Wildcat Writers

Foster creative and critical literacies and engage in meaningful community-based action beyond the classroom.

About Wildcat Writers

Vision

Wildcat Writers is a network of high school and college writing teachers and students who collaborate to foster creative and critical literacies and engage in meaningful community-based action beyond the classroom. As the 2017 recipient of the UA's Peter Likins Inclusive Excellence Award, our organization constructs college access pathways for underrepresented students and nurtures the development of a social-justice oriented, national movement for high school-college partnership programs.

Mission

  • Wildcat Writers facilitates reciprocal learning partnerships between the UA Writing Program and local area high schools.
  • Participants connect with audiences in the broader community to promote public engagement, encouraging personal, professional, and intellectual growth for students and teachers.

Our History

Wildcat Writers began as a single partnership between Desert View High School teacher Liz Denbo and UA graduate teaching assistant Anna Varley in fall 2004. These two teachers linked their English classes, offering their students a chance to interact and share writing. The goal was to provide a sense of continuity and community between secondary and higher education, as well as opportunity for civic engagement, collaboration, and exploration of education issues and college life. Varley later worked with Anne-Marie Hall, the director of UA's writing program, to extend this opportunity to other teachers, and the official program was born. As Wildcat Writers continued to grow, the program evolved to become a full year partnership, with teachers planning in the fall and linking classes in the spring.  Now embedded firmly in the writing program and several local high schools, Wildcat Writers continues to develop based on the creative input from teacher participants, reaching hundreds of students each year. We look forward to another engaging year of collaboration, and we invite you to join us.

Sponsors

Thank you to those who have generously supported us!

  • University of Arizona Student Affairs (Student Faculty Interaction Grant)

  • School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (100% Engagement Grant)

  • University of Arizona Foundation (Community Connections Grant)

  • UA Graduate and Professional Student Council (Professional Opportunities Development Grant)

  • University of Arizona Writing Program

  • Sunnyside Unified School District

  • Marana School District

  • Tucson Unified School District

  • San Miguel High School

  • Papa John's Pizza

Program Curriculum

Wildcat Writers pairs UA Writing Program composition sections with English Language Arts classes in local high schools. A majority of the classes will be paired with English 102/108 or 109 courses, while some will be paired with ENGL 307 (Business Writing) or ENGL 308 (Technical Writing).

The structure of Wildcat Writers partnerships differ on the basis of the teachers’ needs. Once teachers understand the objectives of each other’s classes, they can begin to craft assignments that serve the goals of the class while encouraging a collaborative and friendly relationship among student partners. Possibilities include having students discuss the same texts online, co-author writing assignments, or simply exchange occasional emails about high school and college life. Wildcat Writers offers the freedom for each pair of instructors to link their classes in a way that fits their particular goals. 

Recent highlights include:

  • Collaboratively written graphic novels

  • TEDx events

  • Participatory action research on educational inequality

  • Panel discussion on local issues

  • Literacy night at high school

  • Podcasts

  • Poetry slams

  • Trip to the Biosphere

For Instructors

Together, you and your partner instructor will design assignments that fit with the goals of both teachers. There is a lot of freedom in the partnership—some pairs collaborate extensively, having their students read and exchange ideas on the same texts or co-author writing assignments. Others connect the classes more loosely, having students write periodic emails to one another or exchange work for feedback. You will be paired with your partner teacher in October, leaving plenty of time to design units that work for both of you before the students begin interacting with one another in the spring semester.

Thinking about participating in Wildcat Writers? This program can offer:

High School Teachers

  • An insider's look into what is taught in first-year college composition, so you can better prepare your students

  • An opportunity for your students to build relationships with college students, ask questions about college life, and visit campus

  • The chance to collaborate professionally with a college writing teacher

College Instructors

  • An insider's look into what is taught in high school English classes, so you can better respond to your students' prior knowledge

  • An opportunity for your students to respond to real-world rhetorical situations and build relationships with high school students

  • The chance to collaborate professionally with a high school writing teacher

  • Experience in academic outreach and service-learning pedagogies

Contact Us

For more information about the program, contact the Wildcat Writers Program Director, Dr. Stephanie Troutman or Ms. Adele Leon, our program's Graduate Coordinator.