consultations to Kingsborough students who are working on a writing assignment

Testimonials

Testimonials from Former KCC Writing Fellows

“I wish I had had the benefit of the fall seminar with Cheryl when I first started teaching. The weekly meetings, along with tutoring in the writing center and class observation, helped develop my pedagogy so much more than I expected. The WAC coordinators and everyone in the CAWS foster a warm and organized environment that is accommodating and responsive. Everyone has been really generous with their expertise and support. Kingsborough is a great place to be a WAC fellow!”~Liz Carlin, Psychology lizcarlin@gmail.com

“Working as a Writing Fellow at KCC set a very high bar to the meaning of community in a workplace, intellectual, and teaching setting. As a fellow you not only learn strategies on how to help to better engage students into becoming stronger writers, but you are encouraged to understand how they process and tackle what they are coming in to get tutored for. In this way, I was able to form bonds with students and build the trust needed for them to feel comfortable approaching me about issues in their work. This even had them returning to me for additional sessions. The comradery in the Writing Center is also uplifting. I honestly don't think a better staff is out there who takes care of their Writing Fellows the way KCC's CAWS’s office does. On top of that, WAC WFs’ coordinators Cheryl and Jason are some of the most flexible and understanding figures of guidance in the program. They truly make this experience as smooth as possible for us grad students. Working with the other fellows helps me to be confident and feel supported by peers who are also new to tutoring, despite being in different disciplines. We bounce ideas off of each other and share our experiences, showing that we really are in this together. Finally, being so close to the ocean is just the icing on the cake.” ~Jemima Georges, Anthropology, jgeorges@gradcenter.cuny.edu

"Jason and Cheryl are caring and dedicated WAC coordinators. Working at KCC, your time will be very well organized and structured, your weekly responsibilities will be clear and consistent, and everyone in the Center for Academic Writing Success is welcoming and kind. You will feel supported and included. This is definitely a hands-on WAC program, so you will gain plenty of work experience. Cheryl and Jason are always available to respond to questions, give advice, and help you think through any challenges that may arise while tutoring students. The students I’ve worked with at the writing center have been wonderful, and I’ve learned new things about pedagogy in a one-on-one setting. Cheryl and Jason also strongly encourage WAC fellows to get to know and support one another, particularly in our weekly group workshops. It’s been fun and interesting having the opportunity to discuss teaching, as well as research, with graduate students across different disciplines. If you would like to hear more about my experience or a breakdown of the work you will be doing at KCC, please feel free to contact me.” ~Zoey Lavallee, Philosophy, zoey.a.lavallee@gmail.com

“Working as a WAC fellow at KCC has been an incredibly rewarding and useful experience. Cheryl and Jason are wonderful mentors with a pragmatic sensibility towards WAC, and a compassionate and understanding approach towards working with students. They are accommodating and helpful, and truly do everything they can to make the WAC experience directly applicable to the interests and needs of the fellows. The weekly seminars provide a space to become familiar with WAC principles, to become certified to teach writing intensive courses, and to develop and get feedback on the components of a teaching portfolio. The opportunity to shadow other professors who have spent considerable time developing their pedagogy is also invaluable and can create a space for exploring new approaches. (I worked with a professor to encourage students in his class to seek out assistance by offering virtual tutoring). Most of your time, and the most invigorating aspect of working at KCC, is spent working directly with students as a tutor in the writing center. I found that this one-on-one work provided the opportunity to engage deeply with students and their ideas in a way that is often not possible in a classroom setting, while also providing valuable insight about how to improve my own teaching strategies and assignment design. Overall, I highly recommend KCC! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.” ~Osha Smith-Gittelman, Political Science, oshasg@gmail.com

“If you care about writing and teaching writing, KCC is one of the best places to learn new things to include in your practice. I used to teach writing classes, but the skills and tips I have gained while working at CAWS have been incredible. The workload at CAWS varies depending on students’ deadlines, but it has been very rewarding to be able to work through with different students on their projects. It sure has helped me improve my pedagogical skills when trying to explain things to very different learning styles.My approach to WAC was to apply writing skills that I have learned so far, and that has also helped me in my own writing. Given that English is not my native language, I thought helping students write effectively in that language was going to be harder than it was, but the tools provided by CAWS as well as the weekly meetings were particularly important to do that. If you want to improve your pedagogy by doing and practicing, KCC is the right place to do so.” ~Sebastian Villamizar-Santamaria,Sociology, sebvillasanta@gmail.com

“Working as a WAC Fellow at Kingsborough has been a fantastic experience. The time spent with Cheryl and my other fellows talking about pedagogy was both fun and immensely helpful. I have radically altered most of my syllabi based on these meetings, and they have made me a more confident and, I think, better teacher. Cheryl and Jason are also fantastic mentors, who care deeply about the fellows and their experience. They understand the constraints GC students have, and they are more than happy to accommodate them. I have also learned a lot from the tutoring component, which has given me space to concentrate on how best to teach writing. I often find myself looking forward to my two days at Kingsborough, where I get to work with insightful and motivated students (and, almost as important: Kingsborough is a gorgeous campus!). All told, if I had the opportunity to go back and pick a fellowship at any other campus, I certainly would not. I am very happy with my experience here.” ~Cody Campbell, Political Theory, ccampbell2@gradcenter.cuny.edu

