By Sarah Tinker Perrault, WIC Director

Winter 2023 was an unexpectedly exciting quarter for WIC. In addition to our scheduled visiting speaker and workshop leader (about whom more below), we had some ad hoc events related to questions of if and how faculty might use predictive text generators such as ChatGPT in their classes. I also made a second trip to the Cascades campus and had a fun and productive conversation with faculty there.

The highlight of the term was the virtual visit by Dr. Stephanie Kerschbaum, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Washington, which included a talk and a workshop on disability and the teaching of writing. You can read an overview of the talk or access a recording of it here, and also read a summary of the workshop. WIC Graduate Intern Yvette Rosales did excellent work making sure the captions on the recording are accurate.

The ChatGPT events were, like predictive text generators themselves, somewhat unexpected. Early in the term we started hearing about faculty concerns, and there was enough urgency that we decided not to wait for the Spring Lunch Series to address them. The event, a collaboration between WIC and Ecampus, included a lot of sharing by participants. You can read an event summary here, read an overview of participant contributions here, and view the recording here. Caption corrections for this recording were provided by another WIC Graduate Intern, Madeline Hurwitz.

The final event of the term, my trip to the Cascades campus (described here) was both an enjoyable visit and a chance for me to learn more about what is happening at the beautiful high desert campus.

As we look toward spring, we are excited about the upcoming events. Another trip to Bend will keep the Cascades conversation going, and there also will be the traditional Spring Lunch Series.

Finally, please remember that spring is Culture of Writing Awards season, a time to celebrate student writing by choosing a student paper that exemplifies excellent undergraduate writing in your major. Winners receive a certificate and money; you can find more details here.

WIC’s winter speaker was Dr. Stephanie Kerschbaum, Associate Professor of English and the Director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Washington. Dr. Kerschbaum gave a talk and led a workshop on disability and the teaching of writing.

Signs of Disability: Challenging Dis-Attention Through Narrative

By Jarrett Steel Webster, WIC Graduate Intern

Dr. Kerschbaum gave her talk, “Signs of Disability: Challenging Dis-Attention Through Narrative,” on January 17. Attended virtually by nearly 40 participants, the talk was based on Dr. Kerschbaum’s new open-access book, Signs of Disability.

Dr. Kerschbaum began by inviting the audience to reflect on “Where and when and how does disability take shape all around us on an everyday basis?” Elaborating on the discussion of invisibility, visibility, and the “signs” of disability, Dr. Kerschbaum asked participants “to pay attention and think about disability. Who is excluded; who is ignored?”

The focal point of Dr. Kerschbaum’s discussion surrounded the concept of “dis-attention.” She explained that she coined this term to “reveal disability as simultaneously hyper-noticeable and imperceptible.” This term refers to both “a form of collective attention that ignores or erases disability as an everyday occurrence” and/or “an awareness and facilitation of disability studies through the gaze of those with disabilities.”

To illustrate this concept, Dr. Kerschbaum displayed pictures of several street signs that are meant to inform people that a person with disabilities is in the area. These included signs stating “Autistic Child In Area,” “Deaf Person,” and “Blind Person Crossing.” In her analysis of the effects these signs have, Dr. Kerschbaum problematized the assumption that people with disabilities need these signs to navigate the world safely.

You can watch the full Zoom recording of Dr. Kerschbaum’s talk here.

Disability, Identity, and Teaching: A Workshop on Engaging Disability Productively in the Classroom

By Madeline Hurwitz, WIC Graduate Intern

On January 19, Dr. Stephanie Kerschbaum led a workshop entitled “Disability, Identity, and Teaching: A Workshop on Engaging Disability Productively in the Classroom.” The workshop focused on the significance of identity and the emergence of identity through stories in relation to syllabus policies, classroom procedures, assignment design, and grading.

How someone introduces themselves, for example, is dependent in large part on acts of contextualization, imposing particular characteristics upon a situation in order to decide how to act or present yourself. To demonstrate this, Dr. Kerschbaum asked faculty participants to introduce themselves. Afterwards, participants looked back and noticed what information they included and what they left out.

This activity emphasized how paying attention to identity in real time–both in terms of who people think they are, and who they are seen as–has a significant impact on learning. How faculty identify themselves is significant for the types of pedagogical relationships they can build with students. By being open about how they identify, faculty can build an environment that bolsters students’ sense of belonging.

