Writing Across the Curriculum Equips Professors of all Disciplines

by Jenni Hodges

Writing Across the Curriculum workshops at Cedarville University are helping professors in all disciplines teach writing more effectively, says program coordinator Melissa Faulkner, Ph.D.

Faulkner, an assistant professor of English, said the program began in the fall in response to an assessment that revealed students’ need for stronger writing skills. The workshops provide an opportunity for faculty to discuss how to use writing to help students become better communicators.

Assistant professor of psychology Amanda Burger, Ph.D., who teaches an APA writing course for psychology students, said the workshops offer insight for grading more efficiently and giving more meaningful feedback. Burger said this has been her biggest challenge in teaching writing.

Faulkner said a key purpose for writing assignments is to make students familiar with the norms and conventions of writing for their respective disciplines. “Writing is a complex skill,” she said, “and every field defines good writing differently.”

Assistant professor of music history Sandra Yang, Ph.D., said the workshops let her discover new ideas, not only about how students learn to write, but also how they can write to learn. Yang said the new strategies have helped her use writing to generate class discussion. 

Faulkner said many professors also want to improve the way they teach writing to avoid frustration and anxiety for students. Writing center director and associate professor of literature Julie Moore said the writing center supports these efforts by working with professors and helping students in writing-intensive classes.

Moore said the University will also develop new writing standards for its classes in the next few years.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,400 undergraduate, graduate and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Celebrating 125 years of inspiring greatness, Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at www.cedarville.edu.