“Doing the WAC fellowship at Kingsborough has been a real pleasure. The different parts of the fellowship work very well together. I observed Matthew Gartner’s short fiction class in the fall, and I learned so much from him: how to structure a class aroundwriting, how toreallyteach writing, how toreallyteach reading, and the list goes on.The WAC fellows’ weekly meetings nicely complemented the observations. There we could talk about what we were observing and, more broadly, we could share notes in a friendly and productive environment on our own teaching practices, which many of us have developed largely through classroom experience. These opportunities for reflection have been invaluable. Tutoring in CAWS has been perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the fellowship, as it provides the opportunity to work closely with students toreallydevelop their writing skills. I love getting to see a part of the writing process that so often goes unseen when I’m a course instructor. Being able to work through problems, to help clarify understanding, and to encourage creative thinking for each individual gives another chance to consider how I could translate these kinds of interactions into a classroom context.In addition, everyone you work with is great, the students are eager to learn, and you get ocean views! Overall, it’s been delightful to be a WAC fellow at Kingsborough.”~Noah Davies-Mason, Classics, noah.daviesmason@gmail.com

“Being a WAC fellow at Kingsborough is a rewarding experience. The weekly meetings feature innovative and engaging activities and discussion which have already proven valuable in my work not just in the Writing Center but in the classroom as well. The coordinators are truly invested in the professional growth of the fellows and have been a consistent source of guidance. The Center for Academic Writing and Success staff is very welcoming and accommodating. Working at CAWS is a both a fulfilling and useful experience. Being able to engage with and improve the writing of students from all disciplines at each step of the writing process provides experience not found in a typical classroom setting. Although my own studies focus around the reading and writing process, this fellowship has provided me with practical experience and engaging expert guidance to take my own ability to the next level.” ~Daniel DeBonis, Educational Psychology, ddebonis@gradcenter.cuny.edu

“Probably once a week during my first semester as a WAC, I've wished that I received this training when I first started teaching. You'll learn how to help students improve not just their writing, but theirreading. The coordinators are great, serious, flexible, always happy to help out. I've also learned a ton from working with an experienced professor in the English department each week, participating in his writing intensive class. Come to Kingsborough!”~Luke Elliott-Negri, Sociology, lukeelliottnegri@gmail.com

"Kingsborough provides writing fellows with the perfect environment to grow at the professional and also personal level. Being a graduate from Kingsborough myself, I knew from the beginning where I wanted to serve as a writing fellow. The KCC campus is unique within the CUNY system. The location, with a beautiful view of the bay, provides you with mental peace while allowing you to forget for a minute that you are in one of the busiest and most anxiety driven cities of the world. That positive feeling gets reinforced as you enter the writing center family. The entire WAC team is composed by outstanding professionals that will make you feel at home right from the start. Working with Cheryl has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my training as a writing fellow. Observing Cheryl’s class along with our weekly seminars has exposed me to different teaching strategies that I can use in my own classes. The best part of being a writing fellow at KCC is, without a doubt, having the opportunity to interact and help students with their writing. Seeing struggling students progress and succeed with their writing is one of the most rewarding feelings I had as a tutor. I had the opportunity to work with most of those students on a regular basis throughout the semester and was able to see them grow in the process. Being able to work individually with these students has made me more sensitive to the needs of my own students." ~Raquel Lamela Lopez, Physical Anthropology, r.lamela.lopez@gmail.com

“Working as a WAC fellow at KCC was a rewarding experience. I especially appreciate that Cheryl takes WAC pedagogy seriously. The weekly workshops where we discussed the nitty-gritty of practicing such pedagogy is very helpful for me to reflect on my previous teaching and come up with an improved syllabus for a writing-intensive course. Through Cheryl’s hands-on guidance and stimulating discussions with other WAC fellows, I find that WAC pedagogy is very effective in terms of helping students discover ideas and make sense of their own thinking through the process of writing. Other benefits and responsibilities of being a WAC fellow at KCC include the opportunities to shadow writing-intensive courses and working as writing tutors to hold one-on-one consultations with students. These opportunities helped me grow as an instructor. During teaching observations, I learned a lot about how certain pedagogical techniques work and others don’t; during the consultations, I understood more about students’ struggles over writings and learned to adjust my assignments to better cater for their needs. I really enjoy the WAC fellowship at KCC. We get to work with wonderful peers and amazing students in a friendly work environment!” ~Siqi Tu, Sociology, stu@gradcenter.cuny.edu

