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Bluefield State College, Concord University, and RESA I Collaborate During Writing Training Program

  • Created
    Monday, August 29 2011
  • Created by
    Jim Nelson/Media Relations - (304) 327-4103
Bluefield State College students and faculty representatives participated in a recent "Working on Writing (WOW) Factors" training program at Concord University. The BSC participants (left-to-right) included students Amanda Blevins and Laura Goforth, Bluefield State College faculty members Dr. Tammy Ferguson and Dr. Betsy Steenken, and BSC student Lisa Campbell. The program was underwritten by a $75,000 grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

(Bluefield)—Bluefield State College, Concord University and Regional Educational Service Area I (RESA I) worked together to sharpen their "WOW Factor." Through a $75,000 grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC), the three educational entities participated in a "Working on Writing (WOW) Factors" training program at Concord University earlier this month.

"The research-based grant was designed to provide educators with the tools, lessons, and extension activities to link assessment and instruction to the process of writing," Keith Butcher, RESA I Executive Director, explained. The weeklong program involved teacher education students and educators from BSC and Concord, as well as RESA I personnel.

BSC Associate Professor of English Dr. Tamara Ferguson worked with Concord faculty members Dr. Kathy Hawks, Dr. William Williams, and Dr. Rick Druggish to design and deliver the workshop, and Dr. David Haus (Dean/BSC School of Arts & Sciences) taught participants about the options and fundamentals of "Blackboard" instructional technology. BSC students Lisa Campbell, Amanda Blevins, and Laura Goforth, all majoring in education, joined several Concord education majors during the workshop, as well.

"We are extremely grateful for the assistance of Dr. Mark Stotler, Assistant Director of Academic Affairs/HEPC and the Policy Commission for their support," Butcher continued. "This workshop prepares southern West Virginia teachers in grades 3, 4, and 5 in the essential bridge that links assessment and instruction to the process of writing."

The grant provided an opportunity for professional development for public school teachers and teacher education students from both participating institutions. It also underwrote the teaching materials, training, and stipends for participants to attend training developed by Dr. Ferguson and the Concord faculty, followed up by school visits later in the academic year. Finally, the grant provides for training by the West Virginia Department of Education for "West Virginia Writes," a statewide professional development initiative in writing for RESAs, administrators, and teachers in the areas of process writing, writing assessment, content-area writing, on-demand writing, and technology and writing in the 21st century.

"I thoroughly enjoyed working on this project because I learned so much from the collaboration," Dr. Ferguson added. "The experience enables me to start the fall semester highly motivated and equipped with new methods and ideas.