New Stylus helps students inside and outside the classroom

September 7, 2017
Stylus Cover

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – This fall, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville English Program will release the 2017-2018 edition of “Stylus: An Anthology of College Writing,” a collection of exemplary freshman writing. Thirty-eight students whose essays were chosen for publication in the new edition, as well as last year’s edition, will be honored at the “Best of Stylus” awards banquet this fall in the Nohr Gallery.

Published since 2009, the anthology serves as a showcase for outstanding freshman writing and includes the work of hundreds of student writers from a wide variety of disciplines. Through the years, more than 1,500 students have submitted their work. As a required, supplemental text for three college writing courses, the anthology also serves as a practical teaching tool for instructors in the composition program – a tool that provides models that demonstrate the conventions of academic writing.

Each issue features a variety of papers, ranging from personal narratives to complete research papers.

“The possibility of getting published in ‘Stylus’ has engaged students in the writing process and motivated them to work harder at their writing,” said Dr. Kory Wein, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Education at UW-Platteville and senior editor of “Stylus.” “Overall, more than 80 percent of students surveyed said they found the anthology to be a valuable tool in understanding the writing process – an important goal of first-year composition.”

“Stylus” project coordinator Kelsey Bigelow, who graduated from UW-Platteville in May with a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in professional writing, said that working on “Stylus” for the past three years has taught her important publishing and editing skills that made her highly marketable. Only two months after she earned her degree, Two Rivers Marketing, a marketing agency in Des Moines, Iowa, offered her an editor position, which she accepted. She began her new position Aug. 21.

Bigelow said that serving as the project coordinator of “Stylus” prepared her for her career in multiple ways.

“Being the project coordinator taught me an incredible amount about the publishing and editing processes, as well as about myself as a person,” said Bigelow. “It showed me the portions of the process that I prefer to work with, such as the manuscript organization and coordinating between editors and designers, and it taught me how to remain firm in the timelines I set but patient when things don’t go as planned. Because of the nature of the project, my editing skills have sharpened, and I am prepared to work under tight deadlines and with people of all personalities and work ethics.”

Elinor Burton, editorial assistant of “Stylus” and a senior literature and professional writing major, also plans to pursue a career in editing when she graduates this December. She said that her work on the anthology has provided her with the skills and experience she will need in the field.

“Working on ‘Stylus’ has been a valuable experience for me,” said Burton. “As an editorial assistant, I had the opportunity to review student submissions and go through the selection process with the editors. I’ve learned how a team of editors evaluates each other’s edits and determines what material is best to publish in an anthology. Having that behind-the-scenes look of what goes into the construction of an anthology’s manuscript has given me a better idea of what exactly my responsibilities will be as an editor in the future.”

Bigelow and Burton noted that the “Stylus” is an excellent example of one of the high-impact practices that the university is committed to providing its students.

“We work hard every year to create a new and up-to-date tool for our students to learn from in their classrooms,” said Bigelow. “‘Stylus’ is more than just a textbook we ask our students to purchase. It’s a method for students to learn about their own writing process. It’s a tool for our professors to use each year that presents new ideas and fresh assignments. It’s an opportunity for students to be published, which is a huge deal. It’s also a way for English majors to give back to our campus as well as gain experience with the publishing world. I have such a high appreciation for all that ‘Stylus’ does, and I hope it continues to grow and be utilized even more.”

The “Stylus” editorial team included Wein, Bigelow, and Burton as well as Abbey Pignatari, editorial assistant and sophomore professional writing major from McHenry, Illinois; Dr. James Romesburg, assistant professor of English and director of English Composition; Dr. Enrique Reynoso, assistant professor of English writing; and Kathryn Weller, coordinator of the Writing Center. Editors vote on the top three writers and any who were published multiple times to determine those who would receive monetary awards for the bi-annual banquet.

The “Stylus” awards and banquet are made possible through the generous support of alumna Helene Hurley-Magee (’71, sociology), member of the UW-Platteville Alumni Board; the Department of Humanities; and the Writing Center.

Written by: Laurie A. Hamer, Communications Specialist, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu

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