January 15, 2019


image of a fountain pen writing on lined paper


Elk River Writing Project at MSU Billings sponsors two workshops



University Communications and Marketing


MSU BILLINGS NEWS—MSU Billings Elk River Writing Project (ERWP) is sponsoring two workshops in the coming weeks.

In collaboration with The Civic Imagination Project at University of Southern California, ERWP presents “The Civic Imagination Workshop” on campus January 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Professor Tami Haaland will facilitate.

This one-day experience will use storytelling as a tool for imagining our origins and imagining change and development in our communities. The workshop will focus on creativity, writing, and discussion as participants move through a four-part structure.

OPI renewal credits will be available for teachers. The workshop is offered for a $20 to $40 donation to the Elk River Writing Project for those who can afford it. Enrollment is limited to 20 people. Lunch and materials will be provided.

On February 12, a two-hour workshop on Place-Based Education will be held at the Western Heritage Center from 5 to 7 p.m.  This workshop is an outgrowth of a year-long program focused on argumentative writing strategies called College, Career, and Community-Ready Writing. Participants used these strategies, which were developed and tested through the National Writing Project, in their classrooms, then worked together as a group to evaluate their results. The project culminated with the creation of materials directly relevant to our region in Montana.

The proponents of Place-Based Education advocate making the boundaries between schools and their environs more permeable by directing at least part of students’ school experiences to local phenomena ranging from culture and politics to environmental concerns and the economy. Place-based Education immerses students in local heritage, culture, landscapes, opportunities, and experiences as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and all other subjects (Gruenewald, 2008). This workshop will provide teachers the tools to implement Place-based Education and writing practices into their curriculum. Professor Kari Dahle-Huff, Andrea Prevost, and Stephen Macartney will facilitate.

OPI renewal credits will be available for teachers. The workshop is offered for a $20 donation to the Elk River Writing Project for those who can afford it. Enrollment is limited to 25 people.

The Elk River Writing Project is a branch of the National Writing Project housed in the Department of English, Philosophy and Modern Languages at MSU Billings.  The group offers professional development primarily for teachers in Billings and surrounding areas. Through Intensive Summer Programs, including Worlds Apart But Not Strangers, sponsored by the Olya Lengyel Institute, and a cross-disciplinary critical thinking and writing program at Riverside Middle School, the Elk River Writing Project focuses its work on writing, Indian Education for All, and social justice issues. Tami Haaland and Lorrie Henrie-Koski direct the Elk River Writing Project.

To register for either workshop or ask questions, please email Tami Haaland: thaaland@msubillings.edu.

Tami Haaland is the author of three poetry collections, What Does Not Return, When We Wake in the Night, and Breath in Every Room, winner of the Nicholas Roerich First Book Award. Haaland received an Artist Innovation Award from Montana Arts Council and is a 2019 recipient of a Governor’s Humanities Award. She has served as Montana's Poet Laureate, and is a professor of English and Director of the Elk River Writing Project at Montana State University Billings. Haaland has served as a guest writer at various universities and writing festivals both in the United States and United Kingdom. She has offered workshops in K-12 classrooms and diverse community settings.

Dr. Kari Dahle-Huff's hometown is Busby, Mont. She graduated from Colstrip High School and went on to the University of Montana Western to earn a Bachelor of Science in Secondary English Education with a minor in theater. After her undergraduate degree, Dr. Dahle-Huff served for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Georgia teaching English as a foreign language. Upon returning from the Peace Corps, she taught high school English at St. Labre Catholic School before going on to her master's degree. She earned a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Minnesota State University Moorhead. She taught in the Fargo/Moorhead area for several years before going on to her Ph.D. Dr. Dahle-Huff earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and then returned to her Montana home. Her dissertation research examined place-based education in urban settings. She has taught at MSU Billings since the fall of 2015 and her current research is in critical literacy and place-based education.

Andrea Prevost is originally from Sidney, Mont. After graduation she studied English Secondary Education and Spanish at Carroll College in Helena, Mont. She has been actively teaching both English and Spanish since earning her Bachelor of Arts degree. She began her teaching career in Harlowton, Mont. and then moved to Hysham, Mont. where she taught various levels of English and Spanish classes. While there, she also taught long-distance Spanish to students in Rosebud and Ashland, Mont.  Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching in Laurel, Mont. While in Laurel she earned a master's degree in Instructional Technology from Lesley University, began teaching a dual-credit Writing 101 course in cooperation with City College at MSU Billings, and became a Montana Writing Project Teacher Consultant.  

Stephen Macartney is an English teacher and speech and debate coach at Billings West High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1994 and his masters in Education in Creative Arts and Learning from Leslie University in 2006. He has been a secondary English teacher for twenty-four years. His eleven years in middle school in Denver, Colo., included teaching reading and language arts, as well as serving as a literacy coach. He moved to Billings, Mont. in 2006 and has taught English at West High School ever since. He is a proud Elk River Writing Project Teacher Consultant.