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ERIC Number: EJ859466
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 21
ISSN: ISSN-1076-0180
The Writing Program and the Call to Service: A Progress Report from a Land Grant University
Sawyer, Paul
Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, v15 n2 p68-76 Spr 2009
Although a vibrant literature on the social justice advantages of writing service-learning programs has existed for many years, the focus has tended to be on specific projects and courses, often accompanied by an understandable suspicion that entrenched institutions like universities have interests inimical to radical social change. As a result, analyses of the practical possibilities of building and administering well-articulated programs, especially in research universities, remain scarce. I argue for precisely such a systematic, institutional approach--a strategy from the center that underwrites flexible tactics in the field--by considering the case of the writing in the majors program at Cornell University. I survey Cornell's environs in terms of overlapping circles of need, then illustrate how the writing program's three chief resources--training teachers and mentors, funding graduate students, and practicing a flexible, discipline-centered writing pedagogy--have enabled us to construct multiple partnerships in a short time. The example is of use to service-learning theorists as well as writing program administrators attempting to build progressive Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) programs in their institutions. I argue that although many challenges remain, this type of alliance can combat the chief threat facing service-learning today: not institutional power but rather institutional neglect, which exacerbates what Michel de Certeau calls "the erosion of time." (Contains 5 notes.)
Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning, University of Michigan. 1024 Hill Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3310. Tel: 734-647-7402; Fax: 734-647-7464; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York