November 15, 2019
Learning and Research

Penning A New Perspective

Wittenberg University Students and Faculty Attend Naylor Workshop for Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies

Wittenberg students Courtney Buck ’22, Emily Nolan ’22, Rinn Ramcke ’21, and Jamie Spallino ’23 all attended the 5th Annual Naylor Workshop for Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies held Sept. 27-29, at York College of Pennsylvania.

“The workshop is an opportunity for students to grow as skilled researchers,” said Mike Mattison, associate professor of English and Wittenberg Writing Center Director, who accompanied the students and served as a mentor at the Naylor Workshop. “Students submit an application for consideration, outlining a proposed research project. This year, 32 students were accepted and received funding to attend the event. Over the past five years, the workshop has hosted mentors and students from 45 states. This year, there were also two international attendees, one from Canada and one from Beirut.”

Dr. Dominic DelliCarpini, the inaugural Naylor Endowed Professor in Writing Studies, oversees the conference.

“We are fortunate to have a stellar group of students who are interested in diverse topics, many of which speak to key issues of access, social justice, literacy, and multi-modal composing,” he said. “We have students interested in writing across various disciplines, tutoring in writing centers, and writing outside of the classroom. They are passionate about their topics, and over the three-day workshop, they move from research question to poster presentation. Over the past five years, the quality of this work has increased exponentially. They are truly the future of our discipline, but also, through this work, its present. We invited leaders in writing studies to serve as mentors for these outstanding students. The mentors invest a tremendous amount of time and expertise in advising these students.”

Over the course of this weekend-long workshop, students advanced their own research projects by engaging in seminars on writing research, collaborating with teams of experienced scholars and peer researchers, and crafting research artifacts during independent time. After sharing their ideas, their experience, and their shared desire to make a difference as researchers, Naylor scholars return to their home institutions ready to complete their projects and share their findings in consequential ways.

All four students originated their research projects in the Wittenberg Writing Center.

Ramcke, from Allen Park, Michigan, focused her research on the use of compliments, considering particularly how praise and compliments in a writing center relate to unconditional positive regard, from humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers.

Buck, from Delaware, Ohio, Nolan from Columbus, Ohio, and Spallino from Rocky River, Ohio, are collaborating on their research, studying the effectiveness of different types of comments in email sessions. The trio already presented their work at the East Central Writing Centers Association conference last spring, and gave an overview of their work to the English Department this fall, to help in their thinking about responding to student writing.

Participants in previous workshops have presented their research at national professional academic conferences and in a range of community settings. After graduation, Naylor scholars have joined graduate programs and professions where they can apply their expertise. It is expected that the 2019 Naylor Workshop scholars will be similarly successful.

“Attending the Naylor Workshop helps students become part of a network of undergraduates from varying institutions, who are guided by mentor faculty members,” Mattison said. “One of the real benefits of the Naylor Workshop is discussing one-to-one with writing researchers in writing studies research questions, methods, ethics, and applications. Participants also engage in intensive workshops to assess the quality of research, design a research question, and learn and practice qualitative and quantitative research methods.”

For more information about the Naylor Workshop or to apply for the 2020 event, click here.

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About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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