Writing and the Dominican Tradition at Albertus Magnus College

AMCstmartindeporres-49Writing as a form of engaged scholarship and preaching is integral to the Dominican Tradition at Albertus Magnus College. From the inception of the Order of Preachers in the 13th century when Saint Dominic advocated a “pursuit of truth” through scholarly work and preaching, among other approaches (2-3), the Dominican Order has been committed to sharing the fruits of contemplation with others. Since it requires persuasion, knowledge of audience and clear communication, preaching requires a thorough understanding of rhetoric. At Albertus Magnus College, students are given many opportunities to improve their writing and understanding of rhetoric in foundational English classes as well as through interdisciplinary writing intensive classes, and this emphasis helps students develop as communicators as well as engaged scholars and potential preachers.

The development of rhetorical understanding is integral to the growth of a writer and therefore key to students’ ability to preach in an effective, compassionate and clear manner. Through their study of argument; audience; correct grammar; and the rhetorical appeals of logos, pathos and ethos, students learn to develop the sensitivity and ability to write effectively and persuasively. Therefore, students’ efforts to improve their writing skills and their understanding of rhetoric directly support the Dominican Heritage and help sustain the Dominican Tradition at Albertus Magnus College.

Requiring that students develop their writing skills is also a commitment to the Dominican value of engaged scholarship, which was advocated and embodied by Thomas Aquinas and Albert the Great, among many other Dominican saints and scholars (3). After all, writing enables scholars to both share the fruits of their contemplation with the world and connect with other scholars (7). Once scholars have contemplated – often through writing — they are able to share and communicate truths with others.

Students benefit from developing their writing skills and understanding of rhetoric even if they don’t pursue the life of a scholar. Students will need rhetorical understanding — knowledge of audience, subject, purpose, genre and context — whenever they write a cover letter for a job or a business memo to an office staff. The ability to clearly, effectively and wisely communicate is a worthwhile pursuit that will enable students to share their knowledge in an effective way in whatever field they choose.

Writing is therefore integral to our Dominican Heritage of preaching, students’ needs to develop scholarship and rhetorical understanding, and the practical education that Albertus Magnus College is dedicated to giving its students.

Works Cited

The Dominican Charism in Higher Education: A Vision in the Search of Truth. River Forest, IL: Dominican University, 2012. Print.

natalie-devaullNatalie Devaull
English Department
Assistant Professor, Director of the Writing Program

Write Place, Right Time

“Writing takes time – and patience, more than anything else. If you are willing to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite, you will become a good writer.” – Richard Rodriguez

IMG_7464Working at the Albertus Writing Center rerouted the course of my life. Before I was hired there in my freshman year, I had no interest in teaching whatsoever. I loved to write and even enjoyed public speaking, but the idea of lecturing a group of bored students about my passion filled me with dread. I couldn’t cope with that kind of dismissal. I spent years insisting that I would never teach.

However, once I began working at the Writing Center, my perspective changed. At the Writing Center, associates don’t just correct papers: we help students identify their unique writing struggles and teach them the skills to work through those issues on their own. I found myself explaining everything from comma placement to quotation usage, and for every bored student, there were so many who wanted to learn. I watched returning appointees grow more and more comfortable with their own writing. The first time that one of these students proudly corrected a problem before I could point it out, I realized that I truly could make an impact doing something I loved.

Because the Writing Center assists students with their writing across all disciplines, I’ve spent just as much time learning during my appointments. Working with students outside the English program, I’ve learned so much about philosophy, business, art therapy — the list is endless. Even outside the Center, friends I’ve made both at school and online ask me to define metonymy or explain verb tenses, and in turn they teach me about their passions. As I entered my senior year, I realized that I never wanted to stop having this in my life.

Before the Albertus Writing Center, I’d never have dreamed of graduate school. I’d never have imagined applying for TA positions or hoping to become a college professor. Now, as a senior graduating in December 2013, I intend to pursue a doctorate in Composition and Rhetoric, with the ultimate goal of leading another Writing Center. If I can change even one mind about writing through that, I’ve done something right.

