Faculty Fridays help professors with writing outside of the classroom

By Rachel Cross | 1/9/13 6:33pm


GVL / Robert Mathews
Junior Joe Hogan receives advice on his paper from a writing center consultant. Students now have the oppertunities on Fridays throughout the semester to meet with GVSU faculty to go over their work.

by Robert Mathews / Grand Valley Lanthorn

Oftentimes academic pursuits don’t end for professors after they start working at universities, with many educators setting aside time to publish articles or pursue higher degrees and interests.

To help with that, the Writing Center at Grand Valley State University, located on both the Allendale and Pew campuses, has for the past three years held Faculty Friday events for professors seeking extra help and quiet time for different writing projects outside of the classroom.

Patrick Johnson, interim director of the Writing Center, has been at GVSU for one and a half years and is one of the writing consultants for faculty.

“This event allows faculty to dedicate time to write and read with other productive people that attend,” Johnson said. “These projects are for faculty that is working on writing pieces such as article submissions, dissertations or teacher review accomplishments: all individual projects outside the classroom.”

Johnson said that Faculty Fridays provide professors the chance to form small writing groups with colleagues on campus. In these groups professors can share their drafts with each other for review and feedback.

According to the Scholarly Writing Initiatives for Faculty and Staff for 2012-2013, participating in a group “is a great way to meet your self-imposed deadlines, become part of an active community of scholar-writers, make scholarly connections with faculty in other disciplines, and get feedback toward revision from interested, experienced writers.”

In addition to Faculty Fridays, there are also faculty/staff writing retreats that last for five days and allow professors at GVSU to make progress and gain feedback from writing consultants as well as participants. These retreats will be held from April 29-May 3, Aug.5-9, and a mini-retreat will be from March 6-8.

“This retreat gives faculty the opportunity to dedicate time to write with productive people,” Johnson said. “At the beginning of the retreat we ask faculty what their goals are for the retreat, and at the end we ask them what they got done during the week.”

Johnson also said that this event can be very rewarding for faculty members.

“Faculty Fridays consist of a community of writers,” Johnson said. “It allows faculty to get their work ready for publication by connecting with other writers and getting extra feedback. This quiet environment also has less distraction than if they were working in their offices.”

Overall, Johnson said that the faculty that attends this event enjoy and appreciate their ability to use the quiet writing space as well as the interaction with other writers and consultants. He added that these events are similar to the services that the Writing Center offers to undergraduate students at GVSU.

Although many professors take advantage of Faculty Fridays, Johnson said that in terms of turn-out, more faculty tends to come in at the beginning of the semester because schedules are less busy and they have more free time to write, but turnout tapers down as the semester progresses.

When Faculty Fridays are held in the Writing Center, Johnson said that the undergraduate students at GVSU are directed to the 2nd floor common area in Lake Ontario Hall where writing consultants bring their laptops and other necessary materials to help students.

Faculty Friday events are located in Allendale in LOH room 120 and on the Pew Campus in Devos 302E from noon until 5 p.m., where snacks and coffee are provided.

For more information on dates and other specifics of Faculty Friday events, or to register for the faculty/staff writing retreats, visit www.gvsu.edu/wc.


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