Monday, December 1, 2008

A (now typically) last minute reminder:

Our final part time faculty meetings of the term will be held Tuesday and Wednesday of this week; as usual, we'll be in SC 206 g/h from 5-6:30.

We'll take some time to talk about any questions or concerns you have regarding final projects, grading, and anything else that's pressing as we head toward the finish line. We'll also try to devote the byulk of our time to a presentation by Library staff--both letting us know about instructional resources (especially library introductions for students) and fielding questions and suggestions from you.

Thanks to everyone for responding to your proposed schedule. There have been a small number of changes, and I may be contacting a few of you to make adjustments in your schedules. As always, it's a moving target, so thanks for your patience.

Talk to you soon.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

November meetings this week/spring schedule out soon

A bit late on the reminder, but don't forget that our part time faculty meetings will be held Tuesday and Wednesday of this week; as with last month, we'll be in SC 206 g/h from 5-6:30.

This month, in addition to the usual starting point of addressing any questions or concerns you have, we'll be talking about your students' research projects. It's likely that at this point in the term most of you are beginning, if not in the midst of, your students' culminating projects. You might consider in advance of the meetings some of the following:

  • How do you help students get their research projects started?
  • How do you help them find sources (i.e. an adequate number and type)?
  • How have you helped students develop (in 1010) or sustain (in 2010/2020) an acculturation in one or more academic conversations?
  • How effectively are the course texts and sequences of assignments supporting your work in relation to teaching research writing to lower-division students?
  • What can Grant, Gae Lyn, and I do to more effectively support your work in class?

OK, that's probably enough to get us started, so we'll get to it when we get together this week.

We should have a draft of the spring schedule ready for you either later this week or early next week. Please keep an eye on your mailboxes for your schedule and acknowledgment.

Talk to you soon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

More thoughts on Strong Resonse texts

So, I got lots of good comments about texts for the strong response paper. I think everyone is on really different pages with this assignment, which caused everyone's suggestions to be also very different.

In order to decide on texts, I've taken time to really think about the students this semester, where they are, and what they need. I just did a week on personal narrative writing with them, and as I taught them, I realized that they needed this earlier. I may have pushed them on issues and politics a little too much in the first too papers, and I am not sure they were ready for that.

This tells me a few things. 1) I think paper #3 for them needs to be a little out in left field because if they start to feel like all the assignments are too related, they start to bring their writing "sins" and worries with them from paper to paper. Some of them freeze under this pressure. 2) We did so much focus on the thinking process in papers 1 and 2, that I think I need to give them an assignment that to them feels more like a writing assignment/ process. Again, we know that all assignments are both, but sometimes it isn't about us or how we perceive the process. It is about the students and what they see. 3) I want to take advantage of the current political climate and election if I can. 4) I want all my students to get a strong sense of success after paper #3 as they prepare for the next two papers.

So, with all that said, I have decided to let my students choose essays from The New Yorker magazine. I gave them a word limit and a specific place to look for the essays online. There are enough that I am hoping each students will be able to find something that is challenging and interesting. It also exposes them to new ideas that are current and real. So many of my students were nervous about talking about local issues in previous papers because they did not feel informed. I am hoping that this adventure with the New Yorker will actually empower them and give them more confidence in their ability to find out what is going on and have an opinion about it. Plus, these essays are well written while also leaving room for response and critical thought.

Am I off in left field? Let me know.
What problems should I prepare for with this?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Texts for Paper #3

I'm excited to move on to Paper #3 for English 1010, but I am having a very hard time finding texts for the students to respond to. I want to provide 3 texts and let them choose one to respond to, but I am nervous about picking them myself since I have not worked with this assignment before. I am also still new to the demographics of freshmen students. I don't want to choose a text that is not at least user-friendly for this purpose.

Please help. I would love recommendations about texts to use. Again, I am looking for about three options. Also, any student samples or thoughts on teaching paper #3 would be great. I understand how it fits into the sequence, but I know I am going to have more questions along the way.


