Re: “Some Classes Not Core to Students’ Learning Desires:
Staff writer Marlena Holenski: That noise you heard last week? It was members of my English Department, high-fiving one another and cheering after reading your article. We couldn’t agree more with your claim that “writing well is the most valuable skill that anyone can have” regardless of one’s major. (Nor will you get any argument here that there could be more required English courses.) On behalf of my colleagues, I’d like to make you our honorary English Department Public Relations Spokesperson. Or at least treat you to lunch.Here’s the good news though: the state of student writing at St. John’s has never been better. Thanks to Father Harrington’s goal that all St. John’s students have a reputation for successful writing, and generous (very generous!) donor support, we now have the Institute for Writing Studies located on the fist floor of the Queens library, with a second site in Mahoney Hall on the Staten Island campus. The IWS is actually a combination of several programs. First, the Writing Center formerly located in St. John Hall has moved into the new Institute. We now have more than 40 undergraduate and graduate consultants (a.k.a. tutors) eager to discuss writing in one-on-one sessions with any member of the St. John’s community. In the past four weeks we have already held more than 580 sessions! Second, there is now a brand new Writing Center on the Staten Island campus directed by Dr. Harry Denny, a nationally recognized expert in Writing Center pedagogy. This Writing Center also features undergraduate and graduate consultants trained to work with all members of the St. John’s community on virtually any writing task.We now have a First Year Writing program. Fifteen full-time writing faculty were hired to teach the core ENG 1000C course. These faculty–all of them published writers with expertise in teaching composition–have offices adjacent to the Writing Centers, allowing for greater dialogue among students and faculty.And finally, we’re establishing a Writing Across the Curriculum program, intended to assist faculty in developing new approaches to writing and also to promote writing intensive courses throughout the disciplines.In sum, the state of writing instruction has never been better. And we’re not finished: next year we expect to hire more full-time writing faculty, along with additional Directors for the Writing Center and the WAC program. If you haven’t already, drop by and visit either of our sites. And don’t forget to see me for that free lunch!
Dr. Derek OwensAssociate Professor of EnglishDirector, Institute for Writing Studies
Re: “New Freshman Rushing into Greek Life?”
I would like to commend Casey Tolfree for her article entitled ‘New Freshman Rushing Into Greek Life?’ which ran in the Sept. 27 issue of The Torch. Ms. Tolfree tackled a sensitive topic in a reasonable and objective manner. Over the past four years, as a daily visitor to Greek Life’s de facto home in the University Center, I can certainly attest to the great work that they do and the countless benefits that they provide for members and for the surrounding community. Joining Greek Life is inarguably a serious commitment, and that stands as a credit to each and every organization within it. If it required little dedication and was simply another line on a r√©sum√© then it would be reflected in their every action.Ms. Tolfree’s suggestion of moving RUSH back a semester is an important one to consider for Greek Life, and I sincerely hope that they do not brush it aside. Each fraternity and sorority will certainly grow stronger and more dedicated when those that are pledging have time to establish themselves as college students. There really is no downside to this point unless those in question value quantity over quality.
Albert SilvestriGraduate StudentSt. John’s College Former Torch Editor in Cheif
Re: “Papal Problem” Sept. 20 issue
Ms. Lopez’s editorial about the Pope’s quote is nothing more than a rehash of what was written in the media! Her editorial is the same knee jerk response has the rest of the media. It does not give any additional insight to the story. I would suggest that a thorough look at what the Pope was talking about would give you and your readers a better understanding of the issue. Did she read the complete text of the Pope’s speech? Taking one thing out of context and making it the whole story is not good journalism. Not for the Torch and not for any other media!
Joseph A. DeInnocentiisSt. John’s University Information Technology and Classroom Support