Courses Taught: Sociology & Social Problems
As an instructor of 100-level classes (Introduction to Sociology and Social Problems) Terri Schuurmans does not expect her primarily freshman students to be perfect writers. She does, however, expect her students to possess basic reading and writing skills that one anticipates a high school graduate should have. In spite of her expectations, Schuurmans laments this is not always the case.
Though writing is not a major focus of Schuurmans' classes, she does not downplay the importance of writing in both academic and professional settings, deeming it "extremely important".
"If I could not write then I would not be here very long," believes Schuurmans. "If you want to get a job in the real world, then you need to write."
Schuurmans also relates that writing in the workplace is different than writing in an academic setting. Grant writing in particular is one area she has had to employ a different style of writing. "There are some terms and words that are phrased differently than [normal writing]," says Schuurmans.
As far as the role technology plays in academic and professional writing, Schuurmans sees positives and negatives. The positives for her include the spell checker -- Schuurmans admits she has never been a perfect speller herself -- and grammar checker, although she believes students don't use that feature as much as they ought. The downside includes the loss of handwriting skills. "You cannot read [handwriting] . . . its not beautiful, and [students] do not learn how to write personal notes," states Schuurmans.