Writing Program

The Writing Program is supported by a Writing Center and a Writing Proficiency Requirement. The Writing Center, staffed by student tutors, is here to serve any student writer at any stage of the writing process. The Writing Proficiency Requirement is a portfolio requirement uploaded and assessed in Chalk & Wire. Students must submit portfolios that demonstrate writing development at the intermediate level (or above) on our Writing Proficiency Rubric to achieve proficiency.  The fact that writing proficiency is a graduation requirement at Millsaps is a concrete statement of the importance we place on writing.

All of this happens through the work of Laura Franey, acting director of the Writing Program, Liz Egan, director of the Writing Center, and Maegan Sayles, administrative assistant to the Writing Program.

Writing Across the Curriculum

The Millsaps College Writing Program is one of the College’s hallmarks. Recognized as one of the premier writing programs in the country, we are known for making Writing Across the Curriculum work. That means that we take writing seriously, and we work hard to ensure that every student has plenty of opportunities to improve writing skills. We also work one-on-one with faculty members to support their use of writing in their courses.

The Writing Across the Curriculum approach that the Millsaps Writing Program uses operates on the simple philosophy that writing is a skill requisite to every academic pursuit. It is not the domain or responsibility of single faculty members, departments, or divisions. It is a campus-wide, holistic approach to teaching writing. In short, from the earliest WAC theorists to contemporary post-process theorists, the consensus in this WAC strain of writing theory and pedagogy is this: that students can neither be injected with writing skills nor vaccinated against poor writing habits in one single course; that the writing process and, therefore, the teaching of writing is a recursive process; that students learn to write most successfully in environments in which their writing skills are measured in all courses and in which good writing habits are reinforced in various courses and by various instructors.

The intent of the Writing Program is to support all faculty as they help students develop writing skills in courses across our entire curriculum, providing students with opportunities to write in various disciplines.  Millsaps requires the writing intensive “Connections” course and other Compass courses to develop a coherent, scholarly atmosphere in which students develop competent and effective means of written and oral communication.

To this end, our Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) approach designed to offer clear and effective writing instruction in the initial writing intensive course—Connections—and to support and extend that instruction through other writing intensive courses in all disciplines on campus. Other courses on campus, including upper level courses in all three divisions and every major on campus, ought also to contribute to this campus-wide emphasis on one of the primary liberal arts abilities: written communication.

Compass Writing Guidelines for Faculty (PDF)

The Writing Program and Writing Portfolio

Writing is central to the Millsaps experience, and maintaining a Writing Center on campus is just one of many ways the Writing Program cultivates strong writers at Millsaps College. One graduation requirement that all Millsaps College students are expected to fulfill is the Writing Portfolio, which is administered through the Writing Program (not the Writing Center). For questions about the Writing Portfolio, email [email protected].

Writing Proficiency Requirements

For students entering Millsaps Fall 2015 or after:

By the end the spring semester of their second year, each student must submit the following documents to their online writing portfolio space.

Failure to complete this requirement on time will result in registration delays in subsequent semesters and may prohibit you from taking your comprehensive examinations.

Required Portfolio Documents:

i. A brief (2-4 pages) reflective introduction to the portfolio. Written outside the context of a specific course, this document serves as the student’s thesis about their writing development at Millsaps. Subsequent items provide the evidence referenced in this reflective introduction.

ii. Four (4) papers from classes taken at Millsaps College, taken from at least two (2) of the three divisions below.

Course categories:

  1. Arts & Humanities
  2. Business
  3. Sciences

These papers will normally be sourced from courses taken to fulfill elements of the Core Curriculum. Of these 4 papers, at least two (2) must demonstrate use of multiple secondary research and proper application of a clearly identified/identifiable documentation system. The total number of pages expected for this section of the portfolio is 25-30 (assuming an average page length of 250 words); while we will accept page counts slightly under or over the expected norm, excessive deviation may affect the assessor’s ability to evaluate the work, and the student may be asked to submit more appropriate alternatives.

iii. One (1) “wild card” document reflecting an element of the student’s communication development. This document can be written, oral (recording/video), or visual in nature; the only requirement is that it be able to be shared in digital form. While the length of the wild card item is not prescribed, we encourage students to remember that readers will be assessing a large number of portfolios.

Special note for Transfer students: The categories for essay submission may vary according to the student’s academic record prior to attending Millsaps College. Students transferring in at the junior or senior level are allowed to substitute one (1) paper written for a course at a previous college or university as one of their four essays. Transfer students with questions about the portfolio should speak with the Director of Writing & Teaching to ascertain what papers to submit.

