“The most dangerous thing about an academic education is that it enables my tendency to over-intellectualize stuff, to get lost in abstract thinking instead of simply paying attention to what’s going on in front of me.”
― David Foster WallaceThis Is Water

Trial of 70 MidtoneWelcome to Tense Present.  My name is Nicholas Leither, and I teach in the English Department at Santa Clara University.

Every year I work with a large number of talented and engaged students who do intensive research on our theme in a course called Critical Thinking and Writing.   This blog is devoted to experiments in writing at the college level, and to displaying student research and writing.  Here, students work together to write collaborative essays as well as publish their capstone projects–essays about their findings and research through two quarters of thought, investigation and writing.

Tense Present is not only a place for students to publish their work, but a laboratory and forum for innovations in the teaching of writing at the college level.  I am always looking for ways to give students a broader audience for their hard work.  One platitude in English Departments goes like this: “Writing is about the process, not the product.”  Yeah, sure, but writing is about the product too, and the suggestion that the product is insignificant sends the wrong message to students–a message that devalues the product of their processes.  Most students write essays only his or her professor reads.  Why?


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