The Gayle Morris Sweetland Center for Writing was founded in 1998, and I was lucky to be the inaugural director. Expectations for the Center were high, for John Sweetland’s handsome endowment made it possible for us to introduce new programs to support and improve writing in LSA.
I am back in the director’s office this year and awed by how much has happened since the Center opened. The Peer Writing Consultant program has existed since the start of the Center, but it’s expanded and gained greater intellectual depth over the years. The peer consultants work with undergraduates from all over the U-M campus to communicate strategies that will improve their academic writing, job and graduate school application materials, and personal writing. MWrite fellows likewise support undergraduates as they learn to write for courses in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. Another diverse and ambitious group of students pursues a Minor in Writing, for which they engage in research that culminates in complex multimodal projects. When I visit Sweetland consultants, fellows, and minors, I am overjoyed to see their enthusiasm about writing and commitment to their projects.
The Sweetland faculty who support and direct these programs are highly professional and profoundly accomplished in many directions. Some faculty members produce impressive creative publications, and all of the faculty contribute significantly to the scholarship of teaching and learning. As part of their work, they also consult individually with students at every level from across UM. When I observe their sessions, I’m struck by how quickly they discern what help the student is seeking, and I’m impressed with how much they accomplish in a half hour or hour. Sitting in my office, I’m delighted to hear the faculty greet each student with sincere interest in their writing. This is surely just about the best job in the world. I invite you to discover what’s happening here.
— Theresa Tinkle, Sweetland Center for Writing Interim Director