Professors Awarded NEH Grant to Support Writing Programs
Date published: July 10, 2020
Chair and Associate Professor of English Debra Romanick Baldwin, Ph.D., and Professor of Physics and recent Interim Dean of Constantin College Sally Hicks, Ph.D., have secured a $299,078 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities
to support writing instruction at UD for the fall 2020 semester.
The grant is titled “Ensuring Excellence in Language at the University of Dallas:
Writing Well in the Time of COVID-19,” and it will be used to fund affiliate and adjunct
positions in UD’s English, Modern Languages and Journalism programs, as well as tutoring
and mentoring positions in writing programs on campus, including the Writing Lab and
Seven Arts of Language program. All of these positions had been made vulnerable by
the financial effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I am so grateful that Dr. Romanick Baldwin seized the opportunity to secure this
grant. With the help of former Interim Dean of Constantin Dr. Sally Hicks, Dr. Romanick
Baldwin has bolstered our ability to continue to provide outstanding instruction in
one of the most distinctive features of our education, teaching students to write
well,” said Provost Jonathan J. Sanford, Ph.D. “The short term help this grant provides is a great boon to our work in the
fall. Longer term, her efforts have supplied further momentum for continued progress
in securing new resources to advance our mission."
Romanick Baldwin enthusiastically described how the grant supports what makes UD so
distinctive: “Our application made clear that the UD writing program doesn’t consist
of separate ‘composition’ courses, but rather a writing-intensive Literary Tradition
sequence that participates in the larger vision of the Core, requires students to engage difficult and unabridged texts, and cultivates the breadth
and depth of mind and heart to make one a better citizen and human being. Such a broad
vision necessarily entails foreign languages and naturally extends to journalism.”
She added, laughing, “And where else but UD would you find a collaboration like this
one between a modernist with a passion for the classics, and a physicist who advocates
for the arts?”
While preserving these important teaching and tutoring positions, the grant will ensure
the small class size needed for effective writing instruction.
“Learning how to write clearly and effectively is hard,” said Romanick Baldwin. “It
happens word by word, line by line, over and over — and it's a process that requires
the individual support that only small classes allow. The age of COVID-19 makes that
individual support even more crucial and challenging, whether the words being crafted
are on a page or on a screen.”
While the grant is just for one semester, Romanick Baldwin hopes that both its educational
vision and its practical benefits will extend well beyond its term.
Header and Bottom Photos: Academic Success Director Matt Spring, PhD '15, works with students in the Seven
Arts of Language program.
Top Photo: Debra Romanick Baldwin