Jill Fellow

Friday, October 10, 2008

Diana Hacker materials

Several people (including myself) at Tuesday night's meeting mentioned having used Diana Hacker's handbook in the past. I forgot to mention that the library has a link to her materials on research and documentation. Go to library's Citation Help page and click on "Research and Documentation Online by Diana Hacker," the fourth link in the list. She has an excellent web page on the documentation styles for different academic disciplines, including some sample essays which I have found useful in the past.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Part Time Faculty Development Meetings this Week

Well, it's already that time again for us to be thinking about scheduling the coming semester. Please fill out the attached schedule preference form at your earliest convenience, and return it to me either via email or hard copy in my mailbox. Note that the Wasatch Campus is now an optional location for your teaching, so if you'd like to start teaching up there (or experiment with it for a semester), check the "WC" off-campus location.

Our October meetings are also coming up on October 7 and 8 in SC 206 g/h. Please come to one of them. I'll have hard copies of preference sheets for those who haven't yet filled them out, but I'd appreciate having them back by the 15th. One of our October agenda items is to prepare for annual class observations. We'll plan to spend the bulk of our time discussing responding to student writing, since at this point you've probably at least received, if not already returned, the first major writing project of the term.

A side note: when contacting me (and I assume, Grant and Gae Lyn), please use the new uvu email addresses:

Side note #2: don't forget that when you're responding to a notice or query from the listserv (i.e. regarding recent schedule preferences), please make sure you're responding only to sender--unless you're planning to share information with everyone on the list. The default reply is to all.

OK, see you later this week.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Updated on Paper Number 1

Thanks for all the suggestions. I had some of these same questions before the semester started, but your answers mean so much more to me now that I am in the middle of things. Just an update: I took a step back after the paper #1 rough drafts. I added a lot more thinking and group activities. I posed questions that really helped the students see some of the narrowness of their thinking instead of writing everyone a long list of does and don't. They really rolled with it. We had some awesome class sessions where ideas were flying and light bulbs were burning brightly.

I just read one section of the final drafts, and I was very impressed with my students. They really took things to the next level. I am so glad that I took the time to carefully read the rough drafts because now I feel very connected to each students' progress. My one student with the very inappropriate views on immigrants caught the vision of the assignment and turned in a very progressed version of her first attempt. It still made me a little nervous, but I can really see her progress.

Wish me luck as we dive into paper #2. Thanks again for all your help.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I don't think your experience here is that uncommon, since the first paper calls on students to problematize, a rhetorical strategy that's totally foreign to most college freshmen. It's something I recall us talking about in a monthly meeting last year, and my explanation (which you can buy or not) was that our students are immersed in two rhetorical genres: one the testimonial narrative (on panel shows, human interest news stories, etc.), and the other the political opinion (talk radio blowhards, newspaper editorials, etc.). Those dominant rhetorical forms are connected in a number of ways, but most importantly for our students, they have no need for either critical reflection (i.e. on facts or context) on the part of the speaker/writer, or a critical disposition on the part of the listener/reader.

At any rate, rather than it being a primary/secondary matter, I'd suggest that the papers reflect the students' rhetorical dispositions--or, one might say, what they got out of the text and instruction thus far. I've found though that because problematizing (what the Allyn and Bacon Guide calls "wrestling with complexity" ad nauseum) is the essential rhetorical orientation for which the book is arguing, and on which the students will be working for the term and their college careers, the first paper is an opportunity for students to get their feet wet.

OK, a couple of practical suggestions (you may already be doing one or both of these): one, give students a week (or so) to revise and resubmit their papers after revisiting the chapters and your comments. Two, encourage students to resubmit the paper in a portfolio at the end of the term, so that the first and the last papers "frame" the course and can document the progress they've made--thus you can value student progress and acquired rhetorical sophistication more than the content of the first paper in isolation. I'm sure others will have more (and perhaps better) advice for you as time goes on. We can also think about how to incorporate your experience into the year's theme of interacting with students.

That's about it for now. Comment at will...

Monday, September 15, 2008

A "What do I do with this" Paper

So, I have spent half of the today grading rough drafts of paper #1, and I have had some interesting reflections about my teaching.

John mentioned something to me the other day about the papers (the final product the students turn in) being somewhat secondary in importance to the thinking and growing that happens in the process. I'm used to teaching journalism where the product is pretty central , so I didn't quite understand him until I read these papers today.

A lot of my students totally missed the mark. They wrote some very strong opinions on some hot topics instead of really questioning a problem or an issue. As I read, I started to see the patterns and I am going to take a huge portion of class time this week to have them rethink their issues. I put together some activities where they will be able to question and challenge each other to help them think more complexly. I realize I should have done this long before the rough draft was do. I guess I thought I had. Maybe they needed more examples. Has anyone else had this problem?

