This week’s post comes from Hector Garza (Theatre and Dance), who currently chairs the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Committee. Professor Garza explores several changes that the WAC Committee has been working on regarding WI courses; these changes are important in the context of the Quality Enhancement Plan: “Write Where You Belong.”
The Writing Across the Curriculum committee has been working to create a new, more comprehensive definition of Writing Intensive courses at ECU. Our major source for inspiration in making these changes has been the work of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). The “Write Where You Below” initiative is our chance to effect change in a system that has never defined student learning outcomes. As committee, we have endeavored to strengthen the WI program at ECU by redefining what “writing intensive” means at ECU. This redefinition can be seen in the new WI course proposal form that is currently in draft form. At the core of the new proposal is the adopting of the QEP’s Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) as the official Writing Outcomes for WI courses at ECU. According to these outcomes, students will
- Use writing to investigate complex, relevant topics and address significant questions through engagement with and effective use of credible sources;
- Produce writing that reflects an awareness of context, purpose, and audience, particularly within the written genres (Including genres that integrate writing with visuals, audio or other multimodal components) of their major disciplines and/or career fields;
- Demonstrate that they understand writing as a process that can be made more effective though drafting revision;
- Proofread and edit their own writing, avoiding grammatical and mechanical errors;
- Assess and explain the major choices that they make in their writing.
This simple step goes a long way to strengthen the WI program. The models that are currently the standard for WI courses will fall by the wayside. If these changes are approved by Faculty Senate and the Chancellor later this spring, all WI courses will be expected to meet these Writing Outcomes. One benefit for faculty is that meeting the Writing Outcomes is not tied to a specific number of pages of writing, which allows for greater flexibility for faculty across different disciplines where final projects vary in length.
This week, QEP Director, Wendy Sharer, updates us on what has been happening with the QEP project, “Write Where You Belong.” As Dr. Sharer reminded us back in September, the QEP “is an opportunity to develop forward-looking, long-term initiatives that will enhance the educational experiences of current and future ECU students.” At the UWP, we hope you’re as excited as we are about all the changes being put in place to support students and faculty at ECU.
As reported in a September, this academic year marked the kickoff of ECU’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), a key component of our reaccreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Many exciting things have happened since September:
- The final version of the QEP document was submitted to SACS on February 18th. An on-site review team from SACS will visit ECU from April 2-4, 2013 to discuss the QEP with various constituents.
- Tremendous progress has been made on the construction of the new University Writing Center (UWC) space on the first floor of Joyner Library. The space—which will provide multiple tables for tutoring sessions, a “digital studio” for students working on multimedia and multimodal projects, dedicated space for the Online Writing Lab, and office space for the administration and staff of the University Writing Program and the QEP—is slated for completion in late March, with an official opening ceremony on Founders Day, May 1, 2013. Additionally, a “Welcome and Open House” will be held for ECU students, faculty, and staff early in the fall 2013 semester. Stay tuned for details! (more…)
(Today’s blog post comes from Hector Garza, Assistant Professor of Theatre History and Literature. In 2011-12, Hector served as the Vice Chair of the Writing Across the Curriculum Committee during its first year back as a standing Faculty Senate committee; this year, Hector has taken on the role of chair of that committee. If you have questions about the curriculum process for WI courses, you can contact Hector Garza at email@example.com.)
It is an honor and a privilege to serve as chair of the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) committee. This is my second year as a member of the WAC committee, and I served as vice chair last year. The committee’s primary focus this year is to support the initiatives of the Quality Enhancement Project (QEP). We are in the process of evaluating and revising the proposal for obtaining WI designation so that it reflects the goals outlined by the QEP’s “Write Where You Belong” initiative. We are using the resources and momentum of the QEP to better articulate the importance of writing in the process of learning.
My association with the writing program date back to my first year at ECU. I was fortunate enough to be nominated by my colleague, Patch Clark, to participate in the WAC Academy. During the academy, I was able to develop my skills as a teacher of writing. Perhaps the most important lesson I learned in the academy was if we are to truly engage our students in understanding writing as a process, we must all model writing as a process. Too often our colleagues expect that we, as professors of WI courses, are to teach our students how to be effective writers. I believe that we ALL have to examine our roles as teachers of writing. We have to teach students how to be professionals, which means teaching them how to write like professionals. Effective writing is distinct depending on the discipline: effective writing for an English class is not going to look the same as effective writing in a journalism class, a theatre class, a math class. Each discipline defines the tenets of effective writing. You, in your discipline, are responsible for inculcating your students into your discourse community.
My connection to the writing program has afforded me the opportunity to share techniques from my class with colleagues. I have had the opportunity to create, in collaboration with Kerri Bright Flinchbaugh, and teach Writing to Learn (WTL) workshops. The workshops are opportunities to collaborate with colleagues in defining and sharing best practices. I encourage you to come out to all the University Writing Program’s offerings.
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.