Welcome to the 2017 Newsletter
If continually improving existing programs and creating new ones characterizes a healthy unit, then Sweetland has had a very healthy year. We evaluated offerings of first-year writing courses as part of a five-year rotation, and we reviewed over 50 courses proposed to fulfill the upper-level writing requirement. We considered data regarding our support for multilingual/international students and made adjustments in several courses and in Chat Café, which gives students who are still learning English a chance to talk informally with native speakers. We evaluated our Peer Writing Consultant program to learn more about students who use this service and their views about the value of the support they receive. We were not surprised to learn that students who work with our Consultants have a higher than average GPA. We continued to examine the effects of the Dissertation Writing Institute and made a major change in the Dissertation Writing Groups by collaborating with eCoach to provide more guidance to groups throughout the semester. We studied the curriculum of the Minor in Writing and made several changes that will create more continuity within and between courses, and we added to the list of publications and ranks of Fellows for the Digital Rhetoric Collaborative.
At the same time that we reviewed and improved existing programs, we created new ones. In response to a campus-wide emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion, we developed and published a Sweetland DEI statement. In a related move, we launched a Faculty Learning Community to support Sweetland instructors who are interested in learning more about inclusive teaching. We transformed our celebration of the National Day on Writing from a digital competition to hand-written notes and added new faculty to our Writer to Writer program. We welcomed a newcomer to our corps of Graduate Student Research Assistants and to the number of courses supported by M-Write. In addition we held the first M-Write Faculty Seminar for faculty members interested in incorporating writing-to-learn pedagogies into their courses. Finally, we completed a six-year study of student writing development, wrote a book manuscript about our findings, and joined with colleagues in proposing the Book Unbound project which will result in a digital version of what we learned about developing writers. We hope you enjoy reading about all of these activities.