Taking writing beyond the classroom - Nov 16, 2010 - Writing Center - UW-Superior News and Events

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Taking writing beyond the classroom

Posted on Nov 16, 2010

By Elizabeth Reichert
University Relations student writer

Writing is not just for the classroom. As more and more students are using writing skills in jobs, the discussion of high-quality writing is increasing. At the University of Wisconsin-Superior, students are increasingly employing their writing skills in campus jobs.

The Writing Across the Curriculum program at UW-Superior promotes the use of writing in all academic areas. Involved in programs such as the campus Writing Center, Writing Across the Curriculum offers numerous ways for students, faculty, and staff to improve their writing and to use it more often.

WAC's latest event, the informal lunch seminar "Writing Across Campus" on Friday, Nov. 12, offered a panel which discussed the role writing by student interns and employees plays in their offices and departments. The panel consisted of Jeff Kahler, budget and policy analyst in the Administration and Finance Office; Carol Lindberg, director of Environmental Health and Safety; and Tammy Fanning, director of Student Life and Leadership. 

Dr. Deborah Schlacks coordinator of Writing Across the Curriculum, presses the necessity of incorporating writing into life because students will use writing in almost any field they enter after graduating.

"Writing is a reality," Schlacks said. "Communication is so important, and writing is a form of communication. Writing is more important than it has ever been. The electronic world has open up so many new media and styles of writing. There's more of a chance for understanding to learn to write clearly."

The panelists at the Nov. 12 event echoed Schlacks's comments.

Lindberg, whose student interns and employees work with technical writing and documentation, said, "[We] emphasize that they have got to communicate on a technical level, record accurately - accuracy is what counts - and be able to convey that to the general public . . . Details are important."

Writing is necessary in all fields of work. "There's a lot of communication and writing that happens when dealing with finance," Kahler said. "There are two aspects to it. One: putting the data together - crunching the numbers. Two: being able to explain it to someone else . . . There are a lot of opportunities for writing in business."

Faculty and staff members understand that students are still learning, and they work with students to improve their grammar, sentence structure, spelling, and etiquette in the written form.  "The ability to express themselves in written words is difficult for freshmen and sophomores.  We're encouraging (them) to get comfortable," said Fanning.

Writing is a crucial aspect of students' current and future lives, Schlacks said.

"Even someone who thinks that's not going to be part of their lives, it is," she said. "Writing is such an important part of critical thinking. There's a saying, 'How do I know what I think 'til I write it down?' "

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