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MWP Projects and Initiatives

Beyond teaching writing in the classroom, MWP faculty and staff are actively involved in many programs and initiatives on-campus and throughout the community - all focused on providing support, resources, and opportunities to encourage students at all levels (K-16) to excel in reading, writing, and critical thinking.

For a list of current memberships, see our committee page.

Assessment as Pedagogy and Planning Project:  Since 2013, the MWP has coordinated this project, with the Offices for Graduate and Undergraduate Education and the CRTE, to prepare graduate students who identify as future faculty to assess undergraduate learning, a skill that extends from classroom pedagogy to course and program planning.  For more information about this past grant award and current project, visit:

Each April, the Creative Writing Collaboratorium has the following goal: to collaborate and to celebrate diverse educational and artistic communities by bringing together instructors and students from local community colleges and UC Merced for a day of creative writing pedagogy, inspiration, and opportunity.  For more information, contact any creative writing faculty.

The Common Read Project -- The UC Merced Common Read promotes a greater sense of community among students and faculty and fosters the kinds of open inquiry characteristic of academic life. The common read is required reading in general education and writing courses (Core 1, Writing 10) and recommended reading in other first-year courses. There are also university-wide events associated with the book, including faculty symposia, guest lectures, and film screenings. For more info, please contact Tom Hothem (

The E-Portfolio Project -- Since fall 2008, the Merritt Writing Program has been leading the way with the use of electronic portfolios in classes. The main goal of the E-Portfolio Project is to enable MWPfaculty and students to take advantage of the portfolio tool within the school's course management system (CatCourses). Faculty members might also choose to ask students to work within a secure version of WordPress, which is housed on UC servers.

The Media and Journalism seminar is a half-day seminar in October for undergraduates that provides exposure to experts in journalism and offers training in practical skills necessary for production of news for newspapers and radio. The seminar brings to campus professional journalists and offers a menu of workshops for skill development in story drafting, interviewing, and producing. For more information, please contact John Haner ( or Kris Van Bebber (

The annual Entrepreneurial Pitchfest occurs every spring. All UCM students are invited to participate in creating a pitch that is presented to a panel of invited guests who are entrepreneurs in the private sector. Many workshops are provided for students to not only learn how to create a pitch but also to refine and present.  Participation is open to all schools on campus. Contact De Ette Silbaugh ( or John Haner ( for more information.

Stealing Genius is a monthly professional development forum for UCM instructors to collaborate, converse, and craft their teaching practices, experiences, innovations, and pitfalls in a casual environment. In a continuing effort to improve our students' classroom experience, instructors have an opportunity to share, steal, swap pedagogy, lesson plans, unique strategies and have informal banter about all things teaching. For more information contact Yogita Maharaj (

Summer Bridge is an eight-week intensive program of study that helps newly accepted UCM freshmen transition effectively into the academic culture of the university. Participants get a head start on their academic career by taking six semester units that include either Writing 01 or Math 05 (Pre-calculus), a study skills course, daily tutoring, and Peer Mentor support. It is primarily for students who are English language learners. For more info, please contact Anne Zanzucchi (

Supplemental Instruction takes many forms, capitalizing on the Merritt Writing Program faculty's instructional strengths in workshop settings. With a focus on collaborative, peer-based interactions, Supplemental Instruction provides guided study sessions and skill-based workshops. For more information, please contact Anne Zanzucchi (

The Undergraduate Research Journal shows what can be accomplished when the definition of “research” is expanded by featuring research from various disciplines across the campus. The journal aims to accurately portray the diversity of research in which students at UC Merced are engaged. It connects faculty and students by highlighting the value of interdisciplinary research. For more info, please contact Iris Ruiz (

As the leading creative writing journal for UC Merced undergraduate students, The Vernal Pool provides an edited expressive space for the student body to publish original work and an open, accessible venue for audiences to read, appreciate, celebrate and respond.

The Writing Guidebook Project addresses the needs of students and faculty at UC, Merced by creating guidebooks that can be used in lieu of a composition textbook or as supplemental texts for class.  The main goal is to increase the quality of student writing by giving students more resources, which they can use for many writing assignments.  In addition, this guidebook can help faculty by giving them additional strategies or activities for the classroom.  For more information, contact Anna Moncovich (

Write! Look! Listen! is the Merritt Writing Program’s creative writing reading series. Since 2006, Write! Look! Listen! has featured readings and guest workshops with locally and nationally recognized poets, fiction writers, journalists and non-fiction writers. The series features ethnically and aesthetically diverse readers in order to give students a sense of the full range and vibrancy of contemporary American writing. Interested in learning more? Contact Andrea Mele ( or Susan Varnot (