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Writing Across the Curriculum: A Campus-Wide Commitment Jonathan Monroe, Cornell University Carolyn Haynes, Miami University.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing Across the Curriculum: A Campus-Wide Commitment Jonathan Monroe, Cornell University Carolyn Haynes, Miami University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing Across the Curriculum: A Campus-Wide Commitment Jonathan Monroe, Cornell University Carolyn Haynes, Miami University

2 Discussion Questions: Are students at your institution required to engage in a culminating, capstone assignment that incorporates writing? If so, does the requirement apply equally to all fields or does it vary by discipline? Are students prepared to complete the requirement effectively? Why or why not?

3 2004 Faculty Survey of Student Engagement 62% of respondents noted that they do not assign papers of more than 10 pages. 46% responded that they do not assign papers between 5-10 pages. More faculty assign papers of fewer than 5 pages. Only 27% report that they do not assign papers of fewer than 5 pages.

4 Context: Cornell University Private endowed university and public land-grant institution of New York State 20,000 students 11 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools 4,000 courses in 100 departments... the most educationally diverse... of the Ivy League Any person... any study. Ezra Cornell, 1865

5 First-Year Writing Seminars (1966) Sophomore Seminars (2000) Writing in the Majors (1988) The Cornell Study of Student Writing (2001-05) The Cornell Consortium for Writing in the Disciplines (1998)

6 First-Year Writing Seminars 150 courses per semester 30 participating departments in the humanities and social sciences 3,000 first-year students 17 students per course 2-course requirement (only courses required of all Cornell students) 30 pages per student per semester, including 6 original drafts and at least 3 formal revisions 1/3 faculty-taught; course leaders 2/3 graduate student taught; TW 700 required

7 Sophomore Seminars 30 courses annually by 2005-06; 20 currently Elective, gateway courses to potential majors 15 students per seminar Tenure-stream faculty only Humanities, Social Sciences, Sciences Discipline-specific approach with interdisciplinary perspective Cross-disciplinary, cross-college collaboration

8 Writing in the Majors 30 courses annually Elective, writing-enhanced; juniors and seniors 15 to 300 students; Track 2 sections limited to 20 students each Physical and Social Sciences Faculty-taught; graduate student TA

9 The Cornell Study of Student Writing Faculty Ownership Faculty and Graduate Student Fellows The Teaching of Writing in First-Year Writing Seminars Writing to Learn in Sophomore Seminars and Writing in the Majors Assessment as Faculty Development

10 Fundamental Questions for Writing in the Disciplines What features do you consider most important to writing in your discipline? How do these features compare with what you look for in student writing? How diverse are your fields writing practices? How do your fields expectations of student writing vary according to level, from cornerstone to capstone?

11 Writing in Cognitive Science: Exploring the Life of the Mind Michael J. Spivey (Cognitive Studies/Psychology)











22 The Cornell Consortium for Writing in the Disciplines Cornell Statler Hotel Conference facilities 2-year collaboration 5-6 schools annually 2-3 person teams of faculty and administrators FWS, SSP, and WIM presentations by Cornell faculty Planning sessions with participating schools

23 Context: Miami University Public institution in Ohio 14,500 undergraduates; 110 majors Tradition of liberal education Mostly white, traditionally aged, upper-middle-class students Residential community Focus on teaching & scholarship

24 University Honors Program, 4 yrs ago 900 students of all majors 20 faculty Students admitted by test scores, rank 20 courses each year One upper-class residence hall Required: 4 courses, 3.5 GPA, capstone thesis

25 Challenges with Honors Program Loss of ability to recruit top students Lack of coherent, robust, staged curriculum (Only a few faculty taught same courses.) 89% attrition rate in the Honors Program; (Most left in senior year, due to thesis.) Poor quality theses Lack of assessment of program or student work

26 Our Process of Transformation Involved 20 students (first- year to seniors); Created an independent study course to investigate the problems and develop solutions; Engaged in quantitative and qualitative methods of inquiry and benchmarking; Wrote lengthy proposal and presented it to Provost and President.

27 Essay-Based Application Automatic admission based on test score ended; New essay-based application and scoring rubric created; Applications scored by faculty and staff reviewers, for a variety of academic and contextual indicators, including intellectual curiosity, capacity to wrestle with multiple perspectives and writing ability.

28 Program Learning Outcomes Construct disciplinary knowledge; Show understanding of diverse cultures and perspectives; Communicate effectively orally and in writing; Reflect on ones values, learning or work; Collaborate productively with other learners; Demonstrate responsible citizenship by putting knowledge into practice.

29 Writing-Intensive Curriculum Program requirements increased to 8 courses plus 2 out-of-class learning experiences (internship, independent study, study abroad, summer research project) Number of courses increased to 120 per year; 80% meet liberal education requirement Set of writing-intensive core courses (US & world cultures, social science, natural science, fine arts, technology) developed.

30 Faculty Development Workshops Understanding Student Development Designing Your Honors Course Creating Effective Writing Assignments Developing Active Pedagogies Assessing Student Work Designing Interdisciplinary & Team-Taught Courses

31 Staged Expectations for Learning 1 st year: introduction to college-level scholarship, leadership and service (close reading, critical analysis, basic research skills; shorter papers) 2 nd & 3 rd years: disciplinary research projects, lengthier papers, scholarly service- learning & leadership experiences 4 th yr: honors thesis; public presentation of research findings; reflections on self as intellectual leader

32 Building a Sense of Identity Program tenets: scholarship, leadership and service Faculty mentoring program for first-year students 3 themed living & learning halls, focused on program tenets Co-curricular programs which link to program tenets and gradually increase in sophistication

33 Writing & Research Support Creation of university-wide writing center Professional adviser who tracks progress Annual Undergraduate Research Forum DUOS program (grad student mentorship program for research) created Grants for student research Introduction to thesis course for juniors Online manual for thesis advisor and student Support for prestigious scholarship applications

34 Program & Student Learning Assessment Rubric scoring of student application essays Student & faculty narrative evaluations of courses (evaluation form specifically addresses writing/research assignments) Annual, online survey and progress reports Annual focus sessions with students from all four years; regular class observations Rubric scoring of honors theses

35 Four years later, we have increased Quality and diversity of entering students; Student retention (11% to 55%); Avg. rubric score for theses (up 2.7 pts on 24-pt scale); Major scholarships won (awarded Truman Honor Institute in 2004); Seniors presenting at Undergraduate Research Forum (70% increase).

36 Conclusion: What questions do you have for us?

37 Contact Information Dr. Jonathan Monroe, Director John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines Cornell University; Ithaca, New York 14853 Dr. Carolyn Haynes, Director Honors & Scholars Program Miami University; Oxford, Ohio 45056

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