Friday, January 13, 2012
- 2:00-3:00 pm: Registration
- 3:00-5:30 pm: Opening Session
This opening session will be facilitated by the steering committee. We will lead the group in discussion both in small and large groups around such questions as:
What are the goals of our writing programs and centers?
How do they align with national conversations about writing?
There will be opportunities to discuss goals as it relates to a variety of writing programs including first-year writing, WAC, writing fellows programs, and writing centers.
- 5:45-6:30 pm: Cocktails
- 6:30-8:00 pm: Dinner
Saturday, January 14, 2012
9:00-10:15am: What resources and support do faculty need at SLACs to become more effective, discipline-grounded writing instructors and how have writing programs/centers delivered these?
Terra Caputo & Vesta Silva, Allegheny College: Leading by Example: Faculty Mentors Across the Disciplines
Small Liberal Arts Colleges value and often depend on faculty across the disciplines to teach in their first-year programs. The success of such programs is often shaped by the kind of support faculty teaching in these programs receive. Co-Directors of Allegheny’s FS (First-Year/Sophomore) writing and speaking program will discuss the recent addition of a set of “FS Mentors” as one strategy for strengthening consistency and confidence among instructors across the disciplines.
Chris Diller, Berry College: Tutor Reports and Potential Conflicts with Faculty Interests
This talk will focus on the question of whether and how the widespread practice of sending faculty reports of tutoring sessions—either in Writing Centers or Writing Fellows programs—enhances communication and collaboration with faculty. Chris will discuss how he developed both oral and written rationales for the practice in the wake of a recent incident on his own campus.
Carol Rutz, Carleton College: Measuring Gains in Teaching to Measure Student Learning
Carleton College is currently involved in a multi-institution, grant-funded research project that attempts to connect what faculty learn in workshops and other programs to improve teaching that yields improved student learning. The context includes programs based in WAC and other cross-curricular initiatives. This presentation will include data from two case studies.
10:30-11:30 am: Small group discussions
To continue the discussion from the previous session, we’ll break into small groups where a facilitator will lead discussion.
11:45-12:30 pm: Speed Sharing: A New SLAC Tradition
This session will break from the conference theme and will provide a space for discussing any questions related to our work as WPAs and WCDs. There will be three 15-minute mini-sessions.
Pam Bromley, Pomona College: Lobbying the administration for funding
To get the discussion going, Pam will share strategies that have worked at Pomona to get the administration to fund the student wage budget, the single biggest expense by far. By keeping clear and accurate records, the Writing Center has hard numbers to showcase our services and how they could be expanded.
Janet Carl, Grinnell College: Assessment and the Portfolio Pilot Project
In this group we will discuss how student writing portfolios can become a primary faculty development strategy.
Kim Drake, Scripps College: Developing Writing Intensive courses or other WAC/WID initiatives
John Kinkade, Centre College: Moving from Writing Centers to Writing Programs
For SLACs without a formal writing program, the writing center and its director sometimes fill the void. But without formal responsibilities, a de facto writing program adds up to something less than an actual
program–which has both costs and benefits. This session explores what a SLAC might gain, and lose, from seeking to establish a writing program.
Hillory Oakes, Bates College: Oral communication pedagogy and training
Steve Shoemaker, Connecticut College: Designing a syllabus for the first-year seminar
This group will take on questions like the following: How can we work with faculty from across the disciplines to design courses that will help students to acquire core writing skills? What are the best ways to encourage faculty to adopt a scaffolded and sequenced approach to writing assignments? What are some useful for strategies for getting faculty to work on integrating writing and critical thinking?
Joel Wingard, Moravian College: Starting a First-Year Seminar Program
This presentation will describe some of the issues involved in moving from a first-year composition course to a first-year seminar that incorporates academic advising and introduction to college life elements along with writing instruction and practice. At Moravian College, this move achieved a longstanding goal of the WPA: to compile a teaching staff consisting solely of full-time faculty from across the disciplines.
12:30-1:30 pm: Lunch
1:45-3:00 pm: Coming full circle: How do we create and implement an identity for our own writing programs?
This session will return to some of the themes from the opening session. First we’ll hear three presentations on how individuals have begun to create an identity for their writing program on their own campus or on whether a SLAC statement would help with this work. We’ll then open the floor up for a larger discussion around these questions.
Van Hillard, Davidson College: Forging Intellectual Citizenship in Liberal Education
The project of liberal education in small colleges in the U.S. has been marked by an interest in character formation, often understood in as an interest in “leadership,” “service to others,” “lives of integrity,” or similar virtues. Though an institution’s values for shaping students’ academic and civic lives are realized explicitly or implicitly against nearly incalculable contingencies of pedagogy, personality, and local politics, writing courses are one site where intellectual and civic life intersect, where students begin to forge identities as smart, concerned citizens. Because they were committed to preparing future clergy and legal professionals, many of our schools featured rhetorical education as a key element of their nineteenth-century curricula. How does the rhetorical project remain tied to the liberal arts? How does the teaching of writing in the liberal arts differ from the disciplinary and professional motives found in research universities? How might our interest in “writerly character” best be named and defined?
Diane LeBlanc, St. Olaf College: From National Outcomes to Local Collaboration: A Model for Writing Program Development
Guiding documents from national organizations (CWPA, CCCC, NCTE) have been vital to the development of St. Olaf College’s writing program. A task force drafting learning outcomes for first-year writing seminar and writing intensive general education courses studied national statements to recognize vetted practices, to introduce a history of shared values and common language, and to establish identity within that context. Our work evolved into a series of assessment projects with St. Olaf’s Office of Institutional Research and Evaluation, for which we further articulated outcomes for writing in the liberal arts. After a brief history St. Olaf’s Writing Program, I will share a collaborative model for program building and identity formation and consider how a SLAC outcomes statement might enhance or redirect that work.
Erek Smith, Ursinus College: “I’m Not Just Making This Stuff Up”: Selling the Best Practices of Writing Pedagogy and Administration to a Skeptical Institution
In this presentation, Erek will talk about his tactics in presenting the best practices of writing instruction and administration to Ursinus College, a school with no core writing requirement, a haphazard writing fellows program, some anxiety regarding writing instruction, but a sincere desire to learn. He will discuss workshops given, conferences planned, and committees visited in my attempts to acquire ethos as a credible representative of best practices and “sell” writing-intensive pedagogy.
3:00 pm-3:30pm: Conference wrap-up and looking toward next year.