Date Approved

2012

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

English Language and Literature

First Advisor

Derek N. Mueller

Second Advisor

Bernard A. Miller

Abstract

As a student in the final throes of undergraduate work, I've begun to look back at my college career and consider the academic experiences that made me into the writer I am today. The element that most intrigues me is the role my professors have had in shaping my writing voice and approach, and as I move forward in academia, I can't help but wonder about the dynamic between the student writer and the professor reader. Academic writing, to me, has sometimes felt bound within the four walls of the institution, making the writing I have done for classes feel like it is meant for professors' eyes only. I wonder what effect this single audience has had in shaping me as an academic writer. Obviously there are times and classes where having a sole reader of work is both appropriate and freeing, and this is especially true in early composition classes where student writers are developing confidence. But, for me, this dynamic did not change much as I progressed through my undergraduate degree, and I have to imagine that this constant and familiar single audience played a part in molding who I am as an academic writer. So, I set out to discover the effects a professor has on student writing when acting as a terminal audience. Do students approach academic writing for a professor differently than they approach self-directed writing? How do students view their class assignments in terms of their validity for publication or even for sharing with loved ones? And what are the alternatives to having the professor act as a sole audience? These are the questions I intend to answer.

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