Call for Nominations: Fall 2018 WIC Faculty Seminar

By WIC Team 

The WIC Faculty Seminar for the 2018-2019 school year will be held in fall term. Faculty interested in participating should ask their unit heads to email a nomination to WIC director Vicki Tolar Burton at

The seminar is designed for faculty teaching WIC courses and faculty using writing in non-WIC courses, as it focuses on learning best practices for teaching writing across the disciplines. Upon completing the five-session seminar, participating faculty receive a modest honorarium.

The seminar is held on five consecutive Wednesday afternoons, 3-5pm, in Milam 215 on the specific dates listed below:

  • October 10
  • October 17
  • October 24
  • October 31
  • November 7

Registration is now open and will continue throughout the summer.

2018 WIC Culture of Writing Awards: Celebrating Writing in the Disciplines

By WIC Tea

WIC and participating units strive to foster a commitment to excellence in undergraduate student writing and recognize the value of writing across the disciplines with the annual Culture of Writing Awards.

Participation in the Culture of Writing Awards has thrived since 2006 as students earn recognition and cash awards through either individual or team writing projects. This year, participation continues to be strong. WIC would like to thank all participating units for their continued desire to recognize and reward outstanding student writing.

Congratulations to this year’s awardees!

Spring 2018 WIC award winners


Student Title of Paper College/ Unit/ Nominating Professor
Blaise Gilbride
Andrew Parmeter
Roger Rodriguez-Ortiz
Johnson Trieu
Interactive Parts Storage System Project Specification College of Engineering
Unit: EECS
Chair: Belle Bose
Nominated by: Rachael Cate


Student Title of Paper College/ Unit/ Nominating Professor
Reiden Gustafson Grant Proposal: PDX Resilience Farm College of Agricultural Sciences
Unit: Ag Ed/Ag Sci
Nominated by: Becky Haddad
Lyndsey Dixon Alternative Public Policy Approaches to Childhood Obesity College of Agricultural Sciences
Unit:  Applied Economics
Nominated by: Larry Lev
Erin Wever AEC 410 Internship Report – My summer with the OSU Extension Service – Marion County, Mid-Willamette Valley Small Farms Program College of Agricultural Sciences
Unit:  Applied Economics
Nominated by: James Sterns
Holly Rysenga Implications of Psittacines as Pets College of Agricultural Sciences
Unit:  Animal Sciences
Nominated by Giovanna Rosenlicht
Eliza Wilmes Smith A Survey of Small Farmers to Assess Interest in a Food Hub in Oregon’s Mid-Willamette Valley College of Agricultural Sciences
Unit: BRR
Nominated by:  Katharine G. Field
Joshua Lynn Akins Personal Ethical Action Plan College of Business
Unit: Management
Nominated by: Ted Paterson
Siena Marion Harris Challenge Paper 1 College of Business
Unit: Management
Nominated by: Ken Crangle
Joel Goodman Mars Rover Robotic Arm Design Proposal College of Engineering
Unit: MIME
Nominated by: Sharon LeRoux
Philip Michael Roe We Hear You Now College of Liberal Arts
Unit: Cascades/SWLF
Nominated by Neil Browne
Annalise San Juan Nature Viewed Through the Male Gaze College of Liberal Arts
Unit: English
Nominated by: Ehren Pflugfelder
Jordyn C. Bateman Your Fast Fashion Purchases May Lead To a Serious Crisis College of Liberal Arts
Unit: School of Arts and Communication-New Media
Nominated by: Alina Padilla-Miller
Dominique Willard Argyres The Effect of Medicaid Expansion on Substance Abuse-Related Mortalities, 2013-2016 College of Liberal Arts
Unit: School of Public Policy
Nominated by Camille Nelson
Elena Ramirez Robles Planting the Seeds to Establish the Roots College of Liberal Arts
Unit: Ethnic Studies/School of Language, Culture, and Society
Nominated by: Natchee Barnd
Nico Conahan Washington R*dskins – a Comparative Critique College of Liberal Arts
Unit:  Arts and Communications
Nominated by: Deann Garcia
Lihani du Plessis  “A Monument to Jim Crow”: Post-War Racial Liberalism and the Battle Over the Booker T. Washington Black Veterans Hospital College of Liberal Arts
Unit: History, Philosophy, and Religion
Nominated by: Marisa Chappell
Rishi Seshadri Personal, Musical, and Cultural: The Influence of Legacy, a Work-Concept, and Enlightenment Values in Haydn’s Late Oratorios College of Liberal Arts
Unit: Music
Nominated by: Kimary Fick
Hannah C. Lea ADHD Diagnoses and Prescription Rates of Methylphenidate among Children and Adolescents in the United States and Europe: Implications for Long-term Health Outcomes College of Liberal Arts
Unit: School of Psychological Science
Nominated by: Anita Cservenka
Patrick Storment The Impact of Religious Sympathy on Attitudes Toward Immigrants College of Liberal Arts
Unit: Public Policy
Nominated by: Alison Johnston
Emily L. Wilcox A Comparative Analysis of Black and White Subjective Social Class Identifications: Significance of Relationship for Income Level, Educational Level, and Occupational Type College of Liberal Arts
Unit: Sociology
Nominated by: Rebecca Warner
Karen C. Granados A Socio-Ecological Suicide Prevention Program: Peer-To-Peers, adapted from Sources of Strength, an Evidence-based Program. College of Public Health and Human Sciences
Unit: School of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences
Nominated by: Aimee Snyder
Alexa Sakai Proposal to Fund the Sex Trafficking Education Program CASCADES
College:  Public Health and Human Sciences
Unit: Human Development and Family Sciences
Nominated by: Shannon Lipscomb
Jordan P. Pascua What are you worth?  A case for pay-for-play in the NCAA College:  Public Health and Human Sciences
Unit: School of Biological and Population Health Sciences
Nominated by: Jennifer Beamer
Danielle M. Stevens Impacts of Tertiary Ligands in Catalysis in Thermostable Human Carbonic Anhydrase II by Site-directed Mutagenesis and Genetic Code Expansion College of Science
Unit: Biochemistry & Biophysics
Nominated by: Kari van Zee and Ryan Mehl
Seth Gonzales Derivation of Halide Bond Lengths through Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy College of Science:
Unit: Chemistry
Nominated by: Chong Fang
Mark Rubin GMOs are Safe: Why a Former Anti-GMO Activist Changed His Mind College of Science
Unit: Integrative Biology
Nominated by: Meta Landys
Brandon Farmer Behavior of a Tall, Narrow Structure Modeled as an Inverted Pendulum During Earthquakes With and Without the Inclusion of Vertical Ground Acceleration College of Science
Unit: Mathematics
Nominated by: Nathan Gibson
Christopher May Freezing a Softly Repulsive Fluid: Monte Carlo Methods and the Weeks–‐Chandler-‐Andersen Potential College of Science
Unit: Physics
Nominated by Janet Tate
Zibigniew Sikora Effects of solarization and water treatment on microbial communities in soil College of Science
Unit: Microbiology
Nominated by: Walt Ream


