GUIDELINES FOR DYSON WRITING CONSULTANTS
Meetings (also by e-mail)
· Meet with each professor before the semester to go over the course syllabus and identify the kinds of writing assigned. If possible, offer some suggestions for breaking down one or more assignments into stages, including some "writing to learn" brief exercises, and opportunities for revision (or feedback before grade is given). Two important resources are: Guide to Writing and Technology Across the Curriculum: A Resource for Professors and Student Assistants (Linda Anstendig and Eugene Richie—an in-house Pace publication—see http://webpage.pace.edu/erichie/wacguide), and Engaging Ideas (John Bean, Josey-Bass, 1996). Make clear that the aim is to integrate some aspect of the writing process into a writing assignment—i.e., prewriting, drafting, revising, editing. Also, a goal might be to encourage one or two well-defined smaller papers, rather than one research paper due at the end of the semester. Try to discourage a request to evaluate a paper that has not used any of these strategies.
· Set up definite meeting times during the semester. A certain number of hours may be agreed upon at the beginning of the semester for ongoing consultation. If possible, the writing consultant visits the class for introductions. Otherwise, regular office hours could be given to students who might want to come for writing assistance.
· Aid the professor in creating and presenting assignments, and, possibly, sequencing steps for the assignment. The following may be determined through consultation: setting up criteria for each assignment, formulating the assignment so that wording is clear (i.e. , what is the context? what specific tasks are required?), finding models to help students know what constitutes an excellent essay, or lab report, or summary.
· Suggest opportunities for informal writing or exercises as part of more formal writing or research assignment, or as a way to apply course content or learn a concept. Some possible strategies are the 1-3 minute summary of a lecture or reading assignment done at the beginning or end of class, use of journals, use of on-line discussion forums, use of small group problem-solving in writing (also see Bean's 25 ideas for exploratory writing—p. 4 of Guide).
· Intervene in the writing process before grade is given. Perhaps two due dates for papers may be given. For the first due date, students hand in papers, or bring them to their conference. They may get intermediate feedback through a combination of the following: written comments, oral conference, peer review. Then the students may revise their work to hand in on the final due date. The writing consultant may assist the professor in setting up a system of peer review. This kind of intervention could also be done online or through email, outside of real class time. Students could form small groups with required feedback postings.
· Aid the professor in evaluating student writing so that both content and form are taken into account. The consultant and professor may want to "norm" some student papers together and come to a consensus on grades, goals, and criteria. The consultant may assist the professor in making up a checklist or rubric for evaluating student writing. Since the professor usually does not want to become a "writing teacher," the consultant may need to show the professor some "short-cuts" for grading, such as rubrics and checklists that take into account both the writing and the content. Also, the consultant might suggest referring students to tutorial services.
Note: This appendix is from to the article "Architects of Change: Writing Enhanced Course Program Development and Core Reform," by Linda Anstendig, Eugene Richie, Shannon Young, Pauline Mosley and Bette Kirschstein, available at https://wac.colostate.edu/atd/articles/pace2004/.