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The Weekly Blast: December 17, 2010

SURVEY ABOUT OTHER WORDS: A WRITER’S READER
If you haven’t already done so, please take a few minutes to fill out the brief survey about Other Words that was put in all TO mailboxes last week. Forms can be returned to the box in Bartlett 305. Contact David Fleming at dfleming@english.umass.edu if you have any questions.

SPRING 2011 SYLLABI AND CALENDARS AVAILABLE BY JANUARY 7 The Writing Program’s standard syllabus and calendars for College Writing (Englwrit 112/112H) for spring 2011 will be available by Friday January 7, 2011, as downloadable documents on the Writing Program website. January 7 is also the deadline for informing Becky that you’d like the Program to make photocopies of the syllabus and calendar for your students.

FINAL GRADES:
The deadline to submit grades through Spire is Monday, December 27 at noon. 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. We strongly encourage you to make sure you have access to your section on SPIRE before the deadline. We also encourage that you complete your final grades and submit them in advance of this deadline.

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

CHANGES TO INPUTTING FINAL GRADES ON SPIRE
In order for the University to be compliant with the Federal policy concerning the documentation of the "Last Date of Attendance" (LDA) for specific students, we have implemented a major change to course grade rosters. LDA is required for all students receiving any failing grade, defined at UMass as either an 'F' or '__' (Blank) for which 0.0 is factored into the calculation of the cumulative average.

When you are completing your grades for the Fall 2010 term and you click on the final approval of your grade roster then the names of those students to whom you have given a grade of 'F' or '__' will appear on a new SPIRE page. You will then need to check one of three boxes for each listed student to indicate his/her LDA.

The instructions and options on the SPIRE page will be:

1) Student Completed Class - select this option if the student attended class for the entire term and earned an 'F'.

2) Student Never Attended - select this option if the student never attended your class (in conjunction with the '__' blank grade).

3) Date Student Last Attended - enter a date (required) if the student stopped attending class during the term. If attendance is taken for your class, use the last date the student attended class. If no attendance is taken, an LDA date must be calculated. First determine the date associated with the last grade recorded for the student (e.g.
quiz, exam, paper, etc). Next, look at the subsequent graded activity and use the date of the class prior to the due date for that graded activity as the LDA.

Example: A quiz was given on Mon, 11/1/10, in a MWF class and the student has a grade. The next quiz was Mon, 11/8/10, and there is no grade recorded for the student. Use Fri, 11/5/10, as the last date attended.

If you have questions on using the page, please contact the OIT training staff at sis-train@oit.umass.edu

ANTHOLOGY NEWS: FINAL CALL FOR 2011-2012 SUBMISSIONS
December 27, 2010 will be the final deadline to submit papers to be considered for the 2011—2012 edition of The Student Writing Anthology. Keep in mind that we now publish papers from College Writing’s Unit 4 as well as Final Reflections. So keep on looking through those last papers that your students handed in as likely candidates for the book.

If getting these last papers in by deadline presents any problems for you, let me know, but we will be getting close to our date for sending in all final selections to the publisher near the start of next semester. Thus we need your selection of ALL papers from Basic and College Writing courses. So please make your choices and locate your students so they can fill out and sign the Release form.

Thanks to all who have submitted papers; we have enjoyed reading them. We also look forward to reading your Unit 4 papers as well as your Final Reflections!

Pat Z. and the Anthologists!

BEST TEXT CONTEST
This is the time to be encouraging your students to submit to the BEST TEXT CONTEST. Cash prizes are given for First, Second, and Third place in College Writing and Basic Writing. Cash prize is also given for the best Multi-media, non-traditional essay. For submission guidelines please see: http://www.umass.edu/writingprogram/studentwriting.html#contest
Please also see Peggy Woods if you have any questions.

CELEBRATION OF WRITING, SPR ‘11
Attention instructors! The Writing Program is already preparing for our annual Celebration of Writing Festival. Please consider participating in this event! Our keynote speaker will be James Heflin, a UMass MFA graduate, musician, and Arts Editor for the Advocate. If you have any questions about the event please contact Peggy Woods at pmwoods@acad.umass.edu or Heidi Terault at hterault@acad.umass.edu. Feel free, also, to stop by their offices to discuss the celebration.

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 and mailbox, and return your office key to Becky before you leave for break.

SPRING INTO TEACHING AT OUR JANUARY 14 SYMPOSIUM!
For the third year in a row, our spring 2011 general meeting for all instructors and staff will take the form of a TO-led symposium. We’ll gather Friday, January 14 at 11:30 am in Bartlett 65 for a short business meeting with announcements and reminders about the spring semester. Then, after a break for lunch (provided by the Writing Program), we’ll disperse into break-out sessions, led by TOs, on topics of interest to instructors of First Year Writing. The symposium will go to 2:15 pm. Attendance is required for all TOs! More information to follow soon!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW FOR KEY JANUARY DATES, SPRING 2011
As you make travel and other plans for the holiday break, please be aware that the required general meeting for all spring 2011 TOs in the Writing Program is Friday, January 14, 11:30 am – 2:15 pm (see above for more information). Classes begin Tuesday, January 18, which is also the first meeting (11:15 am) of spring 2011 Course Director groups for new TOs. Practica for veteran TOs begin meeting Monday, January 24 at 4:00 pm.

WRITING PROGRAM OFFICE HOURS DURING HOLIDAYS:
In recognition that the Christmas Day and New Year’s Day holidays fall on Saturdays, UMass Amherst campus will observe these holidays on the Friday, December 24, 2010 and Friday, December 31, 2010 respectively.

Paychecks will be available for pick up Thursday, December 23, after 3:30 (but before 5:00). Distribution of pay advice statements will take place on Monday, December 27. Employees can access their pay advice statements on-line through HR Direct at www.umass.edu/humres. Click on the HR Direct logo and use your campus Net ID and password to log into HR Direct.

The Office will be closed the week of December 27 due to asbestos removal. There is a possibility we can open Thursday and Friday of this week but, please call 545-0610 or email writingprogram@acad.umass.edu before making the trek in.

HELP WANTED
The Kinesiology Department is in desperate need of assistants willing to help out with JYW this spring 2011. Tasks will include helping with evaluations, grading, and working one on one with students, just to name a few. If you have some time to spare and want to make a few extra bucks, please contact Patty Freedman at 5-2620. Kinesiology welcomes Writing Program TOs, along with those not teaching for us next semester.

ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY BREAK
It has been a pleasure working with everyone. Enjoy your break.


 
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