Interviews with WIC Seminar Alumni: Nate Kirk

By Ruth Sylvester, WIC Intern

Nate Kirk is a course instructor in the Department of Integrative Biology. He teaches two WIC classes: Field methods in marine ecology and critical thinking and communication in the life sciences. Broadly speaking, he is a molecular ecologist that is interested in coral symbioses ranging from mutualism (where both partners benefit) to parasitism. He is also interested in the incorporation of educational best practices to increase equity and inclusion in the classroom.

Ruth Sylvester interviews WIC Seminar 2017 Alumni, Nate Kirk about teaching a WIC course.

Q: How has it been to teach the Marine Ecology class as a WIC class?

A: I have had the pleasure to teach Field methods in marine ecology 4 times now. Twice before it became a WIC and twice after. Prior to the redesign of the course (by another faculty member, Su Sponaugle, also a WIC alum), the focus was on the process of science. Starting with broad questions students were challenged to design experiments, collect and analyze data, and finally write up their results. With the WIC designation, the writing process has taken the forefront. There are many opportunities to practice scientific writing in class and for homework. Multiple drafts coupled with peer review has made the generation of text a larger focus. The writing process has nicely supplemented the experimental design and they are largely complementary pieces to help students advance their science.

Q: How do you approach informal writing activities in your WIC class?

A: The overall goal is to draft of cohesive, concise, and precise primary research article that could be submitted to the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series. However, the dry and technical writing style is hard to start writing. To help students revise for conciseness and precision of words, editing exercises are frequently done on their own work and in exemplars. I have also introduced the practice of reflection in writing. I frequently have students answer questions related to their work on index cards (writing microthemes) as part of the typical daily routine. Likewise, I have students write in class process memos to accompany all submitted work (complete drafts and finished papers). This reflective work allows the student to explain what went well and what they struggled with in their writing. I find reading this memo to be refreshing and it allows me to mentally prepare my lens for evaluating their work. I also have students practice numerous brainstorming techniques that I obtained from the WIC training.

