Writing and Communication Program, Ianetta, Receive High-Profile Awards

Posted December 14, 2020

The Writing and Communication Program (WCP) and its recently appointed director have each received prestigious honors.

The WCP, a unit of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts School of Literature, Media, and Communication (LMC), received the 2021 Regents’ Teaching Excellence Award for Department or Program for the University System of Georgia.

Separately, Ianetta — Class of 1958 Professor in Communication and director of the WCP —received the Ron Maxwell Leadership Award from the National Conference of Peer Tutoring (NCPTW).

The awards were announced on Dec. 9.

LMC Chair Richard Utz said it was an “incredible honor” that the Board of Regents had chosen WCP from the hundreds of established and valuable programs across USG’s 26 institutions.

“The Regents’ award demonstrates that the highest-quality teaching and top research are not mutually exclusive, but joyfully consubstantial,” Utz said. “Dr. Ianetta’s leadership award similarly demonstrates that the Ivan Allen College and the School of Literature, Media, and Communication are places where some of the best faculty in the nation choose to work.”

WCP Award Recognizes an Exceptional Program

In announcing the WCP award, Tristan Denley, USG’s executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer, called out the program’s dual dedication to faculty and student development.

“The preparation of post-doctoral fellows and lecturers for the workplace could alone be the defining quality of an exceptional program, and WCP accomplishes this through an innovative curriculum of courses and resources,” Denley wrote. “At the same time, WCP invites Tech students to develop skills in composition, technical communication, and learning support.”

Ianetta, who started at Georgia Tech in July, said she  has been struck by the energy, innovation, and commitment of the WCP faculty in her first few months on the job.

“This award is a testimony to both the hard work of our students and faculty as well as the rich legacy of my predecessor, Dr. Rebecca Burnett, Professor Emerita in LMC. Perhaps most gratifyingly, the citation demonstrates that the University System of Georgia likewise recognizes this excellence and values the holistic rhetorical education our students receive in the WCP.”

Ianetta Honored for Influential Work

Ianetta received the Maxwell Award with Lauren Fitzgerald, director of the Wilf Campus Writing Center at Yeshiva University, due to their influential work in undergraduate student development, according to the NCPTW.

“Not only did they collaborate with undergraduates who served as assistant editors of Writing Center Journal during Ianetta and Fitzgerald’s tenure as the journal’s editorial team, but later they also hired undergraduate tutor researchers to work on their co-authored book The Oxford Guide for Writing Tutors, which is quickly becoming a widely-adopted text for tutor education courses internationally,” the group said in its award announcement, citing the pairs’ nomination letter.

The organization also cited work by Fitzgerald and Ianetta to advocate for an undergraduate research role for peer tutors, and “the myriad ways these two have worked separately and together to empower peer tutors, to mentor graduate students, to ground writing center work in sound theoretical underpinnings, and to validate the work of peer tutors as legitimate academic professional activity.”

About the WCP

Georgia Tech’s award-winning Writing and Communication Program is committed to innovation both in student-centered teaching and faculty professional development.

The program teaches first-year writing and technical communication to 5,500 students each year through its pioneering WOVEN curriculum emphasizing written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal communication. The program is equally committed to preparing faculty for professional success in or out of academia through the Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellowship, one of the largest and most innovative post-doctoral fellowships in the humanities.

In September, WCP received a Diversity Champion Unit Award from Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (IDEI). The award recognized WCP for its commitment to accessibility, diversity, equity, inclusion, and WCP’s WOVEN (written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal communication) framework. IDEI noted that the framework promotes accessibility by encouraging students to explore how modes interact and can be employed to increase universal access to communication.

Related Media

Melissa Ianetta, Ph.D., is the new Director of Writing and Communication.

Contact For More Information

Michael Pearson