Last semester I had the privilege to work with an incredible group of students, faculty, and administrators who were dedicated to using the First-Year Writing classroom as a place to come together across the boundaries of time and place to forge a closely-knit community within the University of New Haven family. Originally born as a way to get international and American students talking about intercultural communication, the students quickly turned Hours away from Home into a place where they could pinpoint ways in which they struggled as first-year students living and spending “hours away from home”.
Framing our discussion around the article “Understanding Critical Writing” by A. Suresh Canagarajah (which can be found in the “Files” section of the project site at unewhavendh.org) we tried to figure out how to build a sense of solidarity among students which began to manifest as a network that enabled their self-empowerment, self-advocacy, and the sharing of institutional/cultural knowledge. To that end, students began to brainstorm elements of “The College Survival Guide”, a document that pooled what information they already knew and laid out what they felt they still needed to learn. If you’re interested in contributing to this project, definitely reach out to me. We’ll be continuing to work on it in the future and there are even already some entries that students produced when working on their final projects in Spring 2019!
Last semester, we met in the Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion. This was an incredible space for us, but timing proved difficult. In the future, much of the work for Hours away from Home will take place within the ENGL 1112/1113 and AEPP classrooms; however, we will still try to open things up to outside collaboration. If you’re interested in being a part of this initiative, don’t hesitate to let us know. We can find ways to make it back out to the Myatt Center. If you wish to collaborate with us digitally, I have also set up a collaboration space through OpenLab (just search for me).
Finally, I’d like to return to thanking some of the people who were so supportive of this program last semester, and who are absolutely incredible in their support of students. These are people you can always reach out to, so please do so if you have questions:
- Juan Hernandez, Director of the Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion
- Kathy Kautz de Arango, Director of the International Student Office
- Dr. Kei Lutalo, Director of the Academic English Preparatory Program
- Devon Moore, Writing Programs Coordinator
Thanks for your interest! Do check back in the future. Should you have any questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.