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Professor Earns Statewide Recognition for Service to Developmental Education Students
Posted 02/24/2021 03:57PM

Dr. Jennifer Gray, professor of English and director of the Writing Center at the College of Coastal Georgia, is the recipient of the 2021 Georgia Organization for Student Success (GOSS) award for Outstanding Service to Developmental Education Students. Developmental education focuses on helping students reach their full potential through teaching co-requisite courses, tutoring, advising, and coaching underprepared students to grow academically, socially, and intellectually. Gray was recognized for her dedication and advocacy for learning support students.

GOSS is the Georgia chapter of the National Organization for Student Success (NOSS) and is comprised of teachers and administrators from all levels of education in the state. GOSS seeks to improve the theory and practice of developmental education at all levels of the educational spectrum, the professional capabilities of developmental educators, and the design of programs to prepare developmental educators. The criteria for consideration of the award include serving developmental education students through teaching and/or administration; having a record of service and recognition by others; and being a member of GOSS. Gray, who met each criterion, was nominated for the award by her colleague, Dr. Mary McGinnis, assistant professor of English. McGinnis said she nominated Gray because she goes above and beyond for her students.

"She's taught learning support courses at Coastal Georgia since 2012 and opened the Writing Center the same year. As the director of the Writing Center, she spends additional time with learning support students who aren't in her classes and works closely with teachers and her tutor trainees to ensure that Coastal Georgia's learning support students get important one-on-one feedback on the writing-in-process," McGinnis said. "She's always happy to give advice and support when people need it."

Gray started working at the College in 2011 and was hired to establish the Writing Center. She surveyed the campus community to learn what people wanted the Writing Center to be, collected approximately 1,000 responses, crafted the mission and vision statement for the Writing Center, and opened it in January 2012. Her work in providing learning support classes gives professors a space to share extensive one-on-one feedback with students working through the writing process.

"The extra feedback is essential and rewarding for students and professors. The students can adjust the writing at several stages in the process, and the professors can see the changes in the writing based on the points of feedback," Gray said. "Most importantly, though, the students grow in confidence as they work through the assignments and prepare for future writing occasions on and off campus."

Gray was quite surprised when she learned the news of her award.

"The work we do at Coastal Georgia with learning support students on campus is so rewarding, and I'm really honored to be recognized for these experiences," she said.

Evidence of Gray's commitment to helping students improve can also be found in her research. Here are examples of her work:

"Multimodality and The Writing Center's Role in Restoring Justice for 'Bad Writers.'" The Peer Review (2020). [with Dr. Mary McGinnis]

"'It's my closest friend and my most hated enemy': Students Share Perspectives on Procrastination in Writing Classes." Journal of Student Success in Writing 1.1 (2017-2019).

"'You Can't Be Creative Anymore': Students Reflect on the Lingering Effects of the Five-Paragraph Essay." Teaching/Writing: The Journal of Writing Teacher Education 3.2 (2014): 152-168.

"Sourcing Student Feedback to Sculpt Effective Yet Enjoyable (GASP!) Assignments." Oklahoma English Journal 26.3 (2014).

While Gray continues her work in developing students to be better writers and critical thinkers, she knows it couldn't be done without the help and dedication of her colleagues.

"I would also like to thank the writing coaches, the ATTIC tutors, and the other first-year writing instructors in my department," she said "as these individuals all contribute to student success. This award is for them too."

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