In terms of disability, specifically, the workshop highlighted how disability, like gender, is signaled in complex ways. Without evident clues of disability, people do not tend to seek out information. Dr. Kerschbaum encouraged faculty participants to take this into consideration and attend to disability when constructing syllabus policies about student learning and access needs.

Faculty were also asked to share their own syllabi policies related to late work, extensions, and attendance. Participants discussed the importance of students being present in class, faculty labor conditions, building in flexibility to syllabi policies, and being mindful of student progress on a case-by-case basis.

Dr. Kerschbaum then presented faculty participants with disability scenarios that they may run into and offered suggestions on how to approach these situations. These suggestions, also corroborated by a tip sheet from Jay Dolmage on universal pedagogical design, focused on creating a culture of non-judgement, being open to possibility and uncertainty, encouraging students’ sense of agency, and facilitating positive interactions and productive conversations around disability.

Dr. Kerschbaum ended the workshop by stressing the importance of being comfortable allowing the dimensions of access to be mutually shaped by both instructors and students, a pedagogical practice that is applicable across disciplines and particularly relevant to writing-intensive courses.

The WIC Team is excited to announce our 2023 Spring Lunch Series. All workshops will be held remotely via Zoom, and you can find links to register below.

Here are this year’s spring events:

How to Give Supportive and Effective Feedback on Writing

Friday, April 14 (OSU Week 2), 12:00-1:00 pm

In this lunchtime conversation, Dr. Patti Sakurai (Associate Professor, Ethnic Studies) will talk about how she guides students through the process of drafting and revising written work in a WIC class. Drawing on more than twenty-five years of experience teaching at OSU, she will share how she teaches students about creating rhetorically effective drafts, and how she uses supportive feedback to help them revise. There will be plenty of time for questions and for a group conversation about how to apply her strategies and insights in other classes and disciplines.

Led by Patti Sakurai (Ethnic Studies)

Register here

Applying WIC Principles: A Cross-Disciplinary Discussion by Faculty New to WIC

Friday, April 21 (OSU Week 3), 12:00-1:00 pm

During this lunchtime conversation, a panel of faculty new to teaching WIC classes will talk about how they have been applying WIC principles in their classes. They will share what’s working for them, the challenges they face, and how their courses continue to evolve. After the panelists talk about their classes, there will be time for others to join the conversation by asking questions and by sharing their own experiences applying WIC principles to their teaching.

Led by Bori Csillag (Business), Philip McFadden (Biochemistry & Biophysics), Kim Rogers (Kinesiology), Vaughn Robison (Fisheries, Wildlife, & Conservation Sciences), and Alexander Ulbrich (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science)

Register here

WandaVision and the Trauma-Informed Classroom

Friday, May 12 (OSU Week 6), 12:00-1:00 pm

What can the Marvel universe teach us about trauma and how to reach our students? WandaVision is a television series based on Marvel’s Scarlet Witch. I watched the series the first time for entertainment, but I kept thinking about how it is the perfect exploration and representation of the power of grief and trauma. In this talk, we will explore the trauma-informed classroom and demonstrate how educators can embed lessons from superheroes into their curriculum that can help with student retention and engagement. We will create a menu of options that are based on your classroom needs, demographic, and discipline.

Led by Sydney Elliott (English, Tillamook Bay CC)

Register here

Pedagogical Principles, Writing, and ChatGPT

By Olivia Rowland, WIC GTA

Sarah Tinker Perrault, Nadia Jaramillo Cherrez, and Olivia Rowland hosted a workshop entitled “Pedagogical Principles, Writing, and ChatGPT” on February 24. The workshop covered three key pedagogical principles for teaching writing, in both WIC and non-WIC classes, and discussed how these approaches might engage with AI tools like ChatGPT.

First, Write-to-Learn (WTL) activities like summarizing course content, asking questions, and making connections encourage students to participate in active and inquiry-based learning. Because these activities can be done in class, and because many WTL activities demand critical thinking, AI tools do not have much of a role in WTL.

Second, Learning to Write (LTW) activities help students develop strong writing habits, including writing multiple drafts and doing metacognitive reflection about their writing processes and rhetorical choices. Here, tools like ChatGPT may be of use in helping students generate ideas about a topic; however, LTW requires that students do their own revision and self-reflection, which AI tools cannot do.

