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Press Release



October 22, 2015


Cowley students’ work featured in new textbook


studentsA newly published college textbook includes a Cowley County twist: comments and sample paragraphs from Cowley College students. According to the book’s publisher, Cengage, “Building Writing Skills the Hands-on Way is a student-friendly, developmental English textbook that teaches fluency in writing, reading, and critical thinking skills. Rich with multisensory exercises that activate multiple learning styles, this book covers the basic skills that lead to proficiency, while addressing the need for a new way to reach a diverse population of learners.”


Cowley College Humanities instructor Julie Kratt served on a four-member advisory board for the first-edition text. 


“Many Cowley instructors participate in reviews of textbooks,” Kratt said. “This gives us the opportunity to influence either new or updated textbooks before their publication. In early 2014, I was contacted by Cengage regarding a review I had completed and asked to serve on the advisory board to give in-depth feedback on a brand new developmental writing text. Last fall, the author requested student writing samples or comments on writing strategies.  With the students’ permission, I submitted items to author Jenia Walter and her editorial team. We were thrilled to learn that several Cowley students would be featured in either the print textbook or an online supplement.” Kratt continued, “Our students could not have been featured in the book without assistance from director of institutional communication and public relations Rama Peroo, who took the pictures of our students who were finalists for inclusion in the textbook, and director of web services Diana Dicken, who resized photographs to fit the publisher’s requirements.”


In the book’s Acknowledgments section, Walter specifically extends her appreciation to Cowley students “for enthusiastically contributing photos and writing.” In the print version of the textbook, Cowley student Aspen Sanders is quoted at the beginning of Chapter One. Later in the chapter, Kylee Martinez states her philosophy on the writing strategy called brainstorming. In Chapter Four, online student Amy Thompson shares a sample definition paragraph, and a few pages later, student Connor Stone’s comparison/contrast paragraph is featured. A paragraph by Cowley student Bryce Fischer will be included in an online supplement.


Cowley president Dr. Dennis Rittle is excited about Cowley’s role in the new textbook.


“We love it when our students have the chance to shine!” Rittle said.


Kratt and author Jenia Walter plan to submit a proposal to present activities from the textbook at the national Conference on Acceleration in Developmental Education in June 2016.  Kratt stated, “Jenia’s unique hands-on approach has equipped many students to succeed. Thanks to the publication of her textbook, a much larger audience will benefit from her expertise. I am thrilled that we at Cowley have been able to be part of her journey!”