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Capital University News, California State University, Sacramento

September 29, 2003

New prof has write stuff

Dan Melzer has joined the English department this semester, but he hopes to have a campuswide impact. He’s designing the University’s writing across the curriculum program. “It’s been fun,” he says. “I’m here for anyone who might need help.”

The program, in connection with academic affairs and the English department, provides services to faculty looking for ways to incorporate more writing into their lesson plans. Melzer says a survey found that 77 percent of the faculty think the quality of student writing is extremely important to student learning outcomes. “Writing is great way for student to think critically,” he says.

The goal of writing across the curriculum is to help faculty meet the University’s reading and writing objectives, regardless of disciplines or departments where people teach. “We want to help faculty teach students,” he says. “The program is available to them.”

The first campus-wide seminar designed to assist CSUS faculty is Oct. 15. Melzer says it is open to anyone looking for tips including how to respond to student writing, handle the paper load, grade appropriately, and work with multi-lingual writers. He says people should RSVP at melzer@csus.edu or 278-6925

He hopes to eventually organize a summer institute for CSUS instructors, then perhaps expand that summer program to include other universities.
He says the biggest hurdle so far is working around the busy schedules of instructors. “They teach so many classes.” Melzer says he tries to get around this obstacle by helping them look for ways they can easily incorporate writing into their curriculum.

One technique he recommends is “free-writes.” Free-writes are extemporaneous writing done during the course of a lecture. For example, a professor may pause during a discussion to ask the students to write three questions they might have about the lesson plan in question. Melzer says the work functions similarly to a daily journal.

Melzer joined the English department from Florida State University. He says he was drawn to CSUS for several reasons. “I loved the context of the job here.” He’s also a hiker and kayaker who heard Northern California has many rivers that will give him a chance to enjoy some white-water kayaking.

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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu
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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu