MSU faculty complete institute, prep syllabi for 'writing-to-learn'

MSU faculty complete institute, prep syllabi for
Photo by: Megan Bean

After becoming students once again at Mississippi State's recent Maroon Institute for Writing Excellence, the new faculty-member graduates are ready to incorporate what they've learned in courses not traditionally associated with writing.

Now in its second year, the annual summer institute trains teachers to modify course syllabi to incorporate more writing-to-learn strategies in class assignments. Known as "Maroon & Write," the overall initiative is the university's quality enhancement plan to improve undergraduate learning at all class levels.

The QEP is required to maintain accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

During Thursday [June 26] ceremonies, the 11 participants representing architecture, language arts, mathematics, music and various sciences formally concluded the three-week intensive institute. By free writing and journaling, conversing and debating, they have developed methods to amend syllabi to include writing assignments, many of which qualify as participation grades.

Creating a "culture change" to make MSU a more writing-centric institution is the underlying purpose of Maroon & Write, said Rich Raymond. Head of the English department and the institute's facilitator, Raymond has for some time applied the writing-to-learn techniques in all his courses.

"We are very excited about the QEP and Maroon & Write," said Jerry Gilbert, provost and executive vice president, at the graduation celebration. "We're introducing writing-across-the-curriculum, and I tell students at each orientation, it's important for their future careers. We're preparing them for life and to be leaders.

"Our students are going to graduate from Mississippi State better prepared to be better members of the community," Gilbert added.

The summer 2014 institute graduates and the writing-to-learn courses they'll be teaching this fall include, by department:

--Agricultural economics assistant extension professor Becky Smith, three Honors Forum sections in the Shackouls Honors College.

--Architecture visiting assistant professor Jeffery Roberson, architectural theory.

--Communication assistant professor Melanie Loehwing, rhetorical theory.

--Curriculum, instruction and special education assistant professor Stephanie Bennett, integrated language arts instruction.

--Geosciences associate professor Renee Clary, principles of paleobiology.

--Human sciences assistant professor Juyoung Lee, sociological and psychological aspects of clothing.

--Interior design associate professor Amy Crumpton, principles, processes and practices for interior design.

--Landscape architecture assistant professor Elizabeth Payne, fundamentals of planning design.

--Mathematics and statistics instructor Kim Walters, problem-solving with real numbers for education majors.

--Music professor Robert Damm, African-American music.

--Sociology instructor Mehrzad Netadj, marriage and family.

--Wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture assistant professor Peter Allen, fish physiology.

This group joins the institute's inaugural class from 2013, many of whom plan to continue teaching Maroon & Write courses. They include, by department:

--Animal and dairy science assistant professor Jamie Larson, physiology of reproduction.

--Associate professor Matthew Little, American literature survey, and instructor LaToya Bogard, introduction to literature. Both are English department faculty members.

--Forestry professor Stephen Grado, forest resources survey.

--Human sciences instructor Rick Noffsinger, introduction to technical writing in agricultural communication.

--Marketing, quantitative analysis, and business law professor Robert S. Moore, Internet marketing.

--Music professor Michael Brown, history and appreciation of music and honors history and appreciation of music.

Learn more about Maroon & Write at

Dated: 6/27/2014