But I'm excited for class tomorrow because I feel like all the time reading and commenting on the rough drafts will really pay off as I focus the class time to fill these gaps in my teaching and their understanding. Go Team!

But then I also got a paper that was not a lot different then the paper we read in Grant's seminar at our training this year. It was about immigration. It was highly offensive to me. But I tried to keep it in context with what the students was trying to do. Instead of reacting, I am using the paper to really think about how my teaching is both strong and weak and how can make many concepts more clear for ALL the students this week. I found some very delicate but serious ways to address the issue with this student, and I was very glad we had talked about these situations as a group before I had to face it.

Anyway, that's what I am working on today. I'd love comments or posts about what you do if you realize you've got to back track a little. Any great classroom ideas for getting them to really think about their topics? Any strong paper examples would also be great. I'd love to see a variety of samples.

Critical Thinking and Writing

Some of you requested quotations I shared at Orientation. We talked about how achieving outcomes requires a semester-long effort, focusing on critical writing on the first day of class, foregrounding critical writing on our syllabi and at the beginning of each class period.

In our Sept. Wed. meeting, we followed up by sharing examples of what we do in the first week or day of class. I suggested that we might evaluate our choices based on desired outcomes as opposed to just doing what we have always done. Thanks to everyone for sharing unique approaches for building community and actively involving students.

Critical Thinking and Writing
WPA Outcomes and UVU Writing
From Orientation Breakout Session—Gae Lyn Henderson
August, 2008.

Wayne Booth insists that students must learn to distinguish between sources, to evaluate and understand the “flood of misinformation” with which they are inundated. He centers The Rhetoric, a culminating book of his distinguished career, around this concern: “A citizenry not habituated to thoughtful argument about public affairs, but rather trained to ‘believe everything supporting my side’ and ‘disbelieve everything supporting the bad side,’ is no longer a citizenry but a house of gullibles” (89).

Booth, Wayne. The Rhetoric of Rhetoric: The Quest for Effective Communication. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.

Donald Lazere points out that writing instruction, and the broader field of English Studies, has “defaulted on critical thinking” (264). In one example, while he admires Carol Gilligan’s work in women’s ways of knowing, which “judiciously modified the gender bias” in her predecessors [Lawrence Kohlberg and William Perry], a consequence of her work is that “the notion of stage-development of moral or intellectual reasoning was dropped like a hot potato in English Studies” (264). Similarly, the important critique of various oppressive consequences of Enlightenment reason conducted by the Frankfurt School and other postmodernists, “got misinterpreted as a rejection of reason altogether—a classic case of throwing out the baby with the bath water” (264-65). Lazere argues that “it is precisely higher order reasoning that is needed to refute the logical fallacies in sexist, racist, class-biased, or jingoistic rhetoric . . . manipulating sociocentric emotion” (265).

Lazere, Donald. “Postmodern Pluralism and the Retreat from Political Literacy.” JAC 25.2 (2005): 257-91.

Richard Weaver, in his analysis of the famous Scopes “Monkey Trial,” argues for the difficult, yet invaluable goal of “education in any age,” to create what he names “a Summa Dialectica. . . . [T]he educated people of our country would have to be so trained that they could see the dialectical possibility of the opposites of the beliefs they possess” (124).

Weaver, Richard M. “Dialectic and Rhetoric at Dayton, Tennessee.” Landmark Essays on Rhetoric of Science. Ed. Randy Allen Harris. Mahwah, NJ: Hermagoras Press, 1997: 107-25.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Scaffolding first year comp assignments and courses

Since a few people asked following orientation last week, I planned to link to the overhead slides I used to discuss the scaffolding of writing projects in Engl 1010 and 2010/2020, and the scaffolding of the courses themselves; however, one more data transfer--this one the "research" server from UVSC to UVU postponed the posting. Anyway, here it is as MS Word document:


OK--don't forget we've got our first part time faculty meeting of the year Tuesday and Wednesday next week. Meetings are 5-6:30 in SC 206 g/h. See you there.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Adjunct Email List

Greetings all,

I just wanted to remind folks to be careful about replying to emails that were sent to the adjunct email list ( This is the list that we use for general announcements and information. You are, of course, welcome to use the list for relevant discussion topics and issues, as well as the UV Writing Blog ( But remember that when you click "reply" to a message that was sent to the adjunct faculty list, you are sending an email to EVERYONE on that list--all sixty of us--and not just to the original sender. Please be sure that this is your intent before you click "send." This is especially important if the email includes ID numbers, grades, or other sensitive information that you may not wish to send to the entire group.

