New writing faculty bring talents and passion to program - Oct 25, 2011 - Writing and Library Science Department - UW-Superior News and Events

Writing and Library Science Department

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Writing and Library Science Department

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New writing faculty bring talents and passion to program

Posted on Oct 25, 2011
UW-Superior's Writing and Library Science Department includes three new writing faculty for 2011.

By Elizabeth Reichert
University Relations student writer

For some people, writing is a hobby. For Dr. Jamie White-Farnham, Julie Gard, and Dr. Jayson Iwen, it's their hobby, their occupation and their love.

Each of the faculty members is new to the University of Wisconsin-Superior this academic year, and already they are helping to develop the writing program and academic minor through the Writing and Library Science Department.

White-Farnham, Gard, and Iwen come from different writing backgrounds, and each brings a variety of writing and teaching styles to UW-Superior students. 

Dr. Jamie White-Farnham

Dr. Jamie White-Farnham is an assistant professor of writing and writing coordinator. She holds a doctorate degree in English with a specialty in writing and rhetoric. She worked for two years as a grant writer before coming to UW-Superior.   

"Being a professor was my goal," she said. "I want to teach people reading and writing. It's a great balance of academic thinking and practical day-to-day helping."

As a new member of the writing faculty, White-Farnham hopes to help expand the writing minor. She sees many opportunities to create new upper-level courses. She also shares a common dream with the other members of the writing faculty - that the writing minor might one day become a major.

"We want to become well-known; that writing can be a career path by students saying, 'I want to be a writer,' and thinking 'what I need to do is consider this writing minor,' " White-Farnham said. "We hope our minor becomes a solid unit of students who succeed in a range of professions."

White-Farnham emphasizes the writing process in her classes. After students write papers, she gives them feedback and points but also lets the papers "accumulate." This gives students a chance to revise their papers and to apply topics learned later in the semester to papers written in the beginning of the semester.

"It gives students a real open shot of learning outcomes and emphasizes that the writing process isn't over," White-Farnham said. 

Julie Gard 

Julie Gard, assistant professor of writing, holds a master of fine arts degree and has experience in teaching communications and English. She taught at the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College for four years before joining UW-Superior.

"I loved teaching there, and I love teaching here," Gard said. "I got to do the fun stuff of helping them use writing in their career, but I didn't get to do the liberal arts stuff like reading poetry and talking about it or getting deeply into a book and discussing it, like in (Writing) 102."

Like others in the writing program, Gard said she is excited about the possibilities of the program as they continue to develop it and make it stronger and more streamlined.

She would like to see a writing community built as the writing students meet each other and learn from each other.

"Will students say to each other this is a good program? If we build the quality and strength of program, then hopefully they will," she said.

Gard hopes that with increased strength and quality of the program, students will be aware of the writing program. "I would like the writing program to be seen as a valuable resource and a program in which students can be creative and learn really practical skills," she said.  
Dr. Jayson Iwen 

Dr. Jayson Iwen, assistant professor of writing, holds a doctorate degree in English with a concentration in creative writing, specifically poetry, but he also has studied many types of writing, including critical writing, technical writing, fiction, and dramatic writing. He has won awards in fiction and poetry, and published two books - an experimental novella, "A Momentary Jokebook" and a book of poetry, "Six Trips in Two Directions."

"If you have fun writing it, it should be fun to read" Iwen said.  He brings this philosophy into the classroom and incorporates it into his own writing.

"You can tell if someone had fun writing it," he said. "I try to make it (class) as fun as possible while still being educational."  

Besides creating fun classes for his students, Iwen enjoys the classes as well. "I like the relevancy and applicability, especially of Writing 102 and 209," he said, "because students can take stuff we're learning in there and apply it immediately to their lives."

Iwen noted that he also enjoys meeting his students, especially in his creative writing memoir class. "I'm just really enjoying getting to know a lot about my students - their pasts, the stories they think are significant," he said. 

Iwen finds the writing program to offer both a practical and enjoyable experience.

"It's really job-relevant and practical, but creative and imaginative at the same time," he  said. "I like the fact that there does seem to be a lot of flexibility so students can create any type of writing degree. I can't think of any employer that wouldn't value a writing minor."

News Contact: Al Miller | 715-394-8260 | amiller{atuws}
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