Reflections On: Being a Writing Fellow
Since 2004, Writing Fellows have assisted faculty teaching ENG 151 by serving as tutors for the students in their individual sections. Last year, in keeping with the college’s new fellowship initiatives, the English Department’s Writing Fellow internship became part of the larger Rhodes Student Associate Program. During the year, the professor acts as a mentor to the fellow, and the fellow a mentor to the students. Fellows are selected based on their writing ability and must attend a writing pedagogy course with Professor Rebecca Finlayson, Director of College Writing. After graduation, many go on to teach or to attend English graduate programs. Throughout the semester, each fellow holds office hours, helps facilitate activities in the classroom, works individually with students, presents writing tips, keeps a weekly journal documenting the class’s writing issues, and confers with the professor on anything from writing assignments to class exercises. Each fellow is engaged in the day-to-day operation of the 151 section and with the writing development of the students.
Recently, Halley Johnson, who served as the fellow for Professor Scott Newstok’s section of 151 in Spring 2009, had this to say about her experience:
This year has been a rewarding, productive, and inspirational experience for me. Keeping up a constant dialogue about writing with students of all disciplines and what have become my faculty mentors has greatly influenced my own writing, not to mention my understanding of the body of work I undertake in my own studies. My RSAP position is well-designed and well-executed, and it has given me invaluable experience to supplement my degree at Rhodes and further the skills I will rely on in my future career. It contains a unique set of opportunities to work with students individually and in the classroom, and to both work closely with and learn from professors. I have gained greater technical skills, a more efficient way of communicating both in writing and in speech, and a more analytical consideration of all subjects. I can certainly say that my intellectual development this year has been multiplied many times over by the experiences I′ve had as a Writing Fellow, and that I have a clearer sense of myself in an academic context as well as a personal one. I am positive that without undertaking this position, my understanding and presentation of myself would not have progressed to the extent that they have.