Writing Center News

Grad Workshop to Focus on Lit Review

On Monday, November 16th, the UWC's Graduate Student Workshop series will feature an hour-long presentation on writing a literature review. The workshop will be lead by Dr. Candace Hastings, associate director of the University Writing Center, who will explain how grad students can show the connections between their research and the existing knowledge in the field.

Hastings, well-known for her engaging talks on graduate student writing, will offer advice on how to scale that mountain of accumulated references and organize them into a compelling literature review.

Join us and learn how writing your lit review can help you join the academic conversation of your discipline.

The workshop will begin at 7 p.m. in Evans Library, Room 211.

Register here.


Black Box Writers Residency Taking Applications

The Black Box Writers Residency, a six-week program sponsored by the University Writing Center, is taking applications from TAMU undergraduates interested in improving their writing and performance skills.

The residency, now in its second year, is unique among undergraduate programs for providing instruction in both writing and performing. Undergraduates may apply to work on either fiction or poetry.

During the six-week program, students will have a chance to work with coaches to hone a piece of writing. They'll then refine their performance of the piece, before presenting it at a reading in the Bryan-College Station community.

Applications are due before midnight on Sunday, November 15th.

Video of last spring's performances is posted on the UWC's website.

UWC hosts creative writing workshop

In conjunction with the TAMU Secrets and Stories installation at the Reynolds Gallery, the University Writing Center, together with staff from The Eckleburg Project, offers a creative writing workshop on turning personal experiences into poems and prose. Is This Real Life? will be held on Thursday, October 22nd in MSC 2248 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

We live in a culture of sharing (and oversharing), but creative writers must go beyond simply posting stories. Writers decide which real life experiences should be shared with an audience and what is better left on the cutting room floor. Writers also mold and shape their experiences to create unique and intimate relationships between themselves and their audiences.

The majority of this workshop will give participants the opportunity to create new work. Participants will also have the chance to perform developed material at the gallery opening event for TAMU Secrets and Stories on October 29th at 7 p.m.

Students can choose between two different workshop types: one geared towards prose and another towards poetry. The workshop is limited to 30 students overall, with 15 students per genre, and is only open to Texas A&M University students.

The poetry section will be lead by Dr. Candace Hastings, the UWC's associate director. Hastings is co-author of The Creative Writing Guide. The prose section will be lead by UWC administrator Florence Davies. Davies has an MFA from SUNY-Stony Brook and a B.A. from Texas A&M. She is currently at work on a young adult novel.

Register for the prose workshop.

Register for the poetry workshop.  


Florence Davies to give reading

UWC administrator Florence Davies will read from her fiction on Thursday, September 24th as part of The Big L.A.A.H. Reading Series. The event will be held in Room 453 of the Liberal Arts Building from 4 to 5 p.m. Also on the program is undergraduate author Shailen Scott.

Davies holds an M.F.A. from SUNY-Stony Brook and a B.A. from Texas A&M University. While she was an Aggie undergrad, Davies worked as a peer consultant at the writing center. Since returning to the UWC as a full-time administrator, she has also become the faculty advisor for The Eckleburg Project, Texas A&M's undergraduate literary magazine. Davies also founded The Black Box Writers Residency at Texas A&M, which combines instruction in both writing and performance for aspiring undergraduate authors. Poet Shailen Scott was among the inaugural group of students participating in the residency.


UWC introduces Monday night Grad Student Workshops

The University Writing Center announces the inauguration of a new workshop series for graduate students. These Monday night workshops will help grad students improve their communication skills and enhance their  professional development. Workshop topics will include giving presentations, writing a literature review, and prepping for the composition portion of the ELPE.

"Excellent communication skills are crucial for graduate students, whether they're preparing their literature review or giving a job talk for an academic post," says UWC Executive Director Valerie Balester. "These workshops will help them build their skills in a relaxed, informal setting."

Students participating in the UWC programs will have the chance to earn one Professional Development Unit (PDU) toward the new G.R.A.D. Aggies Professional Development Certificate.

While most of the workshops will be presented by UWC consultants, the series will feature two guest speakers: Dr. Katharyn Stober of the Career Center will talk about interviewing and the UWC's own Dr. Candace Hastings Schaefer will look at the writing process for one session and preparing a lit review for another.

Registration for each workshop will open one week before the event. See the full list of workshop topics here.

Registration for the first workshop, which focuses on how to improve your Proofreading skills, is now open!


Evans Library Open House 1-3 on August 26th

Evans Library will be hosting a Gig 'Em Week Open House on Wednesday, August 26th from 1 to 3 p.m. Come by the library for games, free food, and a "Happy" T shirt, as you learn about library services. We'll be hosting a Graffiti Wall, where you can post your message to share with your fellow Aggies. Come by and write with us!

