As part of our continuing support of writing pedagogy in all disciplines at Trinity College, the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric is excited to offer two rounds of fellowships for selected faculty this year: one in fall, geared toward faculty teaching classes that fulfill the Writing Emphasis Part 2 Requirement; the other in spring, for faculty teaching a FYSM in fall 2022.
We now invite applications for the fall group. Faculty can apply to be one of five Writing Fellows who want to undertake an exploration of writing pedagogy in their classrooms and disciplines.
In a brief, one-page proposal, applicants should describe the W2 course and outline the project they want to work on and explain the expected impacts on their teaching. Tenured, tenure-track and full-time continuing faculty members at Trinity are eligible to apply. Please submit proposals and questions to [email protected]. Faculty participants will receive a $1,000 stipend.
Faculty participants in the fall cohort will become one of five Writing Fellows who will work with Professors Marino and Frymire on a course that fulfills the Writing Emphasis Part 2 Requirement (the writing in the major requirement). Participants will meet four times during the fall semester to develop a project related to writing in their course. Past projects have included creating new assignments, revising and trouble-shooting existing assignments, developing effective feedback tools, working with ESL students, and more.
Writing Fellows will meet once per month. The newly formed Writing Fellow cohort will determine whether to meet in person, adopt a hybrid model of meeting, or meet completely online.
An additional call for faculty participants will go out toward the end of the fall semester, inviting faculty to apply to become one of five Writing Fellows in the spring semester who will work with Professor Papoulis on a fall 2022 FYSM.
The spring semester faculty participants will also meet four times and develop a syllabus and assignments that strengthen and emphasize writing in the FYSM. Faculty participants will receive a $1,000 stipend. The spring semester Writing Fellow cohort will also determine whether to meet in person, adopt a hybrid model of meeting, or meet completely online. We especially invite faculty in STEM fields to apply.
The Writing Fellows Program is a colloquium designed for faculty to read, talk, and write about writing pedagogy in general as well as to dive into disciplinary based writing pedagogy.
Writing Fellows AY2020-2021
Spring Writing Fellows Summary – Irene Papoulis, Principal Lecturer in the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric
The goal of the spring 2021 Writing Fellows was to focus on conceiving and constructing the Fellows’ First Year Seminar syllabi for fall 2021. They began by discussing and rethinking their individual goals for their seminars, exploring and discussing how to highlight the teaching of “academic habits of mind” as an integral part of the course. They then discussed how to encourage students to read more deeply by using informal writing. Patrick Sullivan’s essay, “Deep Reading as Threshold Concept,” helped to foster that discussion, and Fellows engaged in writing exercises designed both to clarify that reading and to model work with student readers. After more discussions about formal and informal writing assignments, and how to scaffold academic writing, fellows began to craft or re-craft their First Year Seminar syllabi, rethinking and developing ideas in consultation with the group. They finished with clear drafts in progress that they will continue to work on as they move toward the fall semester.
Tanetta Andersson, Senior Lecturer in Sociology
“My course, Lights, Camera, Society! Sociology Through Film, is the Sociology Department’s offering in the first-year seminar program, which I plan to teach again in Fall 2021. In truth, I applied for the 2021 Writing Fellows Program out of frustration with the imbalance between content and writing I kept encountering. To that end, I focused on the idea that ‘less is more’ in our meetings by strategically decreasing content to open room for readings and activities aimed at strengthening student’s written work. The dynamic relationships between individuals and social systems still remains the central takeaway of this class, instilling in students the dual lesson over the length of the semester that “neither people nor social systems exist without the other, yet neither can be reduced to the other” (Johnson 2014). As a result of the Writing Fellows workshops, I now emphasize analytical writing over persuasive or descriptive genres, although students will employ the latter to a lesser to degree. Analytical writing advances students written work beyond just “reporting” or summarizing materials or “reacting” to readings at the personal level. It too is a dynamic relationship between a frame of mind but also an act of thinking (Rosenwasser 2019). Most of all, it collaborates with readers and attends to detail with the goal of understanding over judgement (helpful in introductory sociology courses in which students are often faced with an unlearning process too). Questions like “What do you notice, find interesting, revealing or strange?” kickstart analysis. Other moves of the mind include evolving observations into implications through posing “so what? questions, for example. To help students translate their ideas from frames of mind into words on paper and back again, I plan to integrate several writing practicums addressing: reading analytically, reasoning from evidence to claims, and recognizing and fixing weak thesis statements sourced from the text Writing Analytically (Rosenwasser 2019) now on its eighth edition.”
