Cheyenne Ross, Undergraduate Writing Coordinator, Reflects on her Spring 2019 Writing Across Communities Collaboration with Dr. Lequez Spearman

Cheyenne Ross with Dr. Lequez Spearman sitting on a couch
May 13, 2019

How often do we, as students, experience writing in the classroom as a dissociating experience where personal voice is thought to be the opposite of “professional”? How often do we suppress our own thoughts and ideas in writing assignments to conform to perceived ideas of “standard” and “academic”?

In planning with Dr. Spearman for a course he will be teaching next semester, as an Undergraduate Writing Coordinator, I have been able to use my position as a student to help him to consider the importance of utilizing his interviews with professionals to engage with his students. We have discussed how it is crucial to develop writing assignments that are student-centered and also not only allow for but encourage the implementation of personal voice.

By presenting these interviews to students in Dr. Spearman’s class next semester, it opens the possibility for students to engage with multiple communities—every single interview that Spearman ventures throughout New York City to produce is engaging with different communities. Within these communities there is a plethora of possibilities for writing assignment topics in his Fall 2019 class. For example, in an interview with a dance studio owner, the interviewee brought up the role that gentrification has on his career, which causes me, the Undergraduate Writing Coordinator, to consider the societal influences in the sport management profession and how those influences can in turn resonate with the different roles that students occupy—it makes me think about the entirety of a person outside of their one identity as a student.

It is not the responsibility of a professor to dictate a classroom, but to instead present writing as an experience that encourages students to engage with all of their identities--not just their role as a student in the classroom.