Become a Reader for Nicholas Grad Students

The Duke Reader Project, now in its tenth year, gives Duke students the opportunity to get feedback on their writing from Duke alumni who have professional expertise relevant to the project. Until now, the program has been available primarily to undergraduates; Duke is now expanding this valuable service to graduate students as well.

To make this happen, the Duke Reader Project is seeking Nicholas School alumni volunteers to serve as readers for Nicholas students, particularly master’s and doctoral students. Readers typically meet with their students in person or via videoconference 2-3 times during the semester to discuss the students’ works in progress, with occasional email exchanges in between. Rather than serving as proofreaders or editors, alumni readers provide feedback on how the text is landing based on their experience. What works for them as readers, and what doesn’t? Where is the paper interesting, informative or persuasive? And where were they confused, bored or skeptical? What seems out of line with the conventions of that kind of writing?

The Nicholas School has participated in the Duke Reader Project since its early days, but the expansion into graduate programs means we need a pool of experienced alumni who are willing to spend a few hours over the course of a semester helping Nicholas students develop their environmental writing skills. For FAQs on what being a reader entails, click here; join the volunteer pool here. Feel free to email with any questions.

School can be a challenging context for teaching students how to use writing as an effective means of communication — because students’ get feedback on their written work from their teachers, sometimes classmates, but rarely from someone who can really help the students understand their writing from the perspective of the target audience. The Duke Reader Project give students the opportunity to learn how their writing “works.” Students get to interact with someone who can give them a test drive of their ideas and how those ideas are presented on the page.”

-Cary Moskovitz, Ph.D,
Director, Duke Reader Project