Category Archives: Professional Development

Bookends: Looking Ahead to the IWCA Conference


By Chrissine Rios, Kaplan University Writing Center

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The 2001 CCCC Convention Program. Photo by Chrissine Rios.

This summer I wrote “Weighing the Books” while boxing up my household and home office in order to move it from North Carolina to Michigan.  Now my books are unpacked and back to being their inspirational selves on shelves.  In fact, I’m working on my presentation for the International Writing Centers Association conference, which is in Denver this month, and I’m seeing on my bookcase the program book from the last time I flew from Michigan to Denver for a big conference.

It was 2001, and I was in my last semester of English Composition and Communication at CMU, going to the Conference on College Composition and Communication (4Cs) to present my teacher research on engaging students at the beginning of the composition course by teaching creative nonfiction.  During the presentation, I shared my positive experience teaching a photo caption essay in place of the reflective essay, otherwise assigned at the beginning of the term.

My co-presenter and grad school colleague then shared how creative nonfiction can be incorporated into the research paper assignment later in the term, and our third co-presenter, who was our Comp and Rhetoric professor and my thesis chairperson, presented how creative nonfiction can be woven into the entire course.   Together we contended the personal writing traditionally assigned in composition could do more to engage and prepare students for success if it were taught less like an isolated, warm-up activity and more like an integrated and malleable path throughout the course that engages students in their personal learning processes via exploration and discovery and the making, or perhaps, crafting, of meaning.

We described creative nonfiction as being flexible—a form shaped by content and not the other way around.  And we described it as expansive—a genre that “centers in the essay but continually strains against the boundaries of the other genres, endeavoring to push them back and to expand its own space without altering its own identity” (Root & Steinberg, 1999, p. xxiii).  Now, fifteen years later, I’m hearing similar language being used to describe the way writing centers engage students, our adult online learners at Kaplan in particular, by being flexible and expansive.

At the upcoming IWCA conference in Denver, KU Academic Support Center Manager, Dr. Melody Pickle, will be speaking about our uniquely located, online writing center.  If you’ll be at IWCA, come see her speak at our presentation titled, Leveraging Technology for Online Inclusivity.  She’ll address the negotiation of identity that comes with inhabiting an internal and external shared space and how the Writing Center maintains its identity while being a dynamic learning community.

KUWC Tutor, Amy Sexton, and I will also be on that panel.  Our presentation will explore the use of technology, specifically video, to push the boundaries of who we are and what we do in our effort to encourage and equip our diverse students for learning success.  Amy and I will also be presenting Video Feedback for Effective Online Writing Instruction, and Melody will additionally be presenting Online Motion: Using Forms for Dynamic Asynchronous Services, so the KUWC will be well represented at IWCA this year.

For me, this IWCA and the 2001 4Cs are bookends on my career to date with the path between them weaving in and out the texts on my bookshelves.  At 4Cs, I was just getting started.  In fact, it was there that I interviewed for my first faculty position, the one that would launch my professional career teaching and tutoring writing and my move away from Michigan.  Now I’m back home and approaching my 10th anniversary at Kaplan with nine of those years being in the Writing Center, so at the conference, I’ll be sharing first hand experiences of where we began and how we got here.  I’m also counting on the presentations I attend to inspire new ideas about where we go from here.  You can access the full IWCA conference program online.  You can also be sure that I’ll be bringing a hard copy home as well.

Reference

Root, R. L., Jr. & Steinberg, M. (1999). The fourth genre: Contemporary writers of/on creative nonfiction. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

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“14 Habits that Can Cost You Your Job”: Lessons for Students, Teachers, and Course Developers


Dr. Tamara Fudge, Professor in the School of Business and Information Technology, Kaplan University

While trying to avoid work on a Sunday, I came across an article from Forbes titled, “14 Habits that Can Cost You Your Job.”  There are plenty of articles that warn workers about self-imposed problems that can cost a job offer or promotion or even send you to the unemployment line. Instead of the typical “I-knew-that-already” commentary, though, this article has some valuable lessons for students, teachers, and course developers.