IMG_7432Students can make an appointment at the Writing Center by calling the Writing Center (773-8590), emailing the Writing Center (wcenter@albertus.edu) or coming to speak to us in person during our regular hours. The Writing Center, is located on the second floor of Rosary Hall, is open from: 9:00am-8:00pm on Monday-Thursday and 9:00am-3:00pm on Friday.

Tori Sheldon Portrait IMG_4298Before coming to Albertus, I spent years insisting that I never wanted to be a teacher. I loved writing of all stripes, but I felt that English teaching positions focused too much on content and too little on writing technique and composition. That changed once I began working in the Albertus Writing Center. I finally saw my potential to help others in exactly the field I thought didn’t exist. I was encouraged to explain technique and composition so that students might better discuss their content. The first time that a returning student proudly corrected a sentence without my help, I realized that I had made an actual impact doing something I loved, and I knew I wanted to do more.

Working as a writing tutor leaked into my other interests and activities: friends I’ve made through online gaming now ask me to define metonymy or explain verb tenses, and I’ve begun creating art tutorials along with my hobby drawing. I participated in the English Club and worked on Breakwater’s review committee, although I’ve left both to focus on my academics in my final semester. Now, as a senior graduating in December 2013, I intend to pursue a doctorate in Rhetoric with the ultimate goal of becoming a college professor and heading a Writing Center of my own.

Thanking an Employer after a Career Fair

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A Career Fair is an excellent opportunity to meet and network with recruiters who are hiring for positions; however, your communication with these recruiters shouldn’t end at the fair. The truth of the matter is that many recruiters leave fairs with dozens of resumes in hand. (In fact, at this year’s Albertus Magnus College Career Fair on February 25, most recruiters left saying they had met with 30 candidates and up, and some had just as many resumes.)

If you really want to work for a company or companies that you met at the fair, sending a follow-up thank you note is the next step to get noticed. Please follow these important tips.

Paragraph 1: Please thank the recruiter for spending time with you at the fair. Your first paragraph can say something like this: “This is a quick note to thank you for taking the time to meet with me at the Albertus Magnus College Career Fair on February 25. After speaking with you, I am quite interested in working for your company, especially in the XYZ position you mentioned that will be available in the next few months. As a college senior, I’m eager to begin working in a full-time capacity after my graduation in May.”

Paragraph 2: In this paragraph, repeat why you would be a great candidate for a particular position or for the company in general. Here’s an example: “I am highly interested in your customer service representative position at Verizon Wireless. My two years’ customer service experience, along with my training in business communications, speech communications and writing, would make me an excellent fit to join your team.”

Paragraph 3: Your final paragraph should thank the recruiter one last time for his or her consideration of you as a candidate. Here is a good place to mention a memorable moment or a specific conversation you had with the recruiter: “It was a pleasure to speak with you about the many positions available at Aflac. I especially enjoyed hearing about the extensive training programs you offer to all of your employees. What a great opportunity! I thank you for your time and hope you will find me to be a qualified candidate for your company.”

When you’re done writing your letter, please check for any grammatical, spelling, alignment or font issues. Be sure not to overlook review of tenses and send it out promptly (within a week of the fair if possible); Finally, if you have the time and clear, legible handwriting, you may want to hand write a note—this will make an impression on the recipient. If this is not viable, then send a thank you email. Your follow up will keep the interviewer thinking about you. After all, you are worth thinking about!2014_03_05_ThankingEmployerThankYouGraphicBosely_Boyce_AnnetteAnnette Bosley-Boyce is Director of Career Services at Albertus Magnus College and author of The College Success Plan. As Director of Career Services, Ms. Bosley-Boyce assists students with career planning, resume and cover letter writing, LinkedIn profiles, job searches, and interview techniques. When she’s not assisting students with their “career education,” she’s developing rapports with employers in the area and coordinating events such as the college’s annual career fair and on-campus recruiting days.

Annette Bosley-Boyce received a Master of Arts degree in English with a concentration in writing and women’s studies from Southern Connecticut State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Spanish from Sacred Heart University.

Having extensive experience in higher education, Ms. Bosley-Boyce has worked in administrative and faculty roles at various colleges for over 15 years. Her background includes career counseling, admissions, academic advisement, residential life, and enrollment management.