Resources for Faculty

FYS@Wes

FYS@Wes is a website by and for instructors of first-year seminars and other writing-intensive courses at Wesleyan. It draws together discussions about teaching FYS courses, a database of assignments and other materials contributed by faculty, assessment data from our Office of Institutional Research, and summaries and links to contemporary writing pedagogy scholarship. If you have materials you'd be willing to contribute to the database, please send them to Lauren Silber at lsilber@wesleyan.edu or Stephanie Weiner at sweiner@wesleyan.edu. Please also let us know if you or your students would like to post a blog entry about your FYS experiences.

A Brief Guide to FYS Assignments -- five quick tips about designing assignments for first-year seminars 

Faculty Seminar on the Teaching of Writing

Each year, the Director of Academic Writing convenes a six-session faculty seminar on the teaching of writing. Among other topics, faculty in the seminar discuss assignment and syllabus design; effective and time-efficient ways of responding to student writing; and the challenges and joys of teaching writing across campus in different modes, genres, and contexts. We also learn from on-campus and external experts about the experience of students as they work to become more successful writers. The seminar is tailored to the interests of participants. Seminar members receive a $500 stipend to support their participation.

If you are interested in joining the seminar, keep an eye out for announcements or contact Stephanie Weiner at sweiner@wesleyan.edu. Faculty at any rank, on any type of appointment at Wesleyan, are warmly welcome in the seminar.

Workshops by and for Wesleyan Faculty

This link will bring you to the audio and video files for the following workshops and events:

  • Assignments Workshop (January 2022): a short presentation from Stephanie Weiner about assignment design followed by a wide-ranging discussion among participants. 
  • Feedback Tips and Tools Panel Discussion (March 2022) featuring Rachael Barlow, Garry Bertholf, Beth Hepford, Yuting Huang, Sean McCann, Lauren Silber, Joe Slaughter, Erika Taylor, and Roman Utkin.

Criteria for Grading Papers from _Teaching Matters_

Wesleyan's pamphlet Teaching Matters includes a rubric for assigning grades and characterizing the features of successful academic writing. Faculty are invited to include these descriptions in syllabi and assignment sheets. 

Resources for Faculty as Writers

This list contains resources for finding an editor to assist with academic, creative, or public writing projects.

Expresso is a web-based editing tool. You paste in a body of text, which is then analyzed for grammatical and stylistic characteristics such as sentence length and complexity, use of passive and active voice, and so on. You can use these metrics as well as the tutorial and techniques on the site to revise for clarity and readability.

Online Resources for Faculty

We all know there's no need to reinvent the wheel--the trouble is finding it! 

Wesleyan's Office of Faculty Career Development maintains an online library of teaching resources, many of which involve writing assignments, evaluation, and feedback.

Ready-to-go powerpoint presentations, handouts, and lesson plans for in-class exercises on writing topics such as brainstorming, writing as a process, peer review, argumentation, research, sentence-level editing and so on can be found under the Teacher and Tutor Resources tab at the Purdue Online Writing Lab and the WAC Clearinghouse Links for Instructors.

The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a superb, wide-ranging library of Tips & Tools handouts about planning, drafting, and revising papers; understanding assignments; and writing in specific fields. These handouts can be passed on directly to students or used as a basis for assignments and activities. The site also contains super-short videos on topics such as brainstorming techniques, outlines, writing as decision-making, and conciseness and proofreading. The center's page for faculty, Tips on Teaching Writing, contains only three items, but each is excellent: "What is Good Writing?"; "Situating Student Writers"; and "In-Class Writing Exercises."

The Purdue Online Writing Lab, colloquially known as the Purdue Owl, is the industry standard on academic writing and the most comprehensive available online resource. From the nitty gritty of punctuation to the nuances of good arguments, the Owl offers concise, student-friendly discussions of all aspects of college writing. In addition to the collection of Teacher and Tutor Resources, the site is a good place to refer students for help with particular writing issues. 

Guides to writing in particular disciplines are available from Wesleyan's Library guides, which cover almost every department and interdisciplinary program at the university, as well as the Harvard Writing Project and the Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill. Middlebury College has a comprehensive guide to STEM writing, "Write Like a Scientist," with discussions of the unique process of producing academic writing in STEM fields; formats such as journal articles, lab reports, and posters; discipline-specific guidelines; and additional resources for both students and faculty. Our Library also has excellent "How To" guides to writing academic genres including a literature review, a journal article, and an annotated bibliography, as well as using sources, developing a research question, and other writing-related topics.

Princeton's Guide to Teaching with Writing, written by Kerry Walk, is a very useful, general guide that emphasizes specific methods for engaging students in the writing process, particularly through working with peers. Walk offers suggestions for assigning cover letters and multiple drafts, and for conducting peer collaborations/workshops. A special chapter on teaching with writing in science and engineering courses (p. 45) briefly gives advice about assigning and responding to writing in STEM.

The Writing Across the Curriculum Clearinghouse, hosted on the Open Press website at Colorado State University, is an open-access wesbite supported by contributors and universities around the world. It contains the University of Delaware's Faculty Tip Sheets about everything from outside-the-box assignments to giving effective feedback; Teaching Guides for incorporating writing and speaking activities into courses in any subject; a curated list of web-based resources for instructors; online books about writing pedagogy published by the Clearinghouse itself; a collection of materials on writing in STEM; and a blog.

The Transparency in Learning and Teaching project (TILT Higher Ed) maintains an archive of research briefs and videos about their Transparency Framework, in which faculty identify the purpose, task, and evaluation criteria for assignments.

And don't forget to check out Shapiro's Online Writing Resources for Students and the Academic Writing Resources for Multilingual Writers

Brief Guides to Writing Pedagogy

A Brief Guide to FYS Assignments -- five quick tips about designing assignments for first-year seminars 

A Brief Guide to Teaching Writing Online -- a summary of key themes from research about online writing instruction, ideas for assignments, and links to further resources

A Brief Guide to Teaching Oral Communication Online -- three common oral communication assignments (individual presentations, group presentations, and student-facilitated discussions)