Mike Palmquist presented workshops on writing across the curriculum last week at Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Michigan. Sue Doe and Mike are the authors of “An Evolving Discourse: The Shifting Uses of Position Statements on Contingent Faculty,” which appeared this past month in a joint issue of the ADE Bulletin and ADFL Bulletin. The article is available at http://www.ade.org/bulletin/index.htm.
From Assistant Professor Sue Doe, in regards to the the NCTE Listening Tour Survey:
“There was a fair number of students who participated (over 100), so I think there was a fair representation of our students’ input about the transition from high school to college writing. Just to remind you about the aims and goals of the NCTE Listening Survey. The NCTE hopes to ‘build a portrait of the experiences and expectations of incoming college Composition students’ (‘Listening Tour’). In short, they are working toward understanding what our students may need in order to be ‘college-ready’ or ‘career-ready’ writers. They want the input of current Composition students in order to understand their experiences and perceptions.
Here’s a summation of interesting and noteworthy results from the NCTE Listening Tour:
- While 68% of first-year CSU students spend 10 or fewer hours a week writing (including things like social media and text messaging), the majority still feel they write more than their parents’ generation did at the same age.
- The majority of CSU students have NOT written any kind of text for social or political purposes in the past year.
- Although over 80% of CSU students feel their high schools adequately or strongly prepared them for college writing, a strong majority believes they would have benefited from additional persuasive and/or research writing in high school.
- About 1/3 of students wish they’d spent less time learning blogging and creative writing in high school and more time writing argumentative research papers.
- CSU students write using a variety of tools: topping the list include laptops/desktops (98%), pen/pencil (95%), and phone (83%).
- Very few CSU students (only 8%) believe that new forms of communication technology will be important in their post-college careers.
- While only about 10% of students rank writing for varied audiences as a high priority for their writing experiences after college, 24% include using correct grammar/mechanics as the most important after-college writing needs. 35% rank making strong and clear points as a high priority.
- While the majority of students rank “formatting” as a minor writing rule for success in college, they rank an understanding of the “parts of speech” as being important. Other important “rules” of writing or grammar for success in college include: spelling (36%), and documenting sources (27%).
I have a copy of all the survey results for each question and would be happy to share this information with anyone who is interested. I’d also love to foster discussion about some of these interesting discoveries about our students. Just swing by my office!”
Sue Doe’s article, coauthored with Karla Gingerich and Tracy Richards of Psychology, entitled ”An Evaluation of Grading and Instructional Feedback Skills of Graduate Teaching Assistants in Introductory Psychology,” was just released in the October issue of Teaching of Psychology.
Sue Doe has just learned that her co-authored article with Gamze Cavdar (Poltical Science) entitled “Learning Through Writing: Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in Writing Assignments,” which was published in spring of 2013 in the journal PS: Political Science and Politics, has become one of top 10 most downloaded articles in PS over the past 12 months.
Congratulations to Sue Doe and Kate Kiefer for their gtPathways efforts. Those efforts have significantly contributed to CSU’s recent ranking in U.S. News and World Report, which recognized CSU as an outstanding example of institutions that encourage “Writing in the Disciplines” – a distinction that helps drive student success, according to U.S. News. This ranking recognizes universities where writing is a priority at all levels of instruction and across the curriculum. Among the 19 universities listed with CSU were Brown University, Cornell University, Duke University, Harvard University, Princeton University and Yale University.
Sue and (husband) Bill Doe’s article “Residence Time and Military Literacies” was just published in Composition Forum Volume 28 as part of a special issue on student veterans. The article posits the theoretical notion of “residence time” (a notion used widely in the biological and engineering sciences to describe the time it takes for an object to move through a reservoir or any liquid medium) as a way of understanding “induction” into any organization, including the military, and the literacies that result. Using two recent war memoirs, one by an enlisted soldier and another by an officer, they examine ways that military values are inscribed upon new recruits yet also are subject to interaction with the service member’s history and scripts prior to military service. They further suggest that “residence time” may help to explain veterans’ transition challenges when they re-enter civilian sectors. Bill Doe, formerly of the Warner College of Natural Resources, is CEO of Veterans Green Jobs, a national nonprofit endeavoring to put the newest generation of veterans to work in the green energy sector.
Sue Doe gave a talk on April 4, “The Case for Action (Teacher) Research: Professionalizing the College Classroom” at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. She then led a full-day workshop there on Friday, April 5, for faculty from across the curriculum. The workshop focused on the how-to’s of undertaking such work as a form of self-directed professional development.
Sue Doe’s paper, “The Student-Veteran Effect: Reanimating the Arts of the Contact Zone” was part of a panel she chaired at 4C’s (Conference on College Composition and Communication) on “Productive Tensions: Ideological Conflict and the Next Generation of Support for Student-Veterans.“ While at C’s, Sue also participated as tenure-track representation to the Part-Time, Adjunct and Contingent Faculty Standing Committee and the Editorial Board of FORUM, a non-tenure-track faculty publication of the journal College Composition and Communication, which this year will go online in a much expanded version.
In our next gtPathways Workshop, Sue Doe (English) and Karla Gingerich (Psychology) will talk about their research on in-class mini writing at 11 a.m. on Monday March 11 in BSB 355: “In-Class Mini-Writing: Deepen Student Thinking without Going Knee-Deep in Work.”
Undergraduate students too often sit idly in class, perhaps imagining that their presence alone translates to comprehension and retention of course material. Then exam time arrives and it becomes clear that a half-attentive approach to classroom time hasn’t served them well. In this session, we offer a model of an in-class mini writing sequence that probes student understanding and compels students to think. This type of writing does not require extensive individual feedback but can be quickly assessed to achieve both student accountability and an understanding of whole-class needs. Meanwhile, engaged students gain direct benefit from the effort involved in thinking through writing. The model was recently tested by the presenters who found modest gains in student performance as result of informal, in-class writing.
Sue Doe and Lisa Langstraat have been awarded a CLS Faculty Development Grant for summer 2013. The grant will support their longitudinal qualitative study about post-9/11 veterans’ literacy histories and development in college and beyond.