A chapter penned by the writing faculty of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) has appeared in a book that won the 2017 Outstanding Book Award from the US-based National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

The chapter was authored by current WCM-Q professors of writing Alan S Weber, Rodney X Sharkey and Krystyna Golkowska, in partnership with former WCM-Q professors of writing Mary Ann Rishel, Autumn Watts, and Ian Miller. Their chapter appeared in a book on international writing practices entitled Transnational Writing Program Administration, edited by Dr David S Martins from the Rochester Institute of Technology, New York.

The chapter describes challenges that the WCM-Q Writing Program faced in translating American models of writing pedagogy in the context of Arabian Gulf education in Education City, Qatar as well as within an overseas medical school, explained Dr Alan Weber, Associate Professor of English at WCM-Q.

Our chapter analysed how our programme was able to respond to cohorts of students trained in very different educational paradigms, such as the kuttab system. In this form of traditional Gulf school, the instruction is often teacher- rather than student-centred and memorisation of knowledge takes precedence.’

WCM-Q is part of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York and Cornell University at Ithaca, Upstate New York, which is one of the prestigious Ivy League group of institutions renowned for academic excellence.

Dr Weber added that in Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) model of writing, writing instructors emphasise the process of writing as a means of building knowledge and clarifying thought. Thus writing becomes a process of intellectual discovery, and assists in developing creative and innovative problem-solving abilities and fostering critical and analytical thinking skills which are central to a knowledge economy. Many of the insights detailed in the chapter relate to the implementation of the Writing Across the Curriculum model in Qatar at WCM-Q.

The award was announced at the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). The CCCC, which has more than 5,000 members and subscribers, forms part of the NCTE and supports and promotes the teaching and study of composition, rhetoric, and communication skills at college level, both in undergraduate and graduate programmes. The National Council of Teachers of English, established in 1911 with 35,000 individual and institutional members worldwide, is the largest, oldest and arguably the most prestigious professional organisation for English teachers in the world.

Dr Martins, the editor of the book, received the award on behalf of the authors at a ceremony held in Portland, Oregon. Dr Martins is an Associate Professor of Writing and Writing Director at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, New York. He also oversees the writing programmes at RIT Dubai University, and is an authority in the field of transnational writing instruction and how American writing pedagogies can be adapted to new overseas contexts to best serve students.

Professor Krystyna Golkowska, WCM-Q Associate Professor of English, said that the Writing Faculty at WCM-Q view their classes as opportunities to help WCM-Q students appreciate just how valuable liberal arts education is as a means for personal and professional development.

We emphasise not only exposure to humanistic thought and building the culture of reading and writing but also self-reflection and intercultural competence. We are very gratified that our exploration of these themes in the chapter was able to contribute to Dr Martins’ book winning the 2017 NCTE Outstanding Book Award.’

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