Author Archives: writingstudio

Graduate Student Writing

Thesis: A document prepared to achieve an academic degree that often states a problem in a given field and then provides an exploration of that problem through reviews of literature, methodological inquiries, and discussions.

Qualifying Paper: A longer essay used as a capstone project demonstrating a student’s ability to research, evaluate, and analysis a topic or issue pertinent to her field of study.

Both theses and qualifying papers involve employing research methods that ultimately inform the writer’s ability to produce a comprehensive and cogent written text.

Research writing at the graduate level involves planning and revision. Research writing is a process that starts with focusing and narrowing your topic, discovering and incorporating sources, grouping and categorizing information, planning, writing, and revising.

Discussion Topic: Preserving a Language

Watch this amazing story of the last fluent speaker of Wukchumni, a Native American language. She discusses her efforts to write a dictionary preserving the Wukchumni language.

Questions to consider:

What happens when a language dies? Who’s affected? What are the cultural ramifications?

In what ways are language tied to culture?

Does preserving this language benefit society?

EWCA Workshop — 21 July 2014

Peer Tutor Education Models:
Beyond Classroom Borders

Nkem Chukwumerije, Peer Tutor, Fashion Institute of Technology – SUNY
Brian Fallon, Director, Fashion Institute of Technology – SUNY
Adam Gray, Associate Director, Fashion Institute of Technology – SUNY

 The goal of this workshop is to develop strategies for creating a “higher risk/higher yield” (Boquet, 2003) peer tutor education program that does not rely on a mandatory, codified “training” course.

This workshop was born out of our own experiences at FIT, where we face difficulties providing peer tutor education. Like many writing centers, we want to engage peer tutors in high impact practices that result in the lasting social and academic effects documented by Gillespie, Hughes, and Kail (2010). To reach these ends, an expectation for tutors to be involved in carefully planned practicum meetings, scholarly activity (Dinitz and Kiedaisch, 2002), a mentoring program (Wenger, 1996), and community-building activities (Geller et al., 2007) is at the heart of how peer tutors at our institution develop their understanding of literacy and language learning.

Our conversations today will focus on the challenges and rewards of building a peer tutor education program that does not rely on a formal course. We invite participants to share, discuss and develop strategies to accomplish the following:

  • Hiring/selecting new peer tutors;
  • Preparing peers for their first session;
  • Encouraging feedback, trust, and good judgment;
  • Making practicum meetings meaningful and effective;
  • Developing mentorship opportunities in and outside of the writing center (tutors educating tutors, tutors building relationships with faculty, etc.);
  • Bringing peer tutors to conferences and encouraging publication.

Our intention is to collaboratively develop and draft a peer tutor education action plan that includes items we can all implement upon return to our writing centers. We hope this action plan will define goals and strategies for moving current peer tutor education models forward.

Workshop Overview

  • Introductions
  • Writing Center Learning Audit
  • Breakout Discussions—Strategies for creating a culture of learning/community of practice through:

Peer Tutor Education,
Development and Support.

  • Breakout Session Takeaways
  • Draft Action Plan(s)

Visual Literacy Elements and Principles

Whether you “totally hate” Art History or not, it’s pretty much a certain that you’re  going to work on some assignment dealing with the subject during your time at FIT. Though these assignments will take many forms, there are some key aspects to remember that apply to most writing about art or design.  Here’s a refresher on the major elements discussed in most Art History papers, and some topics to consider when discussing artworks/designs in writing.

Writing Curriculum

Curriculum Writing Quick Tips

  • One helpful strategy we have noted is to begin with the learning outcomes and to work backwards once you have solidly established them. Then, you can begin to build your curriculum with the end goals already in mind.
  • Your outcomes should be assessable. A strong action verb from Bloom’s Taxonomy works better than vague statements such as “Students will understand…” as “understanding” is difficult to measure.
  • Catalogue course descriptions should also be concise (around 50 words). We like to think of the course description in terms of purpose, method and outcome. First, what is the purpose of the course? What methods will be used to achieve that purpose, and finally, what will the outcome of the course be?
  • When choosing texts or designing units, keep in mind that you may not be teaching the course in 5 or 10 years. Therefore, the curriculum needs to be flexible enough to incorporate others’ ideas in the future. For instance, if one is designing a film course, several optional films may be recommended in a particular genre.
  • Finally, as with all writing, consider your audience. You are the expert in your field, yet you are often going to be writing to those who may not have your expertise. What do they need to know?


Audience Appeals

Trying to convince your audience that your position on an issue is most sensible requires careful attention to character, reason, and emotion also referred to as ethos, logos, and pathos, respectively. These are three appeals that writers can use to persuade an audience that their arguments and claims are sound and valid.

Appeals to the audience help you to support your claims and they will also help you to provide responses to opposing arguments.

Three Important Types of Appeals to the Audience:

Appeal to Character (Ethos): Demonstrating your good character can be important in convincing an audience that what you have to say is significant. Establishing your credibility through the argument you build, the sources you incorporate, and the way you present information and data can affect the way an audience views your presentation/paper. If you are fair and accurate in your portrayal of an issue or problem, you develop your trustworthiness as a writer or speaker. Your audience will always question your judgment and values as a writer or speaker, so it is important to build a rapport with your audience to ensure your good reputation.

Appeal to Reason (Logos): Simply put, you have to have proof for what you’re saying. Audience members must be able to see the logic behind your arguments based on evidence. Providing your audience with a claim is not enough to hook an audience. Any good writer or speaker must provide reasons and evidence for their claims. Reasons are the how and why of a claim while evidence is the proof that the reason is true supporting the claim is true. Some examples of appeals to reason may include statistics and data, reports, testimony from an authority, or specific facts.

Appeal to Emotion (Pathos): Emotion can be used to deceive or frighten people, much like we see in advertisements or political campaigns. This doesn’t mean that an emotional appeal should be avoided. Sometimes a powerful story that pulls at an audience’s heartstrings is appropriate for putting them in the right frame of mind to listen to your argument. When using an appeal to emotion, be sure not to let emotion get in the way of reason, but to use emotion to illustrate a situation in a way that moves your audience to be receptive to your claims.