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Academic Writing and Innovation

NUI Galway Library

Tuesday, 17 April 2018 from 11:00 to 18:00 (IST)

Academic Writing and Innovation

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Innovation is seen as a key ingredient for success in academia, but we often take good academic writing for granted as a crucial skill in this process. We know from the work of Peter Elbow that writing is a creative and imaginative process, irrespective of the subject. Janet Giltrow has argued that ‘style is meaningful’ and impacts the development of ideas. More recently, Helen Sword has drawn attention to ‘stylish academic writing’, arguing that ‘intellectual creativity thrives best in an atmosphere of experimentation rather than conformity’. Yet the precise relationship between academic writing and innovation remains to be explored; to do so means to highlight the crucial importance of writing centres, writing instructors, and pedagogical initiatives to academia at large.

This seminar will examine the connection between academic writing and innovation from a variety of perspectives, including the use of the Project Based Learning (PBL) and other innovative methodologies, the switch from assessing to improving student writing, the role of writing centres in academia, and the obstacles in implementing writing programmes in Ireland. 



11.00               Opening remarks 

Cathal O’Donoghue (Dean of Arts, NUI Galway)

John Cox        (University Librarian, NUI Galway)

 11.15 – 12.45 Panel 1            Writing as a Tool for Discovery

Chair:              Gerry Mac Ruairc (NUIG)

Alexander Champoux (University of Minnesota): Ideology and Invention in the Pedagogical Writing Space

Adrian Frazier (NUI Galway) : Writing Across the Curriculum, Across the Atlantic?

 12.45 – 13.45              Lunch                     

13:45 – 15.00  Panel 2                       New Methodologies

Chair:              Monica Crump (NUIG)

Megan S. Jewell (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio): ‘Innovative Outreach: Writing About Writing (WAW) Approaches in Writing Centre Workshops for Writers in the Sciences

Steven Engel (University of Michigan) Meaningful Choices: Using Project-based Learning to Teach Professional Writing

15.00                           Coffee

 15: 15              Panel 3            Writing and Originality

 Chair:              Kris Meen (NUIG)

 Ira Ruppo (NUIG) Teaching Writing through Peer-Reviewing; Reflections on a New Approach

 Ann Nowak (Touro Law Center): Loglines, Ledes, Whirligigs, and Time-Steps: Tools to De-Muddle Academic Writing

 16: 15              Discussion Forum

 Chair:              Sharon Flynn (CELT)

 A question and answer forum featuring short presentations by members of NUIG staff

Trevor Clohessy (Whitaker Institute)

Pat Byrne (IT)

Jane Ennis (Disability Services)

Rachel Hilliard (Whitaker Institute)

Laura McLoughlin ( School of Languages),

Niall McSweeney (James Hardiman Library)

Muireann O Cinneide (English),

Simon Warren (CELT)

17: 15             Concluding remarks


 Pat Byrne has researched and published in the areas of Women’s Studies, the Teaching of Technology, Service Learning and the Role of Technology in Society. As a lecturer in Information Technology in NUI, Galway she has sought creative ways to engage her students not only in the creation of technology but also on the reflection of its consequences for end users and society in general. In her ‘spare’ time, she researches her family background and grows herbs in her East Galway garden.

Alexander Champoux is a Doctoral Candidate in Writing Studies at the University of Minnesota; his dissertation work focuses on how WPAs--as administrators, teacher educators, and teachers in their own right--might function as a conduit for promoting critical and translingual pedagogies.

Trevor Clohessy is a post-doctoral digital transformation researcher and lecturer at NUI, Galway, Ireland. His research interests are digital transformation, cloud technologies, organizational ambidexterity, blockchain and business analytics. He holds a PhD degree which focused on the impact of cloud-based digital transformation on information technology service providers. In conjunction to organizing both national and international academic and practitioner workshops and panels, Trevor is an undergraduate awards computer science judge, an editorial advisory member of both the Irish Business Journal (IBJ) and IGI’s “Handbook of Research on Architectural Trends in Service-Driven Computing”, and a director with Youth Work Ireland. Trevor has also founded an award nominated technology ezine resource called NoiseyGen.XYZ and an undergraduate research eJournal call Novo Verse. He can be reached at or

Jane Ennis works with the Disability Support Service at NUI Galway, mostly with students who have specific learning difficulties (dyslexia and dyscalculia). She has particular interests in academic skills development and Universal Design for Learning. Previously she worked on NUI Galway’s Access Programmes for socioeconomically disadvantaged students. She holds a Masters in Economic Policy and a degree in Public and Social Policy, and she taught economics at NUI Galway for a number of years

Steven Engel  is a lecturer in the English Department Writing Program at the University of Michigan. He specializes in first-year composition, writing in the disciplines, and business and professional writing. Before getting his PhD in English and Education, he taught high school English and drama for 14 years. His research interests include plagiarism, gameful pedagogy, and the role of failure in the writing classroom. 

