first-year students’ UMass Amherst experience in or outside the classroom. Thank you for the great work you are doing with our students!!

2010-2011 Writing Program Student Choice Award Recipients
Anne Bello
Sarah Boyer
Francesca Chabrier
Marcia Curtis
Linh Dich
John Gallagher
Josephine Hardman
Arron Hellem
Christopher Hennessy
Anne Holmes
Emma Howes
Brett Ingram
Christina Jones
Annie Kleeman
Andrea Lawlor
Sara Majka
Liane Malinowski
Ata Moharreri
Abha Phoboo
Airlie Rose
Lauren Silber
Matthew Weingast
Peggy Woods

The Resource Center has openings for mentors for next year. Members of the Resource Center staff work to enhance our teaching community, are involved in the planning and running of orientation, assist with the Resource Center on-line database and blog, and attend biweekly meetings.

Resource Center staff mentors mostly work with first-year teachers in the Writing Program. Mentors attend bi-weekly course director meetings, observe classes, and video-tape first-year teachers. Applicants must have taught College Writing for at least two semesters. No prior mentoring experience required. We look for applicants who are reflective and thoughtful teachers.

Positions are for one year. Resource Center staff members teach College Writing (EnglWrit 112) both semesters. Staff members must be available for this year’s orientation which is August 29, 30, 31, and September 1. Resource Staff positions will have a 1-1 teaching load (sections capped at 15 per section) and carry a slightly higher stipend.

We think it is important the Resource Center be representative of our teaching staff so we welcome applications from people in the MFA program, in the MA/Ph.D program in all fields of English, and from other disciplines. Applicants must have taught College Writing (EnglWrit 112) for at least two semesters and have a full assistantship with the Writing Program for 2011-12.

To apply, send a letter of interest by Friday, April 15, 2011 to Peggy Woods ( Please include a brief philosophy of your teaching and the qualities you would bring as a mentor. Interviews will be arranged during the week of April 18th. Decisions will be made before the end of classes.

If you would like more information about becoming a member of the Resource Center please contact any member of the current staff: Sarah Boyer, Lauren Goodman, Kate Marantz, Nick Sansone or Peggy Woods

Thinking about how to get more out of classroom lab days? How to get more out of SPARK? Thinking about how to incorporate more visual type arguments into College Writing? Like to explore ways to bring the internet into your classroom? Like to explore multi-modial options for Unit 4? If you are thinking about these or any other questions related to technology and the writing classroom become a Writing Program Tech Fellow!

Applications are now being accepted for the Writing Program’s Technology Fellows program for 2011-12. Technology Fellows are graduate TOs in the UMass Amherst First Year Writing Program (Englwrit 111 or 112) who together engage questions about teaching writing with technology through discussion, readings, and hands-on play with technologies. Fellows meet in a small-group setting, under the leadership of the Tech Fellows coordinator, on the Mondays opposite Writing Program practica (i.e., every other week). Participation is for the entire academic year 2011-12. No technology experience required or needed. Just the willingness and enthusiasm to explore questions related to technology and the teaching of writing. A small stipend accompanies the Fellowship; Tech Fellows share computer equipped office in Bart 307B. If you’re interested, submit a letter of 1-2 paragraphs expressing your interest to David Fleming, Director of the Writing Program, Bartlett Hall 305, Amherst MA 01003. Email submission is fine: The deadline for the letter is noon on Friday, April 15.

We are looking for someone to teach one section of College Writing during the second session of summer. The class will meet TuWTh from 9-12pm beginning 6/7 and will end 7/12. If interested please email Heidi ( by April 8, 2011.

Placement Test Readers. The Writing program seeks new and veteran placement test readers to read for this summer’s testing sessions. We will read the placement essays of the incoming 4000+ first year students to determine placement in Basic and College Writing. No prior experience necessary—just be eager and willing to read many, many essays in an exciting, collaborative environment. Placement test readers must be available for both sessions: June 27, 28, 29, 30, and July 1 and July 11, 12, 13 and 14. The compensation for this work is $122.00 per day worked.

If you would like to apply to be a placement reader, please send an email to Deirdre Vinyard by Friday April 8. In your email, please state your prior experience in placement test evaluation (if any—not required!) and your expected graduation date from UMass.

We are seeking an interested graduate student to serve as assistant to the Placement Test Coordinator, Deirdre Vinyard for the 2011-2012 academic year (including summer 2012). This position begins in September 2011.

Responsibilities: Assist the coordinator in developing essay questions, selecting training essays, revising the rating criteria, and conducting the summer 2012 placement test readings and reader-training sessions. The dates for summer 2012 have not been set yet, but we anticipate that they will occur in June and July.

Applicants must be available to serve as readers during summer 2011. Readings this summer will be held from 9-4 on the following dates:

June 27, 28, 29, 30, and July 1
July 11,12, 13, 14

The Assistant Placement Test Coordinator will also participate in two readings during the year: During the first week of the fall semester and the first week of the Spring semester, we will do group readings (100+ tests).

Required: Participation in summer reading 2011, interest in placement for writing courses, organizational and planning skills, and a good sense of humor!

Preferred but not required: Course work in Writing and the Teaching of Writing and interest in working with placement exam administration for more than just this summer.

Pay: $1,850

If you are interested please let Deirdre Vinyard know, by email, by Friday April 8. In your email, please explain briefly why you are interested and tell the ways you believe that you are qualified for the position.

If you have any questions, please contact Deirdre Vinyard

Attention instructors! The Writing Program is already preparing for our annual Celebration of Writing Festival. Please consider participating in this event! Our keynote speaker will be James Heflin, UMass MFA graduate, musician, and Arts Editor for the Advocate. If you have any questions about the event please contact Peggy Woods at or Heidi Terault at Feel free, also, to stop by their offices to discuss the celebration.

As we all know this has been a transition year for the Writing Program with the changes in class size and section load. As we begin the planning for fall, I would like your help in determining what kinds of support new teachers need when moving from teaching one section in the fall to two sections in the spring. I’m inviting all teachers to attend a meeting to discuss the particular challenges and concerns you faced this year and suggestions to help make the transition smoother. The meeting will be Tuesday, April 12 from 11:15-12:30pm in the Writing Program conference room (Bart 303). If you have any question let me know. Thanks! Peggy

The English Department will be hosting Prof. Andrea A. Lunsford of Stanford University for the annual Walker Gibson Lecture on April 19 at 4:00 pm in Bartlett 316. The title of the talk is "Rhetoric and New Media: Writing in the 21st Century University." All Writing Program TOs are invited to attend!

Thursday, April 21
4-5:30 p.m.

English Dept. Conference Room, Bartlett Hall, UMass Amherst

Emily Dickinson is one of the greatest poets of all time, and she
lived her entire life in Amherst. Ever wondered what’s so great about her poetry? Want to know more about her life and work but aren't sure where to begin?

“Emily Dickinson's Poetry 101” is for you! Organized by the Emily
Dickinson Museum and led by UMass graduate student Henk Rossouw, the program includes a brief biographical introduction to the poet and her poetry and a discussion of selected poems.

Free and open to members of the UMass community!
Participants will receive a 44-page chapbook of Dickinson poems.
Refreshments will be served.
Contact Henk at for more information.
This program is part of The Big Read: Emily Dickinson (April 2-May 21), which is sponsored by the Emily Dickinson Museum. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest.

For more information about the Big Read: Emily Dickinson

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