Writing Program Invites Competitive Applicants

Writing Program Invites Competitive Applicants


SUNY Cortland’s Seven Valleys Writing Project (SVWP) will accept applications for its 2011 Summer Institute, a workshop seminar for all teachers across the region in all fields of study.

Applications for the competitive program are due Saturday, May 21. The two-week institute will be held at Main Street SUNY Cortland, an extension facility the College operates at 9 Main St. in downtown Cortland, from July 25 to Aug. 5.

Now in its fourth year, the SVWP’s Summer Institute refines the learning and writing skills of educators through a “teachers teaching teachers” format, explained Project Director David Franke, a SUNY Cortland professor of English and professional writing.

Program participants will develop personal and professional writing projects and learn small-group leadership skills, he noted. Both novice and experienced teachers who use writing in their disciplines are invited to apply.

Up to 16 applicants will be accepted into the summer session. Three graduate credit hours through SUNY Cortland are available and all books, loaned computers and parking will be provided free of cost. Partial stipends will be available for teachers in need of tuition assistance.

Under-represented groups in teaching, including male elementary school teachers and ethnic minorities, are encouraged to apply.

The Summer Institute emphasizes action research and reflective practice, Franke said.

 “Those who apply tend to be creative, pragmatic and solution-oriented,” he said. “Together, teachers develop their personal writing, their self-chosen research projects and their leaderships skills.”

A matching grant from SUNY Cortland and the National Writing Project (NWP) funds the program.

In 2008, SUNY Cortland was approved for long-term, renewable federal Department of Education funding to start a local branch of the NWP. The SVWP, which claims the Summer Institute as its centerpiece, serves 79 school districts in more than seven counties throughout the region, including Cortland, Madison, Chenango, Broome, Tioga, Tompkins, Cayuga and Onondaga counties.

“The program was transformational for me,” said Kathryn Cernera, a teacher at Dewitt Middle School in Ithaca, N.Y., and the associate director of the SVWP. “I learned how to use writing to inquire into my own professional questions and also how to use writing to help students learn in all my classes.”

The leaders of one of the largest teacher-education programs in the country, SUNY Cortland faculty members will speak to the importance of professional writing, new media technology, classroom teaching and learning techniques.

For application information, visit the Seven Valleys Writing Project website. For more information, contact Franke at (607) 753-5945.