N.C. A&T Hosts First Aggie Writing Scholars Summer Experience

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Aug. 6, 2019) – Making the transition from high school to college can be challenging socially and academically.

As part of a $500,000 grant to the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS) from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University hosted its first Aggie Writing Scholars Summer Experience from July 20-Aug. 2.

A group of 13 first-year students were a part of the pilot program designed to “help ease the transition to college and to foster success in writing courses,” said CAHSS Dean Frances Ward-Johnson.

“One observation of students in this first class of Aggie Writing Scholars is that they are deeply engaged in their studies and exercises focused on writing,” she said. “This experience provides them with, not only good writing skills, but an opportunity for personal growth and reflection and a deep excitement about starting their college journey.”

Students stayed on campus for two weeks and took writing classes while earning college credit. Class topics include parts of speech, sentence patterns and writing personal essays. Workshops on academic advising, good study habits, money management and job and internship success are included as well.

Bryon Turman, an English lecturer for the program, noted the importance of writing and grammar.

“A lot of students (go) to universities across the country with writing deficiencies,” he said. “At the end of the program, (these students) have a better understanding of what to expect when they come to college.”

An additional aim of the program is to give entering freshman an opportunity to get acclimated to campus before the bustle of the academic year. Students lived in Aggie Suites E, met other freshmen and peer mentors, and earned a Student Success course credit.

“[Forging relationships] is such an important part of this program,” Turman said. “Because of this, they’re going to come in with a solid foundation.”

The three-and-a-half-year grant, awarded to the CAHSS in March, was the first the university has received from the Mellon Foundation. In addition, it was the first major award designated for North Carolina A&T arts and humanities programs.

The grant will also allow CAHSS to expand the writing center staff, integrate a Faculty Writing Fellows program and Writing Across the Curriculum program to reach diverse majors on campus and online, offer more writing workshops and seminars to students, provide more undergraduate research opportunities for professors and students and allow faculty to attend writing conferences to engage with experts, share knowledge about A&T’s program and discuss benefits and challenges of Writing Across the Curriculum programs.