Degree: Ed.D., Boston University, (1978)
Office Hours Contact: Email the Faculty Member
Faculty Assistant: Judith Wasserman
Nancy Sommers studies the writing development and literacy skills of college and high school students. As principal investigator of the Harvard Study of Undergraduate Writing, she tracked the college writing experiences of 400 students from the Harvard Class of 2001, to understand the complex role writing plays in undergraduate education. For twenty years, Sommers directed Harvard's Expository Writing Program, as the Sosland Chair in Expository Writing and as a Senior Lecturer. In addition to directing the freshman writing program, she established and directed the Harvard Writing Project, a cross-disciplinary writing program, and also conducted a series of studies, sponsored by two Harvard Presidents, to research Harvards culture of undergraduate writing. Sommers is highly regarded within the field of writing instruction for her six textbooks and her essays, articles, and films on the theory and practice of teaching writing. Her prize-winning articles "Revision Strategies of Student and Experienced Writers" and Responding to Student Writing" are two of the most widely-read and anthologized articles in the field. Her films "Shaped by Writing and Across the Drafts" have received international recognition for bringing students voices into a larger discussion about writing instruction. Sommers is currently writing a book about the Harvard Study of Undergraduate Writing and developing a longitudinal study of high school literacy practices.
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