2021 Projects

Teaming for Interdisciplinary Research Pre-Seed Program

Interdisciplinary STEM Writing Team

Interdisciplinary STEM Writing Team

hands with pen at scientific workbench

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

The focus of this interdisciplinary team is to better integrate and support writing in STEM disciplines via a course-embedded tutoring program housed in the UGA Writing Center. Course-embedded tutoring programs provide classroom-specific writing support for student writers via peer support. Recently, STEM courses have been connected to Writing in the Disciplines (WID) Initiatives as a way to “link students to specific writing-intensive courses; encourage partnerships between the course-embedded tutor and a course professor; and promote collaboration between peers” (Hughes and Hall 2008). Thus, writing center consultants will support both student writers and writing teachers by becoming more actively involved in the teaching of technical writing within a context-specific and discipline-based environment. This project extends from a “whole systems” approach to WID (Cox et al., 2018) that seeks to create systematic administrative orientations for long-term sustainability. Along with English Faculty Writing Program Directors (of the Writing Center and the Writing-Intensive Program), our team includes faculty in Engineering, Chemistry, Pharmacy, and Biology. We will pilot course-embedded tutoring in each of these STEM disciplines.

According to data from the 2017 National Census of Writing, 74% (n=417) of the four-year institutions surveyed across the country have a course-embedded tutoring program (also known as Writing Fellows). This innovative approach to teaching writing has been directly connected to increased student and faculty satisfaction with student writing (Fitzgerald et al. 1991; Hollis 1991; Adams 1991; Hobson and Lerner 1999) and improvement of student writing (Kovach, Miley, Ramos 2013; Hallman Martini and Rodrigue 2019). Most recently, Carpenter, Whiddon, and Dvorak (2014) acknowledged the variations of course-embedded programs and the potential for strong sustainable collaborations among WID initiatives and writing centers to support faculty development and the improvement of student writing campus-wide.

Our project will pair four faculty members who teach writing-intensive courses with undergraduate or graduate writing center consultants. Funds awarded to the project will be used to pay the consultants. Through this project, we will investigate the following questions: (1) How is technical writing taught differently across STEM disciplines?; (2) To what extent do course- embedded tutoring programs support different kinds of technical writing projects (i.e., research based, community or client-based, extra-curricular, etc.)?; (3) How do interdisciplinary writing teams such as this one encourage innovation, creativity, and collaboration in the teaching of writing?

Team Lead

Rebecca Hallman Martini
Department of English

Team Members

Stephan Durham
College of Engineering

Lindsey Harding
Department of English

John Brocato
College of Engineering

Henry Young
College of Pharmacy

Holly Gallagher
Division of Biological Sciences

Kristen Miller
Division of Biological Sciences

Ana West
Department of Chemistry