Juliet Nebolon, Assistant Professor of American Studies
“This FYSM Writing Fellows Workshop was extremely helpful for me, as someone who is teaching a FYSM for the first time. Not only did I have devoted time throughout the semester to develop a brand-new syllabus (attached below), but I also benefitted in each meeting from the experience of Irene and the other participants, almost all of whom had taught a FYSM before. Each month, I learned more about how to foster critical thinking, writing, and discussion skills among first year students in an equitable and constructive way. Each time we met, I came away with new ideas for my class and this helped me to begin working on my syllabus as soon as the semester began. Particularly, in our last two sessions when I shared drafts of my syllabus, I received hands on advice for how to tailor in-class exercises and paper assignments. I also received vital advice on how to scale back some of the content in my course in order to build in class time for writing, revision, and registration help. These are the kinds of things it makes a huge difference to learn about now, before the semester begins.”
Diana Paulin, Associate Professor of English and American Studies
“For me, it was valuable to take time to hear what other strategies and concerns instructors had about teaching a first- year seminar. What are the overall goals of the seminar and how do you meet those goals effectively and productively? Each person, regardless of the number of years she has been teaching, offered a new or unique perspective, resource, or assignment that I had not considered. I think the most important consideration is allowing time to get to know students and to focus on specific goals that you want to meet without overloading them. I also learned new ways of incorporating low stakes writing and revision both into the sessions and in preparation for class discussion and writing. Being asked to articulate your vision for the course is a useful exercise. Additionally, I liked seeing how others made revisions based on feedback and we all are leaving with a concrete plan even if it is still in need of revision.”
Mary Sandoval, Associate Professor of Mathematics
“I have decided to incorporate daily free writing exercises into my seminar, perhaps
with additional in-class writing assignments allow students to start on the reflections on the
various class activities that I have been developing in previous iterations of the course. I
will also use these free writes to get students to reflect on the readings and the discussion
questions so that they can have a common understanding of what the readings say, as opposed
to their reactions to it. I have also revisited my old syllabus and pulled out some of the
various class activities (see below). I will ask my students to reflect on these activities to
build in low-stakes writing exercises that can be used as a basis to build out and develop
more extended theses that could be developed into topics for the longer analysis paper or
short essays. I am hoping to use these as fodder for some exercises that demonstrate how to
edit/revise/develop into short essay reflections.
I still have some work to do in terms of sequencing the activities. This will be easier once the
more detailed academic calendar comes out and I can figure out when advising and course
selection will take place. A tentative calendar is attached.
I am also planning on coming up with a simple rubric that I can put in the syllabus to guide
my student with their reflection. Does it address the prompt? Does it contain at least one
idea with some depth of reflection? Etcetera.”
Lynn Sullivan, Assistant Professor of Fine Arts
“Great space created to discuss ideas teaching writing, teaching, and first year students with
fellow faculty who have past FYS experience at Trinity College.
Interarts Gateway serves as a very broad introduction to ALL arts (visual, dance, theater, music,
creative writing). Reflections from this workshop, have made me pivot from trying to structure
classes as an introduction to various methods in the arts (which is how my visual arts
foundation class works) to building intellectual skills to experience and consider (a variety of)
arts through writing. The flow of this makes much more sense to me.
