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3.8: Action Steps

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    This section is the plan for implementing your proposal. It should be specific, tangible, and easily followed. The language you use should be simple and to the point. It is perfectly acceptable to use bullets, numbers, or any other form of organization to outline the steps. I have used a combination of narrative and bulleted list to outline my steps to implementing my proposal. This section addresses the following questions:

    Example \(\PageIndex{1}\): Template/Draft

    Action Steps

    In order to achieve the stated objective of implementing a “seamless” writing program at Newman University, we have taken the following steps. First, in 2004, a Writing Center was established and a director for the Center was hired. Also in 2004, the university hired a composition specialist to coordinate the improvement of the program a little at a time. The Writing Center has aggressively sought to aid students and to advertise its offerings. After the Center was successfully established, the next step was to stabilize the placement of incoming freshmen into writing classes. Two pilot systems were used: one was a “directed selfplacement” process and the other was a sample writing system. We found that the sample writing worked well enough for the size of incoming classes, but the “directed self-placement” is better for larger incoming classes (above 200). The result of this placement adjustment was an increase in the number of sections of Fundamentals of Writing. The next step was to establish writing classrooms in computer rooms. This is now done with half of the College Writing 1 and Fundamentals of Writing classes. The English department then decided on a standard reader to help make those courses more consistent.

    From this point, we recommend the following steps. First, an assessment system should be put into place. This system should be based on student “outcomes,” which means we, as a department, should decide what students should be able to do when they leave a course. This should be divided into writing courses and courses in the English major. The assessment should be measurable and occur regularly. Once a system is established, data should be collected and assessed annually by the department to see where we can improve and what is working.

    Secondly, a system for implementing, monitoring, assessing, and changing a Writing Across the Curriculum program should be articulated. We propose implementing a project-based system, in conjunction with a proficiency requirement, that insures that every student graduates from Newman with a minimal level of mastery in writing skills. To do this, we will have to work backwards from a list of “outcomes” (skills) that a graduate must have and create a proficiency exam from those skills. However, we do not want to test every student. We want the emphasis to be on student writing projects that will also meet the proficiency. Once the skills for graduation are identified, they may be applied to any project that a student develops in writing during his or her career at Newman. They may also be listed in a student handbook so that the requirements for proficiency are stated from the first day a student arrives. In other words, a student may do one of the following by the beginning of his or her senior year to meet the writing proficiency:

    • Take the Writing Proficiency course and pass (pass/no pass; no pass take the course again)
    • Submit an approved article-length project to an academic conference or publication (submission with sponsorship)
    • Submit a portfolio with graded papers that show proficiency
    • Take the Writing Proficiency Exam (pass/no pass; a “no pass” must enroll in proficiency course)

    Once the guidelines for proficiency are established and the choices for students are in place, the outcomes should include:

    • A closer faculty/student working relationship on projects for submission to conferences and publications
    • An attitude of ownership and inquiry on the part of students
    • A Writing Across the Curriculum program that occurs without any additional administrative responsibility
    • A simpler method for assessing student mastery of academic writing prior to graduation.
    • A greater interest in teaching writing (secondary education English majors)
    • A framework for implementing a Masters in English (with graduate teaching assistants)

    Implementing a Masters program will make the writing program “seamless” in the sense that all levels of writing are addressed, including placement, remediation, second-language acquisition, first-year writing, writing support systems, cross-curricular writing, co-authorship (with a faculty sponsor), writing across campus, pedagogy, teacher-training, and scholarship in writing.

    3.8: Action Steps is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Stephen V. Poulter.

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