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1 Hello. My name is Madeline Walker, and I am the School of Nursing s Writing Scholar. After three years on a full- time contract, I am now (as of July 2013) half time in this role. I work one on one with distance nursing students on their writing. Additionally, I teach the following distance courses: NURS 400 (Academic Writing for Nurses a 1.5 credit elective) and NURS 500 (Scholarly Writing in Nursing a 1.5 credit elective). NURS 500 will be a required course for the MN program starting with the September 2014 intake. Please get in touch and share your ideas with me at or Background I earned my Ph.D. in English in My dissertation, titled Sauling Around: The Trouble with Religious Conversion African in American and Mexican American Autobiography, , explored the social forces behind religious conversion and resistance to conversion in the autobiographical works of four ethnic American writers. University of Iowa Press published my dissertation revised as a book in Fall 2011, titled The Trouble With Sauling Around. I have taught composition and writing courses in the English Department at the University of Victoria and Camosun College. American multicultural literature, autobiography, the body and psychology, and writing pedagogy are some of the many research areas that interest me. My experience as an editor, creative writer, and journalist complements my passion for teaching and research. I am currently working on a book of poetry titled Birth of the Uncool, to be published by Demeter Press in 2014.

2 Philosophy Eight years ago I taught my first composition class to a group of emerging massage therapists at the West Coast School of Massage Therapy. Since that time, I have taught many first year writing classes, second and fourth year literature classes, and distance education classes in Nursing. I have become alert, over the years, to students difficulties with the writing process. Many of these difficulties are, of course, technical ones: Students struggle with grammar, organization of ideas, paragraph development and more. But I saw that students were struggling equally with anxiety: anxiety about being good enough, about writing well and writing academically, and about meeting the expectations of college, university, and graduate school professors. From my experience as writer, reader, and teacher, I have come to recognize that I can help myself and others most by acknowledging fear, accepting it, and writing and encouraging others to write despite the fear. Banishing the critical editor- on- the- shoulder is difficult, but possible. Although we need to be able to assess the weaknesses of our own work at a certain point, we also need to designate an area in our life and work of non- judgment. This non- judgmental place is where we can mess up and create, where we can try on new ideas and write a crappy first draft, where we can admit that we feel foolish and do not know many things... and it is also where we accept ourselves as we are right now. I encourage you to reserve some space in your busy life for your initial non- judgmental exploration of an idea. Often, when we provide enough time to engage in writing as a process rather than a product, we develop a trust in our voice as a writer. This comes only with time, practice, and revision working with our words and ideas in a recursive, exploratory

3 fashion. I see my role as writing scholar in the SON as part instructor and part coach. Many students are coming back to school in their thirties, forties, fifties, and even sixties, and sometimes they feel insecure about their ability to think critically, to understand complex concepts, and to write academically. I can relate to these feelings, as I experienced many of the same fears. I want you to succeed in your program and some of that success will stem from how successfully you articulate your ideas in writing. I encourage students to become better writers by writing and reading often, exploring academic voices and genres, and learning to be good editors of their own and others work. I also encourage self reflection about writing through self writing; keeping a journal will supplement your writing practice in a more relaxed genre and help you to keep in touch with your feelings about grad school, learning, and writing. When you enter graduate school (or the post- RN program), you are also entering a community of discourse that can be unfamiliar, challenging, and even disorienting. Just as it takes time and practice to learn a foreign language, so you must give yourself time to become familiar with the conventions and vocabulary of academic reading and writing in your field. As you learn about the conventions of advanced academic writing and APA style and philosophy, you will also be figuring out how to incorporate your own point of view and emerging writer s voice into the existing framework of academic discourse. This challenging task does not happen in just a few weeks, but over months and years. Peter Elbow, renowned pioneer of teaching writing from the 1970s, quit grad school with a feeling of failure because he couldn t write papers. He returned with a mission to change the academy: to make it more supportive to students, more open to

4 more people, and more hospitable to a larger part of the human creature (Everyone can write, 2000, p. 2). While my mission is not quite as lofty as Elbow s, I feel committed to helping students gain confidence as they work their way through graduate school and to helping them discover how writing can serve their enrichment as nurses, academics, and human beings. Help for Students I am available to help distance students and other students by referral. Contact me at for assistance with your writing. If you send me an electronic version of your writing (essay or part of an essay) in rtf or Word format, I will use Word s track changes feature to respond. Please send along a copy of the assignment you are working on as well. If you send me a long piece (over ten pages), I will typically respond to only part of your work. Often patterns emerge in the first few pages of the paper and I can make suggestions that will apply globally. (Special arrangements can be made to work on longer pieces, such as articles for publication and dissertations.) Note: I do not edit student work; rather, I assist you by embedding instructions and comments into your text. My feedback ranges from notes on technical issues to recommendations about matters of organization, argument, flow, and style. Sometimes I will refer you to other resources to help you improve your writing. To get the most out of my instruction, please keep a log of your writing errors so that you can start to recognize and correct them yourself. I expect to work on one or two drafts of a paper with you; in special cases I will work on up to three drafts. You will find that I can offer more valuable feedback when you have gone through at least one round of revision before sending your paper to me.

5 I encourage students with persistent writing problems to take one of my courses here we do intensive work in several different genres, using peer review and revision as tools to advance critical thinking and writing. All my best, Madeline

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