Third, LTW activities can also assist students in learning disciplinary conventions and making rhetorical choices that align with those conventions. This knowledge of disciplinary values encompasses understanding what counts as valid evidence, claims, sources, and organizational structures. AI tools such as ChatGPT can be the most helpful here, as analyzing and revising AI-generated texts can help both students and faculty identify disciplinary conventions.

Workshop participants practiced critiquing a response generated by ChatGPT and explaining why it did (and mostly did not) read like it was written by an experienced academic writer. Participants also shared throughout the workshop how they use WTL and LTW activities in their classes. Their responses are available here, and you can also view a full recording of the workshop here.

Using Writing to Support Discipline-Specific Learning

By Sarah Tinker Perrault, WIC Director

On March 3, WIC Director Dr. Sarah Perrault and a group of faculty at OSU Cascades met to talk about how to use informal, low-stakes writing to promote disciplinary learning in both WIC and non-WIC classes. 

Key points covered include:

  • Research shows how including even non-graded writing in classes can help students understand, retain, and articulate subject matter knowledge.
  • Low-stakes writing exercises work best when students have opportunities to practice them during class time, and when they are given this time on a regular basis (at least once a week).
  • Such exercises do not have to take up large amounts of time; even a few minutes of writing has been shown to have positive effects.

Dr. Perrault shared ideas about specific low-stakes writing exercises. Faculty practiced using one and talked about how they might use it in their classes.

“When Dr. Natchee Barnd presented me with the WIC award, I actually cried because, still, in my senior year, I wasn’t terribly confident in my writing and I think part of me thought I was undeserving of it for some reason. The award spoke far more to my skills than I realized, and it validated all my hard work that I’d put into my classes (I’m welling up just writing about it).”

Elena Ramirez Robles, College of Liberal Arts, 2018

“Thank you for your support. The Culture of Writing Award was the first award I received during my academic career. It’s an accomplishment with significant positive impacts on young scholars during a vital stage of their progressive young careers.”

Andrew Larkin, College of Science, 2010

Participation in the Culture of Writing Awards has thrived since 2006, as 379 total students have earned recognition and cash awards for both individual and collaborative writing projects. WIC would like to thank all participating units for their continued desire to recognize and reward outstanding student writing.

How to Nominate a Paper:

Units comprised of more than one major/designator may give an award for each major/designator (but not for each concentration). The manner in which a paper is selected is up to the unit, but here are three possible models to follow:

  • Model 1: The academic unit might use the unit awards committee to ask faculty to nominate and submit their best undergraduate paper for the year. The committee chooses the awardee.
  • Model 2: The academic unit wants the awardee to be from a WIC course, so one or more WIC instructors select the best paper.
  • Model 3: The academic writing occurs in a capstone course with a team project. The unit selects the team with the best-written capstone project for the award. When the award goes to a team of four, some units divide the $100 award four ways, while other units contribute more than $50 so that individuals will receive a more substantial award.

Once a paper has been selected, fill out the nomination form in its entirety and submit the form to Caryn Stoess no later than 5:00 p.m. on May 22nd, 2023.

For more information regarding the Culture of Writing Awards, please visit our website.

By Sarah Tinker Perrault, WIC Director

WIC events, such as talks and workshops and the annual fall seminar, are often described in terms of
faculty development. This is not an inaccurate description, since these events certainly are opportunities
for faculty to develop new knowledge, strategies, insights, and more. However, as I think about this, I’m
reminded of a remark made by a colleague at my former institution. Rebekka Andersen said to me once
that WAC (the decades-old national curricular movement of which WIC is a part) is about faculty

My goal in WIC events is not that faculty come away with a set of rules. Rather, I hope that these events
give faculty opportunities to enrich their existing curricular and pedagogical knowledge, and to improve
on their existing practices. This hope is rooted in one of the most fundamental tenets in WIC: that
faculty are experts not only about the subject knowledge of their fields and professions, but also about
how to teach successful writers within those fields and professions. Emphasis on faculty expertise is also
part of what I love about WIC work; in working with faculty from OSU’s many majors, I get to learn
about how writing works in a wide array of academic and professional fields. This learning adds to my
own expert knowledge about writing pedagogy, enriching both my research and my ability to help
faculty with their teaching.

