Robert Gundlach Director, The Cook Family Writing Program; Professor, Department of Linguistics
Robert Gundlach is founding director of the Cook Family Writing Program in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University. He has directed the Cook Family Writing Program since 1977. He is also professor in the Department of Linguistics, where he served as department chair from 2004-2007. In the Writing Program, he has taught introductory and advanced undergraduate courses in expository writing; several versions of a team-taught, two-course sequence designed to integrate writing instruction with instruction in other domains of the undergraduate curriculum; an advanced undergraduate seminar on writing and social change, offered in collaboration with the Center for Civic Engagement; a special non-credit writing course for graduate students in the Kellogg Graduate School of Management; and a graduate seminar on the teaching of writing. In the Department of Linguistics, he has taught freshman seminars on language and childhood and on the human voice, spoken and written; advanced undergraduate courses on child language and on linguistics and English composition; a graduate seminar on written language and literacy; and an interdisciplinary, team-taught graduate seminar on language and aging. In recognition of his teaching, he was named Martin J. and Patricia Koldyke Outstanding Teaching Professor in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences for 1998-2000.
He has served in a number of additional roles at Northwestern, including chair of the Northwestern University Press faculty editorial board; co-chair of the University Strategic Plan working group on teaching, learning, and assessment; director of a consortium on language and writing instruction; adviser to an intensive ESL summer program for international graduate students; associate director of the university-wide Center for the Writing Arts; director of a summer institute on Thinking and Writing: Teaching Writing in the Secondary School; and faculty master of the Communications Residential College. He has also served on many committees, including, most recently, the Graduate Faculty Advisory Board for the School of Continuing Studies, the Kaplan Humanities Institute Council, the Undergraduate Program Advisory Board for the Segal Design Institute, the Advisory Committee for the Multi-Media Learning Center, the Weinberg College Curricular Policies Committee, the Feinberg School of Medicine Academy of Medical Educators faculty development working group, and the University Committee on Athletics and Recreation. He has served as Northwestern's faculty athletics representative to the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference since 2002. In this role, he has been chair of the Big Ten faculty representatives, chair of the Big Ten Academics and Eligibility Subcommittee, and a member of the Big Ten Program and Budget Review Committee. He has also served on the NCAA Academics, Eligibility, and Compliance Cabinet; the Cabinet's subcommittee on initial eligibility; and two NCAA working groups on academic issues. From January 1 - April 13, 2008, he was Northwestern's Interim Director of Athletics and Recreation.
Combining his interest in writing instruction and his interest in children's language development, he has long been engaged with questions related to how children learn to write and how people continue to develop writing ability through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. He has worked with educators at all levels, and collaborated on a series of research projects on early literacy with Joan Brooks McLane and Gillian Dowley McNamee at the Erikson Institute for the Advanced Study of Child Development in Chicago. (For an overview of this work, see J. B. McLane and G. D. McNamee, Early Literacy, Harvard University Press, 1990.) He has served as a consultant or advisory board member for numerous organizations, including the National Institute of Education, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, The College Board, the New York State Education Department, the Illinois State Board of Education, the Center for the Study of Writing at the University of California-Berkeley, the Center for English Learning and Achievement at the University of Wisconsin, and Rice University. He also has served on the editorial boards ofWritten Communication and Discourse Processes.
His essays include "Children as Writers: The Beginnings of Learning to Write," "On the Nature and Development of Children's Writing," "How Children Learn to Write," "The Social Foundations of Children's Early Writing Development" (with Joan B. McLane, Frances Stott, and Gillian Dowley McNamee),"When Adolescents Write" (with Bonnie E. Litowitz), "Writing and Reading in the Community" (with Marcia Farr and Jenny Cook-Gumperz), "Is There a Writing Crisis in the High School?" and "What It Means to Be Literate." His most recent essays are "Further Lessons from a Young Orthographer," an afterword for E. Barton and G. Stygall (Eds.), Discourse Studies in Composition (Hampton Press, 2002); "The Future of Writing Ability," in M. Nystrand and J. Duffy (Eds.), Towards a Rhetoric of Everyday Life: New Directions in Research on Writing, Text, and Discourse (University of Wisconsin Press, 2003); "Words and Lives: Language, Literacy, and Culture in Multilingual Chicago," an afterword for M. Farr (Ed.), Ethnolinguistic Chicago, Volume I (Erlbaum, 2004); and "Reflections on the Future of Writing Development," in R. Beard, et al. (Eds.), Handbook of Writing Development (Sage U.K., 2009). Among his current projects are "Contributing to the Future of Reading and Writing," " Image and Story, Gesture and Trace: Language, Literacy, and Technology," "Revisiting How Children Learn to Write," and "Listening and Reading."
He has spoken to many groups on a variety of topics related to the learning and teaching of writing. Recent talks include "The Possibilities of Writing: Understanding the Dimensions of Variation in the Development of Writing Ability," a lecture at the Martha L. King Center for Language and Literacy at Ohio State; "The Significance of Writing: Two Views of Language, Technology, and the Future of Writing Ability," the keynote lecture at a meeting of the summer faculty at Northwestern's Center for Talent Development; and "The Interaction of Writing and Thinking: Helping Students Learn to Use Written Language as an Instrument of Thought," remarks offered at a summer institute for teachers of Advanced Placement courses.