My assignment at Hunter College during the 2008-2009 academic year has been to work with the Political Science Department, particularly with the POLSC 110 Block class, to help define, clarify, evaluate, and meet learning objectives as they relate to student writing and the critical faculties which it requires. In that effort I created and refined a series of in-class and out-of-class workshops designed to help students and faculty enhance academic performance by addressing issues that relate to writing and critical thinking. To supplement these efforts, and to be available as a departmental resource, I held regular office hours to consult with individual students on virtually all aspects of writing, from ESL issues and grammar, to argument structure and thesis refinement. I also helped students find their voice when writing personal statements, important email correspondence, letters of intent, and grant proposals. I initiated and maintained a dialogue with faculty to suggest how WAC/WID techniques may be included in syllabus, assignment, and rubric design, as well as applied to effective in-class exercises and scaffolding strategies. Additionally, I engaged in a dialogue involving the Political Science Department, the English Department, and the Reading Writing Center on how to design assignments that meet departmental objectives and best prepare students for the CUNY Proficiency Exam (CPE).
Currently, I am working on a doctoral dissertation at The Graduate Center (CUNY) in the Art History Department, which examines landscape aesthetics and the sublime in eighteenth-century France.
Anton Borst’s responsibilities as a Fellow included the gathering and analysis of formal writing assignments and exam questions developed by English 220 (Introduction to Literature) instructors; analysis of the English 220 tutorial files in the Reading Writing Center; and the development of a new literary glossary specifically for English 220 that will include basic functional vocabulary in addition to literary terms and will include usage tips as well as definitions. He observed English 220 classes and met with students and instructors individually on a weekly basis, primarily to discuss and improve writing and writing instruction. Working closely with the course coordinator, he participated in and helped develop aspects of monthly meetings of English 220 faculty, conducting mini-workshops or leading discussions on common pedagogical issues (i.e. dealing with plagiarism, assignment design, and group work). Additionally, his analysis of English 220 has allowed him to create pedagogical materials for 220 instructors (e.g., on designing assignments and exam questions). Mr. Borst was involved in major components of curriculum development: the middle-states evaluation process (he evaluated samples of student writing and helped develop the rubric for doing so) and the development of an orientation/practicum for new instructors of 220, the first of which was offered in June ‘09.
Jennifer Gieseking was engaged as a Writing Fellow in course-building, faculty consultation, and tutorial work with students for the Philosophy Department. Ms. Gieseking worked closely with Map of Knowledge (HUM110), an important course in Hunter’s Block Program. As the course is transitioning to include the college’s first-year seminar, the curriculum needed to be rethought. Ms. Gieseking worked closely with the professor teaching the course and two instructors/TAs to draft three scaffolded writing assignments. She made bi-weekly announcements on Blackboard regarding helpful tips for writing or announcing workshops. She held office hours throughout the year, and supplemented these with workshops for students on each of the assignments. Ms. Gieseking has worked with several faculty over the course of her Fellow’s work with the Philosophy Department, and her consultation and feedback to the instructor of HUM110 has effected change in the syllabus and delivery of the course.
Jaicy John worked with History 151 and 152, required courses in the General Education requirement at Hunter College, aiding professors and teaching assistants in guiding students to write formal research papers. As many of those students were in their freshman year and transitioning to college level writing, Ms. John visited discussion sections and presented on the importance of writing clear thesis statements and structuring engaging and effective introductions and conclusions. Through the workshops, she emphasized writing as a process and encouraged students to make individual appointments, which many did, so that she could review their drafts before final submission. Ms. John also developed workshops for the Mellon-Mays Scholars Program, primarily on writing personal statements.