This quarter I have had several opportunities to learn with and from faculty. We started the year with
the fall kickoff event, a workshop on Teaching Peer Response; you can view the recording and download
materials here. As the video mentions, those interested in using specific technologies for peer response
(including Canvas, Peerceptiv, and Eli Review) might also want to watch two other workshops:

  • In this video, Meta M. Landys (Integrative Biology) talks about using peer response in face-to-face classes, and also in an Ecampus course using Peerceptiv.
  • In this video, Anita Helle (interim WIC Director), members of the WIC team, and Tasha Biesinger (Academic Technology Services) give general tips for peer response and talk about Canvas and Eli Review.

After the fall kickoff, the next big event was the WIC Faculty Seminar. Over the course of five weeks, 15
from six colleges and 14 disciplines gathered to discuss readings about writing and disciplinary contexts, and apply those readings to developing or revising their WIC classes. Faculty were joined in this by graduate student members of the WIC team, and by Nadia Jaramillo Cherrez (Senior Instructional Design Specialist with Ecampus). As in 2020 and 2021, the seminar met via Zoom in order to make access and participation as equitable as possible regardless of participants’ campuses/locations, health status, or family care needs.

The most recent event, and in some ways the most exciting, was when I finally got to make a trip to the
Cascades campus. A group of faculty gathered to talk about responding to student writing, and I had the
pleasure of learning more about the kinds of curricular and pedagogical work happening there (see
the event blurb). I’m looking forward to visiting again in winter and spring quarters and continuing to work with the Cascades faculty.

Another opportunity to learn is an interview with Deanna Lloyd from the Horticulture program in Crop
& Soil Science. When I read the interview, which was conducted by graduate students Olivia Rowland
and Madeline Hurwitz, I was struck by the way Deanna uses systems thinking in all of her classes, and
how she integrates DPD principles into her WIC class and vice versa. You read the interview here, and also see a set of tips from the interview with Deanna here.

Finally, as we wrap up the fall quarter, I am looking forward to winter’s events. A survey of WIC faculty
last year indicated a strong interest in learning about how we can make our teaching inclusive for
students with disabilities. The winter visiting scholar, Dr. Stephanie Kerschbaum of the University of
Washington, will address that topic through a scholarly talk, a pedagogy workshop, and two meeting
times for faculty. All events will be remote, and you can learn how to register here.

By Madeline Hurwitz, Graduate Intern, and Olivia Rowland, WIC GTA

Deanna Lloyd is a Senior Instructor in Crop & Soil Science in the College of Agricultural Sciences at OSU. She teaches a WIC course, Agricultural and Environmental Predicaments, for the Department of Crop & Soil Science. Deanna’s teaching and research focus on inclusive, socially just pedagogies and experiential learning. In the following interview with WIC Graduate Intern Madeline Hurwitz and WIC GTA Olivia Rowland, Deanna discusses the structure of her WIC course, why she invites students to write in many genres, and how she integrates difference, power, and discrimination (DPD) into WIC. The transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

From our interview with Deanna, Madeline Hurwitz has also created a tip sheet for WIC faculty, which you can access here.

Olivia Rowland (OR): Can you introduce yourself by telling us a bit about your teaching and research here at OSU?

Deanna Lloyd (DL): My name is Deanna Lloyd, and I use she or they pronouns. I teach in the College of Agricultural Sciences. My home department right now is Horticulture, and I teach some organic agriculture classes primarily for them. I also teach for the Sustainability Double-Degree Program, and so I teach one-and-a-half Sustainability classes. That’s the teaching side of things. I’m an instructor, so that’s primarily my role.

But I do engage in research as well, and that primarily focuses on inclusive teaching online, inclusive ag education, and I’m just starting to explore how futures thinking and imagination can be cultivated with sustainability students to imagine future scenarios that are positive and hopeful for us. Because we can’t make it happen unless we dream it first.

Madeline Hurwitz (MH): Very cool. Which WIC course do you teach?

DL: I teach one called Agricultural and Environmental Predicaments. And it’s actually cross-listed as Crop Science, Soil Science, and Sustainability. It’s pretty common for Crop and Soil classes to be cross listed, since the department is actually Crop & Soil Science, but then Sustainability’s on there as well.

For that class, predicament is the key term. I use the dictionary definition of a difficult, perplexing, or trying situation, which is kind of fun. I really clarify for students that this is what we’re going to be talking about, and the questions we’re examining don’t necessarily have clear right or wrong answers. So that’s where critical thinking and systems thinking comes in, which is really fun because I can say, “I don’t know, we’re all experts here.” It’s a nice framing so that students aren’t like, “There’s a right and there’s a wrong.”

