The Jacksonville State University Writing Project is one of approximately 200 sites affiliated with the National Writing Project, which was founded by Jim Gray at the University of California-Berkeley more than three decades ago. The main focus of each Writing Project site is the annual invitational summer institute to which teachers from across the grades and disciplines come for a period of intensive reading, writing, and research about the teaching of writing. The summer institute and other programs for teachers sponsored by the sites are based on a "teachers-teaching-teachers model." Each site also provides professional development for other teachers through in-service and continuity programs offered throughout each year.
The Jacksonville State University Writing Project began in 1988. The first summer institute was directed by Dr. Robert Felgar who is currently the English Department Chair at JSU. His co-directors were Lisa Williams and Eugene Williams. In 1989, Lisa Williams began her tenure as director of the site, serving until 2004. Serving as co-directors during her tenure as director were Jeri Holcomb, Ken Guthrie, and Gloria Horton, in that order. In 2004, Gloria Horton became the third director of the site. Her co-directors have included Lisa Light, Michelle Chesson, and Melissa Shields. Joanne Gates and Rodney Bailey have served as the site's successive technology liaisons.
Throughout its 25-year history, the Jacksonville State University Writing Project has continued to grow, graduating over 250 teacher consultants from the summer institutes, and reaching thousands of other area teachers through the annual WIT Conference, the site's newsletter, in-service workshops, alumni refreshers, writing retreats, and other activities and programs. The site looks forward to continuing to serve area teachers and their students in the future.