UW Colleges English Department http://depts.uwc.edu/english/
2009 Regents Teaching Excellence Award
Chancellor’s Nomination Letter
2009 Regents Teaching Excellence Award Page 2
Our Narrative Statement
In 2008, the UW Colleges English Department was selected by the Awards Committee of the National Council of Teachers of
English for an Honorable Mention in the 2008 Diana Hacker TYCA (Two-Year College English Association) Awards for Out-
standing Programs in English for Two-Year Colleges and Teachers, in the category of Fostering Student Success. The depart-
ment was congratulated for merging assessment and the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). The National Council
of Teachers of English has thus formally recognized what members of the department already knew—that despite the chal-
lenges we face as a large, multi-campus department, we have many successes in our pursuit of excellence in ourselves as
teachers and in our students.
In our department of over 100 members, we have specialists in literacy narratives, poetry, drama, and creative nonfiction;
medieval literature, Renaissance literature, 20th-century American literature; specific authors such as James Joyce, Toni
Morrison, George Gissing, and Ernest Hemingway; English, Irish, American, and multicultural literature; sports literature,
science fiction, film, romance novels, and detective novels. We have New Historicists, feminists, composition theorists,
postcolonialists, cultural studies theorists, and a few New Critics. However, as former President of the Modern Language
Association Elaine Showalter has noted, “Whatever our research interests, or our theoretical positions, teaching is our job;
and applying our specific scholarly skills to the problems of doing it well could give us something to talk about that’s really
worthwhile.” Indeed, our members regularly overcome the apparent challenges of our differences in specialty and perspec-
tive, as well as our size and our geographical distribution across 13 campuses, to talk about our teaching and to demon-
strate our uncommon commitment to helping our students learn.
The excellence we strive for will not come about by focusing solely on teaching, although we work very hard to evaluate
and improve our teaching. Excellence comes from a synthesized focus on teaching and learning—on ourselves as teachers,
certainly, but primarily on our students as learners. A close examination of our department clearly reveals that we design
thoughtfully constructed, effective curricula; recognize and foster excellence in teaching; approach teaching as a public,
collaborative activity; and create positive environments for and make significant impacts on student learning through our
learning outcomes, our assessment activities, our involvement with the scholarship of teaching and learning, and use of peer
We design thoughtfully constructed and effective curricula.
In the UW Colleges English Department, the most frequently taught classes are the core writing courses of English 101 and
English 102, the two-semester first-year composition sequence. Everyone in the department, regardless of rank and course
load, teaches these courses. Of course, we are just as committed to our creative writing and literature courses, but because
of the significance of composition to all of us and to all students, regardless of major or transfer institution, some of our
strongest work in recent years has revolved around these fundamental courses.
Over the last two years, the department has crafted a set of learning outcomes for its core writing courses: English 098,
English 101, and English 102. (See pages 10-11.) A discussion group of English faculty and teaching staff at UW-Marathon
County began formulating a set of outcomes and then introduced them at the department level for wider conversation. De-
partment members from a variety of campuses formed a composition subcommittee connected to our Curriculum Commit-
tee to continue the project. They synthesized what began as local first-year learning outcomes with wisdom of members
across the department and the recommendations of two of our disciplinary organizations (National Council of Teachers of
English and Writing Program Administrators) in statements on the teaching of writing and outcomes for first-year composi-
tion. Reflecting our institution's student populations and the values of our program, the learning outcomes became the site
of department-wide conversations about strengthening our writing program. The committee gathered feedback from the
wider department through face-to-face and email conversations, revised the outcomes accordingly, and then received offi-
cial department endorsement for the outcomes as a guiding principle for our first-year writing courses.
The primary goal of this process has been to articulate more clearly to ourselves and to our students what we want our stu-
dents to be able to do when they leave our courses, and to do so with the national standards in mind. The final document
of the learning outcomes is thus used for course design and assessment of learning, as well as for instruction as a teaching
tool. Currently, the committee is guiding the department in connecting theory to practice by providing assignments and
activities that invoke these outcomes. They are also revising our course guidelines for first-year composition to reflect
these learning outcomes as we continue the conversation about the skills and knowledge we hope our students will develop
in the first-year writing sequence.
We recognize and foster excellence in teaching.