Q: What are your tips for helping students do peer review in your discipline?

A: The hardest thing is often facing a blank piece of paper. Writing perfect sentences, although enviable, is often not plausible or productive. It is better to draft and revise than to write the final draft. Starting with an outline of topic sentences can also make or break the flow and logic of the presented data. Starting with topic sentences is a great way to generate an outline and provide structure for the argument that will be advanced in the paper.

Q: What is your process for designing rubrics for WIC?

A: I have been lucky enough to work with other faculty members teaching similar classes who were willing to share notes and their rubrics. I am indebted to Devon Quick, Andrew Bouwma, Meta Landys, and Lori Kayes for their materials and inspiration. Now that I have several working drafts of rubrics for various assignments, I generally modify existed elements and criteria. When starting from scratch, I try to identify the most important elements of the work (e.g. accuracy, content, style, etc) and try to image 3-4 categories ranging from what would a perfect paper look like to what would a misfire look like. I try to be very concise and precise in meaning so that it is obvious why a student received the score they did. Iteration, personal reflection, and student feedback help with refinement.

Q: How has your experience teaching WIC influenced your teaching methodology as a whole?

A: There are several general pieces of advice that I have incorporated from the WIC training in non-WIC classes. 1) Titles of assignments matter. I used to call my assignments “final paper”, “Homework #1”, and  “OpEd”. These assignments are now called: “Writing your grant proposal”, “Revising for clarity and content” and “Finding your voice: Writing a letter in support of your position” 2) I agree with the idea of writing in class to retain information. It also keeps students active in the classroom. I now incorporate the write and pass in each non-WIC class to demonstrate its power as a study tool with a group. 3) I now use minimal marking instead of fully explaining the loss of points on exams. This has facilitated more interesting dialogue between students as they try to determine what may have gone askew. I also try to find positive, useful and constructive comments to write. I used to write “well done!” on papers quite a bit, but now I try to explain what was good. I also frame all criticism in a positive light.

Q: What are your favorite things about teaching in your discipline?

A: I have always loved biology. After all, it is the study of “life”! There are few better topics than life in my very humble opinion. It is also a familiar topic to many people and I love helping people find connections to patterns that they have observed to biological principles that we cover. I also enjoy that many of the questions that students pose are novel in the field. Despite all of our advances, there is so much that we don’t know about our field.



By Vicki Tolar Burton

Let’s Celebrate!

The OSU Twitter feed on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, carried the following happy student message:

Feeling so thankful that a paper I wrote last term was nominated for, and won, the Kinesiology Culture of Writing Award. What a great way to finish off my last term at @OregonState

Kinesiology winner, Jordan P. Pascua, joins thirty other OSU undergraduates as recipients of the WIC Culture of Writing Award in their discipline. This is a record number of WIC awards. Congratulations to the student winners, and Congratulations and thanks to the nominating faculty members for taking the time to honor your students. Nominating faculty are listed with the student winners here.

This was also a record year for the number of Category II WIC proposals reviewed: 21. New WIC courses are being designed and existing courses updated. The WIC curriculum is thriving with more than 150 courses across the university.

Part of this curricular energy comes from faculty who have participated in the WIC Faculty Seminars, both on the Corvallis campus and at OSU Cascades, where we held a modified WIC seminar for twenty enthusiastic faculty.

I invite you to get to know two of OSU’s most innovative WIC instructors, Deanna Lloyd and Nate Kirk, through inspiring interviews featured in this issue.

This is also the time of year when I thank those who have helped WIC to succeed. First, thanks to this year’s WIC GTA, Mohana Das, who is graduating this month with an MFA in poetry.  With an undergraduate major in Computer Engineering, she brought disciplinary breadth, thoughtful analysis of WIC proposals and assignments, and a willing spirit that will make her welcome in any work environment.  Thanks also to WIC Intern Ruth Sylvester, a first-year MA in Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture, for her help in every part of the program. Finally, thank you to Caryn Stoess, EA for Academic Programs, WIC, and DPD, who has made event planning look easy and helped us take assessment of WIC courses to a new level using CORE data.

And thank you to all who taught a WIC course this year. May you grade with ease. Happy summer!