For more information, visit the Writing Program office in John Stone Hall.

Please follow these instructions to upload your portfolio in Chalk & Wire:

Log In Chalk and Wire:

  1. Go to www.chalkandwire.com.
  2. Click Login
  3. You will be prompted to “Identify Your Institution” enter Millsaps
  4. Enter your login name, which is the same as the handle of your millsaps email address without the @millsaps.edu.
  5. Enter your password. If you do not have your password and the forgot your password option does not work for you, email [email protected].

Create a portfolio under the work tab:

  1. Under the menu tab to the left select “work,” then select “my coursework.”
  2. Click the blue button that says “new portfolio.” Name your portfolio and select “writing proficiency portfolio” under the table of contents tab. If asked for a department leave it unassigned, or select unassigned if something else is selected.
  3. Click “create.” Now select “original submission.” At this point you should be able to add the content of your portfolio. You should be able to add the 6 items to your portfolio by clicking on the drop down arrow next to add content and uploading your files.
  4. Once you have all files uploaded and in the order that you desire (you can move them by grabbing the toggle icon to the left of the item that you uploaded), click on the green submit button – it is over to the right side of the page near the top.
  5. Your screen should now show that you are “Submitting Content” under this heading you will see “Writing Proficiency Rubric Pool will be submitted to Writing Proficiency.”Click the submit button again. Your writing portfolio should be successfully submitted now! If you have any questions please email [email protected].

Core 10 Essay Requirements

This paper should be based on thoughtful, evaluative reflection of your experience at Millsaps College. Focus your attention on the specific texts you have read, courses you have taken, the academic challenges you have confronted, the social experiences that left a deep impression on you, the professors who taught you and perhaps influenced you in some way, the adventures you have undertaken. What were your hopes and expectations before you came to Millsaps? Have these hopes and expectations been realized, changed? If so, how? In what way? Has your work in the (Physics, English, etc.) major complemented your Millsaps Compass coursework and has it aided you in achieving your hopes and expectations on a more personal level? Do you believe that you have obtained a good liberal arts education at Millsaps College with its emphasis on specific learning outcomes (eg, Thinking & Reasoning, Communication, Problem Solving & Creative Practice, Integrative & Collaborative Learning)? How? Why? Do you feel prepared to move on to the next phase of your life?

For students entering Millsaps prior to
Fall 2015
Writing Proficiency Requirements

Assessment Forms for Students Who Entered Millsaps
Prior to Fall 2015
Writing Proficiency Requirement: Sophomore Evaluation (PDF)
Writing Proficiency Requirement: Core 3 / Heritage Evaluation (PDF)
Writing Portfolio Cover Sheet for Papers (PDF)

Frank & Rachel Anne Laney Award

The Frank and Rachel Anne Laney Award will be given each spring for the best Reflective Paper written to satisfy the Core 10 requirement during the academic year. The Award is intended to encourage students to reflect on the value of their education in the liberal arts.

The Laney Award will be presented at Commencement and will carry a substantial cash prize. Submitted papers will be reviewed by a faculty panel to determine the best paper. The best paper along with other selected papers from those submitted will be published annually. These papers will be given to every incoming freshman the following fall, and the best paper (and perhaps other selections) will be required reading.

See more about the award and a list of past winners.

Deadline: Any student may submit his or her Core 10 reflective paper to the Core office in order to be considered for this award. A late-April date will be set each year.

Length: The usual expectation is that Core 10 papers will be from 4-5 pages. For the purposes of this award, papers may not exceed 8 typed, double-spaced pages.

Judging: Papers will be reviewed anonymously by a committee of four faculty members, including the Writing Director (who will chair the committee) and one faculty member from each division of the College (appointed by the Dean of the College).

Disposition of Papers: In addition to the winning paper, the top ten or twelve papers will be printed and collected each year for the next freshman class to read. The papers will also be published on the College Web site so that everyone has access to them.

Criteria: In judging papers, the committee will consider the quality of thought and expression, as well as the writer’s ability to relate the Core experience to the major and to the wider context of the liberal arts.

Format: All papers must be neatly typed (word-processed) on standard white paper with a cover sheet including the student’s name and the title of the paper. The student’s name should appear nowhere else in the manuscript. In the Core office the cover sheet will be detached and a number will be assigned to each for the purposes of anonymity.

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