Scholars in our field have demonstrated that in our changing world, good writers are produced by programs which focus on
writing instruction and assessment (Applebee & Langer; Hillocks). As such, the UW Colleges English Department has worked
hard to connect assessment directives and meaningful departmental scholarship and research. Several years ago, the
Higher Learning Commission mandated a more streamlined, documented approach to both institutional and department as-
sessment. While the English Department of the UW Colleges was able to meet the goals of the Higher Learning Commission,
the assessment process and its resulting data seemed, at times, isolated and impractical. Consequently, we merged assess-
ment with a SoTL project. Our goal was to research and assess an issue that emerged from departmental discussions of our
own students’ writing patterns and to do so by using methodologies appropriate to our discipline.
After some preliminary surveying of department interest, our first topic of research—peer review—was chosen by the de-
partment. At department meetings and other venues, we noticed that our faculty frequently discuss the quantity and qual-
ity of student learning during peer review sessions. Generally, we wondered, “What do our students learn from peer re-
view?” Our seven-member assessment committee designed a study based on our official research question, What do stu-
dents learn from a peer review session, and how do they apply that knowledge to their writing? The committee designed
faculty and student surveys that were distributed department-wide and created more detailed student logs and reflective
assignments distributed to the committee members' students for more in-depth qualitative findings. One overarching goal
has been to help us better understand assessment and how it can provide meaningful data for our teaching. After the first
year-long cycle of this assessment, we have been researching student revision based on input from outside the classroom
environment (family, friends, former teachers, etc), as well as English 102 placement. As with the peer review project, our
topics always arise from departmental interest, and our methodology is derived from our disciplinary scholarship.
Our departmental assessment has helped empower our faculty to take ownership of the assessment process. By viewing as-
sessment as a research opportunity, we have been able to improve faculty teaching and student learning. The general prin-
ciples for doing SoTL have been particularly useful, specifically as they have helped our department members approach
teaching “as intellectual work—not simply as a set of techniques for delivering content, that is, but as a set of practices
that require preparation, documentation, inquiry, and improvement according to ambitious, professional stan-
dards” (Hutchings in Shulman xviii). The result has not only helped our department design our assessment projects, but also
legitimized research and answered questions about whether these projects really qualify as formal assessment. This work
has also led to the discovery of how student learning opens a window to explore department goals and teaching effective-
ness—not just vice versa. Ultimately, we believe that assessment is not just about reporting progress to another party: it’s
more importantly about sharpening our focus upon research and methodologies that improve our teaching and our students’
learning. (For further exploration of this approach, see pages 14-15 for an excerpt from the article by our Department As-
sessment Coordinators to be published this spring in the Association of Institutional Researcher's [AIR] Assessment in Writ-
We approach teaching as a public, collaborative activity.
Many in our profession experience a “pedagogical solitude” resulting from the gap between our scholarly lives and our
teaching lives. In the former, we have “active communities” of “conversation” where “we gather with others … to ex-
change our findings, our methods, and our excuses” (Shulman 140); in contrast, the teaching lives of many exist behind the
classroom door, where questions about teaching aren’t “at the heart of the investigative process” but instead are private
anxieties in need of quick remediation (Bass). Happily, the members of UW Colleges English Department do not experience
this solitude. Instead, we regularly bring teaching questions, challenges, and successes out of the classroom as a public and
This habit is illustrated in the activities described earlier: our composition program’s learning outcomes started with a local
conversation about teaching, one that led to our reaching out to integrate the expertise of our professional organizations,
and to our inviting colleagues across the state to further develop and revise the outcomes in face-to-face meetings and on a
2009 Regents Teaching Excellence Award Page 4
department-wide wiki. Also, extending our institutional assessment activities to SoTL work, with its key characteristics of
peer review, public dissemination, and the goal of building a body of knowledge beyond one’s own classroom or institution
(McKinney), brings us into a larger conversation by using what otherwise would be data for evaluating and improving instruc-
tion within the department—an already valuable goal—and contributing to disciplinary conversations about the value of stu-
dent peer review activities.
