Writing intensive courses, essays, research papers and presentations are at the core of many Wilkes classes, but Dr. Janet Wright Starner helps to make those projects easier than anticipated for many students by engaging them in collaborative learning activities both on campus and off. “I involve students in various activities where learning happens as a natural outcome of a collaborative effort to provide effective solutions to real problems,” said Dr. Starner.
One of Dr. Starner’s collaborative projects with students resulted in a trip to the 19th annual National Conference on Peer Tutoring and Writing in Lawrence, Kansas. During the three-day event, Dr. Starner and former students Kristin Hake and Ann Marie Miller attended presentations about writing centers, student writers and writing inside and outside of academia. They also gave a multi-media presentation titled Constructing Knowledge: Using the Writing Center to Fuel a Collaborative Learning Network, the culmination of a year-long research project that investigated the potential benefits of the then nascent Writing Fellows Program, which has now evolved into the vibrant Writing Mentors Program.
More recently, students Lauren Mannion, Lisa Zelinski, David Anderson, and Joe Castiglia visited The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library of the Van Pelt Dietrich Library at the University of Pennsylvania. The students met with the curator of the collection, Dr. Daniel Traister, who educated them on sixteenth-century printing and publication practices and showed them, among other treasures, an early copy of the Tyndale Bible and a unique copy of Lady Mary Wroth’s romance The Countess of Montgomery’s Urania, first published in 1621. This copy of Wroth’s romance contains marginal corrections in Wroth’s own hand, which Traister believes may be the only direct critiques by a canonical author in a first edition of his or her work.. Later in the semester, the same students presented papers they had written at the Third Undergraduate Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA. “This sort of experiential learning, and these kinds of mentoring opportunities provide exactly the kind of education that Wilkes is known for,” said Dr. Starner.
More from Dr. Starner...
“In large part satisfaction comes from the nature of my teaching, which happens both inside and out of the classroom. Another benefit from my teaching here is that I am constantly learning. But I especially value the opportunity I have had to develop close relationships with particular students at Wilkes.”
“It has been a real pleasure to work with all the students I have encountered at Wilkes. When I first arrived, I was immediately impressed by their warm friendliness. But in the years since, I have also found them to be hard working, good natured, creative, and capable people. They make me laugh on a daily basis and are often startlingly thoughtful human beings. I admire and value their cohesive, community-oriented, and positive outlook on the world. They make me feel good about our future, since they will shape it.”