Faculty members discussed a variety of focused writing topics, from the building blocks for first year writing students, to effective mind habits, during Teaching Day Tuesday in the Campus Center.
The event was co-sponsored by the provost’s office, the writing program and the Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence to improve students’ writing in different analytic forms.
“It was very productive for the professors to be in conversation with each other about what they do to help students develop their writing,” Associate Provost Beatriz Gonzalez said. “It was very positive for us to hear a little bit more about what happens in first year writing courses and then what happens in discipline-based writing developments so we could share ideas and build upon what we each do.”
The workshop reinforced the ideas that good writing is teachable.
Gonzalez said that good writing comes from a lot of practice and the writing program focuses on a variety of concepts to provide development for the students, who think they have already acquired the proper skills.
Associate Professor of Writing Cathy Irwin and Modern Languages Department Associate Lourdes Villarreal discussed the basic learning outcomes for students who take Writing 110 and 111.
They emphasized different writing genres and how students should connect writing and reading. Irwin shared that students usually come to college unprepared when it comes to writing and it is the faculty’s job to help students to improve their writing the first year.
Villarreal said by improving their reading skills, students will be better writers.
Jose Perez-Gonzalez, faculty of modern languages, teaches international students in Writing 109 and helps them develop a writing system that is different than what they are used to in their home country.
“International students are coming in with a variety of writing skills, but it deals with more than just skills,” Perez-Gonzalez said. “These students are coming in, having to deal with a totally different system of education that they’re not familiar with, and some of the things that they face is language failure, which affects their motivation to write.”
Associate Professor of Writing Judy Holiday focused her topic on grammar, which is one of the fundamental global concepts that transfer throughout writing. To be able to teach writing is very meaningful, Holiday said.
Coordinator of Special Education Programs Patricia Taylor’s major focus in writing is around social justice and the idea that everyone has the ability to make their private thoughts public.
“My job is to host those thoughts and help people to make sure they can convey them in the way that they want to,” Taylor said. “The whole focus is not making people feel badly about making their private thoughts public. We never cross out anything on a piece of paper, but let them grow to be able to pace themselves and push themselves more.”
Taylor said the faculty wants to make things equitable so that if students need more help, they are available to give them that through different techniques with compassion.
Helping the students think concisely and adjusting sentences, allow the students to grow in the knowledge of writing in both spoken and written, through the ideas shared from the panelists.
“The panelists today were extremely helpful and I enjoyed their ideas about the different developments and techniques in writing,” Perez-Gonzalez said. “The information was amazing, which crossed a lot of points at the University and I’m very proud of that.”
Teaching Day is an annual event, but Gonzalez said that they hope there will be more focused topic events throughout the academic year.
Jolene Nacapuy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.