In addition to our research in SoTL and assessment, we are, above all, a department of what George Hillocks calls
“reflective practitioners” (Hillocks, Teaching). Department members regularly talk about, share, and build on what we
know and continue to learn about teaching. On our individual campuses, groups of English faculty and teaching staff gather
monthly to talk about teaching issues and readings. Indeed, our research is derived from our classrooms (as evidenced by
our department members’ many SoTL projects and our Composition Learning Outcomes). Our department listserv is active
with conversations beginning with “How do you teach ___?” or “What do you do about __ in the classroom?” At our depart-
ment meetings (one day in the fall, two days in the spring), regular business is complemented by pedagogy workshops, col-
lective brainstorming about how to respond to each assessment cycle’s findings, sharing of best practices and SoTL findings
from department members, and conversations in the hallway and over meals about what’s happening in our classrooms.
Our department members even communicate with faculty and teaching staff from across the UW System about teaching. In
the fall of 2006, we sent a group to the UW System Conference for English faculty and teaching staff, where colleagues from
across the UW System shared experiences from our composition and literature programs. Most notably, one session focused
on the composition goals in programs that are separate but joined by our transfer agreements. After this meeting, those of
us who attended reported to the department to invite our other colleagues into the conversation. This reporting led to sev-
eral individual campus conversations about how to treat our individual composition courses as a sequenced program, and
more interestingly how this larger view would affect our teaching of such courses. Our department members have even for-
mally collaborated on teaching projects with colleagues from across the UW System; we then share the results widely. For
example, three of our faculty members and our Online Writing Lab director got a 2006 LTDC grant to work with English col-
leagues and an academic librarian from UW Stevens Point to develop a digital repository of composition activities. The re-
sulting D2L site of portable, ready-to-use activities was then shared with all UW System English departments. Our depart-
ment consistently has a healthy representation in our campus teams for OPID events focused on teaching, including their
spring conference that highlights UW System SoTL (and more recently SoTL and assessment) activities and Faculty College,
the three-day residential program of workshops on pedagogy and SoTL and countless rich conversations about teaching.
Finally, many of our department members have become active SoTL researchers who represent our most systematic and
public work on improving student learning not only in our own classrooms but in English classrooms across the country. For-
mer President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Lee S. Shulman claims that SoTL is the most
profound way to treat “teaching as community property” because it brings appropriate methods of study to investigations of
teaching and learning, uses peer review to evaluate those methods and the findings, and finally insists on public dissemina-
tion of findings to build a body of knowledge (140). Our SoTL researchers are visible in various SoTL programs, conference
presentations, and publications. For instance, members of our faculty have been selected as UW System Wisconsin Teaching
Fellows ten times since the program’s inception in 1983 and as Wisconsin Teaching Scholars three times since that program
began in 2001. In fact, one of our department members is now the co-Director of the UW System Wisconsin Teaching Fel-
lows and Scholars Program. Members of our department have also been selected for Georgetown University’s Visible Knowl-
edge Project Crossroads Program for SoTL and for the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
(CASTL) Program for Emerging Scholars.
Our department members have presented their SoTL research at statewide, regional, national, and international confer-
ences. They have published pedagogical and SoTL articles in a variety of leading peer-reviewed journals, including Peda-
gogy, College Teaching, Teaching English at the Two-Year College, Eureka Studies in Teaching Short Fiction, The Interna-
tional Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and Feminist Teacher, to name a few. They have published
book chapters on pedagogy in the MLA “Approaches to Teaching” series and books published by university presses and by
Stylus, the 2nd leading SoTL press in the country. One of our department members co-edited Exploring Signature Pedago-
gies: Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind, a book on teaching to help students learn to think and practice disciplinary hab-
its of mind and heart, and authored the chapter on literary studies. (See pages 16-18 for an excerpt from this chapter.) For
a sample of our department members’ publications, visit a developing bibliography on our website at http://depts.uwc.edu/
Far from pedagogical solitude, the UW Colleges English Department is a vibrant community of teacher-scholars who consis-
tently seek public, collaborative opportunities to share our passion for teaching.
We create a positive environment for and make significant impacts on student learning.
In addition to striving for clearly articulated learning outcomes, meaningful assessments, and ongoing conversations about
teaching with our peers, our department is committed to creating positive climates for learning even outside of our class-
rooms, so we can more effectively impact the learning demonstrated in the classroom.
