Under Matthew Pavesich, Krieger offers expanded writing instruction – The Hub at Johns Hopkins
Nov 19, 2021
For Matthew Pavesich, writing isn’t something you learn how to do once and then you’re done. Writing is something you learn, and then you learn some more, and then you learn even more, throughout your life, as your circumstances and reasons to write evolve.
As the new director of Johns Hopkins’ Expository Writing Program, Pavesich is focusing on one of the earlier stations along that lifelong route: the undergraduate period. The program will deliver a writing class to every first-year student in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences beginning in spring 2023 and will offer writing instruction integrated into each Krieger School major throughout a student’s career.
“Writing programs can’t always count on the attention, support, and investment that Hopkins is showing now. This is a rare opportunity,” Pavesich says.
Hopkins’ approach to undergraduate writing instruction shifted with the 2020 arrival of CUE2: the set of recommendations by the Second Commission on Undergraduate Education that will guide the university’s teaching and learning model for the next 10-plus years. Among other priorities, it calls for instruction in six “foundational abilities,” the first of which reads: “Students should recognize the importance of language and have a command of it as readers, writers, and speakers.”
“Writing is about people. That’s why it’s so important to study and teach it, but also to love it and be careful with it because it’s a way of caring for others.”
Director, Expository Writing Program
With his background in rhetoric, pedagogy, and the public humanities, Pavesich stands poised to lead the Expository Writing Program into a new era of depth, breadth, and adaptability. One of the first orders of business is hiring: To meet the new first-year requirement, the program’s faculty is slated to almost triple in size over the next two years, with new hires hailing from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds—though all will bring expertise as both writers and teachers of writing. In the longer run, Pavesich expects the program to offer advanced undergraduate and, later, graduate courses in topics including advanced academic writing, writing in digital environments, public writing, professional writing, and maybe even personal writing—all in partnership with a range of departments and possibly community organizations, he says.
Pavesich envisions the first-year writing class as a “dynamic space” where students will learn to be “agile writers.” “Being an agile writer means being able to adapt to new styles, forms, and processes of writing but also anticipating the need …….