At UNCA, some LANG 120 classes receive a service-learning designation (indicated by SL in the online class schedule), meaning that their curriculum includes best practices in community engagement pedagogies. Faculty incorporate service learning into their LANG 120 courses in a variety of ways, working with students in community gardens and with food justice initiatives, taking students on Hood Huggers tours (walking tours of historically African American neighborhoods in Asheville), supporting students as they serve as writing tutors at a local high school, and more. Check out this website Amanda Wray’s Professional Writing students created using works by Jessica Pisano’s LANG 120 students for Burton Street Community Peace Gardens, one of our community partners.
What does service learning look like in a writing class? In Thomas Deans and Megan Marie’s 2007 chapter “Composition as Community Action,” they outline three possibilities:
Writing about the community: “… a mode of learning, helping students reflect on the meaning and implications of their community outreach” (Deans & Marie 2007)
Writing for the community: “… involves students in complex rhetorical situations and gives meaning to key rhetorical concepts as well as the writing process” (Deans & Marie 2007)
Writing with the community: “… emphasize direct collaboration … between students and local citizens who together use writing to raise awareness on social justice matters, research local problems, give voice to local citizens, and create public art” (Deans & Marie 2007)
No matter what service experiences First-Year Writing students choose, they all experience a rigorous writing curriculum that emphasizes the skills of rhetorical analysis, primary and secondary research, persuasion, reflection, and revision. We showcase writing as a tool of discovery, inquiry, and analysis, and students practice writing for varied audiences and situations attending in all ways possible to “writing” as a multimodal literacy practice.
Feel free to reach out to Writing Program Coordinator Jessica Pisano firstname.lastname@example.org or Key Center Faculty Director Amanda Wray email@example.com for more information.