Writing Center
 

workshops_students   2010-2011

Looking for the current schedule for the 2011-12 academic year?

 Orientation       October        November       December     Interterm    February    March     April

Orientation

Face-time 

How do I get the most out of my time in the classroom and office-hours? A panel discussion with Prof. John Servos (History), Prof. Maria Heim (Religion), Prof. Robert Hayashi (English and American Studies), Ben Levison '11, and Sindhu Boddu '10.  No preregistration is necessary.   

Wednesday, September 1, 2:00-3:30

Porter Lounge, Converse Hall, third floor

 

Aggressive Reading

Yes, you've been reading since you were four, but do you really know how to read? A panel discussion with Prof. John-Paul Baird (Psychology), Prof. Margaret Hunt (History and Women's & Gender Studies), Prof. Boris Wolfson (Russian), Elvis Mujic '11, and Rose Lenehan '11.  No preregistration is necessary.

Thursday, September 2, 2:00-3:30

Porter Lounge, Converse Hall, third floor

 

Writing at Amherst

How is writing at Amherst different from writing in high school? What will your professors expect of you?  A panel discussion with Prof. Michele Barale (English and Women's and Gender Studies), Prof. Rhonda Cobham-Sander (English and Black Studies), Prof. Jyl Gentzler (Philosophy), Prof. Rick Griffiths (Classics and Women's & Gender Studies), and Anjali Anand '11. No preregistration is necessary.

Friday, September 3, 2:00-3:30

Porter Lounge, Converse Hall, third floor

October

Mastering the Art of the Academic Essay:  A Writing Class in Six Parts. 

This class will take you step-by-step through the academic writing process— from generating ideas to adding the finishing touches.  We offer not recipes for you to follow dutifully, but rather strategies for making the art of academic writing your own. Becoming a master writer, like becoming a master chef, requires experimentation, as well as practice, with different techniques and styles. Different writers expressing different insights will write differently, but as with cooking, the “proof in the pudding” is always the same.  In food, it’s in the answer to the question, “Does it taste good?”  In academic writing, it’s in the answer to the question, “Does my new insight come across so clearly, powerfully, and gracefully that it is truly a pleasure to read?” This class is most effective when taken in its entirety, but you are welcome to register for individual workshops Preregistration is required and is limited to 12 students.  Taught by Kristen Brookes (Senior Writing Associate) and Jyl Gentzler (Professor of Philosophy and Associate Director, The Writing Center).    

Wednesdays, 2:00-3:15 pm, beginning October 6.

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

For more information, click here.

 

Reading, Reading, Reading.  Plan, Do, Review: 

Sir Francis Bacon wrote, “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.” Of course that sounds nice, and it may well be true, but what happens when academic reading starts to overwhelm you? This workshop will examine some basic strategies to improve your reading effectiveness and to manage your academic reading workload. The following topics will be covered: pre-reading plans (what to do before you read), reading strategies (what to do while you read) and post-reading tasks (what to do after you read). The aim of this workshop, which is designed primarily for first-year students, is to help you develop your own unique reading system that will be effective for you in college and beyond. You are invited to follow up on this workshop with individual sessions, in order to address specific reading goals. Preregistration is required and is limited to 12 students.  Taught by Kabria Baumgartner (Writing Associate). 

Thursday, October 14, 4:00-5:15 pm.

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

 

Nothing in Excess

Are you having trouble expressing your ideas clearly and concisely because there are too many words getting in the way?  You're not alone, since wordiness is a common problem for college writers.  In this workshop, we will learn how to diagnose and correct the most frequent mistakes that lead to awkward constructions  —  including passive voice, helping verbs, and redundancy — in order to write what you're really thinking.  Preregistration is required and is limited to 12 students.  Taught by Sindhu Boddu (Writing Fellow). 

Sunday, October 17, 3:00-4:15 pm.

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

 

Planning, Managing, and Retaining your Thesis Research

Writing a thesis often entails more substantial research than you’ve done before. A project of this magnitude requires more planning and management to ensure that stuff doesn’t get lost, forgotten, or otherwise wasted as the year progresses. Learn about ways to find, process, remember, integrate, and use your research effectively. We’ll talk about our research processes, and how database tools, citation managers, research journals, and some note-taking techniques can save time, effort, and heartache.  Taught by Jessica Gorman (Writing Associate) and Michael Kasper (Reference/Collection Development Coordinator, Frost Library).  Preregistration is required and limited to 12 students.  

