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Working with Faculty Writers

Working with Faculty Writers

Foreword by Robert Boice
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    Working with Faculty Writers
    Book Description:

    The imperative to write and to publish is a relatively new development in the history of academia, yet it is now a significant factor in the culture of higher education. Working with Faculty Writers takes a broad view of faculty writing support, advocating its value for tenure-track professors, adjuncts, senior scholars, and graduate students. The authors in this volume imagine productive campus writing support for faculty and future faculty that allows for new insights about their own disciplinary writing and writing processes, as well as the development of fresh ideas about student writing. Contributors from a variety of institution types and perspectives consider who faculty writers are and who they may be in the future, reveal the range of locations and models of support for faculty writers, explore the ways these might be delivered and assessed, and consider the theoretical, philosophical, political, and pedagogical approaches to faculty writing support, as well as its relationship to student writing support. With the pressure on faculty to be productive researchers and writers greater than ever, this is a must-read volume for administrators, faculty, and others involved in developing and assessing models of faculty writing support.

    eISBN: 978-0-87421-902-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Education

Table of Contents

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    (pp. vii-x)
    Bob Boice

    As tradition would have it, elite scholars might overlook this collection of chapters by expert practitioners of writing instruction and faculty development. Elite scholars might believe that writing is inspired, not blocked, or that it is done well only alone without intervention. But this collection of real-life accounts of experiences in little-known methods of helping graduate students and professors work more effectively as teachers and writers is needed despite the fact that many are in denial of it. These practical accounts offer up-close observations of how struggling academics can be coached by specially educated experts. More faculty developers should be...

    (pp. 1-18)
    Anne Ellen Geller

    Here’s one image of the faculty writer: She’s in an office where bookshelves line the walls. She’s hunched over a desk. Perhaps she wears glasses. She is typing, and her eyes move back and forth from her text to the books and data scattered around her. Occasionally, she furrows her brow. Or she stretches her shoulders and rubs her neck. She is alone. The scene is quiet. The only aspect of this dominant image that has changed in the nearly twenty years since I began my own doctoral program is that the purring electric typewriter with a waving sheet of...


    • 1 BEYOND THE CURRICULUM: Supporting Faculty Writing Groups in WAC Programs
      (pp. 21-37)
      Chris Anson

      An acquaintance, the director of a writing across the curriculum (WAC) program at a highly prestigious, research-obsessed university that sports a number of Nobel prize winners, once shared with me her frustrations attracting faculty to workshops and activities that focused on teaching. The program’s heart beat to the rhythm of improving support for student writing. Outreach was its vascular system, circulating vital instructional reform throughout the campus. Participation was its lifeblood. But no matter how hard the program tried to draw faculty to its events, they shied away, almost embarrassed to be seen vacating their well-appointed labs and offices to...

    • 2 THE SCHOLARLY WRITING CONTINUUM: A New Program Model for Teaching and Faculty Development Centers
      (pp. 38-49)
      Brian Baldi, Mary Deane Sorcinelli and Jung H. Yun

      Since 2000, faculty roles and responsibilities have changed profoundly, with new patterns in faculty appointments, expanding workloads, and greater pressure to seek funding and publish scholarly work (Gappa, Austin, and Trice 2007). These new demands heighten the need for flexible professional development opportunities so that faculty with different needs can succeed in a more complex workplace.

      A large-scale study of the field of faculty development indicates that most teaching and learning centers focus on supporting faculty in their role as teachers (Sorcinelli, Austin, et al. 2006). At the same time, research shows that faculty members encounter challenges beyond teaching that,...

    • 3 THE IDEA OF A FACULTY WRITING CENTER: Moving from Troubling Deficiencies to Collaborative Engagement
      (pp. 50-72)
      Lori Salem and Jennifer Follett

      In an open, sunny room with tables and comfortable chairs, people are writing and talking about writing. A small group of people is writing together; writers show up with questions (how to revise a section of their work, how to edit their prose, how to respond to feedback they’ve received) and peer writing advisors or writing coaches work with them to answer those questions. Special events in this space celebrate writers and writing; writers give presentations on what they are writing or about their own writing processes. Writing coaches eagerly describe how their work with other writers has led to...