MH: Is it hard teaching all three of those disciplines? It sounds like there’s a lot going on.

DL: Thankfully sustainability, how I engage with it, really is interdisciplinary and holistic in that it can cover anything. I can see anything with a sustainability lens, so that makes that part easy. And then the crop and soil piece is pretty simple because we’re talking about some of those topics, and they have some overlap. I use that sustainability lens throughout the course.

OR: How long have you been teaching this course? Has it changed over time?

DL: This academic year will be my sixth year teaching it. I took the class over from someone in the Crop & Soil Science Department, and at that point it was not cross listed with Sustainability. That came on once I started because I was a Sustainability instructor. We kept the idea of the predicaments the same and still having a major paper, those WIC elements that are required, but we each have our own spin on it. So it does look like a different class, and that sustainability lens is something that’s different too. That lens is thinking about sustainability through three dimensions: economic, ecological, and social. That’s the very general way that sustainability is described. It’s a great way to think about something because it usually can pull in so many different ideas if you use those three lenses.

As for how it’s changed, I’ve just evolved as an educator as my strategies change, or I learn a new strategy. And the predicaments have shifted, just thinking about what contemporary issues are going on, what issues I think are going to work well with the assignments. And also student feedback—I solicit their feedback throughout the term and at the end of the term, like which predicaments did you like the most, what ones would you recommend for future classes? So that’s been really fun to see some of those.

MH: That’s great, thank you. How do you approach teaching reading in that course?

DL: Honestly, I need more professional development and help with that to do it with intentionality. Two assignments I plucked from the WIC workshop. I have students do guided readings where you take either statements and students can identify them as true or false and support them with evidence from the readings, or take quotes and ask them to elaborate on that. That’s one part, making them dig a little more. That was full WIC.

I do also try to support them in considering how to evaluate research papers and journal articles, so that when they’re sifting through they can do that effectively and efficiently. And then we do a lot of synthesis through concept maps, mind maps for the articles and material that they’re reading.

OR: Teaching reading is something we’ve been thinking about in WIC, and that’s what the WIC workshops and seminar are for, is just to take things.

DL: I love them, those little pieces that I just implement. It’s so handy.

OR: How do you teach different genres and types of writing in your WIC course?

DL: This is what makes it the most fun for me as an instructor. I kick off the class just with a place-based essay. I have students read a number of papers by people that describe their relationship to place in some way, shape, or form, positive or negative. The readings highlight not only place connection but also issues of difference, power, and discrimination while integrating perspectives from authors with diverse social identities. We read texts like Birding While Black by J. Drew Lanham and Goldenrod & Asters: My Life with Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Then I invite students to just write a couple pages about some place or community, or some relationship they have to place, and to reflect on that. It’s a great way to kick off the class, because a lot of times students are like, “Oh my gosh, a writing-intensive course, this is going be full on.” And I can say, “Let’s just reflect here.” So that’s a great way for me to get to know them better and to get their wiggles out with writing. And it’s a fun way to remind them that all writing doesn’t need to be objective and scientific, because all of the readings that I use for this assignment are creative nonfiction from folks who work in some way in ag or natural resources.

And then throughout the term, we just have different assignments that practice synthesis, like a social media post that goes along with a journal article review. So, students synthesize material into a journal article review, and then they synthesize that into however many characters for a social media post. That’s a fun one for them to do. We practice writing an extension publication, so we read through a bunch of publications, think about the commonalities we’re seeing, and talk to some extension professionals. That’s really fun because a lot of students are more interested in that trajectory; they’re not going to be researchers. We do letters to the editor, stakeholder statements for issues that have two sides. Sometimes, depending on the topics, we do something like a policy brief.

And those are all in addition to that big scientific paper that they’ve been working on throughout the whole term. I do peer reviews on every assignment, except for that place-based essay, so they’re constantly learning from each other too.

MH: I really like that place-based essay prompt. I bet those are fun to read.

DL: They’re so fun to read, and sometimes they bring me to tears. They’re so heartfelt and vulnerable. I think it sets a stage too for students to know that they can bring their lived experiences to this class, and that those experiences will be validated.

MH: How do you incorporate difference, power, and discrimination (DPD) into your WIC course?

