Often teaching assistants and beginning faculty have not been trained to discuss a student's writing as writing. Consequently, they may remark that a student essay is poorly written without explaining why or without identifying how the student might improve future writing. The Writing Workshop addresses this common source of frustration for both students and instructors. During it, instructors learn how to grade and comment on student writing more efficiently, more accurately, and with more confidence. Participants will leave the workshop with a better understanding of how to offer productive feedback on students' written work and how to motivate students to improve their writing in specific disciplines.
Each three-hour workshop is organized for instructors in individual departments by a departmental liaison (typically a faculty member or TA experienced in reading papers written in the home department) and facilitated by an experienced graduate student trained in the English Department and Writing Center. The departmental liaison identifies the needs of the instructors for the workshop leader and schedules the workshop at a convenient time and location. The liaison also announces the workshop to participating instructors, distributes sample papers (past files of which can be found at the TRC), and helps lead the session. In a typical Writing Workshop, the workshop leader presents general information about commenting on and grading papers and leads a discussion about participants' evaluations of the sample papers. Workshops can be easily tailored to specific needs such as making assignments, working with students' drafts, grading essay exams or lab reports.
Faculty members involved with multi-section courses can offer valuable advice at Writing Workshops, and we encourage them to attend. Part of each workshop is usually well spent in discussing departmental policies with respect to student writing, course requirements, teaching, and grading.
available to offer several workshops to individual departments on a first-come
first-served basis; each workshop is limited to no more than 20 participants.
Writing workshop leaders and departmental liaisons receive an honorarium
for their work. Funding is provided by the Teaching Resource Center and
the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.