Resources for Faculty

For FYS instructors

FYS@Wes is a website by and for instructors of first-year seminars. It draws together discussions about teaching FYS courses, a database of assignments and other materials contributed by Wesleyan 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 or Stephanie Weiner at 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 five-week 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 Applications for the fall 2021 seminar are closed. Faculty at any rank, on any type of appointment at Wesleyan, are warmly welcome in the seminar.

Online Resources for Faculty

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

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 the Harvard Writing Project, the Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill, and the peer tutors in Wesleyan's Writing Workshop. The Wesleyan Library's guides for conducting a research project address writing topics and cover almost every department and interdisciplinary program at the university. The 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)