The session’s content will include commentary on the Writing Across the Curriculum Movement, reviewing both its history and its long-time success; discussion about program policy, structure, delivery, and assessment, as exemplified by best practices at different institutions; the examination of misconceptions about WAC and implications for instruction; a review of the relationship between WAC and Writing to Learn (WTL) and Writing in the Discipline (WID) pedagogies; and explanation about the difference between a course that utilizes writing for the study of content and a course that teaches writing. The body of the presentation will offer an extensive review of successful writing activities across levels and disciplines with commentary how to adapt or develop as well as incorporate these into a given course. The session will also focus on practical concerns that faculty and academic support staff typically raise in discussions about WAC: syllabi design, how to manage and respond to the writing students generate, and issues about ensuring the integrity of course content when placing emphasis on and giving time to writing.
Dr. Nilson has also published many articles and book chapters and has presented conference sessions and faculty workshops at colleges and universities both nationally and internationally on dozens of topics related to teaching effectiveness, assessment, scholarly productivity, and academic career matters. She has been a regular presenter at the Lilly Conferences on College Teaching for years. Most of her faculty experience was at UCLA as a sociology professor.
Dr. Best’s teaching experiences include developmental writing, ESL, composition, and advanced writing through the graduate level. She has researched and written about the writing process extensively, publishing over 60 articles on the topic. Her studies capture data at nature of writing – how writers compose and how writing activity exposes and lays out information, allowing writers to organize what they know, demonstrate what they know, and advance learning. Through these findings like these, Dr. Best has come to understand the underpinnings of the Writing Across the Curriculum movement and has delivered professional development on the topic to faculty across the disciplines at a number of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.
Dr. Best is most widely known for her critical studies on the nature of developmental writing, which support her work to develop materials that facilitate students’ progress, elevate their learning and esteem in all subjects they study, engage them in the deep suprocesses of writing (e.g., planning, monitoring, questioning, reviewing, and so on), integrate grammar into writing practice, lend themselves to active learning, and support the retention and application of writing skills for use in other academic situations.
Dr. Best has served as an external evaluator at a number of institutions and has delivered well over 100 professional development sessions. Her work has transformed both students’ and instructors’ views on writing in thoughtful, critically-informed, and affirming ways.
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