Research on Faculty Writing

Faculty benefit from identifying as writers.  Peter Elbow, Professor Emeritus at University of Massachusetts Amherst and Director of the Writing Program from 1996 to 2000, has written extensively on the writing process. Many of his ideas are now common practice in composition classrooms. Most recently, he has turned his attention to the unique demands of faculty writing.

One of the key components for faculty in becoming more productive in their scholarship, Elbow has said, is to identify as writers. Most faculty see themselves primarily as thinkers, scientists, or scholars. They "talk, do research, go to conferences, teach, figure things out, reason, analyze, argue." Yet, they don't often really see themselves as writers, Elbow asserts, even though writing is integral to being a professor. 

To identify as writers means acknowledging the difference between coming up with ideas and getting these same ideas written down clearly and efficiently. These different facets of scholarship--initiating writing and bringing a project to fruition--each require a different set of skills. Villanova's faculty writing support focuses on this second part of the process: the developing, clarifying, extending, and optimal sharing of faculty insights.