QEP Fall 2013 Update

We are moving ahead rapidly in this first year of QEP implementation. Below is but a sampling of the many things underway to help ECU’s student writers as part of our Quality Enhancement Plan:

• The “Writing Mentors Program” was introduced in a selection of writing-intensive courses in Chemistry, Library Science, Interior Design, Merchandising, and History. This program embeds university writing consultants, drawn from majors across the university, in selected discipline-specific, writing-intensive courses. These embedded consultants—the Writing Mentors—learn peer-consulting theory and practice through either the completion of a semester-long course (for undergraduate Writing Mentors) or through a full semester of consulting work and professional development in the University Writing Center (for graduate Writing Mentors). Mentors are prepared to assist in writing-intensive courses by reading students’ writing, offering constructive comments, holding individual writing conferences with students, and providing additional writing assistance in a variety of ways. For more information about the Writing Mentors Program, contact Dr. Nikki Caswell, Director of the University Writing Center, at caswelln@ecu.edu.

• The University Writing Program and the Office for Faculty Excellence partnered to offer a three-part workshop series on “Metacognition in the Writing Intensive Course.” These workshops, attended by 15-20 faculty from across the disciplines, provided information about fostering students’ abilities to monitor, evaluate, and adjust their own writing strategies. The series will be repeated in spring 2014: check the Office for Faculty Excellence schedule for updates (http://www.ecu.edu/ofe/).

• QEP Writing and Learning Communities were established. WLCs are comprised of 4-5 faculty members from across the university who identify and then, over the course of the academic year, investigate a common challenge or set of challenges encountered in the teaching of writing. Based on the knowledge generated by this collaborative exploration, members of the WLC plan and complete a project (the form and format of which will vary depending on the focus of the WLC’s inquiry) that aims to help students work toward the QEP student learning outcomes. If you are interested in participating in future Writing and Learning Communities, contact Wendy Sharer, QEP Director, at sharerw@ecu.edu.

• The Writing@ECU website was launched. From this central location, students and faculty can find information about the University Writing Program, the University Writing Center, the Writing Foundations program (ENGL 1100 and 1200/2201), the QEP, and the Tar River Writing Project. Also accessible through this site are various resources for instructors and students, including a collection of short videos featuring ECU students and faculty talking about common writing challenges and the unique demands of writing in different disciplinary contexts. Those videos, filmed in the new University Writing Center space this past summer, can be found here: http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/writing/wac/resources-wac.cfm

• A grand opening ceremony for the new University Writing Center space, including a drawing for two i-Pad Minis, was held on September 23rd.

In addition to these various initiatives, work continues on establishing assessment mechanisms for the QEP. WI instructors have again been asked this semester to have students submit writing samples to provide baseline data for post-implementation assessment. Plans are progressing as well for the fall 2014-spring 2015 implementation of the University Writing Portfolio, an electronic collection of writing samples that students will submit from WI courses. In spring 2014, workshops will be run to familiarize WI faculty with the University Writing Portfolio.

Dr. Wendy Sharer, Director of the QEP

Write Where You Belong

Wilderness Writing: Bringing Interdisciplinary Writing to Bear on Environmental Ethics

(Today’s blog post comes from Stephanie West-Puckett, teaching instructor in the department of English and Associate Director of the Tar River Writing Project. Stephanie teaches first-year and advanced writing courses; in her research, she investigates digital literacies and the impact of digital cultures on student writing practices.  Currently, she serves as the project coordinator for TRWP’s Project Connect at J. H. Rose high school in Greenville.)

by Stephanie West-Puckett

A Picture of Stephanie West-PuckettIn Spring 2011, Dr. Ashley Egan from Biology designed a new course that would increase students’ awareness of the natural world and wilderness while challenging them to formulate a public environmental ethic.   Drawing from her experience as a field botany instructor and from a deep knowledge of biodiversity and systematics, she was confident teaching the natural science content but felt the course would be strengthened by partnering with a faculty member who specialized in writing studies and the teaching of writing.  I was thrilled to jump on board, and together, we co-designed and co-taught Wilderness Writing as an Honors College seminar that brought interdisciplinary knowledges to bear on problems of environmental ethics.  Through a combination of scientific and cultural readings and discussion, intensive immersion in wilderness settings, and writing about nature for a variety of audiences, purposes, and media, students developed arguments about the definitions, values, and purposes of “wilderness”, and published ethical manifestos to communicate those understandings to a broad public.

Two images: the first of two ECU students hiking a river; the second of three ECU students sailng a boat

ECU students write from the mountains to the ocean!

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ECU’s QEP Is Write Where You Belong

Write Where You Belong

by Dr. Wendy Sharer

This year marks the kickoff of ECU’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), a key component of our reaccreditation with Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). While a QEP is mandated by SACS, it is more than a hoop to jump through or a way for an outside agency to check up on the university: it is an opportunity to develop forward-looking, long-term initiatives that will enhance the educational experiences of current and future ECU students. The goal of ECU’s QEP, entitled “Write Where You Belong,” is to integrate, align, and reinforce writing instruction for students from the day that they matriculate at ECU until the day that they complete their degrees and transition into the workplace or advanced study. More specifically, the university will expand individualized writing support for students, enhance instructional support for faculty, and revise the writing curriculum at ECU.

At the heart of the university’s efforts to increase individualized support for student writers is a substantial expansion of the University Writing Center (UWC) in Joyner Library. Consulting space will grow from a four-person table to a 2,700 square-foot dedicated space, complete with hardware and software to assist students in the electronic and multi-modal writing that many of them need to do in the 21st Century. Additionally, more writing consultants will be hired to use the new space and to participate in another QEP initiative, the Writing Mentors program. This program, scheduled to begin in fall 2013, will embed trained juniors, seniors, and graduate students as writing consultants in specific writing-intensive classes.

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Write Now!

Welcome to ECU’s blog on writing and writing pedagogy.  On Mondays, you can look forward to a new blog post written by faculty from across campus about various topics on writing and the teaching of writing.

For more on ECU’s writing program, check out our website for information on writing intensive courses, writing across the curriculum, and writing resources. You can find out more about our University Writing Center here.  Also, be sure to check out information on ECU’s writing-focused QEP for SACS and enjoy this short video on it.

See you on Mondays!