Faculty Development Workshop Proves Good Teachers Never Stop Learning

During winter break, Rhode Island College faculty from all disciplines came together for a full-day Faculty Development Workshop to learn effective ways to help students grow as writers and thinkers.

The theme of this year's workshop was “Writing to Learn," led by Chris Anson, director of the Campus Writing and Speaking Program of North Carolina State University, and an international speaker with expertise in writing across the curriculum.

Anson explained the importance of strengthening student writing – that it enhances student reading, critical thinking and learning.

The three-hour workshop provided faculty with the nuts and bolts of assigning students short writing assignments that are low stakes – that are not necessarily a large part of their grade, but that help them to learn to write well.

Michael Michaud

Following Anson’s presentation, faculty split up into discussion groups to share their teaching practices with their colleagues.

The Rhode Island College Writing Board coordinated the event, which was chaired by Michael Michaud, RIC assistant professor of English. Michaud said that many faculty are hired with varied levels of pedagogical training and with very little training in teaching writing. “They recieve training in their disciplines but not usually in the teaching of disciplinary writing.”

The Writing Board, which has been on campus for 17 years, provides opportunities for faculty development and advocates for the teaching of writing.

Copies of The Elements of Teaching Writers: A Resource for Instructors in All Disciplines were made available to the faculty free of charge should they be interested in learning more about how to implement effective writing instruction in the classroom.

The RIC Writing Board consists of Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur, Kiersten Brennan, Patricia Brennan, Becky Lynn Caouette, Randy DeSimone, Claudine Griggs, Martha Horn, Quenby Hughes, Michael Michaud, Namita Sarawagi,  Deborah Siegel and Joe Zornado.