UCSB Writing Program Director Linda Adler-Kassner visited the White House last Friday to attend a government briefing alongside Department of Education officials on the status of writing programs nationwide.
A delegation from the national Council of Writing Program Administrators — an organization representing researchers and teachers working in post-secondary writing initiatives — attended the briefing. Adler-Kassner, who served as CWPA president from 2009 to 2011, presented potential initiatives for writing curricula at the briefing, including a document that would improve post-secondary education and better prepare students for college-level writing courses.
According to Adler-Kassner, the summit emphasized implementing writing theory and practice in universities.
“It was a great opportunity to talk with them about some of the initiatives that are important to them and that are really important to us,” Adler-Kassner said. “Specifically, we were interested in talking to them about a document called the Framework of Success in Postsecondary Writing that outlines the habits of mind that we know are important for students to be prepared for credit-bearing college courses.”
Writing professor Gina Genova said Adler-Kassner’s visit reflects her expertise and ability to provide the university with a quality writing program.
“A lot of people do this everywhere in the nation and to have her be singled out to go with a select few is very impressive,” Genova said. “She has a really good understanding … about what we do here on campus. It’s not only with students but how we fit into the broader picture of what the needs of UCSB are in the other disciplines and how important writing is and needs to be in the other disciplines.”
According to Writing Program Associate Director Madeleine Sorapure, Adler-Kassner also contributes to research within the curriculum.
“She does a lot to support the teaching and the research of the faculty in the Writing Program and the graduate students associated with the Writing Program,” Sorapure said.
Adler-Kassner, who joined the UCSB faculty last year, said she aims to share her program’s writing lessons beyond its enrolled undergraduates.
“I do teach writing but I am also the director of the Writing Program,” Adler-Kassner said. “So, a lot of my job as the director of the Writing Program is teaching teachers and working with people generally to shape the Writing Program.”
Genova said the director enthusiastically brings new perspectives and ideas into the department.
“She is so energetic,” Genova said. “It is amazing. I have not ever met someone with the amount of energy that she has and she is very focused about where she puts it. She is a whirlwind of new ideas, and she is fabulous in taking her research and applying it to what we do here in the Writing Program, which is great because that’s something that is fresh.”