DL: I took the DPD Academy right as I was developing the WIC course, and so it was really in my mind. I would say the biggest thing that I bring to this course and all of my courses is the practice of systems thinking with that sustainability lens, because we can see all of these issues and topics we’re talking about through those different lenses. And that really helps students consider how an issue affects different communities, or economics, or the sustainability of our ecological systems. Just practicing systems thinking in every class—if that’s all students get out of it, that’s a top learning objective.

I think about the topic and material choices that I make, so I purposefully focus on topics where we can examine pretty clearly how different systems and structures can create inequities, power differentials, and also these things called predicaments, which are complex and difficult and trying. For example, one of the main topics of the course is seed patenting and sovereignty, and with that we might read and talk about how it connects to food justice, Indigenous rights, the Green Revolution, and corporate consolidation. With cacao and chocolate, some of the subtopics include their connections to food labeling, import and export issues, impacts of trade agreements, labor concerns, fair trade, and so on. There’s a lot there about interrogating whose perspective are we reading about and what angles we’re taking for these different topics.

I bring in different guest speakers to share their pieces. I’ve partnered with different folks around campus, like Natalia Fernández in SCARC [Special Collections and Archive Research Center] at the library. We’ve been doing this amazing introduction to the Bracero program, which brought workers from Mexico up into the United States during World War II. Students get to learn about this huge component of agricultural labor that they didn’t know about, and they’re actually working with archival material, which is really cool.

I also do the pedagogy part of thinking about the learner-focused classroom, peer-to-peer engagement, that validation of knowledge. I try to think about my own positionality and practice that reflexivity. So, there are different tiers of how I try to incorporate DPD ideas into the class.

OR: That’s great. I think it definitely has to happen on so many different levels. I’m also curious, since you teach a WIC course, if you use writing to engage students with DPD issues.

DL: It comes back to reading and writing. A lot of the materials that I use push students to think about those topics. Some of the reflections and prompts for the different assignments ask them to think about those topics from different perspectives. I also expect systems thinking in their writing. Like, I don’t just want students to evaluate what chlorpyrifos pesticides do for crops, I want them to think about what a pesticide ban means for the communities that were using them, for the communities that were exposed to them, for the animals, for the economics of our state, all of these pieces. Trying to extract that in their writing and helping them synthesize that through their writing is the goal.

MH: Did you face any obstacles in implementing DPD?

DL: Yes, well, we’re just humans and we’re all socialized into different ways of knowing, and people are at different levels of understanding around some of these topics. So, I have to think about how to scaffold the information so that I can support students who might be new to these ideas and also challenge students who have engaged with these ideas before. That’s where some of that peer-to-peer learning is amazing, and they can learn through dialogue.

Dialogue facilitation is one piece that, as an instructor and curator of information for students, I’m constantly trying to get better at. I try to pull together these ideas, which some folks in the class might agree with and some might not, and share these perspectives in a way where we can all have our minds expanded in terms of understanding that there’s different ways that we all approach these things.

I love that WIC has a cap on the number of students because you can have some of that nitty gritty dialogue facilitation and guide and support it in a meaningful way. Students are willing to go there; it’s just creating that space for students that might feel like maybe they’re in the minority in terms of their perspective to actually feel comfortable sharing.

OR: Do you have any tips for other teachers, especially about integrating DPD?

DL: There are a ton of resources on the DPD website, so I would point people in that direction if they’re thinking about how to talk about or integrate some of these DPD concepts into specific disciplines. I would also say take advantage of the professional development opportunities that we have at OSU, like the Social Justice Education Initiative. The Dialogue Facilitation Lab is amazing. Of course, the DPD Academy for folks developing DPD courses. There are lots of DEI [Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion] trainings and the WIC trainings.

Thinking about the interdisciplinarity of all of the topics that we teach—even though we’re siloed in disciplines, they stretch and connect to everything. When we’re willing to expand how we think about what we teach and what counts as our topic, that opens up a lot of perspectives. It also opens up a lot of opportunities to call on other experts to share their perspectives, which has been so fun. Having a small class and integrating guest speakers is something students love, and it helps expand my mind too, because there’s all of this expertise that I learn from.

An overall tip would be to solicit feedback from students, because students are all amazing. They have so many ideas, and they engage with them in a different perspective from faculty. I’ve found what I’ve learned from students to be so insightful, and it helps me go deeper with my reflection and reflexivity.

If you’d like a condensed version of Deanna’s advice, you can find a list of suggestions and resources from this interview in the tip sheet.

The WIC team is happy to congratulate the 15 faculty who completed the 2022 WIC Faculty Seminar.

