Resources for Faculty

For FYS Instructors

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.

Academic Writing facilitates a collaborative Seminar for FYS Instructors. The seminar is a chance for faculty who are teaching or designing an FYS to explore both philosophical and practical aspects of FYS instruction. Topics include theories and debates about first-year writing courses, the relation between writing and learning, teaching argument, and assignments and feedback. Seminar members receive a $500 stipend to support their participation. If you are interested in participating, keep an eye out for announcements or contact Stephanie Weiner at Faculty at any rank, on any type of appointment at Wesleyan, are warmly welcome.

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 Faculty at any rank, on any type of appointment at Wesleyan, are warmly welcome in the seminar.

In-Class Visits and Writing Workshops

Show your students that writing skills are attainable by inviting a current student writing tutor or post-baccalaureate staff member in Academic Writing to visit your class! 

In-Class Visits

Our Writing Workshop Ambassadors (current peer writing tutors) run short (5-10 minute) visits that introduce your students to our services, lowering the bar to access and making it known that we are a space on campus for everyone. To sign up for a class visit, please complete this form. If you're short on class time, we'd be happy to send a video for your class to watch outside of class time, too!

In-Class Writing Workshops

In order to enrich our writing curriculum across the campus, faculty can request 60-minute in-class writing workshops on the following topics: Transitioning to College Writing, Brainstorming, Using and Analyzing Evidence, Revision, How to Make an Evidence-Based Claim, Sentence Level Work, Peer Review, and Multilingual Writing Techniques. For more information on workshops please review this document.

If you're interested in having a current writing tutor or post-baccalaureate staff member in Academic Writing run this workshop, please make your request here. You can also request lesson plans and slides for these workshops through the same request form.

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.
  • Tips and Tools for Teaching Research and Supervising Theses and Senior Projects (November 2023) with Nadja Aksamija, Maryam Gooyabadi, Rashida McMahon, Patricia Rodriguez Mosquera, Kristin Oberiano, Andrew Quintman, Dana Royer, Lynne Stahl, Shaoxuan Tian, and Henry Washington, Jr.

Criteria for Grading Papers from _Teaching Matters_

Here is a rubric for assigning grades and characterizing the features of successful academic writing. These descriptions were first created a few years ago in a faculty pamphlet that has been superseded by information available on the Office of Faculty Career Development's Teaching Resources webpage and Gateway for New Faculty.

Resources for Faculty as Writers

This list contains resources for finding an editor or writing coach 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.

In an online writing accountability group, members set writing goals and commit to writing during focused weekly sessions. If you're trying to make progress on writing projects, joining an accountability group can really help.

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 Learning Scientists have produced a series of linked 3-minute videos, handouts, slides and even stickers about six effective learning practices: retrieval practice, interleaving, spaced practice, elaboration, concrete examples, and dual coding. Crash Course provides snappier, more highly produced videos on their youtube channel. I especially like their videos "Focus and Concentration" and "Procrastination." Although these are not writing-specific resources, they are great!

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