By Ben Rodgers ’15
After finishing her PhD dissertation, Beth Beggs vowed, ”I will never write anything again as long as I live.”
It was a short-lived promise, which is good news for Simpson, as Beggs was recently hired as Director of the college’s Writing Across the Curriculum Program
According to Beggs Writing Across the Curriculum Emphasizes the importance of students being able to write across numerous disciplines not just focusing on writing within their area of study.
Beggs is excited about expanding the Writing Across the Curriculum Program, saying it’s an important part of Simpson’s mission.
“It’s important because that means Simpson recognizes that writing isn’t just something you’re going to be doing in the class room, it’s something you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life,” she said.
Beggs said that most schools have students take an introductory composition course their first year of school.
“The problem with that model is students don’t really have a writing course until they graduate,” Beggs said. “They may write for their capstone or senior project, but they’re not really instructed to write between freshman year and maybe graduate school for some students.”
Beggs said that with this approach students might be unprepared to adapt to writing situations in the professional world or even graduate work.
“Writing Across the Curriculum means students aren’t just going to do writing for courses, but actually be instructed in how to write across their different courses and across their whole undergraduate careers,” Beggs said.
“It’s a much more thorough writing education,” Beggs said. “It respects writing as a discipline, rather than skills we can pick up easily.”
Once the school year starts Beggs hopes to bring some new and interesting ideas to the program.
“I want to start giving out awards to writers in different disciplines,” Beggs said. “That is unusual, you don’t usually see awards for a good biology report or a good accounting review of journal articles.”
A native of Georgia, Beggs received her bachelors and masters degree in English at the University of Western Georgia and received her PhD this May in rhetoric composition at the University of Georgia.
With finishing up her doctorate and accepting a new job Beggs stays busy. In her spare time she enjoys knitting, but she says it’s hard to find a good yarn store in Iowa.
Beggs is also an avid reader. Along with knitting one of Beggs’ other pursuits is reading. When she’s not reading something by her favorite authors like Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, or Stephen King, she enjoys reading about how to teach writing.
“It’s been so long since I’ve read for fun,” Beggs said. “Even the stuff I’ve read for fun has been work related.”
It’s that enthusiasm that Beggs hopes to pass on to Simpson Students
“I love reading and watching student writing grow,” she said. “When a student goes ‘Oh yeah I can do that,’ that’s the moment for me.”