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The Weekly Blast: April 24, 2009

End of semester course evaluations are ready for pick up on Monday, April 27. Please remember that, unlike midterm evaluations, these evaluations are required. Directions for administering evaluations are on the envelope. Please read them carefully and convey the directions correctly to your students. Becky will (graciously and happily) answer any questions you have. These evaluations take 20-30 minutes for your students to complete and are best administered at the start of class. Course evaluations must be done by Thursday, May 7th. This is a week earlier than in the past.

Straight out of the MFA world “Asking Questions” is an exercise that enables students to see how writing can be improved by having a simple structure. To see the full details of this exercise by Mark Koyama, click here.

“Writing the Future Now” the fourth annual Writing Program’s Celebration of Writing will be held on May 13, 2009 from 11:30-3:00pm in Goodell. The keynote speaker will be Claudia Ricci, journalist, novelist and Huntington Post bloggist. The Celebration will include readings and displays from the Experimental Writing Workshop series, College Writing, Basic Writing, and Junior-Year Writing. The writers selected for the Student Anthology will honored as well as the announcement for the Best Text Contest winners. If you would like your class to participate in the festival please contact Peggy Woods.

The last requirement for ENGLWRIT 112 is the final conference. These final conferences are MANDATORY for the students and for you. Writing Program policy, which is an aspect of University policy, is that these conferences are to be held during final exam week (not during the reading period or during the last week of class). This semester, examination week runs Thursday, May 14 through Thursday, May 21. The final conference is intended to provide occasion for you and each student to look back at what that student writer has done and to look forward to the writing the writer will do after 112. Each student’s final reflection can serve as the starting point for the conference. Remember you are not obligated to tell students their grades at the conference. In fact we encourage you not to do this. If you are not holding your final conferences in your Writing Program assigned office, please be sure to let Becky know where your conferences will be held so she direct your students to the right place.

Hard copies of your grades MUST be submitted to the Writing Program Office by noon, Friday, May 22. The deadline to submit grades through Spire is noon, Tuesday, May 26. Please remember for all students who fail the course a failure form will need to be submitted to the office. Becky can provide you with the form. All incompletes MUST be approved (in advance) by Pat Zukowski or David Fleming.

Online instructions of using SPIRE for grading are available right in SPIRE. Select HELP from the SPIRE menu (or select SPIRE HELP at the top of the page), then press FOR INSTRUCTORS, then press CLASS MANAGEMENT, and then press RECORD GRADES.

The Registrar's Office website also contains an online tutorial with step-by-step instructions for using SPIRE for grading. This is available to anyone at:

All TO’s Welcome!

Thursday, April 30 at 8:00, the Diversity Tap will meet at
Moan and Dove in Amherst
Join members of the Diversity Committee to discuss issues related to writing and the classroom every Thursday evening! Bring questions, concerns, and classroom situations and enjoy a lively discussion!

Friday, May 8 is the deadline for requesting magazine publications at Print Services.

****Deadline extended to Wednesday April 29!!!****

We are seeking an interested graduate student to serve as assistant to the Placement Test Coordinator, Deirdre Vinyard for the 2009-2010 academic year (including summer 2010). This position begins in September 2009.

Responsibilities: Assist the coordinator in developing essay questions, selecting training essays, revising the rating criteria, and conducting the summer 2010 placement test readings and reader-training sessions. The dates for summer 2010 have not bee set yet, but we anticipate that they will occur in June and July.

Applicants must be available to serve as readers during summer 2009. Readings this summer will be held from 9-4 on the following dates:

June 22, 23, 24, 25
July 27, 28, 29, 30

The Assistant Placement Test Coordinator will also participate in two readings during the year: During the first week of the fall semester and the first week of the Spring semester, we will do group readings (100+ tests).

Required: Experience as a reader, interest in placement for writing courses, organizational and planning skills, and a good sense of humor!

Preferred but not required: graduate area or course work in Writing and the Teaching of Writing; and interest in working with the placement exam administration for more than just this summer.

Pay: $1,750

If you are interested please let Deirdre Vinyard know, by email, by WEDNESDAY APRIL 29. In your email, please explain briefly why you are interested and tell the ways you believe that you are qualified for the position.
If you have any questions, please contact Deirdre Vinyard


April 27 Course evaluations ready for pick up

April 29 Placement Assistant application deadline

April 30 Diversity on TAP

May 7 Course evaluations due back in office

May 8 Magazine publication deadline

May 13 Celebration of Writing

May 22 Final grades due in the office by noon

May 26 Final grades need to be submitted on Spire by noon

UMail / UDrive / Spark / Spire