You can read the entire article here– and I hope you will – but for this blog entry, here’s a simple list of the issues noted:

  1. Lack of manners
  2. Speaking without thinking
  3. Inefficiency
  4. Temper tantrums
  5. Lone wolf syndrome
  6. Poor grammar
  7. Inattentiveness
  8. Bad body language habits
  9. Social media addiction
  10. Poor email communication
  11. Tardiness
  12. Negativity
  13. Lying (includes plagiarism)
  14. Procrastination

(Smith, 2015)

The author explains that typically it is a combination of factors, repetition of bad behaviors, or a “cumulative effect” that can lead to job termination rather than just “a single bad habit” (Smith, 2015).

In other words, checking your Facebook account one day may not be a problem, but checking it every hour of every day is. One temper tantrum might get you a bad reputation in gossip groups, but if it is not repeated, the outburst might be overlooked in time.  The severity of the “crime” might also be weighed, too; a blatant plagiarism of company materials is worse than one snarky hallway comment to a coworker.

In analyzing the article, four main areas become apparent:

  • Poor time management: Nos. 3, 9, 11, 14
  • Poor writing skills: Nos. 6, 10, 13
  • Dishonesty: No. 13
  • Unprofessional behavior: Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13

So what does this mean for the academic?

The student

School is where you practice for the workplace. Remember to work on time management; it’s not something that ever “goes away,” but is a constant.  Understand that your writing skills are indeed important, even if it’s something you don’t like! Don’t plagiarize, and be honest but polite.  Always exhibit professional behavior in the classroom, email, seminar, and any other connection you have with faculty, staff, and fellow students.

The teacher

Encourage time management; offer tools (such as a course calendar), send email reminders, and help keep your students on track. Insist on good writing, no matter the topics covered by the course. Check for plagiarism, introduce learning moments, give advice and information, and if you have to, report students for plagiarism, so they truly learn the lesson.  Likewise, don’t let poor behavior slide. Encourage the students to always give their positive best.

The course developer

Make sure the workload is doable and distributed logically. No matter the course topic, you can consider including learning activities about time management and why it is important to write well and avoid plagiarism. Write assignments that have some uniqueness that make it harder to plagiarize, such as discussions that ask for analysis and reasoned opinions, assignments built upon from unit to unit, or a requirement for sources written in the last 6-9 months.  Avoid homework that is pulled from textbooks or online sources. Change topics or the format (a paper vs. a presentation, for example) when doing a minor revision of a course. Encourage good work behavior through team projects, live student presentations, and other thoughtful content.

While the Forbes article’s audience may have been employees, we can see a direct impact of these ideas in being a student, teacher, or course developer. The four main areas – time, writing, honesty, and behavior – are crucial in school, where the student prepares for an enhanced workplace.

shutterstock_127829156

 

References

Smith, J. (2015, August 6). 14 bad habits that can cost you your job. Retrieved from  http://www3.forbes.com/leadership/14-bad-habits-that-can-cost-you-your-job/

Blogging to Enhance a Job Search


Dr. Tamara Fudge, Kaplan University professor in the School of Business and IT

Everyone wants to enhance the chances for a better job, and blogging can help!

You can share your career-related knowledge by posting good content. In what areas do you want to be considered an expert? A web developer might write about the value of validation or appropriate use of color. A medical assistant might write about the need to stick to HIPAA or recommend ways to deal with rude patients. A paralegal might write about courtroom dress code or the need to document everything thoroughly. No matter your career area, you could provide how-to lists, suggestions for certifications, what-if scenarios, and personal experiences. You can also link to other things you have done!

How does this help your job search, you ask? Many employers will look for information about job candidates by simply using a search engine and checking what comes up on the results list. Wouldn’t it be great for those employers to see your blog and find that you know your topics well? You can also list the web address right on your resume to make sure they can find it, of course.

Keeping this in mind, then, remember to post only positive information. Negativity towards anything can have the opposite effect you want, as that employer might perceive you as a simply another complainer who likes to post online. Complainers are not high on the employment list.

Similarly, use professional language. Informality may be construed as insincere or even flippant.

Another perk of writing a blog is that it helps you hone your communication skills through frequent writing practice. This is not only good as a student, but for the workplace, too.

Blogging is free, and you don’t need someone else’s permission to do it! Consider Word Press, Google’s Blogger (also known as Blogspot), or blog.com. Whichever system you choose, it may take you a little time to set up, but these platforms are created so that you don’t need to know any HTML coding to get it done.

