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Margaret Marshall, Auburn University’s director of University Writing and a professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts, cowrote an article in “Peer Review,” The Association of American Colleges and Universities’ quarterly publication on emerging trends and key debates in undergraduate education.

The article, “How Writing Contributes to Learning: New Findings from a National Study and Their Local Application,” encourages teaching faculty to focus on the quality instead of the quantity of writing assignments.  The article also provides guidance for faculty to enhance what students learn from writing assignments.

The article was written by nine professors and directors of learning programs across the country, including Marshall.  Research was conducted to nominate the best practices in designing writing assignments.

“Our part in the ‘Peer Review’ piece was to be a case example of how the National Survey of Student Engagement, or NSSE, data on writing is being used on campuses,” said Marshall. “Since the writing initiative began in part because the NSSE data indicated that students at Auburn were having fewer writing experiences than their peers at comparable institutions and because we participated in the Consortium of Colleges Studying Writing in 2010, it was easy to talk about how that data has been important on our campus.”

Marshall contributed to a section in the article about Auburn University’s institution-wide writing initiative supported by the Office of University Writing.  The office helps each department create plans for including writing assignments and instruction throughout their regular courses.

“I’m pleased to have Auburn’s efforts to improve writing and writing instruction recognized nationally. I do think our integrated approach to including significant writing experiences in every major is still pretty unusual, and we’ve made good progress in providing appropriate support to both faculty and students since the initiative began in 2010.”

The full article from “Peer Review” is available online.