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Playing the Writing Card:

Fostering Change in Teachers' Practice at an American Research-oriented State University through Writing-based Course Design

John Webster

Paper description:

How does one truly change teaching practice at a large, research-oriented state university? At the University of Washington, it has been less through explicitly SOTL-based programs than simply by establishing a discourse and a culture of learning. And one of the most powerful engines for change has been the “4x4 Initiative,” a faculty development program that As Director of College Writing, I have been able to fund faculty development that I was never able to attract when working on campus solely as a Carnegie Scholar. With that money we have created a professional development program with three main goals.

• First, it supports department-based clusters of faculty in learning how to redesign courses to be “writing-integrated.”

• Second, we introduce faculty to learning-related issues—like student self-assessment, feedback loops, rubric creation, and peer review.

• And third, it asks faculty to document the changes in their pedagogy through an assignment portfolio—very much a classic scholarship of teaching and learning genre.

In this presentation I describe the program more fully, and explain why it has worked so far. I conclude by outlining the principles for working with a reluctant faculty that we have worked in our context.