Important things to consider:

  • Maintain control of what is shown on your blog pages, including comments. Set up your blog to disallow comments if you are worried there may be negative responses,  and/or you don’t intend to watch the comments carefully. Alternatively, most systems have a feature where you allow comments only with moderation, which means you get to decide whether or not to let each comment be seen.
  • Don’t hide your blog! Make sure you allow the blog to be listed by search engines.
  • Encourage your readers to sign up for the RSS feed, so they will get automatic notification when you have entered a new post. There should be a simple link somewhere on your blog pages to a “feed” that takes the reader to information about this.
  • Post regularly – for example, once a week or twice a month. Those who sign up for the feed will appreciate the regularity of notifications.
  • Proofread! What you post can only have a positive effect on your resume if it shows you can communicate well.
  • Make sure your content is original. Any plagiarism will reflect on you quite poorly, and yes, it will be noticed! If you want to share someone else’s ideas, link to them. If you really want to quote or paraphrase, make sure you clearly identify the source material (aha – finally we have a prospective use for APA).
  • Highly important: Do *not* post your schoolwork, as it would enable others to cheat. As the “enabler,” you could be held responsible by your school and be subject to a plagiarism report. Always write new content!
  • Lastly, customize the design if you have the knowledge to do so. If you’re not very technical, ask a friend to help, and make sure it looks professional when you’re done.

Blogs can be fun and showcase your knowledge. These are great reasons for blogging as you seek to enhance your job search!

Top Five Ways to Get Out of the Teaching Rut


By Misty Brannan, Criminal Justice Professor, Kaplan University

Scholar woman. © 2014 Clipart.com

© 2014 Clipart.com

As in any job, teachers can find themselves going through the motions of their career without a real love or energy for it. And without motivation for your subject matter, you cannot give 110%, which is what your students deserve. If you can relate to this, try breathing some life back into your career path with these top five ways to get out of the teaching rut:

  1. Attend a seminar or conference on your subject matter. Often people find themselves excited about their work after attending a conference or seminar because those putting the seminars on are usually motivational speakers. Even without a motivational speaker, a refresher on your subject matter with the ever changing best practices will increase your desire to try new things in your own classroom.
  2. Research your subject matter or teach a new course. Seminars or conferences are not always an option, but research is! Whether you work on new ideas for your current courses or for a new course, doing a little research can refresh your mind and motivate your interest. Spend some time reading a book or scholarly journal or browsing blogs for new ideas. Talk to your chair and teach something new!
  3. Hang out with colleagues. The human mind needs to express itself. Without someone to talk to, the rut may get deep enough you lose all interest. Talk to others who share your career path.   Sometimes just comparing notes will lighten the rut in your heart and perhaps even lead to a new collaborative project.
  4. Make time for you. Easier said than done, but it is a must. Many like to work out which is a fabulous way to increase energy and reset the mind. However, working out isn’t the only way; each person needs to find his or her own peace. Scrapbooking, reading, fishing, or playing cards with friends can work just as well as 30 minutes with Tony Horton.
  5. Take a break. There is nothing wrong with saying, “I need some time off.” Talk to your chair and skip a session of courses. This will give you time to relax and get done the “honey-do list” eating at the back of your mind. Coming back the next session will make you feel like a new professor again with excitement and nervousness to motivate and enliven your heart.

If you ever find yourself in a teaching rut, give one or all of these practices a try. You’ll be glad you did, and so will your students. And if you’ve experienced a teaching rut before or are in one now, please share in the comments. Remember tip number three: talk about it!

 

Presenting at a Conference Near You: The KUWC at ECWCA


Lisa Gerardy, Kaplan University Writing Center Specialist and Chrissine Rios, Kaplan University Writing Center Tutor

You might expect to see the Kaplan University Writing Center represented at online professional conferences–from Kaplan’s own KU Village online to the TCC Worldwide Online Conference, staff and leadership of our online Writing Center regularly present virtually. However, KUWC staff and leadership also travel and present at national and regional conferences on-ground, and this year our presentations celebrate our 10 year anniversary.

In March, 2014, staff and leadership from the Kaplan University Writing Center met at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio to present at the East Central Writing Centers Association conference. Not only did the team travel to present at the conference, but some team members made the trip to meet their co-workers in person for the first time. The Kaplan University Writing Center is entirely online, so the faculty and staff who run it work from their home offices in different states.

