ASU professor provides White House blueprint for successful writing

ASU professor Duane Roen has provided the White House a blueprint for success regarding postsecondary writing.

Roen, who is an English professor in the School of Letters and Sciences, as well as the president of the Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA), was one of 150 educators who attended the Community Leaders Briefing Series Wellstone Action at the White House in Washington D.C., last month. Roen met with Chad Adelman, policy advisor for the U.S. Department of Education, to discuss a new study, “A Framework for Success in Post Secondary Writing.” 

“The essence of the study conveys that in order for students to be successful college writers, they need to have a wide variety of tools and be able to adapt to a wide range of audiences for a wide range of purposes in a wide range of contexts,” Roen said. “If we narrowly define what writing is in high school and in college, I don’t think we’re serving our students well. In jobs that are meaningful, writing skills will be a crucial part of their success.”

Developed by the Council of Writing Program Administrators, National Council of Teachers and the National Writing Project, the study describes the rhetorical and 21st century skills as well as the eight habits of mind and experience that are critical for college success. They include:

curiosity, or the desire to know more about the world

openness, or the willingness to consider new ways of being and thinking in the world

engagement, or a sense of investment and involvement in learning

creativity, or the ability to use novel approaches for generating, investigating and representing ideas

persistence, or the ability to take ownership of one’s actions and understand the consequences of those actions for oneself and others

flexibility, or the ability to adapt to situations, expectations or demands

metacognition, or the ability to reflect on one’s own thinking as well as on the individual and cultural processes used to structure knowledge

The end result, according to the study, is that students will develop rhetorical knowledge, critical thinking, develop writing strategies, and have the ability to compose in multiple environments.

“My hope is that students will develop their writing skills beyond college so they can be successful in their professional lives, their civic lives, and their personal lives,” Roen said.