Writing Associates Seminar




                                    Writing Associates at work      Guest lecturer Terry Zawacki


Guest lecturer John Swales              Wake’s Zak Lancaster

This seven-week seminar brings together faculty from every college division to engage in cross-disciplinary conversations about integrating student writing into their teaching. Each week, participants explore — through reading, discussion, and demonstration — key issues associated with teaching writing, including:

  • how to develop writing assignments that are based on course learning goals
  • how to offer students feedback that encourages reflection and development
  • how to read students’ writing from different points of view
  • how to talk with students about writing (and our expectations for writing) in specific fields and text types

To Apply

The next Writing Associates Seminar and application details are TBA. Contact Zak Lancaster (lancasci@wfu.edu) with inquiries.

Reflections from Former Writing Associates

Emily Austin, Philosophy
– “My own philosophical sub-specialty, Ancient Greek Philosophy, lies uncomfortably somewhere between technical argumentation and textual analysis. This makes me a bit of an outlier in a profession that often advances arguments that are wholly independent of textual evidence, much less textual evidence with dramatic elements (e.g., Plato’s dialogues).”

Lisa Blee, History
– “Although I spend much of my class prep time on historical content, I spend most of my office hours discussing writing with students. …. I believe well-designed writing assignments are crucial to learning history.”

Michaelle Browers, Politics and International Affairs
– “Political theory involves reading texts in the history of political thought and debating their often abstract ideas. In order to get students to do so in a way that leads to good written work, as well as a better level of discussion, I find myself attempting to teach both reading and writing skills.”

Robert Browne, Biology
– “Although the sciences are sometimes perceived as an area where writing is not stressed, effective, clear writing, and to some degree creative writing, is an integral part of the skills that lead to success in science.”

Margaret Ewalt, Romance Languages
– “In my classes, we write not only to improve our Spanish, but to engage closely with the material; we write to develop our ideas and better understand what we read and discuss; we write and revise, revise, revise to refine and organize whatever it is we have come to realize that we want to try to say or to write.”

T. H. M. Gellar-Goad, Classics
– “My goals are to improve my methods of formative assessment, to discover new ways of prompting students to think about the writing process and the written work that they produce, and to develop familiarity with an array of kinds of writing assignments that support learning and course goals more effectively than traditional term-paper formats.

Melissa Jenkins, English
– “I believe that reviewing drafts, though time-consuming, is one of the kindest and most helpful gifts that a professor can offer to a student. I hope to develop courses that emphasize writing as a process and as a conversation.”

Adam Kadlac, Philosophy
-“One of the main goals of my courses is to help students develop the ability to think about complex ideas for themselves. I think learning how to write precisely and creatively about philosophical arguments is a really important part of that process.”

Lara Kammrath, Psychology
– “I have been working to develop scaffolded assignments to help students reach a higher level of mastery by the end of the semester, and I have also been developing grading rubrics to help guide students toward the most important elements of empirical writing for psychology.”

Brian Kell, Computer Science
– “I am committed to the notion that effective skills in communication—especially in written forms—are requisite to many important aspects of life in our society. By providing an additional opportunity to practice writing, in a field that is perhaps uncomfortable or unfamiliar with writing, my writing assignments can help students gain additional experience that can serve them well in the future.”

Wayne Pratt, Psychology
– “Despite actively teaching writing within my courses, I have not had any formal training on how to do so. The seminar is teaching me much more than I currently know about how to assign effective writing assignments, how to develop fair and clear grading rubrics, and how to frame class assignments and their feedback in a manner that leads to improved writing by my students.”

Jennifer Priem, Communications
– “Although we have writing resources on campus, we see a problematic trend in our student papers that we aren’t able to fully focus on content because so many writing problems need to be addressed.”

Leah Roy, Theatre and Dance
– “I thought being frustrated about my students’ writing was just part of my job, and I’m thrilled to know it doesn’t have to be.”

Susan Rupp, History
– “Every semester, I remind students that an essential skill they’re acquiring as part of a liberal arts education is an ability to write clearly and persuasively.”

Jake Ruddiman, History
– “My own students experience the greatest intellectual progress when they get their hands dusty doing the real work of historians: finding their own questions, sifting data they have identified, and arguing for answers they believe.”

Ron Von Burg, Communications
– “I am dedicated to bringing the virtues of communication skills to the broader academic community.”

Christian Waugh, Psychology
– “What I constantly impress upon my students is that good scientific writing also greatly improves the author’s own scientific reasoning and findings.”

David Yamane, Sociology
– “As a scholar, I write, so as a teacher-scholar I should make writing a more integral part of my courses.”