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Writing Community Aims to Enhance Students' Scholarly Writing


Contact: Emily Williams
Reported by Leslie Herskowitz

Posted February 15, 2011

In its second year at the School of Social Work, the Writing Scholars Community has provided social work students the opportunity to craft and hone their writing skills for academic publication in an interactive, one-semester, non-credit course. Led by Associate Professor Donna Leigh Bliss, the program provides an environment in which students can gain a conceptual understanding of scholarly writing in social work, while developing a manuscript for publication submission.

"Because I aspire to publish my own research and to pursue a Ph.D. in the future, my primary motivation for joining the Writing Scholars' Community was to simply improve my scholarly writing ability," said second-year MSW student Marissa Yingling.

The community is open to all social work students who are interested in learning how to write academic papers and meets every other Monday from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. In each of the seven meetings, students focus on various aspects of scholarly writing, including how to write an introduction, literature review or refining the final piece, among others. Students also receive technical assistance in the writing process.

Bliss created the program to help students learn how to write a scholarly, concise paper, especially for those who want to go on to graduate school. "After being in this community, you are much more prone to perform the kind of clear and concise writing that is necessary to excel, so that is really the point of this program," said Bliss.

"I appreciate the opportunity that the Writing Scholars Community has given me to learn from Dr. Bliss and from the resources she's provided," said first-year MSW student Heather Branham. "Every academic community needs a place where scholars can grow in their writing skills. The Writing Scholars Community serves that purpose in the School of Social Work."

The initial development of the Writing Scholars Community was funded by a stipend from the UGA Writing Fellows Program. Bliss is "truly grateful that the University provides these kinds of resources to faculty members to pass on to students. It's nice to see a group of students that will invest some of their time in their busy schedule to come meet and focus on this."