Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

Dr. Catherine Quick

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of Dr. Catherine Quick

Making the Write Change

As director of the Coastal Bend Writing Project (CBWP), Dr. Catherine Quick is working to change the trend of high illiteracy and dropout rates in the region. She founded the program in 2009 through its parent organization, the National Writing Project, to make a difference.

Through the CBWP, more than area 100 teachers representing all academic areas have improved their teaching and writing skills. Their upgraded knowledge is now reaching thousands of students from pre-K to college level.

“There’s a dire need in the Coastal Bend for programs that promote literacy,” said Quick, associate professor in the Department of English. “What makes our program different is that we reach out to teachers. We consider them the most important agents for educational change. We empower them to form a supportive community of educators who are better equipped to address
the difficult issues faced by teachers today.”

Throughout the year, the CBWP offers several learning opportunities including a four-week intensive writing/teaching summer institute, a one-day annual conference on the instructional strategies of teaching writing, and Saturday Seminars. According to Quick, research indicates that students who are in classrooms with writing project teachers show gains in all areas of writing as compared to their peers who are not in the classroom with writing project teachers.

“Teachers who participate in the program return to the classroom full of fresh ideas,” said Quick. “Our teachers are able to help students with the rhetorical flexibility that allows them to write in different genres and take their writing from discipline to discipline as well as into the workplace.”

Quick explains that writing is the foundation to any discipline including math, science and social studies, and she wants to emphasize that the best teachers of writing are writers themselves.

Due to federal budget cuts, funding for the National Writing Project ceased in March 2011. To sustain the work of the CBWP, Quick is seeking funding through grants, scholarships, and private donors.
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