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The Meaningful Writing Project | Neal Lerner

People in this story

Neal Lerner, Chair and Professor of English

Michele Eodice, Senior Writing Fellow, The University of Oklahoma

Anne Ellen Geller, Professor, Director of Writing Across Communities, St. John’s University

In the face of the continuing discourse of crisis in US education, The Meaningful Writing Project offers readers an affirming story of writing in higher education that shares students’ experiences in their own voices. In presenting the results of a three-year study consisting of surveys and interviews of university seniors and their faculty across three diverse institutions, authors Michele Eodice, Anne Ellen Geller, and Neal Lerner consider students’ perceptions of their meaningful writing experiences, the qualities of those experiences, and instructors’ perspectives on assignment design and delivery.

This study confirms that meaningful assignments offer students opportunities to engage with instructors, peers, and texts and are relevant to past experiences and passions as well as to future aspirations and identities. Meaningful writing occurs across majors, in both required and elective courses, and beyond students’ years at college. Additionally, the study makes clear that faculty across the curriculum devote significant care and attention to creating writing assignments that support student learning, as they understand writing performance to be a developmental process connected to overall cognitive and social development, student engagement with learning, and success in a wide variety of disciplines and professions.

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