Thurnau Professors

Thurnau Professors on the Importance of Writing

Arthur F. Thurnau professorships are presented annually to outstanding faculty with a demonstrated commitment to undergraduate teaching at the University of Michigan. 

Sweetland interviewed several professors who have received this honor, and, not surprisingly, many of them talked about the important role that writing plays in learning. Several spoke about how writing helped their students to clarify their ideas and explain them. Others observed that learning involves being able to recognize and grapple with genuine questions through writing. These professors have developed various useful strategies to help students to write and learn. And they have all found ways to engage their students’ creativity and interest. 

These professors inspire us with their belief that nurturing students’ ability to write can help them make a difference in their academic disciplines and in their communities. We invite you to read more about what these professors said about integrating writing into their instructional practice.

William James (Jim) Adams
Economics

Jim Adams, Economics

Bob Megginson
Mathematics

Bob Megginson, Mathematics

Laura J. Olsen
Biology

Laura Olsen, Biology

John Whittier-Ferguson
English

John Whittier-Ferguson - English

Brian P. Coppola
Chemistry

Brian Coppola, Chemistry

Christopher Peterson
Psychology

Christopher Peterson, Psychology

Robin Queen
Linguistics

Robin Queen, Linguistics