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Graduate School wins innovation award

By: Cornell Chronicle staff,  Cornell Chronicle
Wed, 04/15/2015

Cornell University’s Graduate School has won the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools (NAGS)/Educational Testing Service (ETS) Award for Innovation and Excellence in Graduate Education. The prestigious award is given to a NAGS member institution in recognition of outstanding practices from graduate admissions through degree completion.

The Graduate School was recognized for its innovative approaches to promoting degree completion and helping students develop a peer writing community through its writing programs. The components include writing consultations at the Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines, peer tutors, dissertation, thesis and proposal boot camps, daily Write-Ins, a listserv, workshops on writing competitive fellowship applications, and English-language support for international graduate and professional students.

According to Jan Allen, associate dean of academic and student affairs, “Cornell’s graduate academic writing support programs encourage goal-setting, accountability and development of a robust peer community. This underscores students’ commitment to their writing and degree completion.”

The Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines offers feedback on drafts from peer tutors. Peer tutors receive stipends and professional training, while graduate students receive support for their scholarly and professional communications.

Among the most popular Graduate School offerings are week-long dissertation, thesis and proposal writing boot camps and writers retreats, which are open to any graduate or professional student. Workshops offer group and individual writing space, food and appointments with writing and statistical consultants as well as stress-reductions activities and peer support.

Daily Write-Ins at the Big Red Barn Graduate and Professional Student Center provide free coffee and a quiet place for writers to work on their projects. Write-ins occur Monday through Friday, from 8 to 11 a.m. when classes are in session. For these come-and-go sessions, students sign in with their name and writing goals. When they depart, they indicate how long they wrote and whether they accomplished their goals.

“I am honored that NAGS has recognized the outstanding contributions of our writing programs. They are truly innovative with a large scope, drawing participants from a wide range of fields and disciplines,” said Barbara A. Knuth, senior vice provost and dean of the Graduate School.

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