Faculty Workshop looks at visual communication

Visual communication will be the focus for this summer's UWC faculty workshop, set for Friday, July 10th.

The new TAMU core curriculum and the TAMU Undergraduate Learning Outcomes both call for greater attention to oral, written, and visual communication. The Eyes Have It: Teaching Visual Communication, a faculty workshop sponsored by the University Writing Center, will focus on teaching students to use visuals effectively in their own work.

We will meet in Evans Library, Room 211, from 8:30 am to noon on Friday, July 10. From the Department of English and the University Writing Center, Dr. Valerie Balester will cover the rhetoric of visuals and using visuals to support an argument; Dr. Sue Geller of Mathematics will cover helping students understand how to create accurate and ethical visuals and different ways to present the same data visually; and Dr. Shari Yvon-Lewis of Oceanography will cover how visual communication changes with different manners of presentation (such as papers, posters, and presentations) and for different genres or styles. The workshop is open to all faculty or graduate instructors; space is limited, however, so register now to reserve a space.  A light breakfast will be served.

Registration is now open.

UWC debuts new rap video: "Plagiarize"

Our latest music video explores the dangers of plagiarism. The UWC's own MC Grammar Punch teams up with his buddy Big Punz to help an Aggie writer avoid the plagiarist's world of sloppy citations, lazy notetaking, and inappropriate cutting and pasting--all in a musical homage to Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotize": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWzhNyUAJvo

Aggie Voices 2015 Contest Winners Announced!

The University Writing Center is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Aggie Voices Writing & Video Contest for undergraduates.
Writing Division
“A Midday Train through Russia” by Ingabirano Nintunze, senior English major
Honorable Mentions:
“Does the End Justify the Means? Analyzing Dark Romanticism Using Wordsworth’s Critical Theory” by Krystal Watson, senior English major
“Signals and Compressive Sensing” by Nathan LaFerney, senior applied mathematical sciences major

Video Division
“Texas A&M University” by Patrick Hargrove, freshman general engineering major
(Watch Patrick’s video here.)

Honorable Mention: 
“Texas A&M Mountain Biking Promo” by Hunter Coleman, sophomore business administration major  (Watch Hunter’s video here.)

The winners were selected by the members of the W and C Course Advisory Committee. The winners of each division receive a $100 gift card to Amazon.com.

Entries to the contest could be on any subject, scholarly or creative, and from any discipline. Many entries were originally created for a class, although some were created specifically for the contest.

The winning entry in the writing division is a short story depicting a young boy’s magical train ride with a mysterious woman.

The winning video entry uses 49 time-dilated video images to create an evocative portrait of life on the Texas A&M campus. In the description he submitted with his entry, freshman Patrick Hargrove said his video was inspired by the 1982 film “Koyaanisqatsi,” known for its creative use of time-lapsed images. 

Regarding the winning writing entry, committee member Barbara Gastel, professor of Integrative Biosciences/Medical Humanities, said, “I found this story highly engaging. Features contributing to its success included skillful pacing, deft integration of real and surreal, and strong command of the mechanics of writing."

The Aggie Voices Contest, sponsored by the UWC, is an opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding communication skills of undergraduates at Texas A&M.

Gastel, who has also been a judge for the contest in previous years, described this as an "exceptionally fine group of entries, from an impressively wide array of disciplines. What a treat to read well thought out, well structured, effectively phrased writing in fields ranging from literary analysis to social science to mathematics!"

Our congratulations to the winners and our thanks to all those students who shared their work with us in this year’s contest.

Black Box Writers Residency debuts


The Black Box Writers Residency (BBWR), created by the University Writing Center, is accepting applications for its pilot program to be conducted in March.

The BBWR offers undergraduate creative writers at Texas A&M a unique opportunity to develop as writers and performers. Students accepted into the program will have the chance to hone a work of poetry or short fiction with the help of experienced creative writers. Then they'll practice their performing skills before giving a public reading of their work on the A&M campus.

The BBWR program, combining instruction in both writing and performing, is the first of its kind for undergraduates in the U.S.

Flo Davies, a UWC administrator and the program's creator, says this new intiative recognizes the relationship between writing and performing, a relationship that's increasingly significant given the growing popularity of poetry slams and open mic nights.

"It's important for writers to know how to present their work to an audience, to make it come to life in real time," Davies explains. "Plus, learning to perform a work—and perform it well—can give a young writer who otherwise likely works in isolation a huge boost of confidence."

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, February 20th. Students interested in applying can learn more about the program and the registration process here.
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