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Capital University News, California State University, Sacramento
New prof has write stuff
Dan Melzer has
joined the English department this semester, but he hopes to have a campuswide
impact. He’s designing the University’s writing across the curriculum
program. “It’s been fun,” he says. “I’m here for
anyone who might need help.”
The program, in connection with academic affairs and the English department,
provides services to faculty looking for ways to incorporate more writing into
their lesson plans. Melzer says a survey found that 77 percent of the faculty
think the quality of student writing is extremely important to student learning
outcomes. “Writing is great way for student to think critically,”
The goal of writing across the curriculum is to help faculty meet the University’s
reading and writing objectives, regardless of disciplines or departments where
people teach. “We want to help faculty teach students,” he says.
“The program is available to them.”
The first campus-wide seminar designed to assist CSUS faculty is Oct. 15. Melzer
says it is open to anyone looking for tips including how to respond to student
writing, handle the paper load, grade appropriately, and work with multi-lingual
writers. He says people should RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org
He hopes to eventually organize a summer institute for CSUS instructors, then
perhaps expand that summer program to include other universities.
He says the biggest hurdle so far is working around the busy schedules of instructors.
“They teach so many classes.” Melzer says he tries to get around
this obstacle by helping them look for ways they can easily incorporate writing
into their curriculum.
One technique he recommends is “free-writes.” Free-writes are extemporaneous
writing done during the course of a lecture. For example, a professor may pause
during a discussion to ask the students to write three questions they might
have about the lesson plan in question. Melzer says the work functions similarly
to a daily journal.
Melzer joined the English department from Florida State University. He says
he was drawn to CSUS for several reasons. “I loved the context of the
job here.” He’s also a hiker and kayaker who heard Northern California
has many rivers that will give him a chance to enjoy some white-water kayaking.
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