Tuesday, October 19, 3:30-5:00 pm

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

 

Writing about Poetry

Poems can be cryptic, inscrutable, and difficult to read. It’s hard to figure out the meaning, let alone how the rhythm and sound work to create it. But writing about poetry is not impossible. In this workshop, we will take a single poem and go step by step through the process of preparing a paper, from formal analysis to constructing an argument to defending it. By breaking the writing process down, we will turn a difficult task into a series of exercises that can develop into an effective paper. Not only will you learn how to write about poetry, you will also learn skills that you can apply in writing any paper based on “close reading.”  Preregistration is required and is limited to 12 students. Taught by Scott Branson (Writing Associate). 

Wednesday, October 20, 6:15-7:45 pm.

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

 

November

Turning Over a New Leaf

Have you fallen behind, or are you worried that writer’s block or procrastination will inhibit you from ending the semester well? If the thought of writing makes you anxious or if you tend to write your papers late or at the last minute, this workshop is for you. Through presentation, discussion, and writing, this workshop will help you find ways to write with greater ease, as well as to get out of your own way and get down to work. Taught by Kristen Brookes (Senior Writing Associate).  Preregistration is required and is limited to twelve students.  

Monday, November 1, 2010, 6:15-7:45 pm

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

 

Survival!

Are you finishing assignments the night before the due date? Is your academic workload overwhelming you? In this workshop, we will learn ways to balance work and play, prioritize your commitments, and avoid typical pitfalls that make your life as a college student harder. We will go over time management strategies and other study skills. Bring your syllabi, course schedule, job schedule, and an idea of your extracurricular commitments and we will help you create a study plan and provide you with some tools to make your semester easier to manage. Taught by Kabria Baumgartner (Writing Associate) and Sindhu Boddu (Writing Fellow). Preregistration is required and is limited to twelve students.  

Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 4:00– 5:15pm

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

 

The Writing Process for Writing Theses

Good instincts, clear thinking, and a sense of academic style may be enough for a writer to produce first-rate college papers, but to succeed at the greater challenge of writing a multi-chapter thesis, an informed approach to the craft of writing may be helpful. This workshop offers an exploration of the writing process as defined by its stages of pre-writing, organizing, drafting, revising, editing, and presenting. The twofold aim of the workshop is to equip you with (a) a conceptual toolset for cultivating an effective personal process for completing a complex, well-developed, well-integrated thesis, and (b) a common vocabulary for working productively one-on-one with a Writing Mentor from the senior staff of the Writing Center. Following the workshop, we invite you to work on an ongoing weekly or bi-weekly basis with your Writing Mentor in developing your writing craft, and in harnessing it to the particular challenges confronting you as a thesis writer. Taught by Michael Keezing (Senior Writing Associate) and Scott Branson (Writing Associate).  Preregistration is required and limited to 12 students. 

Thursday, November 4, 7:00-8:15 pm

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

 

Getting Started: A Workshop for Thesis Writers

Have you started writing your thesis yet? Does there always seem to be one more article you have to read before you can start writing? The time to start writing is now! This workshop will offer you strategies to break the barrier between researching, thinking, and writing and to thus avoid that terrifying moment when your research and thinking are done and you find yourself sitting before a blank screen. Taught by Kristen Brookes (Senior Writing Associate).  Preregistration is required and limited to 12 students.  

Thursday, November 11, 6:15-7:45 pm

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

 

December

Getting Started

This workshop offers strategies for what can be the most difficult part of a writing project: getting started. In addition to practicing some approaches that make it easier to get those first words on the page, we will discuss ways to counter procrastination. Bring any assignments you have to write or have recently written so that we can talk about how to approach paper topics in general, as well as yours specifically. Hopefully, you will leave the workshop not only with some useful strategies, but also with a good start on your paper. Even if you do not have an assignment you need to write the day we meet, please come learn how to approach your next writing task with confidence and perhaps even with some joy. Taught by Kristen Brookes (Senior Writing Associate).  Preregistration is required and is limited to 12 students. 

