Wayne and Helen Townsend Writing Excellence Fund grants awarded to HHS faculty
Written by: Rebecca Hoffa, firstname.lastname@example.org
The endowment was established by Purdue alumni W. Wayne Townsend and Helen Hardin Townsend to encourage the enhancement of undergraduates’ written communication skills, which are important for successful professional and civic leadership. The fund offers HHS faculty an annual grant of up to $3,000 to be used toward a writing-improvement program during the upcoming fiscal year.
Grant recipient Thomas Redick, associate professor of psychological sciences, will use the funds to implement writing groups to help students enhance their scientific writing skills. The program would be implemented in PSY 40500 (Honors Research Seminar II) with students in the research-focused honors program, having the potential to expand into the PSY 20300 (Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology) course after the granting period.
In his proposal, Redick outlined that often in disciplines like psychology, there aren’t many instructional activities available to explicitly teach effective written communication skills. Often, the lab section of PSY 20300 that introduces students to writing an American Psychological Association research manuscript is one of the only opportunities where students are exposed to writing this type of work, he noted. Redick’s program will develop “Friday writing groups” to help students enhance their science writing skills as they develop a written thesis for their independent research projects. These writing-group sections will offer opportunities for group discussion and guest speakers who are experts in science writing.
Grant recipients Natasha Watkins, clinical associate professor of human development and family studies (HDFS); Cezanne Elias, clinical assistant professor of HDFS; and Jennifer Dobbs-Oates, clinical associate professor of HDFS, will use their Townsend Writing Excellence funds to build students’ professional writing skills by providing a resource for writing effective cover letters that superbly showcase HDFS students’ knowledge, skills and abilities. The program would be incorporated into HDFS 45400 (Career Assessment and Professional Development), which is the prerequisite for the capstone internship for students majoring in human services or developmental and family science.
In their proposal, the three faculty members noted that students are often exposed to crafting a cover letter, which is a distinct style of writing, for the first time in this course. As a result, they need a resource tailored to help them showcase their interpersonal and people-centered skills that are extremely important in HDFS fields. To do so, the group of faculty will develop an easy-to-use print and digital guidebook to offer relevant resources and examples for HDFS students. The group plans to continue the use of the digital guidebook after the granting period for future HDFS 45400 classes.
In order to be considered for a Townsend Writing Excellence Fund grant, faculty or a group of faculty must submit a proposal endorsed by the head of that faculty member’s unit. The principal investigator must be a tenure-track, tenured or clinical/professional faculty member. Upon completion of their program, recipients will submit a report reviewing the program’s implementation, effectiveness and plans for the future. The next request for proposals for grants from the fund will be distributed to HHS faculty early in the 2022 spring semester.
For more information, please contact Tom Berndt, senior associate dean for academic affairs and administration, College of Health and Human Sciences, email@example.com.