One way we do this is through students tutoring other students. The UW Colleges Online Writing Lab (OWL, http://
waukesha.uwc.edu/academics/owl/) serves all UW Colleges students in all departments on all 13 campuses and in our online pro-
gram. Tutors are students from UW-Waukesha (our largest campus) who have earned A’s in ENG 102 and been recom-
mended by their ENG 102 instructors, and they receive “extensive tutor training,” according to the OWL website.
Faculty from English and other departments all over the state are pleased with the feedback their students receive from
OWL tutors, and students are pleased as well. Teresa Brey, a nontraditional student from UW-Richland, said, “Never once
have I ever been disappointed in any of the information and feedback that I have received from the OWL staff…I firmly be-
lieve I can say I am a much better student because of this service that is offered to all students.” In fact, Brey is now a stu-
dent tutor at UW-Richland. OWL Administrator and Senior Developmental Skills Specialist Sara Pagliaroni reports that in the
Fall 2008 semester, OWL tutors responded to 872 papers. 93% of the students who used the OWL at least one time passed
their courses with an A, B, or C. 98% of students who used the OWL more than once passed their classes with an A, B, or C.
The impact on student learning is clear. (See pages 11-13 for the most recent report from the OWL.)
In addition to the OWL, 12 of the 13 UW Colleges campuses also have local student writing tutors to help their peers in any
classes. UW Colleges English Department faculty and teaching staff work with these tutors by helping to select and train
them and often oversee the tutoring services. In some cases, especially on our smaller campuses, the number of tutors and
their work hours may not meet the campus’s needs, so our faculty and
teaching staff spend a great deal of time with students going over drafts
and revisions, and some even volunteer as tutors. The OWL, the campus Works Cited
writing tutors, and the availability of our faculty and teaching staff for Applebee, A. N., and Langer, J. A. The State of Writing
out-of-class help speak to the ways our department strives to create a Instruction in America’s Schools: What Existing Data
Tell Us. Albany, NY: Center on English Learning &
positive environment for learning even outside of the classroom. Achievement, University at SUNY, Albany, 2006. 1 May
In the process of composing this narrative, we have noticed many connec-
tions among our various activities and goals. The National Council of Bass, Randy. “The Scholarship of Teaching: What’s the
Problem?” inventio 1.1 (Feb 1999). 14 February 2009.
Teachers of English formally recognized us for merging assessment and < http://www.doiiit.gmu.edu/Archives/feb98/
the scholarship of teaching and learning, so it is not surprising that SoTL rbass.htm>.
cuts across several of our categories in this narrative. The way we ap-
Hillocks, George. Teaching Writing as Reflective Prac-
proach assessment affects both our curriculum and our view of teaching tice. New York: Teachers College Press, 1995.
as a public, collaborative activity. The work we have done on learning
outcomes is a thoughtful attempt to construct a more effective curricu- Hillocks, George. “Writing in Secondary Schools.” Hand-
book of Research on Writing: History, Society, School,
lum, but it was also a public, collaborative activity that will result in cre- Individual, Text. Ed. C. Bazerman. New Jersey: L.
ating a positive climate for learning as students understand more fully Erlbaum Associates, 2008. 311-330.
what is expected of them. As we work to create a positive climate for
McKinney, Kathleen. Enhancing Learning through the
student learning even outside of the classroom, we demonstrate a signifi- Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: The Challenges
cant impact on student learning in the classroom. The work we do with and Joys of Juggling. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass,
student tutors creates a positive climate for learning, and it’s also a col-
laborative act as faculty and students all over the state work together to Showalter, Elaine. “What Teaching Literature Should
help students learn. The very structure of this narrative reveals how syn- Really Mean.” Chronicle of Higher Education. 49.19
(Jan 17, 2003) 2 May 2007. <http://chronicle.com/
thesized our approach to teaching and learning is. weekly/v49/i19/19b00701.htm>.
