Senate Academic Planning Task Force
Consultative Town-Hall Meeting on Writing
Ellis Hall, March 7, 2011, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
The Task Force has been considering recommendations that Queen’s Academic Plan make ample provision for the teaching of writing. We have read the community’s submissions on this subject carefully, and it was among the three subjects of our consultation with Senate on February 17.
For the purposes of this consultation, we invite all attending to read the Open Letter signed by twenty-two professors in Queen’s Department of English and the summary of our consultation with Senate and come prepared to speak to some of the following questions.
Note: For online responses see http://www.queensu.ca/saptf/?page_id=96
1. The English Department letter argues that proficiency in a discipline “is largely coextensive with the ability to write effectively” in that discipline, and therefore that Queen’s should “commit adequate resources to departments for the teaching of writing in connection with their given disciplines.” In other words, the idea is that writing should be taught within students’ chosen programmes rather than centrally.
- How broadly applicable is this principle that writing should be taught in connection with disciplines—are there qualifications to be made, or disciplines for which it does not hold true?
2. The English Department letter also acknowledges that the need to teach writing by discipline may be a resource issue, since the teaching of writing in a university should occur in the early years and “classes must be small enough to facilitate this function.”
- Do you agree that the teaching of writing should occur in the early years and is best done in small classes?
- If so, do you have ideas that would mitigate the resource problem: are there ways in which we can teach writing more efficiently?
3. What place is there for a more centralized teaching of writing—are there kinds or aspects of writing that can and should be taught centrally?
- What should be the role of the Writing Centre?
- What role should the Centre for Teaching and Learning have in teaching writing?
4. What other advice might you offer for the framing of academic recommendations on the teaching and learning of writing?
Other suggested reading:
Barkat, Jonathan. “The Shadow Scholar: The man who writes your students’ papers tells his story.” Chronicle of Higher Education, 12 Nov. 2010.
Burke, Frank. “Open Letter to Principal Woolf and Dr. Susan Cole.” 17 Nov. 2010.