FYS Faculty Writing Fellows are drawn from across the disciplines and are assigned to instructors who are teaching a first-year seminar for the first time.  The purpose of the Fellows program is to encourage faculty collaboration and the sharing of resources as we help our first-year students to become confident college writers.  These collaborations can take many forms. In the past, Fellows have collaborated with faculty members on strategies for designing writing assignments, for sequencing assignments over the course of the semester, for responding to student essays, for structuring peer review of essays, for using class time to work on writing, and so on. Whatever the approach, the goal is to support sustained attention to the teaching of writing over the course of the semester, since this sort of distributed effort has been shown to be highly effective in helping students become stronger writers.

Heidi Henderson

Writing Fellow

What is your department? Dance
Which writing courses do you teach? Dance Writing
What have you gained from being a Writing Fellow?
Every time I have a conversation with another faculty member, I learn more about another discipline, and about how writing in their field is constructed as a part of the process of learning.
Why should other faculty members consider becoming Writing Fellows?
Being a writing fellow gives me a larger Conn community, ideas for working interdisciplinarily, and ideas for my own writing and teaching.
Why would you encourage faculty to work with a Writing Fellow?
Conversation and sharing ideas opens us to newness, expands our teaching, sparks excitement about the act of teaching.

Simon Feldman

Writing Fellow

What is your department? Philosophy
Which writing courses do you teach? Every course I teach is a writing course - some examples include Introduction to Philosophy, Feminist Philosophy, Philosophy of Law, Philosophy of Race and Racism.
What have you gained from being a Writing Fellow?
Being a Writing Fellow has been an enriching experience. I think what I have enjoyed the most is just getting to talk to colleagues in so many different departments about the kinds of writing they are training students to do in various disciplines. Another thing I've really benefited from is working with both relatively new and very experienced teachers. I always come away with new ideas I can use in my own teaching of writing.
Why should other faculty members consider becoming Writing Fellows?
See 3, above. But I think the main reasons to consider becoming a Writing Fellow are: (a) the opportunity to work with great faculty teaching fascinating things in totally innovative ways and (b) the ongoing opportunities to share one's own successful teaching strategies and to learn new ones from colleagues.
Why would you encourage faculty to work with a Writing Fellow?
Working with a Writing Fellow is a great low-stress opportunity to get feedback on assignments and writing pedagogy --but equally important, I think, is the motivation that comes from with the feeling that we are all engaged in a shared enterprise.

Lindsay Crawford

Writing Fellow

What is your department? Philosophy
Which writing courses do you teach? All of the philosophy courses I teach involve a significant writing component. Most of the paper assignments in my courses are specifically designed to help students develop their argumentative writing skills.
What have you gained from being a Writing Fellow?
I really enjoy the fruitful collaborations between faculty members that the Writing Fellows program makes possible. I’m always learning new things about writing pedagogy when I sit down with my faculty partners to think about different kinds of effective writing assignments
Why should other faculty members consider becoming Writing Fellows?
Participating as a Writing Fellow offers a really great opportunity to work with faculty across the disciplines. It offers a window into the wide range of pedagogical goals that different writing assignments can serve. I think it’s easy to forget how far you’ve come in your approach to writing pedagogy after teaching it for many years. There are many things I take for granted now – for example, that it is really important to carefully scaffold complex and high-stakes writing assignments – that I hadn’t seriously considered when I was first starting out. It can be incredibly valuable to share the wisdom you’ve accumulated over the years (after many mistakes, no doubt!), especially with faculty who are just at the beginning of their careers, or who are new to teaching writing.
Why would you encourage faculty to work with a Writing Fellow?
It’s always helpful to work with faculty members who can offer another perspective on your course goals and the writing assignments you use to help students achieve those goals. Even if you think of yourself as a pro in the teaching of writing, there are always new ideas you can incorporate into your courses about how to redesign certain writing assignments, or new classroom activities you can use to help students become better readers of each other’s work. If you want to try a new kind of writing assignment in your courses, but aren’t entirely sure how best to execute it, a writing fellow who will help you think through your ideas can be a really great resource!

Steve Shoemaker

Writing Fellow

What is your department? English / Writing Center
Which writing courses do you teach? All my courses are writing courses!  These range from Eng 300: Seminar in the Teaching of Writing (the course that prepares students to work in the Writing Center) to my ConnCourse Eng 119: Literature and The Evolution of Mind to my senior seminar on Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
What have you gained from being a Writing Fellow?
Being a Writing Fellow has given me the opportunity to collaborate on the teaching of writing with a range of faculty from across the disciplines.  On the one hand, I’ve been able to pass along useful strategies for meeting some of the thornier challenges of teaching writing to first-year students; on the other hand, I’ve learned a great deal from the faculty I’ve worked with, and been exposed to fascinating approaches that I hadn’t encountered before. Since I direct the program, I also get the benefit of working with all the Writing Fellows, and that has been a delight.
Why should other faculty members consider becoming Writing Fellows?
From working with a rotating roster of Writing Fellows over the course of several years, I think I can safely say that people really enjoy being part of the program.  Writing is important for us as scholars, and it is important for our students as well. It’s nice to have a context that allows us to think deeply about the teaching of writing and share resources that will help us do it well.
Why would you encourage faculty to work with a Writing Fellow?
Working with a Writing Fellow provides support and “fellowship” and concrete strategies as you address the challenge of teaching writing.  It’s great to be able to brainstorm about syllabus design, or have a fresh pair of eyes go over a writing assignment, or troubleshoot some approach that didn’t go as well as you thought it would.  Getting a fresh perspective from your Writing Fellow can also jog you out of routine and encourage you to try new things.