College Writing Workshop Series | Spring 2024

College Writing is hosting a workshop series in the coming weeks (Feb. 29, Mar. 21, Apr. 4) on three core elements of teaching writing—designing writing assignments, responding to student writing, and evaluating student writing. All faculty and staff are welcome to attend. The workshops are especially designed for Anchor Plan faculty teaching English 113, 100-level courses and 200-level courses.

Designing Writing Assignments

This workshop will take place on Thursday, February 29, at 2:00 p.m. in Lubbers 221. Participants will learn principles of assignment design, discuss models, and have the opportunity to workshop one of their own assignments. Click here to register.

Responding to Student Writing

This workshop will take place on Thursday, March 21, at 12:00 p.m. in Lubbers 221. Participants will learn about providing students with formative feedback on their writing. That is, providing feedback aimed at helping students improve their writing when they can still do something about it. We will also identify and discuss ways to provide feedback that is meaningful for the student and sustainable for the instructor. Workshop participants will also receive a boxed lunch. Click here to register.

Evaluating Student Writing

This workshop will take place on Thursday, April 4, at 12:00 p.m. in Lubbers 221. Participants will learn about summative assessment, or what we typically call grading. The workshop will help participants develop criteria for writing assignments as well as identify strategies for completing grading tasks efficiently and effectively. Workshop participants will also receive a boxed lunch. Click here to register.

Are there other topics related to teaching writing that you want to know more about? Let us know at

2023 Faculty/Staff Writing Camp

This year’s faculty/staff writing camp will take place from May 22 through 26. Sign up to enjoy a calm and productive week of writing. We’ll provide food and refreshments each day and maybe a few surprises. Sign up here!

What is the purpose of the camp?

The purpose of the writing camp is to give colleagues at Hope College a chance to focus on their writing—an element of everyone’s work that is sometimes neglected due to the immediacy of other responsibilities.

How does the camp achieve the purpose?

The strategy of the writing camp is very simple. The goal of each day is to provide participants with ample time to write without interruption. Therefore, we provide breakfast, lunch, and snacks to help writers focus on writing.

In addition, participants have the option to participate in simple, focused activities aimed at developing their knowledge, skills, habits, and attitudes about writing. These activities include subjects like overcoming procrastination, cultivating a habit of writing, communicating with editors, processing feedback and even grappling with negative emotions tied to writing.

What does the camp look like?

In general, writing camp participants will meet each day of the week from approximately 9:00 am to 5:00 pm with an hour break for lunch. At the beginning of the day, we’ll try to have a substantive breakfast available so that no one is trying to write first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

At 9:00 we’ll gather for 15 to 20 minutes in the Granberg Room of the Van Wylen library to connect and warm up for a day of writing. After that, participants may choose to write in the Granberg Room or disperse to their favorite writing spots.

Throughout the day, we will provide small-group sessions on a variety of writing subjects. Participants will also be able to sign up for individual consultations about their writing projects or questions.

Around noon each day we’ll break for lunch. Participants may have lunch wherever they want, but this is a wonderful time to connect with other participants. We normally gather in the Cup & Chaucer area of the Van Wylen Library.

Participants are strongly encouraged to commit to focusing on writing for the week. In other words, do your best to schedule those oil changes and dentist appointments during other weeks. At the same time, I know there are always unscheduled events (e.g. your child vomits in church) and vital meetings (e.g. an instructor resigns unexpectedly creating a gaping hole in the fall schedule). Rest assured that you can do what needs to be done and then return to your writing. The camp is meant to be a collaborative and supportive community.

Is this just for faculty?

No. We’re all writers. Participants include faculty working on book projects or journal articles, staff working on administrative projects like handbooks or project guidelines, and graduate students working on conference presentations, dissertations, or creative works.

All are welcome.

How do I participate?

To participate in this summer’s writing camp sign up here. I am normally able to accommodate 10 to 12 writers; however, I will do my best to support all writers that want to attend.

If you are unable to attend these dates and hope for a second camp later in the summer please send an email or chat message to If there is enough interest in a second camp, I’ll do my best to accommodate. 

College Writing Announces New Faculty Writing Fellows Program

I am thrilled to announce this year’s pilot of our new Faculty Writing Fellows Program. This new program will select two faculty at Hope College to serve as Faculty Writing Fellows for the 22-23 academic year.

Faculty Writing Fellows will work with the Director of College Writing to turn their home disciplines into sites for research on writing. Our goals are many:

  • We want to uncover and articulate the knowledge, skills, habits and attitudes of success writers in different disciplines across the college.
  • We want to write about this research in meaningful ways so that it’s more than service. It contributes to our scholarly profiles as conference presentations or publications.
  • We want to present our findings to the campus community so that our research can enhance the teaching of writing across the college.

As an additional incentive, I am able to provide each Faculty Writing Fellows with $500 in professional development funds.

Use the Google Form linked here to apply. Applications are open to all Hope Faculty and Staff working in instructional capacities. Deadline for applications is Friday, October 14. Final selections of the AY 22-23 Faculty Writing Fellows will be made by the Instructional Working Group, led by the Associate Provost. If you have any questions contact Tom Sura at

Adopting Easy Writer at Hope College

This fall we will begin using Andrea Lunsford’s Easy Writer in all sections of English 113. I am excited for this reference book for many, many reasons.

Lunsford, Andrea. Easy Writer. 8th ed. Bedford, 2020, 9781319393342.

First, I am excited because it gives the Hope College community a touchstone text for learning about and discussing writing.

The book covers a lot of ground—from writing processes to conducting research, to style, grammar, and mechanics. Its section on documentation conventions includes information on MLA style, APA style, Chicago Style, and CSE.

The book also contains other helpful features like a Quick Start Menu for different types of assignments, a checklist of the Top Twenty Tips for Editing Your Academic Writing, and a Glossary of Usage so that students can get definitive answers on those vexing questions like when to use accept or except and all ready versus already.

Second, I am excited for what this effort can mean for developing our students’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, and habits regarding writing in their disciplines.

Our primary goal in English 113 will not necessarily be memorization of this reference text, although we certainly aim to increase students’ knowledge of language and writing. Moreso, it will be cultivating a habit of using the book to find their own answers to writing questions. In doing so, it’s my hope that students will learn the value of this book as a reference and use it to their advantage in other contexts.

Third, I am excited that we will be able to train the tutors in the Klooster Center to use the book with the students who come to see them. This alignment will increase both the effectiveness of the writing center and the book itself. We’ll be coaching the writing tutors to model using the book to find answers even if they already know the answers themselves. Again, the goal is to cultivate a habit of using the book.

Fourth, I am excited about this textbook because the most recent edition includes input from an Advisory Board for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that includes our very own Dr. Kristin VanEyk.

Finally, I am excited because I am able to provide a copy of the text to all instructors who want one thanks to the support of the Provost’s Office and the General Education Council. As the semester nears I will do my best to get these books out to the departments. Instructors are encouraged to use the books in their classes too. You may even choose to make it a required or supplemental text on your syllabus to help reinforce the use of the book across contexts, but this isn’t a requirement in any way.

As the academic year progresses you can look for information and events aimed at supporting use of the book in the classroom including blog posts and workshops. If you have any questions about using the text please don’t hesitate to let me know at