Event Date: 21st December 2021

Students often dread writing assignments of any kind. It’s a complex set of knowledge and skills and they often feel that they will do poorly without knowing why. This frequently leads students to be disengaged in the writing or to feel frustrated with their scores. Although communicative or free-flow approaches to writing can encourage students in some forms of writing or at some stages of the writing process, helping students understand some of the underlying structures of writing can draw them enter into the writing process and motivate them to write more purposefully.

This session will discuss some practical activities to help students build skills in brainstorming, organizing, and answering writing prompts and understanding how to evaluate their writing. The goal is to help them feel more control in their decisions as writers and to have a clearer understanding of their grades.

About The Speaker:

Deirdre McMurtry is the Interim Director of the intensive English programs at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Ms. McMurtry has more than 20 years in teaching and coaching. She has an MA in Language Teaching TESOL and in History and has taught courses in European and World History, Composition and Rhetoric, and English as a Second Language at all language levels and skill types. In her academic career, she has also worked as a Writing Center consultant and professional editor for ESL, undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty. Her areas of specialization include content and language integrated learning, vocabulary development, writing and rhetoric, and assessment.
The intensive English programs in UNO’s International Program’s office include academic English programs, professional English programs, and a variety of customized programs in faculty development, pedagogy, intercultural communication, pronunciation, and professional communication. As director for these programs, Ms. McMurtry participates in university decisions and strategy in international admissions and language proficiency requirements, international student data tracking and student support needs across colleges and academic programs.
In her current role in UNO’s International Programs office, Ms. McMurtry helps coordinate university students, faculty and specialized teaching or research centers with partners in the Omaha community. Her work develops pathways for international professionals, immigrants, and refugees develop professional skills and knowledge and facilitates access to career networks in Omaha’s business community.
Her projects have included collaboration with the University of Nebraska Medical Center fluency and cultural training for 3-month shadowing programs for visiting doctors and medical administrators, cultural communication and pronunciation training for international nursing certification for the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Nursing, professional presentations and pronunciation coaching for executives at several of Omaha’s top corporations, including Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance company, First National Bank of Omaha, Werner Enterprises transportation company, Nebraska Realty. She has also worked with universities in China, Japan, Oman, Nigeria, Mexico, and Brazil to provide short-term experiential training programs for graduate students and recent graduates to connect on projects with corporations or educational training institutes in Omaha and also to offer faculty training programs in pedagogy and academic program development and review.