Shulman, Lee S. Teaching as Community Property: Essays
on Higher Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass,
2009 Regents Teaching Excellence Award Page 6
Profile of the UW Colleges Department of English
Emeritus Professors: 10
Full Professors: 10
Associate Professors: 11
Assistant Professors: 15
Instructional Academic Staff: 60-70, depending on semester
Department Chair: Jane Oitzinger, UW-Marinette
Department Vice Chair: Nancy Chick, UW-Barron County
Our department members are located on the 13 UW Colleges campuses around the state: UW-Baraboo/Sauk County, UW-
Barron County, UW-Fond du Lac, UW-Fox Valley, UW-Manitowoc, UW-Marathon County, UW-Marinette, UW-Marshfield/
Wood County, UW-Richland, UW-Rock County, UW-Sheboygan, UW-Washington County, and UW-Waukesha.
Typical Course Load
Full-time faculty teach four courses each semester. The typical course load is two to three composition courses and one to
two literature or advanced writing courses.
Most Frequently Taught Courses
The two-semester first-year composition sequence, ENG 101 and ENG 102, are our most frequently taught courses.
ENG 278: Multicultural American Literature is among our most frequent literature courses. This course earns the Ethnic
Studies designation for students, required for the UW Colleges Associate Degree (or for any degree in the UW System).
Faculty and staff publish scholarly and creative books, chapters, chapbooks, textbooks, monographs, articles, poems, es-
says, stories, reviews, and more. In a highly competitive market, many of our books are with major publishers, both aca-
demic and commercial; most of the journals in which we publish are peer-reviewed scholarly journals and prestigious lit-
Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Awards: 2 See http://depts.uwc.edu/english/Bibliography/bibliography.htm
UW Colleges Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching: 3 winners for details.
UW Colleges Kaplan Awards: 17
Professor of the Year/Teaching Awards at individual campuses: 12
Grants from the Institute on Race and Ethnicity: 7
Undergraduate Teaching and Learning Grants: 6
Undergraduate Teaching Improvement Grants: 3
Grants to Increase Student Engagement (GISE): 5
Grants from the Learning Technology and Development Council (LTDC): 2
The Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) Grants: 1
UW System Wisconsin Teaching Fellows: 5
UW System Wisconsin Teaching Scholars: 3
Other Teaching Grants: 16
Department Website (http://depts.uwc.edu/english/)
Faculty & Staff Directory Department Online Bibliography
Course Guidelines & Syllabi Online Writing Lab
Faculty & Staff Materials
Letters from Students
Student Letters by
2009 Regents Teaching Excellence Award Page 8
February 12, 2009
To whom it may concern:
The English Department at the University of Wisconsin- Richland is commendable in more ways than one. Oftentimes,
its members are hard at work either developing new ways to reach out to their English students, participating in a
Student Senate Activity, such as judging a snowman building contest, or holding other leadership positions. These ver-
satile, committed people are not only making UW- Richland a desirable place to be, but are also working hard to ig-
nite passionate fires in the hearts of students who elect to take an English class with them. They are dedicated to
finding what works best in their classrooms, for example, performing research on creative writing rubrics, as well as
constantly revising courses. Those are just some of the factors that this dedicated, small department is committed to.
I can personally attest to the enthusiasm of these people, because it has spread to me as well. Through their careful
guidance and direction, and even one-on-one classes with them, they have shared their passion of English with me, as
I am now pursuing my own degree in English: Linguistics. Without their help, I doubt that I would now be excelling at
the University of Wisconsin- Madison. I have a lot to be thankful for concerning the professors and associate professors
at UW-Richland. They exemplify a working, productive, and positive department in the UW system that deserves a
grand applause for all the work that they do.
2525 C 27 ¾ St.
Rice Lake, WI 54868
February 14, 2009
Dear Regents Award Committee:
It is my great honor to recommend the University of Wisconsin-Colleges for this year’s Regents Award. As a current
University of Wisconsin-Barron County student, I have had the privilege of having (thus far) Rhonda Dietrich and
Nancy Chick for English Courses. Through my work as a writing tutor in The Learning Center on campus, I have also
worked closely with several other members of the English Department faculty, and we are currently putting forth the
effort to begin ESL training for tutors to better aid the students at UW-Barron County.
