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Category Archive for 'Writing Retreat'

I’m off to the International First-Year Experience Conference to discuss Faculty Buy-In: Engaging and Retaining Faculty Instructors:

Attracting hesitant faculty, especially tenured, senior faculty, to the first year seminar classroom is not always an easy task. This roundtable will focus on ways to engage and retain faculty instructors and develop their willing and enthusiastic participation, while strengthening the important Faculty/Student Affairs/ Writing Tutorial connection. The discussion will encourage other institutions to share best practices, discuss challenges, and brainstorm new ideas for faculty engagement.

Here are my handouts for the session:

  • History and Background of Middlebury’s FYS program
  • Peer Writing Tutor Info and “Harvest Cycle” of Faculty Development
  • Here are my presentation notes:

    Key Piece of Advice:

    Tell your story often and in many venues. And listen, really listen, to what your faculty have to stay.

    Background


    * administrative support/ faculty voted in FYS over 20 years ago. Specifics and history of the program on the Middlebury handout.
    * Since 2004, FYS director also director of CTLR (supports both faculty and students in learning and teaching), so CTLR supports students with writing, math, and study skills professionals and with peer mentors, tutors. CTLR also supports faculty with faculty development opportunities, such as workshops and consultations.

    Three Components for Successful Faculty Buy-in


    1. flexibility/opportunity–What do faculty get out of this experience?
    * flexibility–choice of topic–opportunity to teach something different, of special interest, or topical
    * opportunity to making it manageable–team support (peer writing mentor, librarian/ed tech) enables faculty to experiment and risks
    * flexibility–choosing a team–whole, part, choosing its members, no team
    * opportunity to bonding with students and to understand what the next crop of students is like
    * opportunity to lure students into your area of study
    * opportunities for tenured and junior faculty to experiment with different pedagogies and tools
    * creating the students they want to see in their other courses

    2. information–How are faculty getting information about your program and help when they need it?
    * e-mails & online info, face to face group meeting in spring
    * faculty development opportunities–Pedagogy series in June, in January, and throughout the year
    * Writing Retreat in August
    * follow up meeting in fall
    * ability to consult with members of the writing program throughout the year
    * website info about advising and teaching writing

    3. follow-up–How do you know if your faculty and students are engaged? If your program is successful?
    * midterm survey peer writing tutors
    * check ins by librarians
    * end of the semester evaluation
    * five-year longitudinal study of the class of 2010 (Teagle Grant)
    * Ward Prize

    Conclusion


    * not without challenges
    * not without changes
    * not without shifting monetary support
    * You can’t take anything for granted: not money, not support. You have to keep telling your story, listening for problems, urging your faculty members to tell their stories to each other.

    Here are links to previous First-Year Experience Conference Middlebury presentations:

I’m heading back to our Annual Writing Retreat tomorrow, to talk about Syllabus Building and Assignment Sequencing again. My top three points for this presentation are:

  • Start at the back end, and know your goals.
  • Build forward, adding challenges and difficulties to achieve those goals.
  • Make your pedagogy transparent to your students.

Last fall, I followed this last advice to the extent that I shared part of my presentation to the faculty with my students and discussed with them the way I structured the course to achieve specific goals.

In an optional journal entry, some of my students discussed whether or not we had met our goals. Here is one of my favorite comments:

We achieved all these goals! Wow, we did learn a lot in this class, didn’t we? In retrospect, I am so glad I got into this seminar and wrote/revised papers every week because they really shaped me as a writer. We achieved Goals #1, 2, 6, and 8 through posting online discussions, Goals #2, 3, 4, 5, and 7 through writing papers, and Goal #9 through participating in class discussions and giving oral presentations. I definitely learned how to compare and contrast between the novel and the film and to compare three different things in a paper. We all did an awesome job in our digital media projects, and of course, after Jane Austen dance dinner, we can call ourselves dance masters :)

Syllabus for this course is here.

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