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Giving Opportunities

The Gayle Morris Sweetland Center for Writing was established to ensure that all LSA students have opportunities to learn to write well. Founded on the concept that writing is central to the mission of the College, the center takes a broad approach: peer tutoring; writing workshops; courses at all levels, including oversight of all courses fulfilling the first-year and upper-level writing requirements; a minor in writing; support for dissertation writers; and a seminar for faculty on writing in the disciplines. 

Contributions of any size can be made to Sweetland's Strategic Fund and M-Write program.

Our Major Funding Priorities

Now a national leader in writing-to-learn initiatives, the center has expanded its range of student engagement to support science education with a new program called M-Write, funded by the National Science Foundation and a grant from U-M’s Third Century Initiative. Working with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) faculty, M-Write uses writing not just as a means to demonstrate knowledge, but also as a way to deepen understanding. 

The Opportunities

Every year, a troubling number of undergraduate students in STEM programs change majors to one outside of STEM. There is a critical need to address the gap between students’ desire to pursue STEM careers and their continued enrollment in such programs. M-Write is a write-to-learn instructional method that contributes to student advancement into higher level STEM courses by increasing their comprehension of core principles and raising the rate at which they persist in these fields of study. Research shows that students engaged in content-focused writing exercises perform better and show a deeper grasp of the key concepts. M-Write is a way for instructors to infuse tested conceptual writing applications into their course design on a large scale.

The Impact

A generous gift from alumnus John Sweetland provided the foundational resources that established the center. New gifts for M-Write are critical to engage more students in enhanced learning experiences and enable instructors to inform their teaching with more in-depth data about student comprehension of concepts. We need funding to continue to develop this curriculum to enhance science learning and to use state-of-the-art technology to support teaching.

($1M endowed)

M-Write has proven to be effective in large, entry-level courses, but additional support is needed to make this critical initiative sustainable. To ensure this program continues to grow and benefit more undergraduates, we need resources for a dedicated staff member who will focus on expanding the M-Write program and help foster personal, engaged learning for more U-M students

$30,000 annually for 10 fellows/year

Essential to the M-Write system are writing fellows, undergraduates who are both content specialists and trained in concept-centered writing activities. Large, entry-level classes (200-1,800 students) require multiple writing fellows who support students using write-to-learn methods that promote a more well-rounded appreciation for the nature of science and ultimately improve successful completion of science courses that lead into STEM majors.

$10,000 to $50,000 annually

To keep the Center's courses and services up to date, regular curriculum development is essential. We seek funding to support Sweetland faculty who work on specific projects, such as investigating new digital technologies to update writing methods in new media courses, revising the rubric used to evaluate the electronic portfolios produced by students in Sweetland's Minor in Writing, or developing a course to support international undergraduates in the Upper-Level Writing Requirement course.