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Skidmore College

Last assignment

December 17, 2012

Last assignment

Prof. Sandy Welter delivered a simple message to students in her writing seminar.

December 17, 2012

The writing seminar known as “EN 103” is required of all students whose writing placement indicates the need for basic writing instruction. Many international students and students for whom English is a second language take the course, which Prof. Sandra Welter has taught for 22 years.

Students in one of the two sections she taught this fall came from Bhutan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx; China and Cleveland; South Africa and Saratoga Springs; Lebanon, Florida, and Vancouver. All had the same goal: to improve their writing.

“They wrote, and they wrote, and they wrote,” she says.  On topics like:

•    the New York City police department’s stop-and-frisk policy;
•    proposals for a Palestinian state;
•    the controversy over whaling in Japan;
•    China’s “gaokao” college entrance exam;
•    the Dream Act debate;
•    proposals to establish English as this country’s official language.

 “They learned to develop strong, clear thesis statements and find appropriate evidence to support their claims,” she says with pride. “They composed compelling introductions and satisfying conclusions.  They wrote and revised to create coherent and cohesive essays through attention to logic, organization, and clarity.” 

And so in their last class, Welter gave her 19 students their last assignment via this unusual medium:

Keep Writing Cake

 “The writings helped me come a long way with my writing,” says Mende Yangden ’16, from Bhutan.  “I think the class is very important for international students like me.”

“I found being a part of such a diverse community of writers fulfilling,” says Octavia Ewart ‘16, from Brooklyn. “Everyone had unique perspectives that contributed to the overall class atmosphere.”

“The class was a meeting place where people from an array of backgrounds came and shared our stories, views and ideas,” says Modupe Lekena, a first-year student from South Africa. “What really brought us together was the support we each gave each other to produce the very best writing that we could.”

Will he keep writing? Absolutely. “I may take a class in fiction writing,” he says.

A group photo of Prof. Sandra Welter's students in EN 103
A group photo of Prof. Sandra Welter's students in EN 103

Posted On: 12/12/17

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