From the Director: February 2016

February 15, 2016

By: Dr. Ann Johnson, Director of the Center for Faculty Development

Welcome to Spring semester! This month I've asked Erika Scheurer, the director of our very successful Writing Across the Curriculum program to share her insights on the ever-present problem of covering course content adequately and how writing can help you hit the mark.

We've been working hard this year to develop programs focused on diversity and inclusion - both faculty and students have expressed a need to talk more deeply in class about race, privilege and other diversity issues. Toward that end, please visit our Events web page for a list of opportunities for faculty to build skills in these areas. 

Also intended to support inclusive excellence in our teaching efforts, during J-term we launched our Course Design for the Common Good (CDCG) series with twenty faculty participating in the inaugural workshop. The workshop was led by instructional designers Cynthia Sarver and Michael Wilder, and focused on course design strategies to promote and create the conditions that allow all students to thrive - and that is a big part of the "common good" we strive for as instructors. 

Writing as a Strategic Tool to Cover Course Content 

By: Dr. Erika Scheurer, Director of Writing Across the Curriculum

Dr. Erika Scheurer, Director of Writing Across the Curriculum

My most recent research has stemmed from seven years of discussions about student writing with UST faculty across all the disciplines. Getting to know you and the work you do in the classroom has been my great privilege as director of Writing Across the Curriculum.

One subject of our discussions has been the question of “coverage.” No, not coverage connected to insurance or wardrobe, but coverage of your course content. Many of you have expressed worry that working more writing into your courses would require you to drop essential content.

In these discussions I began to suspect that you were using “coverage” in different ways, but I could not put my finger on what exactly those differences were. So in Fall 2013 I sent you my “coverage” survey, the results of which can be found in the article from The WAC Journal (Vol. 26, Fall 2015): "What Do WAC Directors Need to Know about 'Coverage'?" There, I share how respondents define coverage, prevalent constraints, and differences in outlook based on academic discipline and faculty status.

Pending IRB approval, my next project involves intrviewing those of you who currently use writing as a means of covering your course content. I want to learn--and share--how faculty across the disciplines successfully deploy writing as a strategic tool for coverage.

Looking forward to learning more from you--
Erika Scheurer