Thursday, December 2, 6:15-7:45 PM

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

Interterm

Write to Learn

The primary aim of this course is to help students develop as writers with a strong sense of purpose, audience, and voice. During this three-week course, you will compose several short non-fiction pieces on topics of your own choice. In class, you will be introduced to and practice a number of writing processes as you generate ideas, evaluate and make choices, read and respond to others’ work, and revise your own. Outside of class, you will develop, draft, shape, and polish your pieces. This course focuses not on academic writing, but rather on an approach to writing and on a set of skills that you can transfer to any writing task set before you. Write to Learn provides a structured environment in which to experiment with new approaches and express stories or ideas that have been waiting to be voiced; it is equally appropriate for writers who lack experience or confidence and for those who love to write. The last week, you will meet individually with the instructor to work on revision. The course will end with an informal, in-class writing recital. Taught by Kristen Brookes (Senior Writing Associate).  Enrollment is limited to 12, and preregistration is required.  Open to the entire college community. 

 Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, January 4-21, 10:00-11:15am.  Participants should plan to attend all sessions.

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

 

Thesis Writers' Retreat

Many of you want to make the most of your time during Interterm to work on your thesis, but staying motivated to write on a daily basis can be challenging. To that end, the Writing Center will be sponsoring a writers’ retreat.  Tuesday through Friday, 9am-noon, participants will gather to write in the Charles Pratt Hall common room. Every day, writers will set writing goals and then review those goals at the close of the session.  Writing Center staff will be available for consultation, and coffee and snacks will be provided.  At the close of each week’s session, writers will discuss their progress and goals over pizza.  Preregistration is required, and writers may choose to register for one, two, or all three weeks.  Preregistration for each week is limited to 12 thesis writers.

Charles Pratt Common Room


Getting Started/Moving Forward:  A Workshop for Thesis Writers

Have you started writing your thesis yet? Does there always seem to be one more article you have to read before you can start writing? Or have you been writing all along but wish that writing weren’t so hard or that you were making more progress? Come learn new ways to keep your creative juices flowing by using writing as a tool for exploration and discovery, rather than writing only when it’s time to produce a finished product. This course will offer you strategies to break the barrier between researching, thinking, and writing and thus avoid that terrifying moment when your research and thinking are done and you find yourself sitting before a blank screen.  Taught by Kristen Brookes (Senior Writing Associate).  Enrollment is limited to 12, and preregistration is required. 

Wednesday, January 5, 1:00-3:00 pm.

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

 

An Audience of One: Creative Prose Writing Practice

This course offers an alternative to the workshop model of creative writing instruction: rather than meeting with a group to take turns critiquing one another’s creative prose, participants will come together for a single group meeting, and then pursue a four- to six-session one-on-one tutorial with a creative writing instructor. The introductory group meeting will explore the intertwined, recursive, sometimes messily overlapping stages of the creative writing process—pre-writing, organizing, drafting, revising, editing, and presenting—to lay the groundwork for a four- to six-session tutorial focused on your creative prose (short story, personal essay, novella, novel, or dramatic writing for stage or screen) over the final two weeks of interterm.  Depending on your individual interests and goals, you may devote your tutorial to revising existing creative work, starting a new project, or writing in response to structured assignments from the instructor. Enrollment is restricted to Amherst College Students, and is limited to 9. Preregistration is required.  This course has reached its enrollment limit.

Introductory Workshop: Thursday, January 6, 1:00-2:20pm. Taught by Michael Keezing (Senior Writing Associate)

Individual sessions: Four to six 45-minute sessions, meeting twice or three times weekly with instructor (self-scheduled during the second and third weeks of Interterm).

