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.

This year’s winter speaker will be Dr. Stephanie Kerschbaum, Associate Professor at the University of Washington. Dr. Kerschbaum’s research focuses on disability, diversity, narrative, and writing pedagogy. Below is the schedule of WIC’s winter events with Dr. Kerschbaum, all of which will be held remotely via Zoom.

  • Talk: “Signs of Disability: Challenging Dis-attention through Narrative” on Tuesday, January 17 from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
  • Workshop on disability and the teaching of writing on Thursday, January 19 from 9:00 am to 10:30 am
  • Two virtual tea times for faculty on Wednesday, January 18 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm and on Thursday, January 19 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Registration information will be announced soon on the WIC website and distributed through the WIC faculty listserv.

By: Sarah Tinker Perrault, WIC Director

Spring is an exciting time in the academic year, and in WIC. In particular, for us it is workshop season, a time to celebrate student writing through the Culture of Writing Awards, and a time for me as WIC Director to thank everyone who helps create and sustain a culture of writing excellence at Oregon State University.

On the workshop front, we had five WIC events this quarter on topics ranging from how to help students read disciplinary texts, to understanding and supporting transfer students in and beyond WIC classes. In a new type of event, we also had consultants from the Undergrad Research & Writing Studio offer their perspectives, tips, and advice on assignment design. Also from the Academic Success Center and Undergrad Research & Writing Studio, we had advice about how to support multilingual student writers. Our final event of the spring squeaked in under the wire in Week 11 and gave faculty an opportunity to reflect on what has been working in their teaching and make plans for how to change their teaching this summer or next year. For overviews of these events, and for access to handouts from events that had them, please see the Spring Event Series Recap.

In our celebration of student writing, we have given 28 Culture of Writing Awards. Winning papers, selected by faculty in the majors, represent what experts in each field define as quality writing for that field. The excellence of these papers reflects not only the students’ hard work, but also the work of the faculty who teach them disciplinary writing, and who choose from among their student writers and share those pieces that most showcase the values of writing in their disciplines. For a list of student winners and their papers, please see the 2022 Culture of Writing Award Winners.

WIC has a lot of moving parts, and I want to finish this column and this academic year by thanking everyone involved in creating those parts and keeping them in motion.

First and foremost, thank you to faculty. The backbone of WIC is those who teach, both the hundreds of WIC faculty and the faculty who integrate writing into all of their classes. Your teaching creates the culture of excellence in writing at OSU.

Thank you also to Caryn Stoess, the WIC Operations Manager, who continues to help keep WIC running and continues to make it fun for me to be the WIC Director.

I am grateful to this year’s WIC Graduate Assistants, Jess Al-Faqih (September to February) and Olivia Rowland (intern until February and then GTA), for indispensable work on seminar, events, course proposals, web materials, the newsletter, and more. Jess is completing her MA in Rhetoric & Writing this year, and Olivia will return as the WIC Graduate Assistant next year.

WIC has benefited this year from our first Visiting WIC Affiliate, Hannah Whitley. After graduating from OSU with a triple major in Anthropology, Religious Studies, and Sociology, Hannah went on to do graduate work in Rural Sociology and in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources & the Environment at Penn State. Hannah is back in Oregon to do research as a visiting scholar, and we had the good fortune to have her on the WIC team this year. Hannah helped out in the fall seminar, contributed insights and ideas during team meetings, offered her survey design skills, and was generally just fun to work with.

Undergraduate Assistant Faye Stone has been working on digitizing the treasure trove of files in the WIC office, an effort that is helpful not only to WIC but also to future scholars who will benefit from having access to information about one of the longest running and strongest programs in the country. WIC has been lucky to have Faye’s help, as well as their participation in team meetings, and we are glad they will be returning next year.

Last, but never least, members of the WIC Advisory Board continue to provide indispensable guidance, and I thank them for their dedication to WIC, individually and as a group.

By: Olivia Rowland, WIC GTA

The WIC Team is happy to report a successful spring event series. Over the course of the spring term, WIC hosted five remote workshops. Below you can find summaries of each of the workshops, as well as resources for implementing presenters’ suggestions. 

Helping Students Read Disciplinary Texts (April 8)

In this workshop, Stephanie André (Composition, Central Oregon Community College), Sheri Jordan (English, Blue Mountain Community College), and Shawn Massoni (Microbiology, OSU) discussed different strategies for helping students read new and challenging texts.

