Faculty on Writing: Judith Punchocar

Professor: Judith Punchocar, Associate Professor
Department: Education
Interviewed By: Shannon Roehm
Date: October 3, 2005

Judy Punchocar is an Associate Professor at Northern Michigan University. Judy instructs classes in the Education Department, particularly ED 231. I asked two questions in which the whole of our interview was surrounded by: How do you feel about writing? Is it important for students to be efficient and clear in their writing?

I knew that writing is important to Dr. Punchocar. She affirmed my knowledge when she explained that her philosophy on writing. She explained that as she sees it, all students are in college to become professionals, whether it be an Engineer or a Professor in English. To be recognized as a professional, one must be able to think, speak, and write professionally. Part of the professional appearance, as Dr. Punchocar explained, is how one is dressed, how one speaks, and how one writes. In order for all students to be true professionals, according to Dr. Punchocar’s philosophy, all students must be able to communicate in both speech and writing professionally.

Dr. Punchocar emphasizes this philosophy in her class and helps students to practice and improve their writing. She is a firm believer that good writers practice. She also believes that writers must receive feedback from instructors on the writing in order to improve: “a scaffolding technique,” she explained. She is afraid that many students are not getting enough practice with writing and are not receiving the feedback crucial to the learning process.

When asked about her experience in writing, Dr. Punchocar admits that as an Undergrad in the area of science, she did not do much writing. She realizes that after that particular time, she needed to hone her writing skills and make herself a better writer through practice. Dr. Punchocar also pointed out that although she did not have many writing assignments in her undergraduate program, she sees that more and more students and classes are taking a more active role in writing improvement. She has observed in area elementary and secondary schools that writing is more common than it was when she was in school.

Finally, Dr. Punchocar had some really great suggestions on how writing can be promoted on campus. She is a very strong advocate for the Writing Center and offers incentives for her students to take their papers to have a peer tutor look over. She also suggested that like the e-mails that Northern Michigan University Faculty and Staff receives on stress relievers and other tips, perhaps a weekly writing tip could be sent to instructors. This will not only remind our faculty and staff that the Writing Center exists, but will also keep writing central to curriculum.