By working as a writing tutor, I have been able to serve the needs of fellow students from several different English
courses. Based on outlined requirements or learning outcomes by the English Department faculty, I have encountered
several different methods to get to the same destination with writing. This destination includes allowing students to have
a voice in their writing and to form solid and sophisticated opinions when analyzing or debating a topic. English courses
help us form our writing styles and force us to actively read our sources in order to be sure of their intent. This premise
is a building block that will follow us throughout our university experience and will continue to follow us for the rest of
our lives. The UW-Barron County English Department has faculty members who know and understand that this is diffi-
cult for some students, but that pushing students to think like researchers is an extremely important tool for learning.
My English coursework at UW-Barron County may not be the most extensive, but it has been of the utmost quality. In a
film studies course taken with Dr. Nancy Chick, we viewed and analyzed films based on monsters, myths, and heroes.
As part of the class, we all participated in class discussions. The discussions were incredibly helpful in analyzing con-
tent and breeding new ideas, as they forced us to think outside the norm and place the content of horror movies into the
context of societal problems and issues. Because of her ability to inspire students to look at things for the deeper mean-
ing, I recall visiting her office several times during the course with excitement to discuss films that were not part of the
course. Dr. Chick has also been an amazing reference for writing and research-related questions for me as a student and
as a tutor to others.
I strongly encourage that this year’s award be given to the University of Wisconsin Colleges English Department. The
faculty is deserving of the honor and the award will, undoubtedly, be put to great use in the quest to inspire and teach
students to think, read, write, and create sophisticated and solid ideas that will travel with us through life.
I greatly appreciate your time and consideration. If the committee has any other questions, please feel free to contact me
by phone, postal mail, or via email.
2009 Regents Teaching Excellence Award Page 10
UW Colleges First-Year Composition Learning Outcomes
Available online at http://depts.uwc.edu/english/Faculty_Materials/Composition.htm.
UW Colleges Online Writing Lab (OWL) Interim Report for Fall 2008
Compiled by Sara Pagliaroni, OWL director
The UW Colleges On-line Writing Lab (OWL) serves students from all 13 UW Colleges campuses who may e-mail drafts of pa-
pers from any discipline to student writing tutors and the OWL director at UW-Waukesha. Students submit papers to the
OWL director, who collects necessary tracking data (student’s name, PRISM I.D. number, course number, instructor, cam-
pus, and e-mail address) and responds to papers herself or distributes the papers to available peer writing tutors. After
reading the paper, the director or tutors send the student feedback via e-mail
and send the student’s instructor a brief summary of the tutorial.
The OWL website, http://waukesha.uwc.edu/academics/owl/, is maintained
by the OWL director, who is responsible for keeping the information current
and accurate. The site contains directions for submitting a paper as well as
essay-writing tips, documentation information, and grammar rules.
In the fall of 2008, OWL brochures and bookmarks were distributed at the UW
Colleges Convocation. Promotional bookmarks and brochures were sent to pro-
fessors, student service representatives, and librarians who requested them.
Posters, brochures, class visits, and professors’ endorsements were used to
advertise the OWL at the UW-Waukesha campus.
Usage rates and campus/discipline statistics
In the fall 2008 semester, the OWL tutors and director responded to 872 pa-
pers. During fall 2008, the majority of papers received by the OWL were sent
from students at the following campuses: Barron (148), Richland (111), Wau-
kesha (111), Washington (108), Baraboo (102), and Fox (61). All of the UW
Colleges campuses made use of the OWL. The majority of papers received by
the OWL came from the humanities (709 papers). Other subject area totals
were as follows: social sciences (101), elective (23), application and per-
formance (19), natural sciences (10), other (6), and fine arts (4).
2009 Regents Teaching Excellence Award Page 12
Professor and student support for the OWL
The responses in support for the OWL continue to be positive. More professors have been using the OWL as a required tool
in their courses. Some professors required students in all their course sections to use the OWL once during the semester.
The majority of students who use the service claim that they benefit from the additional peer feedback and feel that the
service contributes to the improvement of their writing.
Academic results—G.P.A. statistics of students who used the OWL
Students who sent in papers to the OWL tended to earn B averages in their respective courses (median G.P.A. of all OWL
users was 2.99). 93% of the students who used the OWL at least one time passed their courses with an A, B, or C. 98% of
students who used the OWL more than once passed their classes with an A, B, or C.
The OWL staff would like to extend its thanks and appreciation to the administrators, professors, staff, and students who
support the OWL and inform others of this writing service.
