Published on May 13, 2013
Louise Miller, a professor in MU’s Sinclair School of Nursing, calls winning the Win Horner Award for Innovative Writing Intensive (WI) Teaching “a pinnacle of her career.”
MU’s Campus Writing Program created the award this year to honor Horner, who is a known nationally as a pioneer in writing across the curriculum. Horner chaired the task force that formed the Campus Writing Program in 1983.
The award recognizes faculty who are starting a new WI course or taking a new direction with their WI teaching. This may include a new, innovative WI course, or a new strategy and approach within an existing WI course.
“I very much appreciate being recognized for excellence as defined by Dr. Horner’s vision,” Miller says. “She is a visionary and innovator in teaching writing.”
Miller teaches an Evidence-Based Practice course for nurses who are registered nurses with an associate degree and already work in the field, but want to advance to the bachelor of science degree and beyond. In this course, Miller designed and instituted a writing based curriculum in which students learn to write persuasively, descriptively, and with audience awareness, research and technology skills.
Students in her course are asked to reflect on problems they see in their workplace, propose a clinical question related that problem, find relevant research to address the problem and create a video on the best solution they found based on published research.
“Designated Writing Intensive courses make explicit to students the notion that writing is important, requiring thoughtful planning and careful attention to detail as they work on, improve and potentially master good writing and communication skills,” Miller says.
Writing Intensive courses help produce an educated, articulate citizenry capable of reasoning critically, solving complex problems, and communicating with clear and effective language.
“Dr. Louise Miller is a worthy recipient as the first winner of this award,” says Amy Lannin, director of the Campus Writing Program. “She shares in Dr. Horner’s collaborative spirit of teaching and learning at MU and in the understanding of how important writing is to our students’ education.”
“As WI teachers, we have a clear charge to not only challenge our students while in the classroom to learn to write,” Miller adds, “but help them to see that writing to learn clearly and effectively are the essential communication skills needed for personal and professional successes well beyond one-semester course experiences.”
Miller knows as well as anyone the challenges writing can bring.
“For a number of years as an undergraduate student myself, I was a very poor writer,” Miller says. “I did not understand the concepts of audience and message, and the relationship of these to myself as the author. With the support of Campus Writing Program coordinators and my Writing Intensive partners across campus, I have had the opportunity to learn to write and write to learn.”
The mission of the Campus Writing Program is to support faculty as the primary agents of writing across the curriculum theories and practices in educating students through principles of “writing-to-learn” and “learning-to-write.”