    • 4 TALKING ABOUT WRITING: Critical Dialogues on Supporting Faculty Writers
      (pp. 73-92)
      Gertrude Fraser and Deandra Little

      In this chapter we briefly describe the University of Virginia’s (UVa) Professors as Writers (PAW) program, established in 2005, and describe more fully our efforts to assess its impact on individual faculty and the institutional culture. We present this process as a critical dialogue between two complementary but distinct perspectives—that of an academic administrator and a faculty developer.¹ We chose this format because it models our efforts to be reflective practitioners as we create faculty programs, as well as our belief that faculty writing itself is a reflective practice (Schön 1983; Hillocks 1995; Raelin 2002; Bolton 2010). Through this...


      (pp. 95-110)
      Tara Gray, A. Jane Birch and Laura Madson

      At first blush, it may seem that teaching centers need not support scholarly writing.¹ This is especially true of centers with narrowly defined missions, e.g., instructional development only. However, writing and publishing are essential to faculty success at many institutions of higher education. Scholarly productivity is increasingly valued even at teaching-oriented institutions (Massy 2003) and is the single best predictor of faculty salaries regardless of institution type (Fairweather 2005). Even excellent teachers can fail to achieve the level of success they desire if they are not also successful scholars. In short, most faculty members need to write and publish.


    • 6 FACULTY WRITING GROUPS: Writing Centers and Third Space Collaborations
      (pp. 111-126)
      Angela Clark-Oates and Lisa Cahill

      This chapter explores the question of why university and college writing centers are well-positioned institutionally to facilitate and support faculty writers as they navigate the expected literacy events (Heath 1982; Barton and Hamilton 2000) of the academy, including the promotion and tenure process, publishing demands, discipline-specific writing pedagogies, and curriculum design. In contrast to some understandings of writing centers only as places that students are sent for remediation, writing centers more often serve as hubs for a variety of writing discussions on their campuses—as places where talk that evaluates writing and where dialogue that moves revision forward are common...

    • 7 SUPPORTING A CULTURE OF WRITING: Faculty Writing Residencies as a WAC Initiative
      (pp. 127-141)
      Jessie L. Moore, Peter Felten and Michael Strickland

      In a recent analysis of teaching and learning in US higher education, Hutchings, Huber, and Ciccone argue that “Educational innovation today invites, even requires, levels of preparation, imagination, collaboration, and support that are not always a good fit (to say the least) with the inherited routines of academic life” (Hutchings, Huber, and Ciccone 2011, 6). As we have worked to enhance and deepen faculty writing at Elon University, this statement has resonated with us. With increasing expectations for scholarship at our institution, as well as our own goal of growing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) at Elon, we...

      (pp. 142-162)
      Ellen Schendel, Susan Callaway, Violet Dutcher and Claudine Griggs

      The writing retreats at our institutions—Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the University of St. Thomas (UST) in St. Paul, Minnesota, Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Rhode Island College (RIC) in Providence, Rhode Island—share several basic but critical characteristics. In fact, after Ellen published an article in the Writing Lab Newsletter about the retreats at GVSU, Claudine, Susan, and Violet all contacted her to learn more. Despite diverse institutional settings, our common goals in conducting writing retreats gave us an opportunity to talk with each other about assessing and modifying the retreats....

    • 9 FEEDBACK AND FELLOWSHIP: Stories from a Successful Writing Group
      (pp. 163-174)
      Virginia Fajt, Fran I. Gelwick, Verónica Loureiro-Rodríguez, Prudence Merton, Georgianne Moore, María Irene Moyna and Jill Zarestky

      How can academics from diverse disciplines create a productive and enduring writing group? In this chapter we tell the story of a writing group initially created to boost writing productivity but that evolved into supporting much broader collaboration and professional growth for its members. Founded in 2005 at Texas A&M University (TAMU), and going strong since that time, our writing group has provided a safe haven to several developing scholars, who credit it with increased productivity and creating the conditions for successful professional integration into the university community.

      Our writing group’s equitable environment is the foundation of its success. By...

      (pp. 175-188)
      Trixie G. Smith, Janice C. Molloy, Eva Kassens-Noor, Wen Li and Manuel Colunga-Garcia

      From its inception, The Writing Center at Michigan State University has operated on a peer-to-peer consultancy model. In “Reforming Education in the Land-Grant University: Contributions From a Writing Center,” Patti Stock, founding director of the center at MSU, explains that “in these consultancies, less-experienced, less-practiced writers benefit from the greater experience and greater expertise of their peers; at the same time, consultants expand and enrich their general education as they read and discuss articles their peers are composing in a wide variety of fields and disciplines” (Stock 1997, 13). This approach helps develop a genuine community of writers and learners....


