The Franklin College Writing Intensive Program launched a Public Writing Initiative last fall to bring professionals into writing-intensive classes.
The goal was to foster an awareness for writing as a skill that has real-world applicability and a practice in which students will continue to engage long after they graduate from college. UGA alumni, university administrators and members of the Athens-area community visited WIP courses to talk about the writing they do on the job as well as the importance and development of communication skills.
While the Writing Intensive Program offers UGA undergraduate students opportunities to develop their skills in the context of discipline-specific courses, the new initiative highlights the value of these opportunities as critical training for professional careers and advanced programs of study.
The classroom visits brought guest speakers into four WIP classrooms to talk about their communication expectations and experiences. Students in art history, sociology, mathematics, and women’s studies had the chance to hear about the role that writing plays in workplace settings. UGA alumna Alex Laughlin, who currently works for The Washington Post, spoke to a women’s studies class about her professional and personal experience writing for online media outlets, print publications, blogs and social media.
Paul Klute, director of UGA’s Office of Institutional Research, spoke to David Gay’s “Foundations of Geometry” class about the ways educational institutions track data and the way that data is communicated effectively to different audiences and also how it can be misused if communicated poorly.
Hillary Brown, director of communications at the Georgia Museum of Art, visited Nell Andrew’s art history class, “Art Between the Wars,” to discuss how research and elements of argumentation still inform the writing and communication initiatives associated with a museum. Chief Deputy J. Lee Weems from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office spoke to Sarah Shannon’s sociology class, “Communities and Crime.”