Lindee and I met with our history team: Dan Murphree, Emily Graham, and Scot French. The purpose of the first round of the small team meetings is to begin developing department-specific writing outcomes. We began with a discussion of the "home assignment" –a chapter from the excellent book Engaging Ideas, by John Bean. By the way, all participants of the WAC Fellows Program receive a free copy of this and one other book.
We had prepared some questions for the group to consider, based on the book, so the discussion began around those questions. The conversation then moved to listing and freshing out of the kinds of writing and critical thinking that historians do. This is a crucial part of the whole program since our goal is to develop writing outcomes which are closely connected to learning outcomes in specific disciplines. Because of the importance of this conenction, we prefer to begin thinking about the kinds of learning that teachers in the disciplines want their students to accomplish before we begin thinking about the kinds of writing they want them to do.
Finally, we discussed examples of writing-related outcomes from History Departments at two universities: NC State and Auburn, which, we hope, will become, springboards for our participants in the creation of their own departmental outcomes. Next week, we will hold similar meetings with the Nursing and Chemistry teams. Then, on February 22, the three teams will bring drafts of their outcome lists to be shared and discussed during the second plenary meeting of the Program.