André explained how to teach reading using the “they say”/“I say” framework, which asks students to identify who or what an author is responding to, what ideas the author is adding to this conversation, and how they use key terms to make their claim. Jordan introduced the Reading Apprenticeship model as a framework for helping students engage with texts as experts, and she offered a wealth of exercises to promote the personal, social, cognitive, and knowledge-building dimensions of students’ reading. Finally, with a focus on upper-division classes in the disciplines, Massoni introduced his approach to undergraduate journal clubs as a way to get students acquainted with scholarly articles and accustomed to modes of academic writing in their discipline. All three presenters emphasized the importance of teaching reading to improve students’ active engagement with texts.

If you are interested in learning more about strategies to teach reading, you can access Jordan’s list of Reading Apprenticeship exercises here.

Supporting Multilingual Student Writers (April 22)

Kelley Calvert, Writing Center Coordinator for Multilingual Support, along with Academic Support Center Director Clare Creighton and Assistant Director Marjorie Coffey, explained how instructors can support multilingual students as writers in the classroom.

The presenters first explained that while the term “English language learner” privileges English, the term “multilingual” de-centers English and suggests that all linguistic resources are valuable. Calvert explained some of the values that instructors can use to promote this asset-based approach, including challenging “universal” writing standards, expressing openness to communicating in a range of languages and dialects, and acknowledging that language is diverse and constantly changing. Participants applied these ideas by discussing how their teaching may enact an asset-based approach or how they could imagine enacting such an approach. In addition to making changes in the classroom like letting students speak in multiple languages and allowing flexible participation, instructors can recommend that students visit the Undergrad Research & Writing Studio, where consultants are trained to support multilingual writers. 

Calvert recommended that instructors interested in learning more about working with multilingual students consult TESOL’s 6 Principles and the CCCC Statement on Second Language Writing and Multilingual Writers.

Another Angle on Assignments (May 6)

In this workshop, writing consultants Taylor Buccello, McKenna Jenkins, and Trinity Polk from the OSU Undergrad Research & Writing Studio shared their expertise about how instructors can best support student writers and encourage students to use the writing studio.

Asked what features of a prompt are most helpful for writers, writing consultants explained that a prompt that is either too vague or too structured can feel overwhelming. The consultants suggested that writing instructors scaffold due dates and offer frequent time in class to check in with students about how a writing assignment is going. Explaining that students take rubrics as representing what instructors value most, they recommended that instructors align their rubrics with their priorities for students’ writing. The consultants also noted that even the smallest amount of positive feedback can motivate students during the writing process. Similarly, explaining to students why they are being asked to do a specific assignment and what skills it might help them develop can provide motivation. All three consultants recommended that instructors encourage their students to visit the writing studio for everything from brainstorming to editing, and that they visit early and often.

To find a more detailed list of recommendations from writing consultants, you can read this handout compiled by Marjorie Coffey and Kelley Calvert.

Understanding and Supporting Transfer Students in WIC and Beyond (May 20)

Erin Bird, OSU Transfer Transitions Coordinator, provided participants with data about transfer students at OSU and explained how instructors can best support transfer students in WIC courses.

Although many students have transfer credits, Bird focused on students who come to OSU after having completed at least 24 credits at a previous institution. Thirty-six percent of OSU undergraduates are transfer students from community colleges or out-of-state institutions. Compared to other student populations, transfer students are disproportionately BIPOC, first-generation students, and adult learners, which means that it is especially important that transfer students feel supported in the classroom. Bird suggested three key practices that instructors can use to enact this support. First, instructors can challenge deficit thinking—rather than focusing on what writing skills transfer students may lack, instructors can emphasize what unique learning experiences they bring to the classroom. Second, instructors should get to know their transfer students as individuals, using tools like the Writer’s Personal Profile. Finally, instructors can “offer relentless welcome” to all students and normalize asking for help and using resources like the writing studio.

If you are interested in learning more about transfer students and how to support them, you can find the workshop materials here. You can also reach out to Erin Bird with any questions or to set up a conversation about these ideas.

Reflecting on Teaching and Revising Classes and Assignments (June 6)

In the final WIC workshop of the term, WIC Director Sarah Tinker Perrault led participants in a guided reflection about their teaching and offered suggestions for revising course materials to target aspects of student writing that instructors want to improve.

Participants began by discussing what their students did well in their writing this term and how their teaching contributed to that success. Then, Perrault asked participants to reflect on what aspects of writing students did not do as well. She explained that instructors can take three steps to assist students with these aspects of writing the next time they teach. First, instructors can revise their explanations of writing criteria to be clearer and more explicit. Second, instructors can provide stage-appropriate support for students at different steps of the writing process, like providing a sample text to model good organization or asking students to use peer review for polishing and proofreading. Finally, instructors can make sure that students know what writing resources are available to them and incentivize the use of those resources.

