I'll go through your message and try to answer some of your questions.
On Tue, 14 Feb 1995, Phyllis Artiss wrote:
> I enjoyed this exchange very much. Thanks to Marcy and Anne.
> I also want to ask for help from anyone out there who can give me some
> information that will help me with a presentation I'm scheduled to give
> on Friday the 17th (am) to our Senate Committee on Writing. They are
> mainly doubters on just about everything concerning students. and
> I'm supposed to tell them about writing policies in North American
> Univeristies . . . in 10 miutes. I have of course been making excellent use
> of Roger Graves's book and the one edited by Cathy Schreyer and Laurence
> Steven. Thanks to you three and all the others who made these publications
> I have a couple of questions tho,partly to satisfy my own curiosity and
> partly because I hope my 10 mins in the sun or firing line will lead to
> other opportunities to discuss these issues here.
> 1. does anyone know of any study that will help support the idea that
> teachers of writing do a better job, on the whole ,if they have some
> training in writing pedagogy?
In some ways this is a strange question because the teaching of writing
is so tied into pedagogy. One can't teaching writing without
pedagogy--the problem is that some people are totally unaware that they
do have a pedagogy. And if they are unaware, then they are usually
teaching the traditional product-oriented method. So the real question
becomes which pedagogy is at work, and does the instructor have any
awareness that all of their teaching embodies beliefs, values, practices.
I have always found Hillock's metastudy of composition teaching methods
the most convincing for people outside of composition. It advocates a
kind of interactive teaching method (he calls it ecological) that can
suppport the kind of teaching I want to do--group work, inkshedding etc.
Vygotsky can also provide great theoretical support as can Polanyi--many
people outside of English have some awareness of these figures so they
can be brought in to support your position.
> 2. Roger mentions in his book that there were,at the time of his study,
> only 4 of the 54 English Univs in Canada that had WAC programs..well he
> actually says that require students to take "writing -intensive" courses. I
> ssume these were York and Laurentian, and maybe Waterloo? What others are
> there in Canada? I'd especially like to know if there are any that have a
> Writing Program Administrator who co-ordinates the whole WACc or WID
> program, who is a tenured or tenure -track faculty member. That's the
> model I'd like to see here.
The strangest thing about Waterloo is that our writing intensive courses
are inside the English department. Some WIC courses exist outside
although the ENglish department has no imput into them whatsoever. But
we do have lots of courses in the English department that both study
writing (linguistics, semiotics, rhetoric) as well as practice writing.
In fact, Waterloo got its doctoral program because of this emphasis. For
the life of me I can't understand why other university English
departments haven't figured out that there's funding and "gold in them
thar' hills" if they proceed in this direction.
> 3. Perhaps this question should go directly to Doug Brent,but I can't put
> my hand on his e-mail address so you are all getting it. One member of this
> committee will I expect tell us that what we need at MUN is what was done at
> Calgary 20 years ago. I know that things have changed a lot, and would love
> even a couple of sentences about why you changed and what you like better
> about what you are doing now.
> 4. Last question: who besides SFU,UBC, McGill and Waterloo (and Laurentian
> ?) could be said to have grad programs in Rhetoric/comp?
You can't really call it a Rhetoric/comp program but York is producing
graduates with an excellent background in Critical Discourse
Analysis--some of these folks move easily into a Rhet.Comp program. They
have a good awareness of teaching and excellent insights into the
workings of language. Also some of the work that Aviva is doing at
Carleton is at the graduate level--it could fit into a Rhet.comp model.
Of course, OISE has a graduate program--but the problem there is that
might be difficult to move from OISe into a job in a Canadian English
department--there seems to be some prejuidice against OISE grads--at
least according to my experience on some hiring committees.
I hope this helps. And good luck!
> I'm sure I should have some of this info here, but I can't put my hand or
> memory on any of it just now. Thanks for any help. Phyllis Artiss