This year we’re taking you behind the scenes to see how PWC operates and hear from key people on the administrative and teaching staff. Trevor Arkell is PWC’s new Program Coordinator, managing the administration of the program. In this post, we asked him to reflect on the way writing curriculum has evolved over his tenure at Humber, and the PWC program so far.
I came to Humber College in 1997, teaching part-time. I was hired full-time in 2002. Since 2012, I have been the coordinator for all English courses at the Lakeshore.
This past fall I took on coordinatorship of the PWC program, a position I am very excited to undertake.
I see the PWC program as the latest evidence that the English department is pushing into new realms and ways of educating students about writing.
To give you a sense of this trajectory, I thought it would be helpful to reflect on our evolution so far.
When I first arrived, Humber’s writing courses were already distinct in a number of ways. The program offered two distinct streams, one for native speakers and one for speakers of other languages (ESL). The program had exams, and it offered upgrading courses for those who needed extra help. It was great to have all those options.
Since then, the department has innovated in other ways:
- developing a technical writing stream for students in technical programs, for both native and other speakers
- establishing a much stronger link between what is learned in the first and second semesters
- moving away from current-traditional models of writing instruction, to emphasize the overt relationship between reading, writing, and thinking
- focusing in its second-semester courses on project-based learning
- displacing traditional textbooks with faculty-developed course materials
We’ve also moved into the literary realm with our new journal, The Humber Literary Review, whose work is being noticed in very significant ways.
And then we created PWC!
With the establishment of the PWC program in 2015, the department has further developed its commitment to student writing success.
In developing a professional writing program, we knew that it was important to stay aware of changes in the professional writing world. The PWC program is fortunate to have very knowledgeable teachers with lots of industry experience. They help the students to shift their writing skills from the academy to the workplace.
As professional writers, students need to know about project management, digital, writing principles, repurposing, strategic writing, editing, storytelling, research, and freelancing. We teach all of those topics.
To prepare PWC students for the world outside the classroom, we also created industry networking events such as the one we had last fall, and mock employment interviews with help from the Humber Employment Centre team. After two semesters of course work, students are ready to get out there into the writing world, with internship opportunities facilitated by our placement coordinator Nicole. And of course, our student advisor Beth-Anne is always there to help the students navigate all of it.
All in all, it’s a very exciting program, and I hope the students are enjoying it. I look forward to seeing them progress as the year goes on.