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The Weekly Blast: May 14, 2010

For all TOs returning to the Writing Program in 2010-2011: in your mailbox today (Friday, May 14) are several important documents concerning teaching in the Writing Program next year. First is a long letter from me updating you on the changes in class size and TO appointments effective fall 2010. Please read this letter carefully: no response is needed, though I am happy to answer your questions and hear your comments. Next is an individualized letter to each TO with your official TOship offer for 2010-2011. We ask that you respond to this letter with a brief email to, accepting or declining the offer, by Friday, May 28, 2010. (If we do not hear back from you by that date, we will assume you are declining the offer.) Finally, there is a packet of documents concerning your teaching schedule for fall 2010. The “dream sheet” is now two pages long, front and back, and will require some care and attention on your part. Please follow the directions closely and complete all sections of the form. Attached to the “dream sheet” are three other documents: a list of RAP sections for fall 2010, a listing of all days/times for our courses, and a list of Writing Program practica for fall 2010. Please return the dream sheet and practicum form to the Writing Program by Friday, May 28, 2010.

Please note: we will NOT be providing electronic versions of any of these documents. If you are no longer in the region, and will not be returning by May 28, we will happily mail the documents to you by regular U.S. Postal Service if you provide us with a mailing address (send the address by email to In this case, we will extend the deadline for return of documents to June 4, 2010. If you are no longer in the United States and will not be returning by May 28, please contact Heidi at as soon as possible; we will work with you individually regarding these documents.

Heidi is preparing your official TOship appointment contracts now; they will be accompanied by the Writing Program’s official job description for your TOship; both of those documents need to be signed by you. Once you have contacted Heidi to accept our TOship offer, she will let you know what you need to do to sign these documents. The Graduate School deadline for submission of signed forms is July 2, 2010.

Let me know if you have any questions. – David Fleming, Director

The deadline to submit grades through Spire is Tuesday, May 18. A failure form will need to be submitted to the office for each student that fails the course. Becky can provide you with the form. All incompletes MUST be approved (in advance) by Pat Zukowski or David Fleming.

The Writing Program Office no longer needs a hard copy of final grades.

The Writing Program anticipates the need to hire several short-term, part-time lecturers for fall 2010 to meet projected enrollment increases for 2010-11. We do not yet know if such positions will also be available for spring 2011. Positions would likely involve teaching 1-3 sections of College Writing in the fall at the MSP lecturer rate. Lecturers must have completed an appropriate terminal graduate degree (preferably MFA or PhD) by August 2010, have experience teaching college level composition, and be familiar with the Writing Program’s mission, curricula, and pedagogical approaches. Interested individuals should submit the following materials for review as soon as possible. Priority deadline is May 21, 2010, but we may be hiring into the summer.

Letter of interest
Professional resume or c.v.
Contact information for two teaching references (these can be from Writing Program staff)

Please submit materials (hard-copy only) to:

Deirdre Vinyard
305 Bartlett Hall
Writing Program
UMass Amherst
If you have questions, contact

Applications are STILL being accepted for the Writing Program’s Technology Fellows program for 2010-11. Technology Fellows are graduate TOs in the UMass Amherst First Year Writing program (Englwrit 111 or 112) who together engage questions about teaching writing with technology through academic reading, discussion, and hands-on play with technologies. Fellows meet in a small-group setting, under the leadership of the Tech Fellows co-directors, on the Mondays opposite Writing Program practica (i.e., every other week). Participation is for the entire academic year 2010-11. A small stipend accompanies the Fellowship; Tech Fellows share an office in Bart 303. If you’re interested, submit a letter of 1-2 paragraphs expressing your interest to David Fleming, Director of the Writing Program, Bartlett Hall 305, Amherst MA 01003. Email
submission is fine: The new deadline for the letter is noon on Friday, May 28.

I would like to thank Jensen Beach, Emma Howes, Andrea Lawlor, and Matt Weingast for the great work they have done this year as Resource Staff mentors. Starting before orientation, they have been available to all of us to give advice, to give encouragement, and to just listen about our teaching concerns. Our teaching community is much richer because of the work they have done this year. Thank you!

I also would like to thank Leslie Bradshaw for her dedication to the Resource Center. Leslie first served on the Resource Center staff first as a mentor and more recently as our technology coordinator. The current versions of our website, our database, our SPARK 698 page, our College Writing SPARK template, and blog are all a result of Leslie’s commitment to the teaching of writing, to our students, and to our teaching community. These things would not exist without her. We are all very grateful for the work that she has done. Thank you!

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Sarah Boyer, Lauren Goodman, Kate Marantz, and Nick Sansone as next year’s Resource Center staff mentors. Each of these teachers brings a range of teaching and academic experience to the staff. I know our incoming teachers and all of you will enjoy “talking teaching” with them next year. I would also like to welcome Christina Jones as our new technology coordinator. Christina brings a range of teaching experience to this position as well as experience incorporating technology into the writing classroom. She will be available next year to help us all think through and implement a range of technology into our classrooms. -- Peggy

Please clean out your office. If you are teaching for the Writing Program next fall you can expect to keep your same office and key. If you are graduating or teaching for English next year please return your key to Becky before you leave.

Please remove all portfolios and papers from your mailbox before you leave for summer break. Anything left in mailboxes by June 1 will be thrown out.

Friday, May 28 is the last paycheck for the year. If you don’t have direct deposit please give Becky self stamped addressed envelopes.

If you’re teaching with us in the fall, please be aware of the following dates:
• Friday, Sept. 3, 4:30 pm: General Fall Meeting for all TOs
• Tuesday, Sept. 7: fall 2010 classes begin
• Monday, Sept. 13, 4:00 pm: practica begin for veteran TOs
As usual, we’ll send information about fall syllabi, course calendars, and other matters to you over the summer. –- David Fleming


May 18 Grades due on Spire

May 21 Application deadline for part time Lectureships for Fall 2010

May 28 Application deadline for Technology Fellows

May 28 Last paycheck

Sept. 3 General Meeting at 4:30

Sept. 7 Fall classes begin

Sept. 13 Veteran practica

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