Additional OWL usage and GPA statistics
Record of OWL Use
Paper Totals 872
COURSE TOTALS CAMPUS TOTALS DISCIPLINE TOTALS
1 ANT 102 102 Baraboo 19 Applic. & Performance
3 BAC 101 148 Barron 4 Fine Arts
1 BIO 109 12 Fond du Lac 709 Humanities
1 BIO 103 61 Fox 0 Math Science
7 BUS 210 10 Manitowoc 10 Natural Science
3 BUS 194 1 Marathon 101 Social Science
2 BUS 101 48 Marinette 6 College essay
1 CHE 123 41 Marshfield 23 Elective
2 COM 218 44 Online
1 COM 210 111 Richland
1 ECO 203 19 Rock
5 EDU 220 56 Sheboygan
5 EDU 201 108 Washington
1 ENG 288 111 Waukesha
2 ENG 287
6 ENG 285 COURSE TOTALS continued
10 ENG 278 19 LEC 100
1 ENG 277 3 MUS 295
2 ENG 250 1 MUS 273
1 ENG 203 1 PHI 242
246 ENG 102 3 PHI 241
325 ENG 101 14 PHI 101 COURSE TOTALS continued
71 ENG 098 8 POL 104 24 SOC 101
2 GEO 110 2 POL 101 1 WOM 203
1 GEO 101 1 PSY 360 3 WOM 101
5 HIS 218 (SS) 1 PSY 250 1 ZOO 299
4 HIS 127 (SS) 13 PSY 202 1 ZOO 155
23 HIS 105 (HU) 6 College essay 1 ZOO 105
31 HIS 101 (SS) 1 SOC 234
Fall 2008 GPA statistics
Grade results from UWC students who sent writing assignment(s) to the OWL during the fall 2008 semester:
Students in all disciplines N=457
% who received an A, B, or C in the course 93%
Average Course G.P.A 2.99 (B)
Students in all disciplines, excluding English
% who received an A, B, or C in the course 94%
Average Course G.P.A 2.98 (B)
Students who used the OWL more than once
(any discipline) N=168
% who received an A, B, or C in the course 98%
Average Course G.P.A 3.26 (B/B+)
Grade results from UWC students who sent English writing assignment(s) to the OWL during the fall 2008 semester:
Students in all disciplines N=302
% who received an A, B, or C in the course 92%
Average Course G.P.A 2.98 (B)
Students in English 098 N=17
% who received an A, B, or C in the course 100%
Average Course G.P.A 2.88 (B/B-)
Students in English 101 N=140
% who received an A, B, or C in the course 96%
Average Course G.P.A 3.15 (B)
Students in English 102 N=132
% who received an A, B, or C in the course 86%
Average Course G.P.A 2.81 (B/B-)
Students in other English classes N=13
% who received an A, B, or C in the course 92%
Average Course G.P.A 3.08 (B)
2009 Regents Teaching Excellence Award Page 14
Excerpt from “The Scholarship of Assessment: Increasing Agency and
Collaboration through SoTL” by Cassandra Phillips and Greg
Ahrenhoerster (UW Colleges English Department Assessment
In the current assessment climate, it is not unusual for academic departments to balk at the idea of a man-
dated state or national level assessment protocol. In Composition, instructors can feel particularly imposed upon as
the majority of standardized testing and rubrics endorsed by many administrations and institutions can conflict with a
discipline that places high value on the writing process. With the Spellings Commission concluding that national stan-
dardized testing is the best way to study how students learn at the college level (“AAC & U”), there does not seem to
be a near end to such ideological conflict. As Schneider et. al. (2008) have articulated in their piece, “Guiding
Principles in Engineering Writing Assessment: Context, Collaboration, and Ownership,” there is a ”clash of
paradigms” in effect as instructors and measurement experts often view assessment through different ideological
lenses (p. 2).
