Opening Presentation: Writing Assignments as Ill-Defined Problems: Promoting Students' Growth as Critical Thinkers, Communicators, and Practicing Professionals in Agricultural and Food Science

Presenter: John Charles Bean, Seattle University


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Abstract: This plenary workshop included an overview to Writing Across the Curriculum, general theories for teaching critical thinking, a discussion of writing assignments as ill-structured problems, and ten easy-to-use strategies for designing short writing/thinking tasks.

BeanAbout the Speaker: John C. Bean is a professor of English at Seattle University, where he holds the title of "Consulting Professor of Writing and Assessment." He has an undergraduate degree from Stanford (1965) and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington (1972). He has been active in the writing-across-the-curriculum movement since 1976. He is the author of Engaging Ideas: The Professor's Guide to Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom (Jossey-Bass, 1996) and is the co-author of four textbooks on writing, argumentation, and rhetorical reading. He has published numerous articles on writing and writing-across-the-curriculum as well as on literary subjects including Shakespeare and Spenser. In 2001, he was invited to present a keynote workshop at the conference of the European Association of Teachers of Academic Writing at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands. His current research interest is the development of institutional assessment strategies that promote productive faculty conversations about teaching and learning.