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Of Course, The Sun's News Reporting Still Needs Work

Frankly, I didn't comment on the earlier article because it was just way too speculative:

In response to an article published in The Sun, The Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines said yesterday that there is no discussion taking place about the possibility of undergraduates teaching Freshman Writing Seminars. Prof. Paul Sawyer, English and Knight Institute director, confirmed that graduate students and faculty will continue to teach all FWS courses into the foreseeable future, regardless of budget cuts. Related:

Prof. Katherine Gottschalk, English and director of first-year writing seminars, emphasized that the Knight Institute — and all of Cornell — highly values its graduate student and faculty seminar instructors, whom she called the, “fundamental source of the program’s strength.” She also expressed her strong support for the intellectual stimulation of the required discussion-style classes.

“Undergraduates never have been, are not being and will not be considered by the Knight Institute to teach First-Year Writing Seminars. The Knight Institute greatly respects the work of the graduate student instructors and of the faculty who teach First-Year Writing Seminars,” Gottschalk said in a statement. “It would never consider having undergraduates take over the teaching of these very pedagogically and intellectually demanding courses. Faculty and graduate student instructors put intensive work into the preparation and teaching of seminars and do outstanding work, the work of graduate student instructors often being so excellent that it serves as models for faculty, as well as the other way around. That undergraduates could teach First-Year Writing Seminars is out of the realm of reasonable possibility.”

Gottschalk explained that current rules that govern the College of Arts and Sciences prohibit undergraduates from being “instructors of record,” which precludes the idea that undergraduate students could serve as instructors for writing seminars.

However, she wrote that the Knight Institute is considering hiring undergraduate teaching assistants to serve as tutors for its larger intensive writing courses as part of a possible Writing Fellows Program. Prof. Joe Martin, English and director of writing workshops at the Knight Institute, said that the proposed initiative, which is merely in the discussion phase, would be adapted from other colleges and universities to fulfill the “changing needs of the undergraduate population.”

And by changing needs, Joe Martin means that high-school students no longer know how to write effectively. Or do their research, apparently.

Still, as Martin claims, this whole ordeal "is an indication of how spirited the mood is about the cuts.”

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on September 23, 2009 (#)

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