The group did two presentations. The first group, which included Kyle Harley, Amy Sexton, Melody Pickle, Kurtis Clements, Chrissine Rios, and Lisa Gerardy detailed the history of the KUWC and its changing use of technology. Because the KUWC has been around for a full decade now, each member of the presentation team was able to show how much the technology has changed for each part of the Writing Center. The part of the presentation that interested the audience most was when tutor Chrissine Rios joined the panel remotely to present on our tutoring platform via the Adobe Connect KUWC tutoring room itself.

KUWC ECWCA 1

KUWC Writing and ELL Support Tutor, Chrissine Rios presents via the Internet.

The KUWC leadership team did the second Kaplan University presentation. Director and Chair, Michael Keathley began the presentation with an overview of the Writing Across Curriculum program, the Writing Center, and his role as leader. Next, Assistant Chair Kurtis Clements, Writing Across the Curriculum Specialist Melody Pickle, and Writing Center Specialist Lisa Gerardy each discussed how their roles play a part in the success of the Writing Center.

ECWCA Group

Kyle, Amy, Lisa, Kurtis, Mike, and Melody at ECWCA

The ECWCA Conference was a great opportunity for the entire KUWC team. Even those staff members who could not travel to Miami University will benefit from the knowledge gained from those who did attend the many sessions offered at the conference. Where will you be presenting next? Whether regional or national, online or on ground, be sure to check the program for the Kaplan University Writing Center team. There’s a good chance we will be presenting, and we would love to meet you!

The Makings of a Great Online Writing Center


Chrissine_Rios.2013by Chrissine Rios, Writing Tutor, Kaplan University Writing Center

The North Carolina division of the Southeast Writing Center Association held a Writing Consultant Retreat on September 13 to foster community among writing tutors across the state and provide us an opportunity to discuss professionalism, the theme of the retreat. Although I tutor for the Kaplan University Writing Center (KUWC), a global, online university, I’ve done so full time from my home in Charlotte, North Carolina for the past six years, so I logged out and drove to Meredith College in Raleigh to commune with other Writing Center folks in my region.

I’ve wondered if tutoring online had altered my perception of the Writing Center experience, and one thing I now know for sure is that it has.  Every Writing Center is as unique as the academic community and students it serves, but I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t admit that even then, the KUWC is not your typical Writing Center, but not for the reasons you might think.

Yes, the KUWC is a 100% online center. You must be connected to the Internet to speak to a tutor, and being accessible across the globe, any given student may be in Utah, on a Florida Key, in Kentucky, New York, Michigan, or across the pond in the United Kingdom. One of my regular tutees is an Italian married to a Texan and lives on a military base in South Korea, so when we meet for tutoring, it’s Friday morning for her and still Thursday night for me.

Canoe_SWCAYet, like our students, KUWC tutors don’t live in the clouds, and we’ve all tutored on-ground before too. At the retreat, I sat by a new tutor who created a finely sculpted canoe at our “Topic Table.”  He wanted to discuss specific tutoring strategies.  He reminded me some of myself (20 years ago) as I too began my Writing Center career as a peer tutor at a community college wanting to fill my tutoring toolbox with strategies that would help me provide effective feedback on student writing.

The Writing Center Alumni Panel who spoke at the retreat largely addressed peer tutors.  The panel reflected on how they began tutoring after an instructor had taken notice of their “A” papers and recommended they apply at the Writing Center.  I had a similar experience as an undergraduate.

They also shared how they continued tutoring through graduate school because they loved to teach and wanted to become composition instructors.  I did this too.  I earned my MA in English Composition and Communication and tutored in the campus Writing Center while teaching comp as a graduate assistant.

IMG_0542The panel of Writing Center alumni then spoke about the ways their tutoring skills have transferred to their classrooms, making them more effective teachers.  Many in attendance at the retreat including myself could vouch for the effect tutoring has on teaching.

The recent MA graduate on the other side of me both tutored and taught.  He reminded me of myself too (10 years ago).  After graduate school, I received a full-time lectureship at a university where I taught composition half the time and received two course releases to tutor in the Writing Center the other half.  In Writing Center discourse, we call this “wearing two hats,” and roughly half of the KUWC’s staff also wears two hats.  All have either a PhD or Masters Degree and most teach composition at Kaplan or elsewhere and then also tutor online. Two-hat tutors understand students’ needs like nobody’s business.

