Many students have difficulties writing at a higher college level and oftentimes struggle with abstract guidelines and ever-increasing scrutiny from teachers. Being able to overcome these obstacles and learning how to write at an elevated level is essential to every college student’s success. Dr. Mary Hoffman, the head of the Communications and Journalism department, shared her experiences with writing, her viewpoints on academic writing as well as tips on helping students write efficiently.
As I walked into Dr. Hoffman’s office I expected to see an older woman that looked like a stereotypical professor should; perhaps gawky or seemingly unaware of appearances. However, she was very well put together with an inviting office where the sunshine shown through the large warm window. At the start of the interview she showed apprehension and immediately stiffened when I asked if I could record the interview. She stressfully sighed and reluctantly agreed to have her “I have a terrible head cold” voice be recorded. Luckily for me however, as the interview started she relaxed considerably and was seemingly eager and thoughtful with answering my questions. Dr. Mary Hoffman showed strong intellect and compassion for her discipline when she spoke about her field and her writing.
Every student struggles at one time or another with explaining exactly what academic writing means, every student has had different experiences and different fields of interest. It is very difficult to come up with a definition that sums up all disciplines version of academic writing. Christopher Thaiss and Terry Myers Zawacki, authors of the book Engaged Writers and Dynamic Disciplines: Research on the Academic Writing Life
term academic writing as “any writing that fulfills a purpose of education in a college or university” (What’s Academic? 4). While this definition is not wrong by any means, I was left with an unsatisfied feeling when reading this seemingly hollow definition. Dr. Hoffman...