      (pp. 191-209)
      Michelle Cox and Ann Brunjes

      At many universities, support for faculty writing is motivated by the need for faculty to publish in order to attain reappointment, tenure, and promotion. In fact, at some institutions, access to such support as faculty writing retreats is made most available to junior faculty, the faculty in most need of securing publications. In this chapter, we argue for the importance of support for faculty writing at teaching-mission community colleges and universities, where the tenure process privileges teaching and service over publication. This support is particularly important at institutions that emphasize student writing across the curriculum, ask faculty to teach writing-intensive...

    • 12 ACADEMIC PUBLICATION AND CONTINGENT FACULTY: Establishing a Community of Scholars
      (pp. 210-227)
      Letizia Guglielmo and Lynée Lewis Gaillet

      The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) reports, “Today, over 50 percent of faculty serve in part-time appointments, and non-tenure-track positions of all types account for 68 percent of all faculty appointments in American higher education. Both part- and fulltime non-tenure-track appointments are continuing to increase” (AAUP 2009). Nontraditional, hybrid, contingent faculty positions proliferate the academic landscape in the wake of economic downturn—with no resolution or plans for returning to “status quo” in sight. Although publication manuals and writing guides targeted to graduate students and junior faculty permeate the market, particularly given the media attention focused on the ubiquitous...

    • 13 EXPERIENCING OURSELVES AS WRITERS: An Exploration of How Faculty Writers Move from Dispositions to Identities
      (pp. 228-245)
      William P. Banks and Kerri B. Flinchbaugh

      In working with faculty writers over the last decade, we have found that many have sought out popular texts on “how to write” in order to increase their productivity or help them be “better” at writing. Texts like Elbow’s famous Writing Without Teachers (1973) (and later Writing with Power [Elbow 1981]) continue to make the list of those texts that would-be writers turn to for help or inspiration, as do more recent favorites like Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird (1994) and Natalie Goldberg’s (2005) Writing Down the Bones. When we read these texts, as well as many of the research-based...

      (pp. 246-259)
      William Duffy and John Pell

      In a time of dwindling institutional budgets, the idea of academic departments and university programs using their limited resources to support faculty writing sounds like a luxury from a bygone era. As departments and programs try to do more with less, many faculty members are left to navigate the challenging terrain of writing and publication on their own. Yet most of us know that regardless of one’s disciplinary field, writing is difficult work that often requires external motivations. While it is true that some universities offer workshops or sponsor writing retreats to provide the proverbial kick needed to start a...

      (pp. 260-278)
      Elena Marie-Adkins Garcia, Seung hee Eum and Lorna Watt

      This chapter explores the experiences of three participants in Michigan State University’s (MSU) Graduate Writing Groups (GWGs). We were involved in one writing group for two semesters in the 2009–2010 academic year. This group provided us with a unique space for learning new ways of being graduate students and what it will mean for us to become faculty—experts in our own fields and professors who will teach and mentor graduate students. Much of what we gained aligns with existing research on writing groups—that conversations with other writers about our work aids in developing stronger written products and...

      (pp. 279-292)
      Carmen Werder

      The literature on educational development demonstrates a generation-long interest in advancing what is typically the most valued dimension of the academic trinity: scholarly publication. Even at research-intensive institutions that esteem the role of teaching in faculty lives, scholarly production tends to be privileged. Given this imperative, many institutions have judiciously developed programs for the primary purpose of advancing faculty scholarly productivity. Much of the attention in this growing body of literature focuses on the practical benefits of these development programs. Many articles and guidebooks address time management as a key to productivity, as evidenced by titles such as Writing Your...

    (pp. 293-297)
    Michele Eodice

    In the act of “making a book”—in this case, Working with Faculty Writers—we have enacted our own call to “work with faculty writers.” Anne and I worked closely with each writer or writing team (forty-four in all) to develop chapters. The process reinforced our beliefs about supporting the faculty writer: writers need and want truly helpful feedback that provokes revision; writers want to sense movement, progress, which regular communication can foster; and even solo authors want to feel they are among other writers in community. Reviewing each chapter draft several times and composing notes for authors sharpened our...