Me_SWCAAt the retreat, however, I believe I was the only professional, full-time writing tutor present.  There were a number of full time directors and coordinators, but here we were talking about professionalism in Writing Centers, and the main message was that tutoring helps you become a better teacher or that all your years of peer tutoring will help you to reach your teaching goals.  True, and true, and vice versa.

At the KUWC, we all have the credentials and experience to teach, and we likewise have the opportunity to teach a course if we choose, but even if we don’t, as tutors we are professionals in our own right.  The KUWC staff includes two-hat tutors, full-time tutors, a Writing across the Curriculum Specialist, and a Writing Center Specialist.  We are not peers still learning how to tutor, nor are we in the process of learning to teach and tutoring in the meantime to bolster those skills.  And we are not faculty first and tutors second.

At KU, the Writing Center and the Department of Composition equally form the Writing Across the Curriculum program.  Our KUWC mission is to “empower students and support faculty” (KUWC Mission, 2013).  During the retreat, my Topic Table discussed the ways our centers use social media to support faculty, and I shared that we get faculty involved as contributors and collaborators of our content.  We also use social media to advocate that KU faculty refer their students to KUWC resources only, not to external, online writing labs.

“Is that because you are for profit?” asked one of the tutors at the table.  A great question, and kudos to her for acknowledging the elephant in the room!

We recommend our faculty use our resources because KUWC tutors and staff design our tutoring services and develop our media-rich resources for KU students in response to their specific writing goals as global, online, adult learners with busy home and professional lives.  We accommodate their varying learning styles and accessibility needs with media-rich and ADA compliant, PDF versions of our 1000+ pages of writing support that anyone logged into KU Campus can download and view or read offline.  In fact, you don’t need to be logged in to access our Effective Writing Podcasts  and many of our video tutorials such as those featured on our Citation Guides page.  We also want our KU students to understand that their university has the resources needed to support their academic pursuits.

What’s more, the tutoring support services and resources we provide are free to all KU students, and our public-facing resources are free to the world.

KUWC online tutors are also tech savvy, and I imagined my regional colleagues at the retreat would ask me how the KUWC has recreated the synchronous, “face-to-face” tutoring experience online using audio-enabled meeting rooms with screen and document sharing.  But more were interested in our asynchronous tutoring and email platform for “paper review.” Wow were folks surprised to hear that we provide video reviews as a standard service; we first comment in the margins then create a screencast to talk through our remarks and suggestions.  I also shared that one to two reviews an hour is about right.

“Two an hour?” a tutor asked.  At her center, tutors spend 50 minutes per paper providing traditional reviews with no comments in the margin, just an endnote, and this service has a one-week turnaround time. “Is that because of the bottom line,” she continued, “you know, because you are for profit?”

I appreciated her question, but no.  Our turnaround time is shaped by the needs of our online students.  Our writers don’t have a week to wait for a review then still have time to revise.  I know my student in South Korea doesn’t; she’s already a day ahead of me here in North Carolina. We provide a 48 to 72-hour turnaround time for Paper Review because it meets the needs of our students, and we have figured out how to use technology to help us do this well.   KUWC tutors are efficient because we are proficient.  Like all the wonderful tutors I met at the retreat who reminded me why I love Writing Center work, KUWC tutors are motivated by a love for teaching and more, tutoring, and I happen to love to write and to work with writers.

I left the retreat knowing that the KUWC has much to contribute to the field of Writing Center pedagogy for many reasons.  Here are two:

1)We are uniquely positioned online and serving a global student body allowing us (driving us) to learn to be effective in the arena.

2)Our positions as professional tutors may further develop, strengthen, or redefine the role of  professional tutor for the writing center community.

My First Date


couple hugging

©Jupiterimages

by David Werner, MFA, Kaplan University Faculty

I was in love.  Or so I thought.  I wanted to ask Patti (not her real name) to a ninth-grade dance but could never muster the courage to pop the question.  Growing up in a very small, working class, blue collar manufacturing town had not prepared me for the “worldly” conversation I thought ninth grade young women expected.

I had to find a way to bring the outside world to me; so I confided in Susan (again, not her real name) who worked in the school library.  She recommended I read Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac.  The plan seemed simple.  My friend Jim would call Patti on my behalf and I would whisper his side of the conversation to him which he would repeat to Patti.  I remember, “A kiss is a secret which takes the lips for the ear,” which seemed quite impressive at the time.  Followed by, “All our souls are written in our eyes,” which appeared to close the deal.  It worked.  Patti went to the dance with Jim.