For my syllabus, I felt I was able to simplify my plans for the syllabus, and to allow writing to
shape the arc of the semester. While the focus of Interarts is the arts, I am shaping each week
on different ways that writing can operate as a tool to help students engage with art and our
lives. Key takeaways for me:
a) creating space for writing in class, and building language together for discussing art
b) iterative development of writing/projects that includes feedback
c) to encourage revision process to be about trying to find something that you did not
know and discovery of a subject as much as “perfect writing”
d) incorporation of library research early in semester
e) saving room for discussion and practical elements of advising.”
Video/Audio Reflections for Writing Fellows Fall 2020 Coming Soon!
Michael Puljung, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and Chemistry
Peter Bent, Assistant Professor of Economics
Peter Antich, Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Diana Paulin, Associate Professor of English and American Studies
Writing Fellows AY2019-2020
Stefanie Chambers, Professor of Political Science
“Outside of your department, you have this new group of people who you can share ideas with, connect with in new ways, and who knows what this will bring for me in the future?”
“It’s a great opportunity to have people honestly give you feedback on your own teaching, and your own ideas, and your own projects, but also to connect with people who you ordinarily wouldn’t have an opportunity to spend time with and learn from”
Molly Helt, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
“Even though we have time with our colleagues, how often do we really have time to get into the nitty gritty detail of whether we should be chunking an assignment into three or four parts or whether our feedback is a good enough mixture of positive and negative comments?”
“We are surrounded by colleagues who are brilliant and often have more expertise than we ourselves do, and we shouldn’t be in isolation trying to reinvent the wheel. We should be as much as possible pooling our collective wisdom and our creativity”
“The more we share ideas and expertise about teaching the more we can really lift one another up”
Martha Risser, Associate Professor of Classical Studies
“I think my biggest takeaway is that, no matter how old or experienced you think you are, you can always learn from your colleagues”
“It was just so good to be learning from other people and to be learning from people all across campus and in such different disciplines. It was very energizing, and I learned so much”
Jo-Ann Jee, Visiting Lecturer of Chemistry
Daniel Mrozowski, Academic Director of Graduate Studies and Lecturer in English (Graduate Studies Program)
Writing Fellows AY2018-2019
Alexander Manevitz, Visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies
David Reuman, Associate Professor of Psychology
Meredith Safran, Associate Professor of Classical Studies
Barbara Walden, Associate Professor of Physics
Stefanie Wang, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Writing Fellows AY2017-2018
Megan Hartline, Director of Community Learning
Isaac Kamola, Associate Professor of Political Science
Michelle Kovarik, Associate Professor of Chemistry
Shane Ewegen, Associate Professor of Philosophy
Hilary Wyss, Allan K. Smith and Gwendolyn Miles Smith Professor of English
Additional Faculty Testimonials and Comments:
“I think this metacognitive experiment in your own teaching always makes you a better teacher. It socializes a knowledge base among the faculty. I think it’s a great way to build comradery. I think it’s a great pause moment to think about how you’re structuring your assignments and incorporating writing into the classroom.”
“You teach for a decade and you have these habits, you have these materials and assume things about them. And then when you go to have to explain them to people or you pose serious questions about them, it really does give you a chance to revise, not just revise in the sense of going back and changing, but to really see it a new, to see what you’ve been doing for a while. The comradery is great, but also the ability to step back and see what I had been doing for 10 years in a new light is amazing.”
“It was such a fun learning experience and I learned so much from them. Everyone came from a different discipline, so everyone came with different perspectives and different experiences. I really got some valuable advice from the group and I’d be happy to do this again if I was given the opportunity”
“I could learn from my peers in my own department, and that would be very, very specific to our courses. At least in science, we have a certain way we teach our material and process the data. That’s why the opportunity for me to see how others have do it different disciplines I thought was very interesting. That’s thinking outside of the box, which I wouldn’t have come up with on my own if it were not for their feedback and ideas.”