Creative Writing Professor Receives Award

By Elizabeth Romero, Student Intern CHASS College Computing
March 9, 2010

On Thursday March 4th, Professor Andrew Winer of Creative Writing was honored with the Innovative Teaching Award.

During the award ceremony in Bourns, Professor Perry Link, the Chancellorial Chair for Innovation in Teaching Across Disciplines, explained that the Innovative Teaching Award is given to professors who demonstrate an “excellence in innovation and teaching.” Even though Professor Link said you “can’t really measure the fish” in terms of different teaching styles, recipients were selected in part for the quality of their syllabi, iEval comments, and letters of support. Link also added that, in choosing individuals such as Professor Winer, the Academy of Distinguished Teachers tries to identify good teaching, measure the importance of good teaching, and honor the results that good teaching brings.

Professor Winer, a recent recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, is the author of two novels: The Color Midnight Made, and The Marriage Artist, which is set for publication by Henry Holt in the fall of 2010. At the reception, Winer  explained that he had a deep desire to reach out to students at UCR. “One has to do it,” Winer stated, “writing has to be done”—a sentiment that was partly responsible for the innovations in his teaching style. Not wholly satisfied with traditional writing workshop pedagogy, Winer strives to provide his students with “a magician’s, or writer’s laboratory” in which they: 1) engage assigned texts by taking written note--in an online compendium--of structures, forms, passages, stanzas, words, and ideas; 2) apply those notes to their own writing through associative and dissociative processes; and 3) exchange with one another their compendium updates and applications for critique.

The fact that Winer literally provides his students with a model—himself—by participating alongside them as they practice these innovative learning methods led students to comment, according to Professor Link, that Winer’s teaching style is “out of the box” and “freaking fantastic.”

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