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The Weekly Blast: December 11, 2009


MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR:

As the fall semester winds down, I wanted to thank all of you for your hard work this semester. First Year Writing (Englwrit 111/112/112H) is a crucial part of undergraduate general education on this campus; and you play a vitally important role in that project. You have put in countless hours this semester in the classroom, in student conferences, and in preparation; and you have read and responded to literally hundreds, even thousands, of pages of student writing. This is time-consuming and difficult work, and we are grateful. Your students may not always show it, but they learn and grow in these courses, and it’s due in large part to your commitment.

To those of you who were new to the Writing Program this semester: we know how difficult it can be to learn a new curriculum. We appreciate your openness and enthusiasm. For those who faced a classroom of students for the first time, we hope you discovered wells of patience, good will, and inventiveness that you never knew you had! We have been glad to get to know you, and we’re excited about working with you in semesters to come.

There’s still much to be done to finish up this semester (see the reminders and notes below); but when you’re all done, we hope you’ll have a restful winter break. For those of you who will be teaching with us in the spring, we’ll see you at 11:30 am on Friday, January 15 at the General Meeting for all spring 2010 instructors (we’ll be hosting our second annual TO-led “Spring Into Teaching” Symposium). Classes begin on Tuesday, January 19, as do Course Director meetings for new TOs (those in their first year in the Writing Program). You’ll find reminders about these and other matters below.

If I don’t see you in the coming days, have a happy holiday. I’ll see you in 2010!

–- David Fleming


CALL FOR INSTRUCTOR - DEADLINE EXTENDED:
The Writing Program is looking for someone to teach the Continuing Education (CE) College Writing section for spring 2010. It would be in addition to the regular College Writing section you’re currently scheduled for. The CE section of CW is scheduled for TuTh from 7-8:15. If interested, please email Heidi at hterault@acad.umass.edu no later than noon Friday, December 1 8.

IT’S A PROCESS: THOUGHTS ON TEACHING WRITING BLOG:
What did you do for a TBA assignment this semester? How did it turn out? Share your assignments on the Resource Center teaching blog at: http://blogs.umass.edu/pmwoods/

DIVERSITY ON TAP – TODAY! FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11 @ 4 PM AT THE NORTHAMPTON BREWERY:
On Tap will meet this Friday December 11 at 4 PM at the NORTHAMPTON BREWERY. Celebrate your upcoming weekend, a bit early, and discuss the relevance diversity plays in our teaching, our writing, and living. We'll just rotate the brewery every week, but Fridays. Beer. 4(pm). Diversity

If you have any questions about Diversity on Tap or the Diversity Committee, feel free to ask any one of our committee members: Morgan Lynn, Anne Bello, A’Dora Phillips, Linh Dich, Natasha Azank, Sarah Stanley, Sarah D’Stair, and Christiane Beuermann.

ANTHOLOGY SUBMISSIONS AND EDITING POLICY CLASSIFIED: PLEASE TAKE NOTE:
It has come to my attention that I may have given a number of teachers the impression that to submit a paper to the Anthology, it must be thoroughly edited by them and their students. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. Once the committee finally selects essays that will be published in the book, we meticulously copyedit them on two occasions—when the publisher conveys to us the typed text that will go to the printer and also when the final page proofs come in. I am very grateful to teachers who have spent time on helping students improve and clean up their texts; that is a wonderful boon to the committee and highly instructive for the students. However, PLEASE feel welcome to submit papers with grammatical and usage problems and even papers where some sentences are problematic. As I said in my memo, we were looking for papers that were exemplary in terms of meeting the goals of a given unit, but “This [was] not to say we seek perfect papers.” Confusion may have come from my expressing concern for two things: that the Release Form would be fully filled out and that if a given paper needed in-text citations and a Works Cited page, both were present and the latter was done according to MLA style. STILL, if we receive a paper with a problematic Works Cited page, and we really want to publish that paper, we will contact the student and spell out that publication is contingent on correction of any errors in citations, Works Cited pages, or a thorough rewrite of any confusing passages. So do let the texts roll in! And please keep in mind our eagerness to publish Final Reflections in the next book, as well as examples from ALL other units, including Unit 4. Thank you. –Pat Zukowski

FINAL CONFERENCE:
Final Conferences: 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 Monday, December 14 through Saturday, December 19. Finals conferences can be held anytime during this week. If you are not holding your conferences in your assigned Writing Program Office, please let Becky know. Students will be looking for you.

BARTLETT 68:
Please remember that Bartlett 68 is assigned office space for instructors. There is a lot of activity in the room during conference times and it can get hectic.

FINAL GRADES:
Final Grades: Final Grades MUST be submitted through SPIRE no later than MONDAY, DECEMBER 28. We strongly encourage you to make sure you have access to your section on SPIRE before the deadline. We also strongly encourage that you complete your final grades and submit them in advance of this deadline.

