Symposium to Help Teachers, Students Prepare for College Writing

Sessions offer resource sharing, information exchange based on needs identified by Mississippi teachers

Symposium set for Sept. 20-22 on the University of Mississippi campus

OXFORD, Miss. – Registration is open for the third annual Transitioning to College Writing Symposium offered by the Center for Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Mississippi. The symposium, set for Sept. 20-22 on the University of Mississippi campus, is open to English and writing teachers from area high schools, community colleges and universities.

There is no registration fee, and a limited number of travel stipends are available. Attendees may register online at, or by calling 662-915-2121. Registration is open until Sept. 16.

The symposium offers an opportunity for writing teachers to share challenges, ideas and solutions to deepen student engagement and motivation as they begin the transition into college writing. Visiting scholars Pamela Childers, professor emerita of The McCallie School, and Laura Hammons from Hinds Community College are featured presenters.

“As teachers are required to meet various federal and state testing regulations, the opportunities for writing can become strained,” said Alice Myatt, associate director of the Center for Writing and Rhetoric. “We seek to create an environment where teachers can discuss these barriers and connect with resources to help strengthen the writing experience for their students.”

Attendees have access to creative ideas from colleagues and to tangible resources, including textbooks, lesson plans and other tools, to help them increase student engagement and help their students become more familiar with the expectations of writing at the college level. Myatt credits the symposium with helping some Mississippi schools launch writing centers, something many attendees identified as a much-needed resource in their schools.

The symposium also helps the university improve its writing curriculum for incoming students.

“The symposium is an excellent information exchange, in that we do not simply provide information to the attendees; we actually learn from them about what is going on in their classrooms,” said Robert Cummings, Center for Writing and Rhetoric director. “We need to better understand the writing environments that high school and community college students are in so that we are prepared to provide what the students need when they arrive in our classrooms.”

The symposium is sponsored in part by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council. Additional support is provided by the UM Center for Writing and Rhetoric, School of Education, College of Liberal Arts, Writing Project and Division of Outreach, and publishers Bedford St. Martins and W.W. Norton.