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Since she first entered higher education Whitney Wilson, Emmanuel’s new coordinator of the First Year Writing Program, knew she wanted to teach.
“I just wasn’t really sure what capacity that would take,” said Wilson.
Wilson has worked at a number of colleges and universities across the state of Massachusetts during her career in higher education, including Wentworth Institute of Technology, Springfield College and Emerson College. She has working in various writing centers and taught Intro to Literature or versions of First Year Writing.
“I really enjoyed that,” said Wilson. “But there aren’t a lot of full time jobs in those fields. So, I was thinking about ways that I could keep teaching and working with college students, because I really like them.”
So Wilson decided to pursue a second master’s degree at Simmons College, which would allow her to become an instructional librarian.
After getting her degree, Wilson took a full time position as an Instructional Librarian at Emmanuel.
“I was drawn to Emmanuel because of it’s size, I liked how the classes are small and the faculty knows one another,” said Wilson. “A lot of people who work at Emmanuel also stay here their whole career, and I really liked that too.”
As an instructional librarian, Wilson oversaw all the teaching that they library did. Classes usually come into the library to learn about research methods or citation styles, and Wilson would usually instruct these groups which is how she got to be on a first name basis with ¾ of the people on campus.
“At Emanuel, our library does a lot of teaching compared to other schools,” said Wilson.
Wilson would also teach sections of First Year Writing, when another instructor was needed.
This year, Wilson has taken on a different identity, as she is the new coordinator of the First Year Writing Program. Along with teaching the course full time, Wilson will be overseeing the logistics of the program as well.
The goal of First Year Writing is to provide students with a “safe space,” as Wilson describes it, where they can transition their high school writing to academic writing.
“We have to do this in a broad, multidisciplinary way, so we can create a solid foundation from which first year students can feel confident in their academic writing skills when they go into their major classes,” said Wilson.
One of Wilson’s central goals for FYW is to make students feel like the class is a really valuable step to ease them into the kind of writing they will encounter in their college career. Wilson hopes to achieve this goal by, in part, getting students more excited about their writing by offering a First Year Writing Prize at the end of each semester.
Students will have the chance to submit the research papers they write for the class to the competition. The papers will be judged by a group of faculty from different departments. Once a winner is chosen, they will be invited to a ceremony where they read their winning paper and receive their prize, which will most likely be a gift card of some sort.
“I really like that I to get to have my own class, that I get to build it from the bottom up,” said Wilson.
But there are some aspects of teaching full time that she is still getting used to, especially her new title.
“You know, most people on campus knows me as Whitney. It’s very strange to be called Professor Wilson!”
Katie Drewry is a Staff Writer for The Hub. She can be contacted at email@example.com.