LSU’s Writing Project Shifts to 100% Online in Response to COVID-19

June 18, 2020

The Annual LSU Writing Project Summer Institute, typically an intimate, personalized institute, was reconceptualized due to the safety and health concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Sassy C. Wheeler and Dr. Courtney Brown, this summer’s co-directors and School of Education faculty, quickly pivoted, delivering the 2020 Invitational Summer Institute 100% online.

The Invitational Summer Institute’s intent is to improve teaching of writing. The participants must first view themselves as writers, then teachers of writing, which ultimately, helps Louisiana students become accomplished writers and learners. Participants who complete all course requirements for the summer institute earn the badge of being a National Writing Project Teacher Consultant, signifying and recognizing their ability to deliver professional development in writing pedagogy, and earning endorsement from the LSU WP site.

“Drs. Wheeler and Brown are not only consummate professionals but also, truly innovative writing professionals,” said Dr. Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell, LSU Writing Project director. “When LSU officials made the call to provide all summer options online, I literally sat back and smiled, knowing these astute scholars would provide a quality learning experience.”

This year's Invitational Summer Institute is being co-directed by Dr. Wheeler, who is in her third year of working with the project. Wheeler brings a wealth of experiences to the 2020 Invitational Summer Institute including her extensive background in special education, proficiency with differentiated instruction, knowledge and skill in expediating multicultural education, familiarity with inquiry-based learning, expertise with at-risk student populations, and involvement in both instructional and leadership coaching. Dr. Wheeler was Co-PI of a 2017 National Writing Project Invitational Leadership grant focused on supporting effective educator development. She was also a founding Board Member of Success Preparatory Academy in New Orleans.

Dr. Brown earned her doctorate from the School of Education in 2018 and is the first returning Teacher Consultant to co-direct an Invitational Summer Institute. Her unique ability to integrate the theoretical concepts of writing with creative practical applications is a remarkable benefit to the 2020 Invitational Summer Institute. Brown brings to the Summer Institute many years of experience in teaching students from elementary through college as well as deep experience facilitating programming and professional development for content area teachers (Brown facilitated the Caddo Parish - WP Collaborative) and community partners (Brown has consulted with West Baton Rouge Museum & Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities) desiring to integrate writing in meaningful ways.

“The Summer Institute has a very long history of producing outstanding writers who amplify their unique summer writing experiences with their students in the capital region's classrooms,” said Dr. Neil Mathews, LSU School of Education director. “The Project faculty and students form a tight bond using words to express their thoughts. The School of Education is extremely proud of the outcome.”

About the LSU Writing Project

Established in 1985, the Louisiana State University Writing Project (LSU WP), an official site of the National Writing Project, promotes the exploration of writing, dissemination of writing research, and the sharing and diffusion of recommended writing practice among educators. Housed in the School of Education, within the College of Human Sciences and Education, the LSU WP is the School of Education’s most senior Project and enjoys a rich tradition of disseminating writing pedagogical practices in Louisiana and beyond.

Visit the LSU Writing Project.

About LSU School of Education (SOE)
A school of the College of Human Sciences & Education, SOE offers undergraduate programs for students who want to pursue a career as a pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teacher or acquire dual certification in both traditional elementary and special education classrooms. Besides providing graduate certification in early childhood education and instructional coaching, SOE offers a master’s degree in arts, arts in teaching, education (MEd), education in counseling (MEd), certificate of education specialist (EdS) and PhD. The School’s mission is to prepare educational professionals to be leaders, practitioners, and scholars knowledgeable in contemporary educational issues.

Visit the LSU School of Education.

About LSU College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE)

The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The college is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development, the School of Library & Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs, 18 graduate programs, and 7 online graduate degree and/or certificate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 1,120 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is committed to improving quality of life across the lifespan.

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Photo of Sassy WheelerDr. Sassy Wheeler


Photo of Courtney Brown

Dr. Courtney Brown