University moves UW to the Vern

Freshmen will have to travel to the Mount Vernon Campus for their required University Writing courses after the program relocates next spring, part of a larger effort to centralize freshman activities in a single location.

To accommodate the program’s size, all University Writing courses will be taught on the Mount Vernon Campus, relocating both students and faculty.

“Having the classes on the same campus as the faculty and administrative offices makes logistical sense,” said Derek Malone-France, interim executive director of the University Writing Program and director of Writing in the Disciplines.

With the entire program on one campus, Malone-France said writing faculty could avoid shuttling back and forth between campuses, especially for schedules in which their class sections meet throughout the day.

The faculty and administrative offices for the writing program will move to the renovated Ames Hall, which was formerly a dining hall.

“The renovation of Ames Hall allows us to offer more classes, particularly classes for first year students,” Dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Peg Barratt said.

With the addition of almost 300 students living in West Hall last fall, the Mount Vernon Campus has increasingly become a center for freshman life.

“Moving this writing class, a freshman requirement, is a practical solution, since hundreds of first-year students live at the Vern, and many professors already teach there,” Barratt said.

“I think it sounds like it might be a bit of an inconvenience, but it’s understandable,” Jenna Bernick, an incoming freshman from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., said. “I feel like I wouldn’t have a reason to go [to the Vern] otherwise.”

Carol Hayes, a University Writing professor who currently teaches on the Mount Vernon Campus, said the change could negatively impact students who are required to take the course in a separate location from their other classes.

Hayes said there are benefits of teaching on the smaller and more isolated campus, however. She said she looked forward to having more classroom space and closer contact with her students who currently live on the Vern.

“There are concerns about how much contact we will have with our students,” Hayes said. “I [have seen] them this whole year because many of them live on the Vern.”

This will be the second University department to be moved to the Vern, following the philosphy department, which will also be relocated to the campus from Foggy Bottom in January 2012.

The Interior Design Program, the forensic sciences department and the Women’s Leadership Program are also housed on the Vern.

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