Help Search Campus Map Directories Webmail Home Alumnae Academics Admission Athletics Student Life Offices & Services Library & Technology News & Events About the College Navigation Bar

Title
SPRING 2000
VOLUME 4
NUMBER 3
SPECIAL EDITION

MHC In The Media
Making Headlines: MHC In
The Media

Joanne Creighton
Joanne Creighton

Beverly Daniel Tatum
Beverly Daniel Tatum

Francine Deutsch
Francine Deutsch

Joseph Ellis
Joseph Ellis

Martha Ackmann
Martha Ackmann

Christopher Benfey
Christopher Benfey

Barbara Cassani
Barbara Cassani '82

Students As Newsmakers
Students As Newsmakers


Mount Holyoke News
News Bites

Return to
Vista Home Page


Dots...

Mount Holyoke College

Last spring, Mount Holyoke College's Speaking, Arguing and Writing program (SAW) was thrust into the national news as an antidote to the distinctly informal patois of American teens, known as "mallspeak." Mount Holyoke's successful program, which emphasizes issues far beyond the media's "mallspeak" focus, attracted several news crews to the campus and was hailed as a model for the country. Of particular interest was the College's innovative approach to teaching students across the curriculum how to advance clear and cogent ideas in speech and writing.

SAW began out of a "concern that the fabric of public discourse has deteriorated," said Lee Bowie, Weissman Center codirector, SAW director, and professor of philosophy, in a front-page story in the Los Angeles Times.ABC's Good Morning America featured SAW as a leader in the effort to improve students' speaking and arguing abilities. Fox News and ABC's 20/20 both devoted segments to the "vernacular of the twentysomethings" and cast Mount Holyoke as a "solution." In addition, National Public Radio's All Things Considered highlighted Mount Holyoke's emphasis on the cogency of thinking first and delivery second.

The Chronicle of Higher Education,in an article titled "Taking Aim at Student Incoherence," announced the sizable funding gift that secured Mount Holyoke's successful program for the future. The generous donation from Paul and Harriet Levine Weissman '58 provided for SAW's merger with the College's Center for Leadership and Public Interest Advocacy. The two programs are now under the umbrella of the Weissman Center for Leadership.

Designed not merely to eliminate "you knows" and "likes," SAW strives to create a culture of conversation, engaging students through interactive and innovative methods such as trials, simulations, and reenactments, as well as through classes, classroom presentations, and special workshops. Last year, 1,500 students enrolled in writing-intensive courses (eighty-two are offered) and 558 signed up for speaking-intensive courses (thirty-eight are available). In addition, SAW trains student mentors who collaborate with faculty to work one-on-one with students in mentored courses. SAW also works with student groups and makes grants available for course development.

"Students have become much more aware that the ability to construct persuasive arguments, and to speak and write well, makes them more effective in their civic and professional lives," says Weissman Center codirector Eva Paus, a professor of economics at the College. Through SAW's programs, Mount Holyoke students are feeling better equipped for academic challenges, for job interviews, and for life beyond their college years.

 

----------------------------------------

Copyright © 2000 Mount Holyoke College. This page created and maintained by Don St. John. Last modified on April 27, 2000.