¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Hello! Welcome to MALS Writes: an interactive guidebook for writers enrolled in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program at The Graduate Center, CUNY in New York City.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 This project began with a survey of MALS students. It examined what you’re writing now, what you’ve written in the past, and the kinds of challenges that you’ve faced while writing for MALS and preparing for coursework.
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 The results revealed that MALS students are 21st century writers. MALS writes. A lot. You write for fun, for art, for work, for school. Your write for multiple audiences. You make scholarly work, journalism, poetry, reports, blogs, grant proposals, podcasts, legal briefs, Tweets, and seminar papers. Some of you make almost all of those things in a given semester.
¶ 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 And yet, despite all of the writing that you’re already doing, many of you indicated that it doesn’t always translate directly to the kind of writing you’re supposed to do in your coursework.
¶ 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Some of you have been out of school for a long time, and things have changed. Some of you are unfamiliar with the conventions of the kind of academic writing your professors are asking you to produce. And many of you mentioned that you feel as though you’re supposed to magically intuit what your academic audiences expect from you. As a graduate student myself, I’m extremely familiar with that feeling.
¶ 6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 In this guidebook, I hope to use work from the field of Writing Studies to continue a critical and collective conversation about the kinds of genres that you might encounter in the MALS program and in academic work more generally. My intention is to make their purposes and “hidden” rules a bit more transparent, but also to consider these genres critically.
¶ 7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 However, as this survey very clearly demonstrated, this community has a lot of valuable knowledge to share. MALS is a big, diverse program which often requires students to write across disciplines (and in disciplinary discourse communities where I’m personally not a member). So, I’m hoping that you’ll help me to make this a collective experience.
¶ 8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 Please add your own thoughts: your comments, your questions, your corrections, your nuances, your challenges to the assumptions that I’m making. I hope you’ll also read your peers’ feedback and answer their questions with generosity if you have some insight to share. And please read the model papers or sections of papers and help me in thanking your colleagues who’ve given us access to their work and your professors who have generously annotated it.