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

 

Personalizing the Process:  One-on-One Academic Writing Study

The aim of this course is to provide a focused program of instruction addressing your individual needs and goals as an academic writer. The course begins with an introductory, one-time workshop investigating the writing process—pre-writing, organizing, drafting, revising, editing, and presenting—to provide you with a well-equipped conceptual toolset for (a) cultivating an effective personal writing process, and (b) working one-on-one with your instructor during a four- to six-session tutorial over the final two weeks of Interterm. At the outset of your tutorial, you and your instructor will jointly assess the current state of your writing (please bring your recent papers), identifying strengths, weaknesses, and tipping points where focused effort might enable major gains. Together with your instructor, you will set specific sentence-, paragraph-, composition-, and process-level goals, and then pursue them in the optimal learning environment that one-on-one instruction provides for developing one’s writing. Enrollment is restricted to Amherst College Students, and is limited to 9. Preregistration is required.  

Introductory WorkshopFriday, January 7, 1:00-2:20 pm. Taught by Michael Keezing (Senior Writing Associate).

Individual sessions: Four to six 45-minute sessions, meeting twice or three times weekly with a Writing Center senior-staff member (self-scheduled during the second and third weeks of Interterm).

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

 

Orchestrating the Dialogue: Integrating Research into your own Writing

One of the challenges of writing a senior thesis lies in adopting a professional, academic prose style. Such a style often feels particularly elusive when it comes time to integrate others' words and ideas with your own.  This workshop will help you seamlessly integrate quotes, paraphrases, and summary into your prose; balance your ideas with others'; and engage sources in a dialogue, rather than letting them speak for you or overshadow your own ideas.   The workshop will include lecture, discussion, and pre-writing and revision exercises to hone these skills. Students should bring a recent draft excerpt that incorporates sources, as well as a copy of the source(s) itself. Taught by Jessica Gorman (Writing Associate). Preregistration is required and is limited to 12 students. 

Friday, January 7, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

 

Retrain your Thesis Brain:  A Workshop for Thesis Writers

Are you always talking about your thesis but never actually working on it? Do you spend more time talking about how stressed you are than about your latest brilliant ideas? Are you working on your thesis so much that you have forgotten your friends’ names and can’t remember the last time you had any fun? Whether you are avoiding your thesis or grinding away at it, has your thesis begun to take over your whole being? If you have been experiencing these symptoms for two weeks or more, you may well be suffering from a case of thesis brain. Once thesis brain has set in, it may be impossible to fully cure, but there are a number of strategies that can provide some relief.

Using resources from books such as The Artist’s Way, Living Juicy, and The Feeling Good Handbook, this course introduces strategies for avoiding procrastination and writer’s block, as well as for restoring creativity and finding joy in your work. Through discussion, writing, and drawing, participants will develop their own individual plans for practicing habits for creativity, productivity, and possibly even sanity. Taught by Kristen Brookes (Senior Writing Associate).  Enrollment is limited to 12, and preregistration is required. 

Tuesday, January 11 and Thursday, January 13, 1:00-2:30pm. Students should plan to attend both sessions.

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

 

Nothing in Excess

Are you having trouble expressing your ideas clearly and concisely because there are too many words getting in the way?  You're not alone, since wordiness is a common problem for college writers.  In this two-part workshop, we will learn how to diagnose and correct the most frequent mistakes that lead to awkward writing, as well as strategies for creating concise and to-the-point sentences. Taught by Sindhu Boddu (Writing Fellow).  Preregistration is required and is limited to 15 students. 

Tuesday, January 11 and Thursday January 13, 3-4:30pm.  Students should plan to attend both sessions.

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

 

Revising from Parts to Whole: A Workshop for Thesis Writers

You’ve finished writing a chapter. Now what? With long projects, a good strategy for revision is a difficult yet key element of success. This two-day course will help thesis writers develop methods to look at the structure and organization within a single chapter and beyond in order to strike that important balance between part and whole. We will discuss different ways to approach your own work with a critical eye, to respond to other readers’ comments, and to strengthen the arc of your argument, then we will put these to use in revising your own and a partner’s chapter. Taught by Scott Branson (Writing Associate). Preregistration is required and is limited to 12 students. 

Tuesday, January 18 and Thursday, January 20, 1:00-2:30 pm. Students should plan to attend both sessions.

