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Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - Two OU professors win international writing award for their work
By Eric Reikowski, media relations assistant

Sherry Wynn Perdue (left) and Dana Driscoll won the 2012 Outstanding Article of the Year Award from the International Writing Center Association.
Two professors in OU’s Department of Writing and Rhetoric have earned wide acclaim for their work in the field. 

Assistant Professor Dana Driscoll, Ph.D. and Sherry Wynn Perdue, director of the OU Writing Center, were honored by the International Writing Center Association with the 2012 Outstanding Article of the Year Award. The article, “Theory, Lore and More: An Analysis of RAD Research in the Writing Center Journal, 1980-2009,” analyzed 290 articles in a leading writing journal to determine how much research was replicable, aggregable and data-supported.

According to Dr. Driscoll, the project provided “a clearer sense about what kinds of research took place across the history of the Writing Center Journal, which led us to a series of recommendations for supporting more RAD research in writing centers. This ultimately allows us to create tutorial practices that are more evidence-based and effective.”

Along with publishing articles, Dr. Driscoll has pursued numerous grants to support research into writing and learning at Oakland and beyond. She was part of a cross-institutional team of researchers recently awarded a $40,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation to fund work on the Writing Transfer Project, a two-year project involving four universities that encourages students to apply knowledge gained in writing classes across a variety of professional and academic settings.

“Through our multi-institutional, mixed-methods and longitudinal approach, we hope to create and assess pedagogical interventions that encourage students’ development as writers,” Dr. Driscoll explained. “We seek to provide U.S. college-level writing instructors with a research-based approach to aiding students in fostering transfer beyond the boundaries of the writing classroom, in adapting their writing from high school to college, from lower to upper division college classes, and aiding their knowledge transfer from college to professional and civic contexts.”

In 2011-2012, the project’s first year, data were collected from 41 sections across four universities with varying student demographics. These were OU, Wayne State University, Seton Hall University (New Jersey) and The George Washington University (Wash. D.C.) The team met in August 2012 for four days to analyze 176 student papers and 381 reflective papers from all four universities and is presenting the preliminary results of their study at the College on Composition and Communication in March 2013.

Later this year, Dr. Driscoll will again travel to Washington, D.C. to analyze longitudinal follow-ups with study participants to gauge the effectiveness of the study’s pilot courses in encouraging transfer of learning. The Spencer Foundation grant and a $10,000 Research Initiative grant from the Conference on College Competition and Communication will fund the trip and support further data analysis. 
For more information on OU’s Department of Writing and Rhetoric, visit the website

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