Why are we here?

In the comment section, please introduce yourself and write a bit about why you are here. What kinds of writing do you teach? What feels challenging about teaching writing in your discipline? What kinds of writing do you regularly engage in?

Due: Session 1, 9/24, 8AM

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4 Replies to “Why are we here?”

  1. I have the fortune of teaching KIN 481 Critical Issues in Kinesiology, our major’s WIC class, this year. The class involves “persuasive scientific writing” and is very scary for most of my students because they don’t see themselves as capable of producing the same type of work that they read in journals. I find that my job during the first two weeks of the class is really to get them to leave fear at the door and to boldly enter the classroom, ready to develop another tool for their writing toolbox. The class uses such a paced, developmental approach that it really does work and most students leave much more confident about how to approach writing than before they took the class.

    The reason I am here is because I came from an institution that served primarily first generation, minority students, that successfully implemented a Writing Across the Curriculum program. The growth that I was able to witness in my students as writers over time was incredible! I felt proud of the writing abilities of my students when they graduated and know that the immersive writing process that they engaged in every semester was largely the reason for this success. I would love for Cascades to be a trail-blazer in this regard and to demonstrate that we CAN implement a similar program here. We are GRITTY and need to produce that GRIT in our students! Woo Hoo!

    Besides the 20-page equivalent of emails that I produce daily, I have most recently written a scientific paper for publication and several book chapters aimed at a lay audience. I co-author abstracts and posters for conference presentation by my students, where brevity is king!

  2. For most of my career teaching psychology courses, I have always considered the teaching of writing as the “english teacher’s” responsibility. I have given paper assignments mostly because I felt that that was what I was supposed to do, but always felt lost as to the feedback I was supposed to give.

    Over the past few years, I have thought much about what psychology students were learning, and what they should be learning. I have thought more about what skills they should be learning and what careers (most) students actually go into, rather than what theories and knowledge they should be learning. Most students with a bachelors degree in psychology will be tasked to do the grunt work of gathering and summarizing the appropriate information (for their bosses). Therefore, at a minimum, they need to be able to do research and summarize their findings. I also appreciate that writing is a reflection of a number of other skills I would hope my students develop well, such as thought, organization, and concentration (and others).

    I now realize that writing is not a knowledge that can be learned in one course, but a skill that needs to be developed slowly with practice. Writing is a skill that is best developed across many courses, and I hope to learn more about the teaching of writing so that I can be part of a great curriculum that ensures that our students will become great writers…. and thinkers.

  3. I am here in search of a community of colleagues who teach and learn through writing. Writing helps me to discover my own ideas, to deeply consider those of others, and to raise new questions for further inquiry. Professionally, I primarily write research articles, grant proposals, and lots and lots of emails. Sometimes I get to write in a way that translates research into everyday language for parents, teachers, and policy makers. In my personal life I also like to write poems, personal essays, and letters/cards. Occasionally, after much revision, my writing turns out polished and gets published. Often, even with much revision, it doesn’t. Sometimes, I never revise it. Regardless, I learn and think through writing.

    I have come to notice over the years, that while some students share my proclivity for writing, most do not. Many of my students are much stronger in verbal than in written communication. They enter HDFS 461 (WIC course on Program Development and Grant Writing) with trepidation. Last year, I took this course on and aligned it with the way it is taught in Corvallis. The structure of the course, with a huge number of assignments that ultimately lead up to a finished grant proposal, is overwhelming. Yet, every single student I’ve had in class thus far has made sizeable progress in their writing. This year, I look forward to strengthening the practice of writing to learn, as a stronger balance to learning to write.

    I’m thrilled to engage with you all in our Faculty Learning Community, and with Jenna as we co-teach this winter and spring. Kara, I would love to learn about your experience with Writing across the Curriculum. Peter, I too would like to strengthen our writing assignments and processes in non-WIC courses. Together we will build a vibrant writing culture at OSU-Cascades!

  4. I apologize for the belated post, but echoing the previous comments, I am also here in search of a community of colleagues who teach writing, as well as to strengthen our students’ writing skills and to collaborate on how we can further develop the writing program(s) here. I am interested in not only advancing writing instruction in my History courses, but as one of the Writing Coaches at the new Learning Lab, I also hope to work with faculty on how I can address diverse writing needs across the curriculum. Although I am familiar with writing in the field of History (where brevity is not king), I have much to learn in regards to writing in other disciplines. My training as a graduate student in History did not exactly prepare me to teach writing—it was already assumed that students possessed those skills—and although I’ve worked on addressing writing in my classes over the last two years, I’d love to learn more about it as a pedagogy.

    I also love to write (I wanted to be a fiction author in my youth), and have noticed that many students do not feel the same way. Although I don’t write creatively anymore, I enjoy playing with language in academic writing and am currently working on adapting part of my dissertation into an article. I look forward to discussing how we can cultivate a stronger writing culture here at OSU-Cascades and to working with all of you this year!

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