 Adrian Frazier is a professor emeritus of NUI Galway.  He is a literary crtiic and biographer, with a focus on modern and contemporary Irish writers, actors, and artists.  In the early years as a teacher, he was an instructor in composition at Washington University (St. Louis) and Union College (NY).

Rachel Hilliard  is a senior lecturer in Management at NUI Galway. Rachel’s research and teaching interests are in the area of innovation. As a research cluster leader in the Whitaker Institute, Rachel developed and leads the Writers Retreat twice a year to support academic publications by staff. Rachel is a Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies and she has developed supports for thesis writing - she leads the Thesis Boot Camp twice a year as well as workshops on thesis completion strategies

 Megan S. Jewell serves as Director of the Writing Resource Center at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She is also a Core Teaching and Research faculty member in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Dr. Jewell’s research areas include Writing Studies and Twentieth and Twenty-First Century American poetics. She is the author of several publications on writing centers as well as feminist poetics in peer-reviewed journals and edited collections. Her teaching takes place among the writing program, Gender Studies, and English, with recent courses focusing on American working-class writing, feminism and body image, feminist poetics, and masculinity in America.    

Laura McLoughlin is Senior Lecturer at the National University of Ireland, Galway,  co-director of the MA in Advanced Language Skills and coordinator of the Diploma in Italian online. Her main research area is Applied Linguistics, particularly in relation to e-learning, new technologiesd and audiovisual translation. She has presented numerous papers at many international conferences.She is currently WP leader in two externally funded projects: Move-ME (, Erasmus+ Programme, European Union) and DigiLanguages ( National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning). She was WP leader in the EU funded ClipFlair project ( 2011-2014. 

Niall McSweeney is currently the Head of Research and Learning in James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway. He previously worked there as Head of Customer Focus and Information Services, since 2001. He started his career in the Boole Library, University College Cork, working as Health Sciences Librarian for many years. His interests include areas such as academic skills, digital literacy and technology-led teaching. He holds a BA degree in English and Philosophy and a Higher Diploma in Teaching from University College Cork. He holds a Higher Diploma in Librarianship from Aberystwyth University in Wales. He is currently the Chair of the CONUL Teaching and Learning Group.

 Ann Nowak is the Director of the Writing Center at Touro Law Center in New York. She is also a professor, a lawyer, a former journalist, and an optioned screenwriter. Additionally, she was one of the founding directors of a performing arts center where she acted, sang, and danced under the name KK Malone.

 Muireann O Cinneide is a Lecturer in English at NUI Galway, where she is Programme Director for the MA in Culture and Colonialism. She teaches primarily on nineteenth-century literature, as well as colonial, and postcolonial literatures. Her research centres on Victorian travel writing and conflict narrative, and her recent publications include the edited collection Women, War and Letters 1880-1922 with UCD Press.

 Ira Ruppo (Organiser) has worked as manager of the Academic Writing Centre at the James Hardiman Library, NUIG since 2011. Her research background is in English and Irish literature, Henrik Ibsen, James Joyce, fantasy writing, and romantic nationalism. A former IRCHSS postdoctoral fellow at NUIG, she also teaches within the discipline of English.

Michelle Palmer is an LLM candidate in International Human Rights Law at NUIG's Irish Centre for Human Rights, and she works as a tutor in the Academic Writing Centre. She has an emerging professional career in the field of human rights with research interests including refugee and migration law, human trafficking, transitional justice, and feminist theory. In addition to the field of human rights she has been working with young people of diverse backgrounds, teaching lessons in singing, drama, dance, reading and writing since 2009. She is currently interested in synthesizing her creative interests in human rights law, storytelling and the expressive arts, building bridges with and collaborating with people across the disciplines.

Simon Warren arrived in academia after sojourning in community and adult education, and community arts for a number of years, as well as training to be a teacher. Simon took up post at NUI Galway in January 2014 following work in various universities including the University of Sheffield, Birmingham University, South Bank University, Institute of Education (University of London), and Warwick University. Simon’s research has focused on the interrelationship between education policy and identity formation, particularly that of professionals. Simon’s current research focuses on two areas. He is inquiring into the relationship between academic wellbeing and neoliberal reform in higher education. In particular, he is investigating how systems of research performance management and quality assurance impact on academic identity and practice. This research places emphasis on linguistic, disciplinary, and epistemological impacts. Simon is also involved in an ERASMUS Plus project that using the Decoding the Disciplines methodology to support the development of positive student dispositions towards diversity.




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When & Where

James Hardiman Research Building

Tuesday, 17 April 2018 from 11:00 to 18:00 (IST)

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