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The Weekly Blast: January 21, 2011

Welcome back to the Writing Program. Hopefully you all had a relaxing holiday and are ready to teach again. Looking forward to a productive semester and working with all of you again.

To begin the semester we reach back into the Database for an exercise to help build community. On This Peron’s Walls services as a great ice breaker and could be paired with Rebekah Nathan’s “Life in the Dorms.” To see this and other great exercises, click on

Have a great exercise or activity? Please send it to any member of the Resource Center staff (Nick, Lauren, Sarah, Kate, and Peggy) for inclusion in the Resource Database.

No Show Forms are due immediately after your second class meeting. Please return the form(s) whether you drop students from your class or not. Please use the roster(s) you printed the first day of your class/es for the most accurate information when dropping students from your class.

Please do not let students sit in your class unless they are registered for it. We do not override seat capacities.

A memo regarding your teaching plans for academic year 2011-’12 will be distributed in mailboxes on Friday, 1/21. If you did not receive the memo please see Heidi.

As we begin spring semester, it might be helpful to remind ourselves about Writing Program policies and procedures regarding weather-related class cancellation. The policy is simple: if the University is open, all classes should be held (this includes Englwrit 111, 112, 112H, Experimental Writing Workshops, and CD and Practicum meetings). If the University closes, those classes are cancelled. Please do not unilaterally cancel your class(es) because you believe weather conditions call for it or because your students ask you to. That decision is made centrally for the entire campus. The Writing Program does not make a separate decision, and we ask you as instructor not to do so either. We follow the University here completely. If you personally feel that you cannot teach because of the weather, and the University itself remains open, then you need to take an instructor absence from teaching and cancel class or find a substitute accordingly (for more on instructor absences from teaching, see below).

If the University closes for the whole day, that decision is generally made by 6:00 am, and the campus community is notified through a variety of means. The most reliable place to look is the UMass Amherst home page: . A yellow banner appears with information about the closing. Local TV and radio stations are also notified. In addition, there is an Emergency Closing Hot Line that you can call: 545-3630. You should also receive an emergency text message from the University on your cell phone; if you are not receiving these, you can sign up on SPIRE (see ). If the University opens late or closes during the day, the UMass Amherst home page is, again, the most reliable source of information. If opening or closing occurs during your class, you would begin or end your class at that time. Please note that, if the University closes during the day, employees are required to follow a staggered system for leaving campus so that everyone doesn’t depart at the same time and clog local roads. More information about this procedure is available at .

Finally, for our new expanded policy regarding instructor absence from class, see (go to “Rules and Regulations” and click on “For Instructors”). If you have any questions or concerns about this, or any related matter, talk to your Course Director or Practicum leader – or see Peggy Woods.

-- David Fleming, Director.

Whether you want to get hands-on training in a new program; need some help developing lesson plans and planning for contingencies; or just want to learn some simple, fun, and productive uses of technology for the classroom, Christina Jones is here to help. Drop by Bartlett 307B on Tuesday afternoons from 3:50 to 5:50 or e-mail Christina at to schedule an appointment.

Reminder: The office hour/address forms that were put in your mail boxes are due Friday, Jan 28. Please complete the entire form, including the address section. Extra forms are in the office.

The room assignment list is posted on the office bulletin board. You may pick up your key from me and return your old one. Office space is slim pickin’ so if you do not plan to use your office please let me know. Keep me posted if you do not hold conferences in your office. - Becky

Please drop off a hard copy of your syllabus and grading policy to the office. The deadline date for this is Friday, January 29. Let me know if you are using the standard syllabus and I will print one for your file. - Becky

Each instructor is allotted 450 single sided copies per section. A weekly list with total counts is taped to the wall behind the copier. Once you’ve reached your allotted copies your name will be removed from the machine. Experimental class instructors can print 250 copies per class. Our copy machine is to be used for Writing Program work only.

The Diversity Action Group is looking for new members from the Writing Program and the English Department. Our kick-off event will be a pizza party on January 24 @ 5pm in Bartlett 303 and pizza will be served. Please RSVP to Deirdre, so she can order food accordingly. Please see the attached flyer.

By now all of you should have received a Doodle calendar to select dates to reserve a computer classroom with OIT. The deadline to submit requests to Heidi is Friday, 1/21. You can continue to request available computer classroom space after this date directly through OIT. Please contact Marta Pluta at

Mark your calendars for this year’s Celebration of Writing! Voice Our Words and is our theme and James Heflin from the Valley Advocate will be our keynote speaker. You’ll find bookmarks in your mailboxes to give to your students with information about the Celebration and the Best Text Contest. Just ask if you need more. If you would like to display your students’ work contact Peggy Woods or Heidi Terault.

Hello, We hope your semester is off to a good start! As promised, we are scheduling a meeting to discuss the increase to Writing Program TO's workload. Please take the time to attend and make your voice heard. All interested graduate students are welcome! Here's the link to the Doodle:

See you there, Kathleen and Samantha

p.s. We should be receiving our first retropay for FY2010 in this paycheck. Here's hoping the University follows through this time! For details on the "tentative" pay schedule, see the GEO homepage at

Kathleen M. Baldwin
Composition and Rhetoric
Ph.D. Student
GEO Steward

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