Top Row: Vaughn Robison, Olivia Rowland (WIC GTA), Sarah Tinker Perrault (WIC Director), Colin Mulligan, Jeff Marcus Wheeler. Second Row: Hannah Rowe, Jill Hoxmeier, Elisa Di Meglio, Erin Bodfish, Hathai Sangsupan. Third Row: Alex Ulbrich, Bori Csillag, Kim Rogers, Nadia Jaramillo Cherrez, Phil McFadden. Fourth Row: Yumie Takata, Kim McAloney, Nicholas Siler, Yvette Rosales (WIC Intern), Madeline Hurwitz (WIC Intern).

Over the course of five weeks, OSU faculty from across the disciplines participated in the WIC Faculty Seminar via Zoom. Session topics included defining writing-intensive teaching, creating and sequencing assignments, writing to learn, and responding to and assessing student writing. Lively conversations about what “good” writing means in different disciplines and how teachers can best support students in learning disciplinary conventions allowed faculty to learn from each other and make interdisciplinary connections. Through weekly discussion posts and reflection logs, faculty participants were able to apply these ideas to their own WIC courses and to other courses they teach.

The WIC team and participants also had the pleasure of engaging with Nadia Jaramillo Cherrez (Senior Instructional Design Specialist at Ecampus) about teaching writing in online courses. Nadia worked particularly closely with faculty participants who teach or will teach Ecampus WIC courses, exploring how they might design Ecampus courses to promote writing to learn, peer response, and more.

Here are this year’s Faculty Seminar graduates:

  • Erin Bodfish (Art History)
  • Borbala Csillag (Business)
  • Elisa Di Meglio (Botany & Plant Pathology)
  • Jill Hoxmeier (Public Health)
  • Philip McFadden (Biochemistry & Biophysics)
  • Kim McAloney (College Student Services Administration)
  • Colin Mulligan (Kinesiology)
  • Vaughn Robison (Fisheries, Wildlife, & Conservation Sciences)
  • Kim Rogers (Kinesiology)
  • Hannah Rowe (Microbiology)
  • Hathai Sangsupan (Integrative Biology)
  • Nicholas Siler (Atmospheric & Climate Science)
  • Yumie Takata (Nutrition & Epidemiology)
  • Alexander Ulbrich (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science)
  • Jeff Marcus Wheeler (Arts, Media & Technology)

Teaching Peer Response

By Olivia Rowland, WIC GTA

For our fall 2022 kickoff event, WIC Director Sarah Tinker Perrault led a workshop on teaching peer response on October 7. The workshop engaged participants in thinking about how they can structure peer response to best support students in giving each other effective feedback.

Dr. Perrault began with a few quick tips for the logistical aspects of peer response. For example, teachers can make peer response run more smoothly if they communicate clearly what students should focus on in their responses, how students will be grouped, and how they should turn in their work. Because students can experience anxiety about reading and commenting on peers’ writing, it can help to do groupwork regularly before introducing peer response. Asking students to turn in a revision statement will also encourage them to revise based on the feedback they receive.

The rest of the workshop was organized around four principles for effective peer response. After learning about each of these principles, participants brainstormed how they could apply them to their own courses.

First, teachers should use peer response at the right stage of the writing process. Although faculty may be accustomed to having students respond to early drafts and receive instructor feedback after peer response, this is not the most efficient order of events. Students need instructor feedback most at the beginning of the process, because faculty have the disciplinary expertise necessary to evaluate students’ topics, scoping, and the quality of their arguments and evidence. Students are more willing to substantially revise earlier in the writing process, and they can give better feedback later on, when they focus on organization and style.

The second principle states that peer response sessions should only attend to a few aspects of writing at a time. A long list of criteria or tasks can overwhelm students as they both respond to each other’s writing and try to revise based on their peers’ feedback. Dr. Perrault suggests that faculty incorporate frequent, low-stakes peer response sessions in which students focus on one or two concerns at a time.

Dr. Perrault went on to explain the third principle of effective peer review: have students describe rather than judge what they are reading. Instead of asking students how well a paper uses transitions, for example, teachers might assign students to identify where a paper uses transitions and where they could use more.

Finally, faculty should teach students how to do peer response. This can involve showing students a model of the type of feedback they should give and having them practice giving that feedback on a sample student essay.

If you would like to learn more about teaching peer response, you can watch a full recording of the workshop or access the workshop slides.