Best wishes for the semester,

Grant Moss

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Just before classes start...

Thanks to everyone for coming to--and especially for participating actively in--our annual orientation Friday. In preparation for the start of class Wednesday (or Thursday, or Saturday as the case may be), don't forget to check your class schedule on Banner. The easiest way to do this (thanks to Christa for pointing this out yesterday!) is:
  1. Log in to UV Link
  2. In the Banner self service drop down menu choose "enrollments in courses for a term"
  3. Choose fall 08 (the default)
  4. Find your name on the drop down menu
  5. See the CRN, section number, days and times, locations, and enrollments in your classes
Use banner to get printable rolls:
  1. Log in to UV Link
  2. In the Banner self service drop down menu choose "summary class list"
  3. Choose fall 08 (default)
  4. Select a class
If your HR paperwork hasn't gone entirely through the system yet and you don't have a UV ID to log in to the system, Dorice, Kim, or Kari in the front office can find and print this information for you.

Our monthly part-time faculty meetings will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 5:00-6:30pm so that everyone can attend (of course, you’ll only need to come to one meeting in each pair). We’ll meet on the following dates, all except for March in SC 206 g/h (March location still to be determined):
  • September 9/10
  • October 7/8
  • November 4/5
  • December 2/3
  • January 13/14
  • February 3/4
  • March 3/4
  • April 7/8
Let me know if you need anything prior to the start of class. Otherwise, see you in the halls and at our September meeting.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

orientation notice/schedule in your mailbox today

Notices of our orientation meeting, which is scheduled for Friday 22 August, went in in your mailboxes today. For our new instructors who haven't yet been assigned mailboxes, you can get your letter from Kim or Kari in the front office. Please keep in mind that this meeting is required for all part time English faculty.

Please plan to drop in at your earliest convenience to pick up your letter and any required texts you haven't yet gotten. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your fall 08 schedule, assignment sequences, or other matters, don't hesitate to contact me by phone or email.
If I don't hear from you before then, see you next month.

In case it takes you a while to get into the office, here's the basic plan:

Part I: Orientation Session for New Adjuncts
8:00, LA 115
Includes snacks and coffee, greetings and Q+A from WPA, department staff and administration, and brief introductions to the library and writing center.

Part II: Contact Group Breakout for All Adjuncts
8:45, LA 115
All instructors, please bring a draft of your syllabus to the meeting for questions and advice.

Part III: Concurrent Breakout Sessions (attend each once)
Gae Lyn Henderson, “WPA outcomes and UVU Writing” LA 027
Grant Moss, “How do I Respond to This?” LA 118

Gae Lyn Henderson, “WPA outcomes and UVU Writing” LA 027
John Goshert, “Integrating Research with Assignment Sequences” LA 115

Grant Moss, “How do I Respond to This?” LA 118
John Goshert, “Integrating Research with Assignment Sequences” LA 115

Part IV: Lunch and Guest Presentation
12:30-3:00, SC 206b/c
Lunch will be provided for all part- and full-time faculty, and we’ll be joined by Professor Tom Huckin of the University of Utah for a conversation on how we emphasize the teaching of critical inquiry: critical thinking, critical writing, and developing the habits of mind that will allow students to enter the academic conversation. Many of us are concerned at the tendency of beginning writers to merely re-present information. Through presentation and group work Huckin discusses the difficult task of acculturating students toward academic inquiry and involve us in learning and teaching activities to achieve that goal.

On another planning note, I'll probably send out a reminder about this when the date gets closer, but I wanted to let those of you who are interested get it on the radar. On August 25, from 1-2:30 in LA 005, our Pearson sales representative, Ryan Hatch, is bringing a technology specialist from Pearson to introduce instructors from English and Basic Writing to the newest version of My Comp Lab. Unlike in previous versions, this product is now free for students who purchase Allyn and Bacon and/or the DK Handbook.

