This is what devoted faculty writing looks like.

This is what devoted faculty writing looks like.

As the Director of College Writing, I have been discovering a fair amount of events that happen across the country that I had never heard of before!

Of course I’ve heard of (and celebrated) NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but did you know that AcWriMo (Academic Writing Month) as sprung up, too?

Because I wasn’t exactly on the train for this one until about 4 days before November started, I decided our writing program could host something to encourage faculty writing if not a full-out AcWriMo campaign. Today marked the beginning of that “something.”

So, what are we doing? AcWriMo faculty writing drop-in sessions. We have five of them throughout the month, and each

one accounts for at least a three-hour block of time (hours range from three to seven hours) with coffee and snacks provided. The first ten to fifteen minutes are taken up by a brief discussion focused on one of several workshop themes, including “strategies for getting to your writing,” common reasons for article rejections,” and “getting feedback on your article.” Then, the rest of the time, we write.

This is actually a really great thing at Hope’s campus for a few reasons. First, it helps develop a culture of writing from

a faculty perspective. Second, it highlights the resources we already offer faculty for their own writing. Third, it reminds faculty of our Faculty Writing Camp (a week-long, eight-hours-per-day competitive camp that helps faculty write their research by providing an adequate, dedicated venue for writing in a semi-social atmosphere). Fourth, it reinforces an active presence for the writing progr

am on campus.

Today was the first (and longest) drop-in session. We’ve had people come and go, but everyone has commented on how helpful just having the space away from their offices has been. I’ve had a few r

equests, too, to make this a weekly thing throughout the academic year. It’s a possibility.

Here’s to AcWriMo and your writing and research endeavors! May you always find time to write.

Hope, Rhetoric, and Composition

Today begins the new semester for me. I have class for the first time on a Saturday with first-year students. This is my first meeting with my FYS class, and their families are invited, too! I’ll be giving them some basic info and then dismissing them on a brief scavenger hunt (in pairs). Should be fun! I’m hoping to finish the class with 30 minutes of open Q&A with the families and parents (now I’m thinking of it, I guess if there are any younger siblings there, I should tell them they can go with their siblings on the scavenger hunt maybe? They don’t want to be in the room, either!).

After class today, tomorrow’s day is full with other obligations, including convocation, followed by a presentation for the WAs (writing assistants). I will be in full collaboration with the Center for Writing and Research (CWR) as I am currently taking on the role of Director of College Writing. David Cunningham, the Dir. of the CWR, asked me to lead a workshop with the WAs, so that’s what I’ll be trying to do.

I’m linking to my Prezi–click here! I’m also posting the handout I’ll be giving the WAs so they have a better idea of what some of this means. Here’s the handout:

WA Handout

Hope Digital Commons

This week, as noted earlier, I presented on “Visual Literacy and Student Learning” at Hope College’s Pre-College Conference Innovations Exhibition. The presentation can now be found on Hope’s Digital Commons. Just click here.

Innovations Exposition

Just sharing my simple prezi for my Innovations Exposition presentation on Thursday, August 22, 2013. I’m pairing the prezi with a few butcher paper student in-class visual writing assignments. The idea is that the prezi and showpieces are simple and don’t give a lot of information, allowing viewers to approach me to hear more about the theories I’m using and implementing in class. So, it’s meant to be a vague, very-little-information visual aid to whet the appetite of other pedagogs.

Innovations Exposition Prezi


(Ok, I couldn’t get it to embed, so….link it is.)

First-Year Seminar


FYS Class Shield, Fall 2013

FYS Class Shield, Fall 2013

This fall term, I’m teaching a First-Year Seminar. In a lot of ways, this is my academic career come full circle. As a first year student myself many years ago, I had an Introduction to College Life course entitled “Learning in Common,” better known as “LinC” in MoCo lingo. This class did change my life. I had a professor who challenged me every class period. I was exposed to the true meaning of a liberal arts education. I had a student advisor who I felt truly cared about me and honestly helped me to be the person I am today. He helped me learn to speak up, to voice my thoughts, to participate in discussions and debates, to be energetic and outgoing. All of these things were not part of my nature as an unfailingly shy introvert (which I am to this day, unbeknownst to many–he helped me become that good at hiding it). As a sophomore, I applied to be a student advisor myself, and I was accepted into the program. For three years, I was an SA.

For many years, I’ve thought back to the first college courses I taught (well, co-taught with a faculty advisor). They were fun, but they weren’t quite the course I’d taken. This year, it’s my turn to be the lead. This year, I have my own FYS. It’s called, “What’s my place: Young Adult Fiction and Liberal Arts.” We’re reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Giver, and Divergent. These books share similar themes of coming of age, being categorized (stigmatized?) for life via a formal ceremony, and they all embody a liberal arts education in meaningful ways (when we look behind the teenage drama).

As part of the course, I’ve designed my own ceremony, just for these students. As part of that, I’ve commissioned a class crest. It’s that great big, beautiful image at the top of this post. My talented freelancing graphic artists sister created this for me. It has each “category” a student could be described as.

I am so looking forward to this class. It’s the joy in my life right now, and I hope it continuous to be.

Initium Workshop: “Engaging Students Using Writing”

Today, I presented a brief (45-minute) workshop to Hope College’s 2013-2014 cohort of new faculty at the Initium orientation series. I’m posting my materials here so you can take a look at them. If you use ideas or information/text from these materials, please credit me! Thank you.

Here is the background/overhead slideshow:

Here is the workshop outline: Initium Workshop Outline

And here is the handout packet: Initium Handout Packet

I hope to use this as a recurrent workshop, and I will, of course, tweak it along the way.