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ABOUT THE PROJECT

Project Coordinator: Jeanette N. Tran, Graduate Student, Dept. of English
E-mail: jtran@wisc.edu

The Center for the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin at Madison sponsors the
HEX program. HEX stands for “Humanities Exposed,” and it precisely the exposure of
the humanities to the greater Madison community that the HEX program aims to achieve.
The Center for the Humanities challenges their graduate students to propose projects that
are linked to and/or have significant bearing on the graduate students’ academic research
and scholarly interests. The larger goal of the HEX program is thus to raise the academic
interest or achievement level of the underserved communities that their graduate students
may come to work with, and to urge graduate students to conceptualize how it is that
their individual research interests can serve to enrich their surrounding communities. For
more information on the Center for the Humanities and the HEX program, please visit
http://www.humanities.wisc.edu/programs/HEX.html.

The goal of the Middle School Magazine Writing Project, a project which was awarded
a HEX grant in the 2005-2006 school year, is to help build stronger ties between the
community and the university, and to have students more exposed to college
students/college life/demands of college at an earlier age. The project—whether it be
after school or implemented in the classroom—aims to develop students’ critical reading,
writing, and thinking skills in a fun way.

Schools interested in developing a partnership with UW Madison and the Center for
Humanities may anticipate the project as benefiting their students in several ways.
Firstly, and perhaps most excitingly, students will get to interact with students from UW
Madison, one of the top public schools in the nation. Secondly, students will have the
opportunity to create a magazine that will be published on the web, a place where the
students’ friends, family, and neighbors can share in their students’ work. By placing the
students’ writing in the public sphere, the community will have access to the exciting
work that your school’s students are producing, and the students themselves can get a
glimpse of what it means and what it is like to produce something that may be viewed by
a wide and diverse audience.

Lastly, students—by virtue of creating a magazine from scratch (students will choose the
magazine’s genre and format, write letters to the editor, take photos, design
advertisements, etc)—will be able to work on their critical reading, writing, and thinking
skills. As a freshman composition instructor, what I’ve found is that many students
entering college lack these skills, and yet, it is essential that they do have these skills
upon entering college. Joining into a partnership with UW Madison through this
Magazine Writing Project is just one additional way that your school can creatively
reinforce the importance of critical reading, writing, and thinking skills for your students
at an early age.

After a successful trial run last spring, James C. Wright Middle School has opted to join with
UW Madison and the Center for Humanities to run a full version of the Middle School
Magazine Writing Project for the 2006-2007 academic school year. The Magazine
Writing Project will take place in science teacher Mrs. Sara Hawkins’ reading classes,
and the Project’s year end goal will be to have three full issues of the Middle School
Magazine available on the web by June 2007. Please stay tuned to see how the project
develops, and please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.