Responding to Student Writing

By Sarah Tinker Perrault, WIC Director

On November 18, WIC Director Dr. Perrault and a group of faculty at OSU Cascades met to talk
about strategies for providing students with useful, formative feedback. The lunch-time event began
with a presentation and guided conversation around tips such as:

  • Separate formative feedback and summative judgments
  • Start before it’s time to respond by creating a shared language about writing
  • Respond at the right stages of the writing process, and focus on a few aspects of writing at each
  • Respond as a reader rather than as a judge
  • Guide revision by saying what is working and say what else readers need
  • Use comment banks for frequently used suggestions to make the feedback process more efficient
  • Have students write cover letters or otherwise describe their revisions

Dr. Perrault also mentioned that students at all OSU campuses (Cascades, Corvallis, and Ecampus) can
get online synchronous and asynchronous help from the Academic Success Center and the Writing Center.

After the workshop stage was done and catering had cleared away the leftovers from lunch, several
faculty members stayed on and continued the conversation for another couple of hours, with new
people also showing up during that time. Overall, Dr. Perrault and nine faculty members were able to
share ideas and challenges, starting with the topic of giving feedback, and ranging to cover many others
as well.

Attention WIC faculty! Remember to identify strong papers from your fall WIC course as possible nominees for the WIC Culture of Writing Award in your discipline. Units submit nominations by May 22, 2023.

In order to recognize and value excellence in student writing at OSU, the WIC Program sponsors the WIC Culture of Writing Awards in the Disciplines each spring. As the name implies, the WIC Culture of Writing Awards are designed to help create a culture of writing in which writing is taught, practiced, modeled, valued, and recognized at the class level, the unit level, and throughout the university as a whole. WIC offers $50 in matching funds to $50 from any unit that wishes to participate in this undergraduate writing prize.

Why give writing awards in the disciplines? This recognition sends a message to undergraduates and to the university community that excellence in writing matters in the unit, is recognized by the faculty, and is rewarded. 

For many students, even knowing that a professor has nominated their paper for a writing award is a source of pride:

“I still have the certificate. It wasn’t until I received that award, that I might have even considered myself a good writer.”

Anonymous, College of Liberal Arts, 2006

“When Dr. Natchee Barnd presented me with the WIC award, I actually cried because, still, in my senior year, I wasn’t terribly confident in my writing and I think part of me thought I was undeserving of it for some reason. The award spoke far more to my skills than I realized, and it validated all my hard work that I’d put into my classes (I’m welling up just writing about it).”

Elena Ramirez Robles, College of Liberal Arts, 2018

“Thank you for your support. The Culture of Writing Award was the first award I received during my academic career. It’s an accomplishment with significant positive impacts on young scholars during a vital stage of their progressive young careers.”

Andrew Larkin, College of Science, 2010

Participation in the Culture of Writing Awards has thrived since 2006. To date, 379 students have earned awards for both individual and collaborative writing projects. WIC would like to thank all participating units for their continued desire to reward outstanding student writing.

The Nomination Process

Participating units select the best student paper written across their undergraduate courses, whether it was written in a WIC course or not. Because the qualities of excellent writing are discipline-specific, awardees are selected by faculty within each participating unit. As each unit assesses the best writing by their undergraduates, faculty have an opportunity to more clearly articulate what aspects of writing are highly valued in their field and select the student writing that best represents those qualities. 

Once nominees are selected, WIC and the home unit each contribute $50 toward a $100 monetary award. Students also receive a unit-specific award certificate — for example, the WIC Culture of Writing Award in Forest Engineering, or the WIC Culture of Writing Award in Political Science.

How to Nominate a Paper

  • Model 1: The academic unit might use the unit awards committee to ask faculty to nominate and submit their best undergraduate paper for the year. The committee chooses the awardee.
  • Model 2: The academic unit wants the awardee to be from a WIC course, so one or more WIC instructors select the best paper.
  • Model 3: The academic writing occurs in a capstone course with a team project. The unit selects the team with the best-written capstone project for the award. When the award goes to a team of four, some units divide the $100 award four ways, while other units contribute more than $50 so that individuals will receive a more substantial award.

Specific instructions for nominating your unit’s award winner will be in the next issue of Teaching with Writing. Remember to hold onto strong fall term papers for consideration.

For more information regarding the WIC Culture of Writing Awards, please visit our website.