Hard copies of your grades MUST, also, be submitted to the Writing Program Office by noon, Friday, December 18. If you have trouble meeting this deadline please see Becky or Heidi.

RETURN OF STUDENT WORK:
In order to return your students’ final reflections you can ask them to provide you with a self addressed stamped envelope. You can also encourage them to come by your office hours during the spring semester. We ask that you do not leave boxes of student work in the hallway. This undermines the value we have placed on their writing all semester. The majority of students do not return at the end of the semester to pick up their work and eventually we end up throwing their writing away. Student work left in the hallways is also a violation of the student’s right to privacy particularly if there are grades placed on the work. We also run the risk of having student work stolen and then reappearing in other sections of 112.

BEST TEXT CONTEST:
Please announce and strongly encourage your students to submit to the Best Text Contest. Bookmarks are available in the Main Writing Program Office to give to your students. If you have any questions, please see Peggy or Heidi.

RESIDENTIAL FIRST YEAR EXPERIENCE STUDENT AWARDS:
Please join the Residential First Year Experience (RFYE) in recognizing students who have achieved academic success in their first-year of college!

Nominate a student(s) for an Academic Achievement Award!

Nominations can be made for a variety of academic achievements including:
* Achieving personal goals
* Seeking additional help
* Improving grades
* Achieving high grades
* Applying feedback to improve assignments
* Engaging in critical thinking
* Understanding, retaining, and applying knowledge
* Engaging in challenging opportunities
* Providing thoughtful contributions to class discussion
* Leading a study group
* Engaging in learning outside of the classroom
* Other

Nominated students will be recognized for their achievements with a certificate, RFYE pen, an opportunity to enter an essay contest for book scholarships, and an invitation to an end of the year Academic Achievement Awards Banquet!

NOMINATE A FIRST-YEAR STUDENT TODAY!

Please click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=co9pQ_2fBb_2brDUDaTu1J6Oiw_3d_3d

An additional nomination process is occurring simultaneously for first-year students to recognize faculty/instructors who had a significant impact on their first year of college. Winners of this process will receive the "Student Choice Award" and an invitation to the Banquet.

Thank you,
Residential First Year Experience
Housing and Residence Life
University of Massachusetts Amherst
rfye@gw.housing.umass.edu

PAYCHECKS:
If you would like to receive your paycheck over the break, please be sure to give Becky self addressed stamped envelopes.

NOT RETURNING TO THE WRITING PROGRAM FOR SPRING SEMESTER:
If you are not returning to the Writing Program for the spring semester please be sure to clean out your office, mailbox, and return your office key to Becky by December 18, 2008. You will receive your final paycheck on January 22, 2009.

CALENDARS AND SYLLABUS FOR SPRING 2010:
The standard Writing Program syllabus and calendars will be available on our website on January 8, 2010. You are free to use the syllabus and calendars as is or to modify for your section. (Please note that when modifying you still need to maintain the Program’s core requirements.) If you decide to use the standard syllabus we will make copies for your class if you notify Becky by January 8.

SYLLABUS AND GRADING WORKSHOP:
Wednesday, January 13, 2010 from 1:30-2:30pm
Resource Center Room (Bart 308)
This workshop is open to anyone who would like to discuss ideas for next semester. Bring your thoughts, ideas, drafts of plans for essay units, exercises, peer review, grading policies, calendars, etc. Cookies will be served.

WRITING PROGRAM OFFICE HOURS:
The Writing Program office will be closed Thursday, December 24 – Friday, January 1. The office will resume regular hours beginning January 4.

MANDATORY MEETING FOR SPRING 2010 WRITING PROGRAM TOs: FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 11:30-2:15:
The date and time for the spring meeting of all Spring 2010 Basic and College Writing instructors has been set. We'll gather Friday, January 15, from 11:30 am to 2:15 pm. We will begin with a short general meeting of all instructors followed by a mini-conference, with break-out sessions led by TOs, on topics of interest to writing instructors and geared towards useful advice for spring teaching. Lunch will be served. This meeting is mandatory for all spring 2010 Writing Program instructors. Please note that spring classes begin Tuesday, January 19. Questions should be addressed to David Fleming at dfleming@english.umass.edu.

IMPORTANT DATES:

December 11 Diversity on TAP

December 14 – 19 Final Exam Week – Final Conferences

December 18 Hard Copy of Final Grades to Writing Program

December 24 Writing Program closed

December 28 Final Grades - LAST day to submit through Spire

January 4, 2010 Writing Program office resumes normal business hours

January 8 Deadline to request copies of syllabus and calendar

January 13 Syllabus and Grading Workshop

January 15 General Meeting


 
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