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Writing Across the Curriculum

Faculty Development

The Faculty Writing Development Program

The Faculty Writing Development Program is a year-long initiative led by the WAC Coordinators with support from Writing Fellows. It is designed to

  • provide in-depth support to a core group of faculty implementing WI courses across a range of disciplines;
  • disseminate teaching practices developed in the initiative to other Lehman faculty.

Faculty participants are recruited at a three-day WAC Faculty Development Institute in June of the year prior to their participation. Working with a Writing Fellow, the faculty participants:

  • experiment with innovative writing assignments and pedagogies over two semesters;
  • plan and teach a WI course in the Spring semester;
  • document and assess the work done in the WI course in a course portfolio;
  • share resources from WI courses for workshop and faculty development purposes;
  • participate in monthly professional development meetings with their Writing Fellow.

A Writing Development Grant is awarded to all faculty who participate in the Writing Development Program. Faculty selected to participate in the three-day introductory seminar also receive a stipend. For more information, contact the coordinators at x5825.

Spring SOLT Seminar

Interested past participants from our year-long program reconvene for a “refresher” semester each spring, based in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL). Faculty who participate in this additional semester:

  • Attend a Friday seminar that meets monthly during the spring semester;
  • Meet occasionally with a former writing fellow now serving as a WAC faculty-development associate;
  • Pursue an area of inquiry in their teaching with writing; and
  • Distill that work into a faculty-development presentation or a web-based display for dissemination locally and nationally.

Participants in the SOTL seminar are invited to play a leadership role in planning and facilitating WAC core activities in the following year.

Workshops and Institutes: College-Wide Offerings

Annual Spring Institute
Each May, WAC offers a three-day intensive WAC Faculty Development Institute designed to address critical issues in college literacy. Participants in the institute become eligible to apply for the Writing Development Program.

We also offer a variety of workshops and institutes focused on special topics. In these workshops, faculty from multiple disciplines learn about effective writing and reading strategies, share and revise assignments, and develop new approaches to improve student writing in their classes. Recent workshops include:

Making Connections Across an FYI Block (Fall 2007)
This day-long workshop, open to faculty teaching in the Freshman Year Initiative Program, was designed to support instructors in using writing to make connections across linked courses. Faculty Development Associates Rachel Ihara and Tyler Schmidt led faculty in a series of activities exploring different approaches to interdisciplinary collaboration and strategies for using writing to connect courses across academic disciplines. Faculty analyzed reports written by instructors in learning communities from previous semesters, compared various writing assignments for first-year students, and created linking activities from their own writing assignments.

Writing for the ‘Real World’ (Fall 2007)
Co-led by Faculty Development Associate Tyler Schmidt and Assistant Professor Richard Holody (Sociology & Social Work), this three-session workshop introduced faculty to the philosophy behind Writing Across the Curriculum as well as to writing-to-learn strategies, including ways to use “low-stakes,” informal writing to support “high-stakes” assignments. Professor Holody and Professor Jessica Kahn, also from the Sociology & Social Work department, illustrated how they “scaffolded” assignments in their class. In the last session participants brought in their own assignments and worked together to re-design them and/or add supporting assignments. Participants in the workshop series included eleven faculty members from ten departments.

Quantitative Reasoning Task Force (Fall 2007)
Lehman faculty involved in the campus’s WAC program have become increasingly interested in exploring the ways writing can be linked to quantitative material in their courses. Observing that students often struggle with understanding and writing about statistics, charts, graphs, and research data, professors across the disciplines are exploring the ways writing can be used as a tool for working with numbers. In the fall of 2007, WAC convened a Quantitative Reasoning Task Force. Task force members Andrea Boyar (Health Sciences), Judith Duncker (Political Science), Mario González-Corzo (Economics), Robin Kunstler (Health Sciences), and Tyler T. Schmidt (WAC) began documenting how writing currently is being used to facilitate quantitative reasoning. Members of the task force shared assignments and student work focused on quantitative data and discussed the similarities and differences of working with quantitative data across the disciplines. The task force also generated ideas for a spring workshop series focused on the uses of writing to support quantitative reasoning.

Working with Numbers: Using Writing to Improve Quantitative Reasoning (Spring 2008, 2009)
In this workshop series on quantitative writing, faculty from a variety of disciplines came together to discuss quantitative reasoning learning goals and quantitative literacy; consider writing strategies that help students interpret, synthesize, and evaluate quantitative data; craft sample quantitative writing assignments; share student work from those assignments; and discuss how faculty can use writing assignments to help students prepare for the quantitative portion of the CUNY Proficiency Exam.

Writing with BlackBoard Workshop (Spring 2009)
In Spring 2009, 12 faculty participated in a two-session WAC workshop focused on creating writing assignments to support student thinking and learning on BlackBoard.With assistance from faculty development associate Carla DuBose, WAC coordinators crafted exercises for faculty focused on creating a community among students via discussion boards, creating effective prompts for online assignments related to faculty’s thinking and learning goals for students, integrating online student writing into class discussion, using visual material on BlackBoard, and the use of blogs and wikis (technology most students are familiar with) to promote analytical thinking and student learning. Faculty participated face-to-face in the two sessions and remotely on a WAC BlackBoard site. Building on the success of this effort, WAC will offer a three-day workshop on BlackBoard in Spring 2010.