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The Weekly Blast: May 6, 2011

As the spring 2011 semester comes to an end, I wanted to thank you all for your tremendous efforts this year. First Year Writing is a crucial part of undergraduate general education at UMass Amherst, and you play an important role in our students’ intellectual development. I know all of you have worked hard in preparing your classes, meeting with your students, responding to and evaluating their writing, and all the other complex and time-consuming parts of this teaching assignment. Your students may not always show it, but they learn and grow in these courses, and it’s due largely to your commitment and talent.

To those of you who were new to the Writing Program this year, we have been glad to get to know you, and we’re excited about working with you in semesters to come. To those of you graduating this spring, we wish you well in your future endeavors. To those of you teaching in English or elsewhere on campus next fall, we look forward to seeing you again in Bartlett 305. And to all of you: have a good summer!

If you’re teaching with us in the fall, please be aware of the following important dates:

• Friday, Sept. 2, 12:30 – 3:00 pm: fall general meeting for all TOs (lunch included)

• Tuesday, Sept. 6: fall 2011 classes begin

• Monday, Sept. 12, 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. We usually get that in the mail by the middle of July.

Finally, as many of you know, this is my last semester as director of the Writing Program. I will be handing over the reins this summer to Prof. Haivan Hoang, who will be director of the Writing Program in 2011-12 and beyond. Haivan is an award-winning writing teacher and researcher who has years of experience in the Writing Program – as a College Writing teacher, as a course director for new TOs, as Writing Center director. The Program is lucky to have her take over this leadership position, and I know she will help guide the Program thoughtfully and effectively into the future.

I’ll still be around next year: I’ll be working with new TOs as a course director and continuing as a faculty member in the English Department. But I will miss Bartlett 305; I will miss the full-time staff: Deirdre, Peggy, Pat, Heidi, and Becky; and I will miss you all, our teachers. Everywhere I go, I talk about our deep traditions and strong community, our well-designed and demonstrably effective curricula, and, most of all, our extraordinarily talented and dedicated teaching staff. I am proud to have been associated with you.

–- David Fleming

The deadline to submit grades through Spire is Tuesday, May 17 at noon. A failure form will need to be submitted to the office for each student that fails the course. Please stop by the office to pick up a form or access it on our website:

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 you to 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.

Just a reminder that there is a required final class meeting in Basic and College Writing, held during the final exam period and scheduled by the University. As stated in the Englwrit 112 standard syllabus, “A final meeting for this course . . . will be scheduled during final exams week and will serve as the culminating event of the course. This mandatory class meeting is a chance to reflect as a group on the writing you’ve done over the semester. Be sure to account for this meeting when making end-of-semester plans” (4). For further reading, go to the Resource Database ( and click on “Unit #5” to see the PDF document, titled “Final Exam for College Writing,” that we wrote last summer about this activity. And remember that the University has a policy in place for students who have conflicting exam schedules: see . Also be aware that some students registered with Disability Services will think that this is a traditional “exam” and will request special accommodations even though this is not a testing situation. You may want to clarify that for all your students. -- David Fleming, Director

Congratulations to the following TOs who have been selected as the 2011-12 Tech Fellows:

David Bartone
John Gallagher
Travis Grandy
Hari Kumar
Gina Ocasion
Christina Jones will serve as facilitator of the Tech Fellows.

Thank you to everyone who applied to be members of the Resource Center staff. The Resource Center staff for 2011-12 will be:

Anne Bello
Kate Litterer
Nick Sansone
Amanda Waugh

Christina Jones—Technology Coordinator

Contracts for teaching Basic and College Writing this upcoming academic year, 2011-’12, have been prepared and are ready for you to sign.

Teaching assignments for fall 2011 are in the process of being scheduled. A tentative schedule should be posted on the Writing Program’s web site by mid next week.

If you are teaching for the Writing Program next fall you can expect to keep your same office and key. As space becomes available I try to move instructors out of 68 and into other rooms. Please let me know if you wish to stay in Bartlett 68.

Instructors not teaching for us next semester need to clean out their office and return their key to Becky. Library books need to be returned and class magazines distributed to your students. All items left behind will be tossed. - Becky

Since I have received a few inquiries about the date of the last paycheck I thought I would let everyone know that date is Friday, June 10. If you would like your last couple of paychecks mailed to you please give Becky a self-addressed-stamped envelope. Thank you.

Spring Anthology Submissions: Final Due Date
As I mentioned in earlier e-mails, we are in great need of more essays being submitted from the spring semester. I understand that with the new format of a final exam and the final reflection being due at this time, it makes it hard to submit work, particularly the final reflections themselves, and perhaps unit 4. Thus, the final due date for spring submissions is June 1, 2011. You may still submit papers from ANY unit by that date. The one problem with this extension is that students will be gone from campus. You can certainly e-mail them, however, and have them submit the paper and the reproduction release from by e-mail. They may use an electronic signature for the release form.

Please do submit any essays you feel are worthy of publication from your spring semester courses. The committee really needs a wider pool to work with in the fall! Thanks to all of you who have submitted in the past and to those who will take the time to submit in the future.

Best wishes for a restful summer.


Temporary Lecturer Positions for Fall 2011

The Writing Program seeks applicants to teach one or more sections of College Writing for Fall 2011 (one semester only). Applicants must have completed a graduate degree by August 2011 and must have experience teaching college level composition.
Interested applicants should submit the following materials for review by June 1, 2011:

Letter of application
Teaching resume
Contact information for two teaching references at UMass (for example previous Course Director or Practicum instructor)

Please submit materials to

Deirdre Vinyard
305 Bartlett Hall

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