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

February

How to Write a Senior Honors Thesis in 60 Days

Your thesis is due in two or three months, and you have so much left to do!  And, of course, your thesis isn’t your life.  You have other classes to take and friends who are about to go their separate ways.  Fret not!  Within the next 60 days, you can finish writing a thesis you can be proud of, without giving up the rest of your life.  This workshop will teach you the secrets of productive and happy professional writers, and will help you to develop a plan for success.  Taught by Jyl Gentzler (Professor of Philosophy and Associate Director, The Writing Center).  Preregistration is required. 

Thursday, February 3, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

Survival!

Are you finishing assignments the night before the due date? Is your academic workload overwhelming you? In this workshop, we will learn ways to balance work and play, prioritize your commitments, and avoid typical pitfalls that make your life as a college student harder. We will go over time management strategies and other study skills. Bring your syllabi, course schedule, job schedule, and an idea of your extracurricular commitments and we will help you create a study plan and provide you with some tools to make your semester easier to manage. Taught by Sindhu Boddu (Writing Fellow). Preregistration is required and is limited to 12 students. 

Monday, February 7, 6:16-7:45 p.m.

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

Orchestrating the Dialogue: Integrating Research into your own Writing (for Thesis Writers)

One of the challenges of writing a senior thesis lies in adopting a professional, academic prose style. Such a style often feels particularly elusive when it comes time to integrate others' words and ideas with your own.  This workshop will help you seamlessly integrate quotes, paraphrases, and summary into your prose; balance your ideas with others'; and engage sources in a dialogue, rather than letting them speak for you or overshadow your own ideas.   The workshop will include lecture, discussion, and pre-writing and revision exercises to hone these skills. Students should bring a recent draft excerpt that incorporates sources, as well as a copy of the source(s) itself. Taught by Jessica Gorman (Writing Associate). Preregistration is required and is limited to 12 students. 

Wednesday, February 9, 4:00-5:30 p.m.

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

Revising from Parts to Whole: A Workshop for Thesis Writers

You’ve finished writing a chapter. Now what? With long projects, a good strategy for revision is a difficult yet key element of success. This two-day course will help thesis writers develop methods to look at the structure and organization within a single chapter and beyond in order to strike that important balance between part and whole. We will discuss different ways to approach your own work with a critical eye, to respond to other readers’ comments, and to strengthen the arc of your argument, then we will put these to use in revising your own and a partner’s chapter. Taught by Scott Branson (Writing Associate). Preregistration is required and is limited to 12 students.

Monday, February 21 and Wednesday, February 23, 6:15-7:45 p.m. Students should plan to attend both sessions.

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

Active Reading

The reading load for many classes can sometimes seem overwhelming and unmanageable. This workshop will help you take control over your reading and stay on top of it, rather than drowning in it or avoiding it altogether. In addition to talking about when and where to read, we will practice strategies for reading more effectively and, when necessary, more efficiently.Taught by Kristen Brookes (Senior Writing Associate). Preregistration is required and is limited to 12 students. This workshop has reached its enrollment limit.

Thursday,  February 17, 6:15-7:45 p.m.

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

March

Active Reading

The reading load for many classes can sometimes seem overwhelming and unmanageable. This workshop will help you take control over your reading and stay on top of it, rather than drowning in it or avoiding it altogether. In addition to talking about when and where to read, we will practice strategies for reading more effectively and, when necessary, more efficiently. Taught by Kristen Brookes (Senior Writing Associate). Preregistration is required and is limited to 12 students.  (This workshop has reached its enrollment limit.)

Thursday, March 24, 4:00-5:30 p.m.

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A

 

April

Proof it! Strategies for Catching Typos and Common Errors in Your Own Writing

Your roommate won’t do it anymore. Your parents have resigned. No one wants to proofread your paper, but your professor will mark it down if it’s rife with errors.  Proofing your own writing is not generally regarded as fun, but it can be manageable.  This workshop will show you a few techniques for catching typos and spotting common grammatical and stylistic problems. Soon enough you’ll be editing with ease—just don’t tell your roommate.  Participants should bring a draft or other writing sample for practice. Taught by Jessica Gorman (Writing Associate). Preregistration is required and is limited to 12 students.

Thursday, April 14, 6-7:15 p.m.

The Writing Center, Charles Pratt Hall 101A