Pen to Purpose: Cultivating Writing as a Brand of Professionalism

Principal Investigator/Project Director

James Hutchens

Colleges / Centers

Not Applicable


National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

Start Date



The goals of Pen to Purpose are two-fold. The first goal is to impress upon the NSU student and community patron the value of strong writing skills, and the second goal is to prompt critical review of modern society through highlighting a diverse set of featured authors and themes. Regarding the first goal, writing itself is a complex, intellectual task that involves several component skills (including reading comprehension, analytical skills, and writing skills related to writing mechanics, planning a writing strategy, constructing an argument, etc.). With the rise of the digital age, teachers and professors are observing an increase in informal writing creeping into formal assignments. While social media and digital technology can encourage student creativity and personal expression, today’s culture favors brief forms of expression, such as text messaging, where thoughts are expressed in immediate, stream of consciousness fashion. This author-hosting series is designed to modify this outlook and prove how creative, insightful writing, and the ability to effectively communicate is a necessary tool in every professional field. Ideally the program motivates the NSU student body as well as the public to deepen their interest in sharpening their writing skill sets. Goal two addresses how the humanities are generally sidelined because of the false presumption that their study has less practical application in the modern world. The sessions focus on how each published work enriched or changed the course of the writer’s career, as well as how each author’s personal experiences led them to self-expression through literature. By selecting published professionals who speak to the complexity of modern life and current events, through firsthand experiences or fictional accounts, students and the general community gain a different point of view on various issues than what is conveyed on news media or social media. The selected historical authors also make connections with the modern world.

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