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Writing-Enriched Curriculum: Faculty-Driven and Discipline-Relevant Approaches to Writing Instruction

What does student writing look like across diverse academic disciplines? What (practically-speaking) can departments do to help students develop as discipline-relevant writers? In this talk, Pamela Flash will highlight dramatically varied expectations faculty members hold for student writing at her own public R1 and will identify structural, conceptual, and attitudinal challenges blocking the integration of relevant writing instruction into undergraduate courses and course-systems. She’ll  introduce the 17-year old  Writing-Enriched Curriculum (WEC), a faculty-driven model by which departments answer critical (and often ignored) questions such as, “What writing abilities do we think students in our majors should be able to demonstrate by the time they graduate? Why do we prioritize these? How do (and how might) we take a collective approach to addressing these writing abilities in the busy courses we teach? Answers to these questions are compiled into “Undergraduate Writing Plans” which then move into a sequence of supported implementation and assessment. This model, developed in collaboration with faculty members from across the University of Minnesota, is now undergoing adaptations in colleges and universities across the country, helping to address common misconceptions surrounding academic writing, writing instruction, and approaches to change-making.  

Pamela Flash serves asDirector of Writing Across the Curriculum, Co-Director of the Center for Writing, and Affiliate Graduate Faculty for the Literacy and Rhetorical Studies Minor at the University of Minnesota where she has taught and has administered teaching-oriented programming since 1991. Flash is founding director of both the University of Minnesota’s Writing-Enriched Curriculum Program and of its interdisciplinary Teaching with Writing Program. Her research, publications, consultations, and presentations focus on the WEC model, writing pedagogy, composition theory, discourse communities, and the use of qualitative research methods (particularly inductive consultation, collaborative action research, and ethnographic methodologies) to enable sustainable pedagogic change on individual, departmental, and institutional levels. She has consulted extensively with colleges and universities interested in adapting the WEC model to their institutional contexts. Flash serves as Co-PI in a five-year, multi-institutional NSF grant investigating the impact of brief writing prompts on conceptual learning in large-enrollment STEM courses.

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  • Kisha Shelton
  • Osayomore Lacour

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