Select WRC Students Will Present at Conferences

by James Huddleston

Five Transylvania students in the writing, rhetoric and communication program have been accepted to present their research papers at two writing conferences.
The first conference, the Theodore Clevenger Undergraduate Honors Conference, will be held in Little Rock, Ark. The second is the Undergraduate Honors Conference at DePauw University. Both are highly selective and very prestigious.

Seniors Meg Prescott and Erica Mundell are presenting at the Theodore Clevenger conference, while senior Chelsea Sharpe and sophomore Leslie Bartley are presenting at the DePauw conference.

Senior Kristen Geil is presenting at both conferences. Geil declined to comment.

Bartley’s acceptance to the DePauw conference as a nonsenior is historically notable, as most students who gain acceptance to any of the conferences typically present work that originated from a Senior Seminar course.

Professor Gary Deaton, WRC program director, stressed the importance of Bartley’s accomplishment.

“Leslie’s acceptance shows that students at all academic experience levels can do great work if they make the effort to treat their assignments as opportunities for scholarship,” he said.

Deaton noted that the acceptance rate for Transy students at 80 percent is nearly twice the general national acceptance rate.

The WRC program, from which the students are selected, has existed at Transy for six years, but it has only been offered as a major for the past two. Transy students have submitted their work to the Theodore Clevenger conference four out of the past five years, however, expressing interest even before the WRC program was a major.

Dr. Scott Whiddon, assistant professor of WRC and director of the Writing Center, commented on the increasing interest among students in the WRC program.

“The program has really grown in the time I’ve been here,” said Whiddon.

Whiddon began teaching at Transy in 2006.

Both conferences consist of respected scholars who peer-review the students’ work and offer both praise and constructive criticism. At the DePauw conference, students participate in a workshop that aims to prepare their work for publication in a scholarly undergraduate journal.

Prescott, Sharpe, Mundell and Bartley did not respond to requests for comment.

“Presenting their work at these conferences not only lets students polish their papers but allows them to extend ongoing scholarly conversations,” said Whiddon. “Their acceptance exemplifies the depth and breadth of a liberal arts education.”

“An additional benefit is that they see and hear … the first-class quality of the work they are doing,” said Deaton. “They are not just quality TU scholars. They are quality national level scholars.”

“These students have gone beyond the safe confines of the classroom,” said Whiddon. “We couldn’t be more proud of them.”


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