Research study helping enhance BSW writing skills

Alice Schmidt-HanbidgeWhen students clearly understand readers’ expectations, their writing is measurably more successful and more concise, according to a study out of Renison University College.

Alice Schmidt-Hanbidge (left), Assistant Professor, School of Social Work and Judi Jewinski (below), Special Advisor to the Provost for English Language Competency, are working together on a research project that looks to enhance written communication in Renison's Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program. 

Using this research, they hope to develop and implement best practices across the BSW curriculum, so that all courses contribute to the improvement of students' writing skills.

One of the goals is to better prepare BSW graduates for the field, says Schmidt-Hanbidge. "Although our BSW students are advanced writers, as part of our program review we met with our community partners, and our field instructors from our community partner agencies suggested that the school could enhance student support for professional writing skills." 

Judi Jewinski

Jewinski says that the study introduces writing evaluation as a means to heighten student awareness of readers' expectations. "Given that everyone in the BSW program has met the minimum standard of a BA with honours standing, there is no one who could generally be characterized as a poor writer. What makes some people seem stronger than others, however, is their comfort with a genre of writing. When a student is introduced to a new type of writing, for example, it’s understandable if it takes practice to become comfortable."

Preliminary results indicate that students tend to be more concise and use shorter sentences when they find the assigned topic interesting, and when they could clearly make the connection to a professional social work setting. The results collected so far will be used as benchmarks for assessments over the final six months of the study.

Read more about their research project on the Centre for Teaching Excellence website.

Professor Robert Case to serve as "Provocateur" at Waterlution's "Guelph-WaterCity 2040" event

WaterCity 2040 is a multi-stakeholder scenario planning initiative designed to activate the knowledge, creativity and skills of graduate students and young professionals in the water sector as they work alongside current decision-makers to co-develop a 25-year water vision. Professor Case will be sharing insights from his ongoing research on community-based water activism, and encouraging participants to consider the role(s) of activism and other forms of community participation in policy and planning processes related to water services and water stewardship. This event is free and open to the public. It takes place at Planet Bean Cafe in downtown Guelph from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday March 24, 2015. 

Professor Kristina Llewellyn invited to speak at symposium

Professor Kristina Llewellyn will be a guest speaker at the UN at 70 Symposium. According to a press release, this event is a "one-day symposium that will bring together an interdisciplinary mixture of scholars whose interests lie in the history of the UN, Canadian foreign policy, development studies, peace studies, and political science." The keynote speaker is Lloyd Axworthy, Minister of Foreign Affairs, President of UWinnipeg and Chancellor of St. Paul's University College at the University of Waterloo. The symposium will be held on June 12, 2015 at McMaster University, and it's a free event for anyone who would like to attend (you can register online).

Yan Li speaking at UofT workshop

Join Yan Li, Director of the Confucius Insitute at the University of Waterloo, as she discusses her novel The Deep at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC). Yan is a bilingual author, writing in both English and Chinese. Her first English novel, Daughters of the Red Land, published in Toronto in 1995, was a finalist for Books in Canada's First Novel Award. Yan was the winner of Woman of the Year in Literature/Arts/History in 1996 and the Honorable Overseas Chinese Writer awarded by The Chinese Literature and Arts Association in Taiwan in 2002. Yan came to Canada in 1987. She has taught Chinese culture, history, literature, and language at Renison since 1997. Her major works include Daughters of the Red Land, Lily in the Snow, The Deep, Married to the West Wind, and The Lambs of Mapleton.

Tomorrow is last day to register for Spirit Board workshop

poster for vision board workshopOn Tuesday, March 31, 2015, there will be a workshop facilitated by Supria Karmakar for students, staff, and faculty to create a "Spirit Board." A Spirit Board (also called a Vision Board, Treasure Map or Creativity Collage) is typically a poster board on which you paste or collage images that you’ve torn out from various magazines. The idea behind this is that when you surround yourself with images that remind you of what you have, or what you are grateful for, or images that make you feel good, or images where you envision your self to be in any area of your life, your life changes. Life begins to match those images and those desires. It can also be a board of celebration, one that celebrates, who you are, your accomplishments, etc. Vision boards add clarity to your desires, and feeling to your visions. Please contact Supria Karmakar prior to March 29 to register.

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