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About John Webster

John Webster has taught at the University of Washington since 1972, arriving with a BA. from UCLA and a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. He has specialized in Renaissance literature, literary theory, expository writing, and pedagogy, and has published articles on Sidney, Spenser, Renaissance rhetoric and poetics, and the teaching of Renaissance poetry. He was Secretary-Treasurer of the International Spenser Society from 1990-2000. His edition and translation (from the Latin) of William Temple’s Analysis of Sidney’s Apology for Poetry appeared in 1984.

From 1986 to 1994 he was Director of Expository Writing for the University, overseeing the training and performance of teaching assistants for the English Department’s first-year writing programs (annual enrollments of approximately 6000). He has since worked in a variety of English Department and University mentoring programs for teachers of writing and teachers of literature. In 2000-2001 he taught the English Methods course for the University of Washington School of Education’s Teacher Education Program. In 2000 he also became Co-Director of the Puget Sound Writing Project, a professional development program for K-12 teachers in Western Washington State.

In 1998 he was selected by the Carnegie Academy for the Advancement of Teaching to participate in the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. He also has served on the Modern Language Association’s Executive Committee for the Division of Teaching as a Profession (1999-2004). In the Spring of 2000 he was selected for the Karen Shabetai Distinguished Teaching Award by the Department of English. From 1979 he has led the University of Washington’s biennial London Theatre and Concert Tour, the next version scheduled for March, 2004.

Recent publications include a biographical article on John Seton, the Cambridge University logician (c.1509-1567) in The Dictionary of Literary Biography (2003), “Whose Poem Is This Anyway? Teaching Spenser Through the Stanza Workshop,” in Pedagogy (Spring, 2003), “My Troubles with Perry: Developmental Scheme or Humanities Curriculum?” in International Conference on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Proceedings: 2001 and 2002 (2003), and a review of Salvatori and Donohue's The Elements (and Pleasures) of Difficulty (2005) in Pedagogy (Winter, 2005). A review of Bernstein, Burnett, Goodman and Savory, Making Teaching Visible: Course Portfolios and the Peer Review of Teaching, will appear in 2008.

Recent presentations include:

  • “SoTL as Retro-fit: Deepening Faculty Development through Local Publication of Assignment Portfolios,” delivered for the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Vancouver, B.C.(2005)
  • “Shakespeare, Plutarch, and Elizabeth Taylor: Revisiting Shakespeare and Rome,” for the UW Classics Department's Annual Conference for Teachers in the Schools (2006)
  • "Supporting Development of Writing-Integrated Courses through the 4x4 Initiative,” for the 2nd Annual Conference for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, UW (2006)
  • "Playing the Writing Card: Fostering Real Change in Teachers’ Practice at a Large, Research-oriented State University," at the Sixth Annual International Conference for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, London, UK (2006)
  • "Have They Kept Doing It? Sustaining Faculty Change in a Learning-based Course-Design Initiative," at the Seventh Annual International Conference for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Sydney, Australia (2007)