The first-year writing faculty are committed to the work of teaching writing. In order to do this well, our community of teachers stays engaged with current research in composition studies, routinely and reflectively examine our own practices, and create and participate in professional development work throughout the year. Spiral literacy development happens just as much for us as it does for our students, and we strive to support the ongoing growth of our teachers. We do so through a number of activities including workshops, mentorships, ad hoc thinking groups centered around a particular pedagogical interest, and monthly faculty-led presentations.
Graduate Teaching Assistant Professional Development
Graduate teaching assistants (TAs) are well-supported in the first-year writing program. In preparation for entering the first-year writing classroom, TAs tutor 2o hours per week in the Writing Resources Center the year before entering the classroom while simultaneously taking a graduate seminar in tutoring and another one in “Teaching College English” where they study various theories and approaches for teaching writing while developing their own teaching philosophy and first-year writing syllabus. Once TAs are in the classroom, they have ongoing mentorship from the First-Year Writing Associate Directors and the Executive Director of the University Writing Program, and access to all the professional development activities within the program, including fall orientation, monthly workshops and ad hoc thinking groups.
Professional Development Opportunities
The first-year writing program facilitates a number of professional development opportunities for faculty throughout the year. Our annual regional conference is a chance for faculty to engage in teacher researcher work around composition and we welcome anyone interested in the subject to attend. The 2016 conference focus is Transcendent Literacies. Please contact Suzanne Ingram for more information or visit our conference website.
In addition to the annual conference, the First-Year Writing Program has ongoing workshops and presentations by and for writing faculty that are also open to other faculty on campus. We love talking about the teaching of writing and welcome conversations about the subject from anyone. Topics emerge from the interests, needs, and expertise of the faculty teaching in the program and in response to what know students need to transfer from FYW to their other courses.