You can see the slides here, or email Sarah Perrault to learn more.

By: The WIC Team

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 WIC Culture of Writing Awards.

Participation in the Culture of Writing Awards has thrived since 2006 as students earn recognition and cash awards for either individual or team writing projects. This year, 28 awards were granted across 6 colleges. WIC would like to thank all participating units for their continued desire to recognize and reward outstanding student writing in the disciplines.

Congratulations to this year’s awardees!

Student Name(s)Paper TitleCollegeNominating MajorNominating Professor
Samantha Bleu AmadorToxicity Screening of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Primary Human Bronchial Epithelial CellsAgricultural SciencesBioResource ResearchKatharine Field
Shea FleetwoodSoil Fire Ecology: Assessing Wildfire Severity Impacts on Pacific Northwest Forest Soil CarbonAgricultural SciencesBioResource ResearchKatharine Field
Morgan SmithEthical keeping of pet cats: a comparison of indoor confinement vs. outdoor accessAgricultural SciencesAnimal SciencesGiovanna Rosenlicht
Jessica XuDoes the implementation of a national highway toll in China generate net benefits or costs to society?Agricultural SciencesEnvironmental Economics and PolicyChristian Langpap
Chantel BergerHydrodynamics and Mooring Team ReportEngineeringMIMEBryson Robertson
Claire JohnstonDesalination Design ProposalEngineeringCivil EngineeringBryson Robertson
Samantha Arroyo Villanueva Design Impact Assessment EngineeringElectrical & Computer EngineeringRachael Cate
Griffin PulsMy Connection to “The Mitchell Woods”ForestryForest EngineeringJon Souder
Colleen Cooper, Brady Goracke, and Erin HoganValue Affirmation For Pre-Teenagers: Counteracting The Effects Of Stereotype Threat On Academic Performance In Middle SchoolersLiberal ArtsPsychologyMei-Ching Lien
Kelly CriglowClovis: A Cultural Revolution across a ContinentLiberal ArtsAnthropologyBryan Tilt
Kevin FosterThe Impact of Housing First on Homeless Housing and Mental Health OutcomesLiberal ArtsEconomicsPaul Thompson
Kaylee GrahamThe Rhetorical Situation of Climate ChangeLiberal ArtsSpeech CommunicationTrischa Goodnow
Robert HarrisAfrofuturism: A New Lens for Contemporary MusicLiberal ArtsMusicKimary Fick
Courtney HuntThe Expression Which is ReligionLiberal ArtsReligious StudiesAmy Koehlinger
Madeline KaspariIrgendwo in der Welt: Heimat aus der Flüchtlingsperspektive im Film Nirgendwo in Afrika.
(Somewhere in the World: The Refugee Perspective of Home in the Film Nowhere in Africa)
Liberal ArtsGermanAdela Hall
Darlene Nguyen’Come Home With Us’: An Analysis of Race in Lee Isaac Chung’s MinariLiberal ArtsEthnic StudiesPatti Sakurai
Josie O’HarrowBrilliant InterdependenceLiberal ArtsPhilosophyStephanie Jenkins
James PhillipsBarriers of Food Security: How Knowledge and Stigma May Impact Food Security Program UtilizationLiberal ArtsSociologyAllison Hurst and Mark Edwards
Kaj PorterHow to Catch a ToadLiberal ArtsEnglishLucia Stone
Robert SwartThe Supreme Court, The Civil Rights Cases, and Judicially Sanctioned Racial Discrimination in Post-Civil War AmericaLiberal ArtsHistoryStacey Smith
Ratna BhupalamYouth Vaping Epidemic: LGBTQ+ Youth PHHSPublic Heath–Health Promotion & Health Behavior OptionAshley Vaughn
Mike MurphyBeating the curve: insulin sensitization in response to exercisePHHSKinesiologyJen Beamer
Bailey BennettEffect of Oxytocin on Separation Anxiety in DogsScienceIntegrative BiologyMeta Landys
Cameron ClonchMeasuring Bubble Pressure in Glacier IceSciencePhysicsHeidi Schellman
Carlo A. Schettini MejiaPhysical Parameter Determination for HCl/DCl from Fourier Transform Infrared SpectroscopyScienceChemistryChristine Pastorek, Chong Fang, and Kyriakos C. Stylianou
Maxwell SiebersmaThe Geometry of the Penrose Diagram for Minkowski SpacetimeScienceMathematicsTevian Dray

“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 351 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 23rd, 2022.

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