Visiting Speaker Series

James Schirmer

Dr. James Schirmer Visits BGSU

Dr. James Schirmer visited BGSU on Tuesday, September 24, 2019, to deliver two presentations discussing this year’s common read and his experiences teaching writing at the University of Michigan-Flint while the issues with Flint’s water were being uncovered. Schirmer’s presentations, “Reading and Writing Amidst Crisis” and “Seeking Our Own Level,” highlighted the importance of meaningful and timely writing experiences for students while also attending to student concerns for their learning. Schirmer’s first-year writing course had originally been themed on food, but the developing news of the water crisis prompted Schirmer and his students to reconsider the framing of the course. Schirmer, a 2008 graduate of BGSU’s PhD program in Rhetoric and Writing, is an associate professor of English and the department chair at University of Michigan-Flint.

UWP Hosts Dr. Neal Lerner


Dr. Lerner is co-author of The Meaningful Writing Project: Learning, Teaching and Writing in Higher Education with Dr. Michele Eodice and Dr. Anne Ellen Geller.

Neal Lerner is professor of English at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. He is the director of the writing center and co-director of the undergraduate program in English. He teaches courses to undergraduate and graduate students on writing, literacy, teaching and tutoring writing, and creative nonfiction.

Dr. Lerner presented findings and insights from his multi-institutional study investigating the writing projects students find to be most meaningful in the morning presentation, "Learning from College Students' Meaningful Writing." According to the study, students' most meaningful writing experiences occur when a strong personal connection is apparent to the student and when the student has some degree of choice in how they approach a writing project.

In the afternoon, Dr. Lerner led a group discussion-based workshop, "Giving Your Syllabus a Meaningful Makeover," in which insights from his research on meaningful writing were integrated into the deisgn of syllabi, assignment sequences, lesson plans, and assignment sheets. Participants discussed the strengths of their courses and assignments and considered ways to make them even more meaningful for students.

Previous Visitors

Asao Inoue, 2018