Students Helping Students Find Their Voices Through Writing
Mentoring takes place at all levels at Governors State University. You find it in the DDP. You see it arising spontaneously in classrooms, and it is an important part of life as a Writing Fellow at GSU. The fellows are students who excel in writing and have volunteered to work with their peers in Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC)—a collaborative program between faculty and students at GSU.
Faculty members can request for a Writing Fellow to be assigned to a given class during a semester.
Dr. Jason Zingsheim, Associate Professor Communication Studies, has been working with Writing Fellow Jessica Lolli and says, “I’ve had an excellent experience with the Writing Fellows program this year. Particularly in my case, having a fellow who has been through the class previously has been incredibly valuable for my current students. One student said in class this week that being able to hear the feedback on her writing from the fellow has alleviated much of her anxiety. Collectively, reducing anxiety helps to create a classroom environment that is more conducive to learning. It also is creating a norm where students are more comfortable sharing their writing with peers as part of the ongoing writing process. I’ve seen a clear improvement in the quality of writing being submitted which allows us to spend more time developing the ideas and the content."
Dr. Kerri Morris oversees WAC and says that, along with helping students to become better writers, a key part of what the Writing Fellows do is guide their peers in how to ask for help with their writing.
"Not all students know how to find the help they need, and sometimes it's something as simple as just asking their professor for assistance. That kind of peer guidance—demonstrating that it's all right to not know an answer and to ask for help—is what takes place in Writing Across the Curriculum. The Writing Fellows are often there just to encourage other students and lead the way."
If you are a member of the GSU faculty and would like to have a Writing Fellow next semester, or if you are a student and interested in becoming a writing fellow, please contact Dr. Kerri Morris.