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MC professor, student collaborate on writing project

English lecturer Erika Solberg and sophomore Carli Alvarado collaborated on an op-ed that was recently published by the alternative newspaper Illinois Times.
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An op-ed piece jointly written by an MC faculty member and student appeared last month in the Illinois Times, a weekly alternative newspaper published in Springfield.
“I have been writing op-eds for the last year and a half through the American Association for University Women’s Voices Project initiative, which aims to have members throughout the country publish op-eds and letters to the editor on targeted issues,” explained Erika Solberg, a lecturer in MC’s English department.
Solberg co-authored the piece with Carli Alvarado, a sophomore elementary education from Chicago.
The teacher and student first met in August of Alvarado’s freshman year, while the new student was working on a summer research project with Solberg’s husband, English professor Rob Hale.
“I then taught her in English 110 last spring,” said Solberg. “I wanted to work with her on the op-ed because she is part of the group AAUW is encouraging to vote – millennial women – and because I knew she would bring passion and a clear voice to the piece.”
Solberg called their op-ed “a true collaboration. We read background material, brainstormed a rhetorical strategy, drafted different sections separately, gave each other feedback and revised the piece together.”
The article can be found at
“I am pleased to have this op-ed published, not only because of what it says but because of this collaboration process,” concluded Solberg. “First, we were putting into practice the very concepts English 110 covers. Second, I was able to step out of my position of solely critiquing and assessing a student’s work and instead create something with a student. I’m glad Carli is able to see writing in action, to know that professors and students can work as peers and to understand that words can make an impact outside on the classroom.”