These ideological perspectives, while different, do not have to be This article will be published
combative or mutually exclusive, however. Instructors and researchers have begun this spring in the Association of
to find new and innovative ways to expand on Huot’s suggestion to increase agency Institutional Researcher’s (AIR)
in the assessment process (see Huot 2002 Rearticulating). Some have combined Assessment in Writing.
elements of differing methodologies (Beyer and Gilmore) while others have
localized the process by embedding assessment within their courses (Zawacki and Gentemann). What’s more,
Zawacki and Gentemann have shown how assessment at the state level can work to benefit both parties. At the
University of Wisconsin Colleges, the English department has also found a way to conduct meaningful state level
assessment through the merging of the principles of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) with the
principles of assessment. By keeping the overall mission of SoTL in mind, we were able to produce meaningful data
that focused on the learning processes and outcomes of our courses.
In 2005, we piloted the merging of assessment with a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) project.
Initially, our primary hope was simply to increase agency by researching an issue of interest (of our own choosing)
within our department, and to do so by using methodology more appropriate to our discipline. However, by the end
of the two-year cycle, we were pleased to discover that not only had we met our project goals, but we had also con-
ducted a thorough research study that supported several important goals about student learning.
Nelson argued in 1995 that students are “highly literate about how classrooms work” (Nelson 411). Likewise,
we concluded that our students were highly literate in the peer review process at some level as well as in the revision
process—more so than we thought at our faculty meetings. Just as Nelson’s goal in her research was to “complicate”
our understanding of student writers at the time (426), so, too, do our results complicate the idea of what students
learn from peer review. We found that student learning from peer review was not as simple as whether or not they
followed the peer reviewer’s suggestion—even though that was a big part. It was also about learning from the social
network of student writers, and it was also about learning to take, process, and evaluate revision suggestions.
To begin, we found that students are taking away more than just proof-reading (mechanics) suggestions from
peer-review sessions. For example, consider the breakdown of responses from the student surveys:
Question 4: In general, what did you learn from your peer review session? (The session includes reviewing
other students’ essays, discussing them, reviewing your own essay, and discussing it.)
General improvement 39.4%
Something related to social aspects 6.5%
Seeing how others approach the 34.2%
writing assignment or the writing
Positive reinforcement from peers 2.6%
In support of our first year of data, our statistics also revealed that students become more critical as peer
reviewers as they progress through their education. The survey data shows that students feel steadily more confident
about their own skills as peer reviewers (from 3.34 on a five point scale in semester one, up to 3.83 for students be-
yond the fourth semester, with an increase each semester). However, their trust in their peers declines slightly (from
3.68 to 3.48), perhaps suggesting that they no longer accept everything the peer reviewer says, again implying their
own level of confidence has grown. Yet these experienced students are still more likely to find peer review “very
useful” than less experienced students (37% for students with four or more semesters of experience, compared to 29%
of first semester students), which suggests that they may have learned to make effective use of the feedback they are
given, even if they recognize they do not always agree with it. Furthermore, the fact that the more experienced
students report that they focus more on content (4.19) than mechanics (3.81) during their own revision is encouraging
news, as it is these higher-order changes that peer review is designed to help with. Our analysis of student revisions
supports this assertion--by examining copies of students’ final revisions, we were able to see that most students did
revise their texts after the peer review process. In each class where we examined student revisions, there were
never more than two students (in classes capped at 22) who made no revisions to their final draft. One could even
argue through the change in those revisions that students were able to critique and change certain suggestions made
by their peers, which supports even further the claim that students become more proficient at peer review and analy-
sis over the course of the semester.
Our experience as assessment coordinators has helped us to see that, though it is true that faculty members
can be apathetic or even disgruntled with assessment, there are many ways for departments to take ownership of the
process. When we view assessment as a research opportunity, it becomes an opportunity to help student learning.
In particular, the guidelines of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (see Hutchings) not only help departments
design their assessment research projects, but they help legitimize research and answer questions about whether
these projects really qualify as formal assessment. By focusing on such guidelines, we have also discovered how
learning, particularly student learning, opens a window to explore department goals and teaching effectiveness. The
key is to remember that assessment is not just about reporting progress to another party: it’s also about sharpening
our own focus upon research and methodologies that improve our teaching.
2009 Regents Teaching Excellence Award Page 16
Excerpt from “Unpacking a Signature Pedagogy in Literary Studies” by
in Exploring Signature Pedagogies: Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind,
edited by Regan Gurung, Nancy Chick, and Aeron Haynie (Stylus, 2008)
2009 Regents Teaching Excellence Award Page 18