My librarian friend Susan felt my pain and thought I should broaden my horizons with Don Quixote, Hamlet, Robinson Crusoe, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Maltese Falcon, Swiss Family Robinson, and many others so I would have, at least, something to talk about if I ever got a date.

By my Junior year, I had begun dating Susan; which, or course, she had initiated.  One day I found an out of print book in the school’s library entitled The Human Nature of Playwriting (1949) by Samson Raphaelson.  I knew Raphaelson’s credits as a play and screenwriter of such films and plays as The Jazz Singer (1925), the first talkie; Accent on Youth, Skylark, Hilda Crane; and such classics as Trouble in Paradise, The Shop around the Corner, Heaven Can Wait, and many others.

“My God,” I thought.  “This man wrote for some of the best directors of the time, including Lubitsch, Viertel, Cukor, Hitchcock, Preminger, Minnelli . . .”

He also wrote a very controversial play in 1928 called Young Love, which I later adapted into a screenplay.

I devoured his book and everything became clear.  I wanted to be a writer!

When it came time to apply to college, I collected a lot of catalogues and just started to browse the programs and faculty.  When I came to the catalogue for Columbia University, a financially unrealistic choice for an application, I ran across his name – Samson Raphaelson.  He was teaching there.

So I applied and very much to my surprise I was accepted with a scholarship.  Still a teenager, I had high expectations for myself and thought I knew everything I needed to know before moving to New York (of course, teenagers do think they know everything).

My very first class on my very first day was truly a rude awakening.  I was surrounded by top faculty and peers from all over the world who came much better prepared than I in terms of literature, art history, science, music, architecture, and just life in general.

I resolved to spend every day in the library just trying to catch up so I would not be completely intimidated.  The first step in learning is to realize just how much you do not know.

When it came time to enroll for the second term, I wanted to take Raphaelson’s writing class.  No one could just enroll in his course – every prospective student had to audition for him.  For some unknown reason at the time, I was one of a dozen selected.  In my case, however, he had an additional requirement.  He would only admit me if I agreed to take acting classes with the famed acting teacher Sandy Meisner.  I told Raph, “But I don’t want to be an actor.  I get stage fright in just a classroom of people.”

“But,” he said, “There is little difference between acting and writing.  Both actors and writers must be able to expose themselves to the world and stand naked in front of their audience.”  He was right, of course.  I struggled through and learned the lesson.

By this point in his life, Samson was in his late 80’s or early 90’s, he never knew his exact age because his birth records had been lost, and he was quite ill.  We did not have class at the University campus but at his apartment overlooking Central Park West.

You have to imagine twelve twenty-something college students meeting at this elegant apartment with him and his extremely elegant wife; and the two of them were the youngest people in the room.  You could also tell they were very, very much in love with each other.

While Dorothy served us tea, he would question us relentlessly about our observations on life, death, love, sex, marriage, and why we write . . . everything you can think of.  Of course we all wondered what this had to do with writing but it soon became very clear.  I later realized the second step in learning was that human observations cannot be made up or fictionalized.

For some reason, Samson, or Raph as he like to be called by his friends, saw something in me and took me under his wing in a Mentor-and-Apprentice relationship.  I would take him for walks in Central Park and we would sit for hours just observing people.  “Look at the way that woman his holding her cigarette,” he said.  “See how she flicks her ash?” he asked excitedly.  Even at 90-something years old, he was discovering something new every day.  The third step in learning is you never stop learning.

Raph was not one to tell you the answer to anything.  It was a process of self-discovery.  He allowed me to discover for myself the key to good writing is to observe human nature around us.  This part of writing, as I mentioned before, cannot be made up.  Your audience will always know it’s fake and contrived unless it comes from somewhere emotionally authentic.

It wasn’t until several years after his death I continued to think about his question, “Why do we write.”  I did not have a satisfactory answer but eventually discovered it when I began teaching writing and directing.

We write, and read, because it’s our job.  It is our duty to be informed and articulate citizens for the common good.

Thirty-five years later I returned to that school library and looked to see if The Human Nature of Playwriting was still there.  It was.  I looked at the library card and I was still the only one to have ever taken the book out.

David Werner teaches and tutors at Kaplan Univesity