Writing Center to Offer New Course

Will Teach Faculty to Evaluate Writing

The Writing Center will offer a mini-course in March on criticism and evaluation of student writing for Faculty members, Joan S. Bolker, a preceptor in Expository Writing and an instructor at the center, said yesterday.

Bolker, who will teach the course, said the course is the first one the center will offer for Faculty members rather than students.

"Next to actually writing a paper, reading and responding to writing is the most difficult job," Bolker said. "We hope to provide useful ways of looking at and effectively criticizing students' work."

Bolker said the course, which will be limited to 15 people, may be especially useful for new teachers.

"The early years of teaching are lonely and difficult and it's a good idea to get together with other people in the same boat and talk about common issues faced in evaluating writing," she said.


The course will focus on questions such as, "How much criticism of a student's paper is too much?" and "How do I honestly and fairly evaluate a pile of papers when I can hardly stay awake?"

Dean K. Whitla, director of the Danforth Center for Teaching and Learning, said yesterday he believes there is a "high degree of interest today in finding ways of improving writing and criticism of writing."

The Danforth Center and the Bureau of Study Counsel offer programs for Faculty members similar to the new mini-course, Whitla said.

"Teaching students to write well is the responsibility of the entire Faculty, not just the Expository Writing department," Whitla said. "Good writing can't be taught in just one semester of freshman year. Learning how to write must be a process incorporated into all course work."

"No prescribed model for criticizing writing will be pushed" in the new course, Bolker said. Instead, she hopes for simply some discussion and comparison of critical techniques.

Bolker said she may offer other courses like this one if many Faculty members show an interest in the program.

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