For part time people especially, who have limited access to office space and time on campus beyond class meetings, My Comp Lab may offer new opportunities for communication and consultation between instructor and students and among student peer groups.

If you'd like to join Ryan and other interested instructors, please send Ryan an email ( a week or so in advance. I'll get a reminder out when we get closer to the date as well.

I think I've successfully made the change to the new UVU system, so in future correspondence, please email


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fall Schedule and Preparing for Class

Fall 2008 schedule notifications are now in your mailboxes. Please take a look, sign them if they're OK, and return to Brianna's mailbox. If you have any concerns or need to request changes, you can give me a heads up via email, and I'll get on it when I get back on campus--probably a week from Thursday.

One issue I forgot to include on the notifications is that we're switching handbooks from the Prentice Hall Reference Guide to the new DK Handbook by Wysocki and Lynch. Please be sure to get a copy of that, and any required texts you may not have yet, in the front office. Don't forget that the Allyn and Bacon Guide (the new 5th edition) is the approved text for 1010, and is one of the two options for 2010/2020, the other being the Norton Field Guide.

Also, please keep in mind that your 1010, 2010, and 2020 courses will be guided by general assignment sequences. Don't hesitate to make an appointment or email me with any questions as you consider ways of integrating the sequences with the good work you've been doing.

In anticipation of either general or specific questions having to do with course design this year, I'd like you to have drafts of your fall 08 syllabi and class schedules ready to share at our orientation meeting on August 22nd. If you'd like model syllabi, let me know and I'll get together with Brianna to find some of the best examples from recent semesters. Consider including the following elements on your syllabi in the meantime:
  1. Course description, including brief descriptions of assignments, course objectives, and so on;
  2. Course policies, including statements on attendance, plagiarism, and so on;
  3. Required text(s);
  4. Grade distribution;
  5. Instructor contact information, including contact hours;
  6. A disability statement (you can simply paste the boilerplate statement, which I can send those of you who don't have it);
  7. A tentative class schedule, which can take any number of shapes, from day-to-day, week-to-week, unit-to-unit, and so on.
I'll get together with Grant and Gae Lyn when I return to campus and complete a detailed agenda for our orientation day. For now, however, please plan to spend an informative (and fully compensated) day with us, which will include morning breakout sessions on important issues, and a scrumptious lunch, followed by a presentation and discussion by Tom Huckin of the University of Utah. We'll probably be going through about 3 in the afternoon.

Please email me if you need to. Otherwise, keep checking back here for updates.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

beta testing assignment sequences

Please take a look at the program website
where you'll find assignment sequences for English 1010, and 2010/2020. The sequences were revised over the summer for the new edition of the Allyn and Bacon Guide, and for the Norton Field Guide. While each sequence includes a number of options and encourages you to continue teaching courses in ways that work for you, you should nonetheless plan to use the sequences to guide the essential shape of your courses.

As many of you know, we've been drafting and class-testing these sequences and soliciting your feedback over a number of semesters. All our preparation notwithstanding, I'm calling this the beta test of the program's writing assignment sequences. As such, they're available as MS word documents, not only for easy saving/printing, but also so that you can continue to comment on the sequences and help us revise them and make them work as well as possible for you and your students. Feel free to email me with comments and suggestions on the sequences as they arise. Thanks for your work, and we'll talk soon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

midsummer program update

It's been a month since our last post, so here's the status on getting ready for fall 2008:
  • I expect to have a draft of the schedule ready by June 20th;
  • You'll be notified of your tentative schedule and asked to either accept it (ideal) or request changes (not so ideal);
  • You'll get updated sequences of assignments and textbook(s) for the course(s) you're assigned;
  • Please plan to join us for the annual orientation on August 22--more details to come.
In the meantime, drop me an email if you have any questions or would like to become an author on the blog.

Talk to you guys soon.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Getting (re)started

We'll get the UV Writing blog back up and running over the summer. As we move through the year, we'll try to provide updated program news, links to useful strategies and handouts from UV instructors, and notification of upcoming workshops and events.

Feel free to drop me an email--or simply comment here--if you have any suggestions for materials, discussion topics, whatever you'd find useful in this forum.

Also, if you're a UV writing instructor (part time or full time), I'll gladly add you as an author if you send me your email address offline ( That way, we'll be able to build an online discussion community for those who are interested.