“Working at Kingsborough has been a very good experience. Getting to work in the Writing Lab helped me practice my pedagogy with students in writing intensive courses, and weekly meetings with all the writing fellows at KCC gave opportunities for professional development alongside all the work in the writing center. Having the chance to observe another professor implement writing-across-the-curriculum in his own classroom allowed me to reflect on the ways that I could improve my own teaching. I’ve not only enjoyed my time at Kingsborough so far, but also have felt like my work here has been well-worth my time.” ~Alex Baldassano,English, abaldassano@gradcenter.cuny.edu

“The WAC fellowship at Kingsborough Community College is unique for its individualized attention towards professional development. Cheryl, our fantastic coordinator, is respectful of our busy lives as graduate students and goes above and beyond to ensure that we get the most out of the program. The structure of the fellowship–including time required on campus–was explicit from the beginning of the semester. I found this clarity and organization to be an enormous benefit of the program at KCC. In addition, working with the students in the Center for Academic Writing offers valuable insight into students’ understanding of, or confusion with, writing assignment handouts as well as their interpretation of written comments from instructors. Each component of the fellowship (observing classes, meeting to discuss pedagogy, and working in the writing center) builds upon the other and has made a positive impact in my own teaching strategies that I will carry with me beyond my tenure as a Writing Across the Curriculum Fellow. A truly rewarding experience!” ~Leila Harris, Art History, leila.anne.harris@gmail.com

“I can say without hesitation that Cheryl Hogue Smith and Jason VanOra are amongst the kindest and most accommodating faculty members that I have met in the CUNY system. It’s a real pleasure to both learn from, and work alongside, them on a weekly basis. Cheryl and Jason embody WAC principles in a very relatable way and it’s clear to me that since working at Kingsborough my own courses have benefitted immensely. The staff responsible for the everyday tutoring environment at the Center for Academic Writing and Success (CAWS) are likewise openhearted and motivated educators. Without a doubt, CAWS is the most well-organized writing center that I have worked at. From my perspective, tutoring is the most fulfilling part of the WAC experience. I love working one-on-one with students, and you can really tell that KCC students are grateful for the writing center. I always feel like I had a productive and meaningful day when I get home. While the location of the campus may be off-putting for some, it’s a pleasure working so close to the ocean, and Cheryl and Jason go to impressive lengths to make tutoring hours as flexible as possible. I’ve worked at four CUNY colleges to date, and KCC is my personal favorite.” ~Adam See, Philosophy, asee@gradcenter.cuny.edu

“Working as a WAC Fellow at KCC was a great experience. Firstly, I was able to work with some really great people! Cheryl was by far the most relatable and understanding mentor. She was always quick to offer help and guidance. Our weekly meetings, in which the WAC Fellows met to discuss WAC principles, were really interesting and informative! We discussed different techniques to use in order to increase writing and reading in our own classes. This went hand-in-hand with shadowing a WAC Instructor, so that we could see how these different techniques are implemented in a variety of different classes. In addition to learning all about the WAC principles (both in theory and practice), we also worked in the tutoring center, helping students with their written assignments. There is nothing as rewarding as seeing a student struggle through an assignment and being able to help him/her feel proud of the end product. Oftentimes, as an instructor, I am unable to offer that sort of one-on-one help to my students and so it was extremely fulfilling to be able to devote the time to work with these students on their projects. All in all, I would say that being a WAC Fellow at KCC helped me with my own teaching skills (e.g., how to engage with my students through writing), as well as how to work with students outside the classroom.” Rachel Weintraub,Psychology, rweintraub@brooklyn.cuny.edu

“One of the most valuable parts of being a Writing Fellow at Kingsborough was the chance to develop relationships through tutoring. The WAC Fellowship at KCC is hands-on, and I was able to personally witness the progress of several students who came to see me on a weekly basis. Fellows have the opportunity to help hone and revise semester-long Honors projects; however, I often saw the most improvement in hard-working students struggling with entry-level English classes. There is nothing that can describe the feeling of pride when someone introduces you to her favorite professor or tells you how much your help meant to him. I can honestly say that completing my WAC Fellowship at Kingsborough has made me not only a more sensitive tutor, but also a better teacher for the students taking my own art history courses!” ~Emily Ackerman (2015-2017), Art History, emily.ackerman@kbcc.cuny.edu

"The WAC fellowship at Kingsborough Community College is special for a number of reasons. Cheryl is fantastic in all the ways you would hope your coordinator would be; she is inspiring, supportive, and open-minded. The staff in the Writing Center are great, as are the faculty members you will interact with. So, in terms of interpersonal experiences, Kingsborough has all the other colleges beat. As for the work component, the tasks we are assigned as fellows are both meaningful and beneficial.We get to work directly with many different types of students, we are given considerable responsibility (with autonomy), and we have the opportunity to consider our teaching and communication philosophies daily.You will find yourself regularly reflecting upon what it means to be a good educator (in all areas of life, not just in academia), which is an interesting/fun thought puzzle. Honestly, the whole KCC WAC process has been extremely thought-provoking, and for me, this is what makes it a unique and positive experience.” ~Allison Hirsch, Psychology, ahirsch@gradcenter.cuny.edu