New Learning Community Offers Writing Pedagogy to Future STEM Faculty

April 5, 2021
Photograph of Aimee Mapes

Dr. Aimee Mapes, Director of WAC

CIRTL teams up with Writing Across the Curriculum to develop new professional development opportunities in writing pedagogy.

As part of a larger effort to bring the teaching of writing to diverse audiences across campus, CIRTL has teamed up with UArizona’s Writing Across the Curriculum initiative and the award-winning Foundations Writing Program to offer new faculty learning communities (FLCs) and develop graduate-level courses specifically focused on writing pedagogy.

This fall, Dr. Aimee C. Mapes, Director of Writing Across the Curriculum and Associate Professor in Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English, and Dr. Kristin Winet, CIRTL Program Administrator and Lecturer in the Writing Program, co-facilitated UArizona’s first faculty learning community on teaching writing across the curriculum. Participants, who ranged from faculty to CIRTL graduate students and represented disciplines as diverse as mathematics to nutritional sciences, learned methods for teaching common types of writing in their disciplines and worked on revising a major writing assignment they hope to teach in the future.

The FLC, which is part of an IRB-approved study, involves surveying participants and conducting post-FLC focus groups, is part of a larger project to bring writing--and specifically the teaching of writing--into campus conversations about teaching and learning. Their study hopes to better understand how training in writing pedagogy can inform the ways in which faculty across campus introduce their students to writing expectations in their own courses and disciplines.

The teaching of writing is intimately related to CIRTL’s larger goals of training future faculty members in learner-centered, evidence-based teaching methods. “As Director of Writing Across the Curriculum, I believe all writers have more to learn. To support all writers to learn, we must all be writing teachers,” says Mapes. “CIRTL offers excellent training to elevate teaching praxis and the role of writing in STEM education expressly. In our collaboration, Dr. Winet and I remain committed to best practices for teaching and assessing our students’ writing in STEM settings,” she says.

The FLC is running again this spring and is the foundation for a forthcoming CIRTL-approved graduate course, which will be offered as a credit-bearing course through OIA in Fall 2021.