PWR In the Spotlight
Spotlight on: Dr. Peg Spitzer
How did you become a writing teacher?
I never intended to become a writing teacher. In fact, almost ten years ago, I was hired to be the Chinese Studies Lecturer in the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies to replace a professor who had abruptly left the department. Then, three years ago when the SBU financial crisis hit, the then Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Sacha Kopp, decided to move me and two other professors from our home departments to the Program in Writing and Rhetoric to teach WRT 102 – to redistribute the budget deficit.
What inspires you?
The first year of teaching WRT102 was especially challenging for me because I am not trained in Writing and Rhetoric. What inspired me was realizing how good it feels to effectively communicate with others through writing. Bottom line: I was willing to re-tool to help students learn how to write college-level papers about subjects that interested them.
What are some of your favorite experiences as a writing teacher?
It is rewarding to be part of students’ writing processes. It’s pretty much the only time in college that students are specifically encouraged to write and revise. There’s a ton of intellectual growth that goes into revisiting one’s thoughts and developing compelling arguments.
What do you enjoy the most about your students?
My students really care about their personal growth. And they want to make the world a better place. It’s the searching of how best to do that that is encouraging to me.
What is the one thing that you hope your students take away and remember from WRT 102?
I want students to remember that their ideas matter and that they should understand their learning curves. Good writing takes time – for everyone!
Are you working on any new projects (either teaching plans or research or creative work) that you can share with us?
I’ve been very engaged in research on women’s leadership in climate change, especially in developing countries, also known as the Global South. I’m currently writing a book on this subject based upon field research in India on an irrigation system led by women farmers – collecting and analyzing their experiences .This year (2021), I was fortunate to serve on a jury to select the top three women-led projects (out of 157 submissions) and attend the awards ceremony at the climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland. In the future, I look forward to working with each of the award winners as they continue to scale up their projects.