Feb. 1st – Pugh Hall – 9:00-5:00pm

Conference schedule: Schedule Pedagogy, Practice and Philosophy 2020

Getting around UF and Gainesville: Guide for the 2020 Pedagogy

Contact emailshannon.butts@ufl.edu

This year, the University of Florida’s Writing Program annual Conference on Pedagogy, Practice and Philosophy will examine how access and ability influence writing. Pedagogically, instructors often frame writing as an ability, a skill to be honed and refined for diverse situations or ecologies. Learning outcomes, rubrics, and multimodal assignments are designed to help students engage specific writing concepts while offering new opportunities to practice writing as a skill. Yet, abilities depend on having access–access to information, resources, tools, and technologies that promote learning. How can instructors create a more inclusive, accessible pedagogy that fosters equitable practices? And how can that pedagogy transition into public forums, making community writing projects better suited to diverse readers, writers, and communicators? We want to discuss approaches to teaching writing as a part of a complex environment that extends beyond courses and classrooms–to analyze how access and ability shape not only how we compose, but why, and to what effect.

Analyzing access and ability means examining the structures as well as the skills of composition. Emerging tools, technologies, and platforms have changed how people access information while also changing the modes and media for writing instruction. Podcasts, memes, and mobile apps offer new ways to compose and communicate, drawing attention to the auditory, visual, and tactile methods we use in both writing and teaching. How can writing programs challenge traditional modes of instruction and begin to incorporate diverse, more inclusive practices? How are new media and technologies changing the ways we can access and participate in writing?

Increasingly, writing programs incorporate skills that encourage students to participate in public forums or civic action. Writers balance academic goals with community activism, public engagement and professional development. How can college composition use ideas of access and ability to help students understand different perspectives, formats, and rhetorical goals? As instructors teach foundational “principles” of writing, how can we build a pedagogy that encourages collaboration and diversity? How can instructors work to create an accessible learning environment while also empowering students to draw on their own unique abilities, languages, and experiences? In addition, how can writing programs create access to resources or better account for different conditions when teaching writing? We seek presentations that address the ever-changing dynamics of composition, while also attending to the challenges and opportunities these changes afford for both students and instructors.

The conference is designed as a practicum that emphasizes collaboration and exchange. Participants are asked to reflect upon the study, practice, and philosophy of teaching writing in universities, and to reconsider current educational trends about learning, engagement, comprehension, and skills-development. In addition, we ask scholars to reflect on writing methods and environments that occur outside of classrooms and to discuss how diverse modes of writing influence classroom learning. The overarching goal of this conference is to create a network for sharing effective, innovative, and creative approaches to composition pedagogy in practice. If you have a theory, lesson, activity, or discussion– please come and share your writing practice and pedagogy with us.

Conference Format

Instead of having panelists read traditional conference papers,  ten to twelve minute presentations or demonstrations illustrate pragmatic approaches, strategies, and techniques for teaching writing. Participants are grouped into themed or conceptual panels, and our goal is to extend the dialog and conversation across the conference sessions. We also include roundtable discussions, which model a conversational, collaborative, and audience-centered or participatory format.

Presentation topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Writing as an ability or skill set
  • Specific writing activities or lessons
  • Issues of access or inequality
  • Writing situations, networks, assemblages
  • Writing for civic action
  • Inclusive pedagogy
  • Community literacies
  • Multilingual education and language diversity
  • The use of new media in the writing classroom
  • Disability studies and composition
  • Technical communication pedagogy
  • Collaborative learning and peer teaching and assessment
  • Writing technologies
  • Making as writing
  • Sustainable, ecological, or green approaches to teaching writing
  • Exploring race, class, gender, and/or sexuality in the writing classroom
  • Current-traditional rhetoric, expressivism, and epistemic pedagogy models
  • Prewriting techniques and strategies
  • Writing and rhetorical ecologies
  • Writing in and across the disciplines

Keynote Workshop

This year, instead of featuring one keynote speaker, we have organized a workshop to discuss access and ability. Participants will join discussion groups and work together to build principles for an “accessible pedagogy.” By creating a space for instructors to communicate and learn from each other, we hope to build upon the expertise already at the conference and allow multiple perspectives to guide a productive exchange.

For more information about UF’s Writing Program, visit: https://writing.ufl.edu/

Please feel free to email shannon.butts@ufl.edu  if you have any questions.

Parking at UF: Parking map

Emily Bald is a new lecturer in the University Writing Program. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington in 2018 and her B.A. in English with a minor in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She was thrilled to join the UWP this fall and looks forward to growing roots in Florida, where she was born and raised.

To support innovative cross-disciplinary work by undergraduates, Bald is collaborating with her colleagues to launch an undergraduate journal at UF. She is an advocate for undergraduate scholarship and is excited to build on her experience as a co-founder of a student journal in Seattle called Process. In her brief time at UF, Bald has been stunned by the intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm of her students: “UF undergrads are the best,” she says, but don’t tell her former students that. Currently teaching Writing in the Medical Sciences and Writing for Gender Studies, she loves that she is able to teach writing for different disciplinary universes simultaneously. Her students have pushed her to think about how to think in different fields, and have helped her recognize how different disciplinary approaches can complicate, enrich, and strengthen one another.

Bald is interested in the relationships among science, technology, philosophy, and narrative form. As a graduate student, her work centered on different understandings of time in modern American literature and culture. Her dissertation examines experiences of desynchronization: the feeling of falling out of sync with—or being forcibly excluded from—shared time. Reading postbellum fiction, visual art, and early ragtime and jazz in dialogue with contemporaneous studies of temporal experience in psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy, the project draws attention to the cultural politics of “objective” time. In an article forthcoming in American Literary Realism, Bald argues that Ambrose Bierce’s experimentation with narrative time contests the reconciliationist narratives of Civil War cycloramas. Bald’s research has inspired a few of her favorite writing courses, including “Narrative Experiments with Time,” “The Crafting of Histories,” and “Time and Memory.”

The collaborative energy of the UWP is what most attracted Bald to this program. She is amazed and motivated by the creativity of her colleagues, and is excited to work with them to create innovative opportunities for students. In addition to founding an undergraduate journal, Bald aims to collaborate on initiatives that support experiential, community-engaged learning and public-facing, nontraditional, and digital forms of scholarship.

ENC 2305, Analytical Writing and Thinking, is designed to advance students’ critical thinking and writing skills beyond first-year composition. To achieve those goals, students will learn advanced analytical techniques and communication strategies that professors in all disciplines expect them to know.

The texts and assignments in the course will expose students to challenging ideas. The subject matter of the course will be developed in accordance with the instructors’ own studies, with wide-ranging themes in areas such as Languages, Political Science, Anthropology, or Biology. By examining humanistic or scientific theories or principles, students will learn how to read deeply and think critically. As such, the students will be introduced to seminal ideas in specific disciplines and will be asked to engage in in debates important to our time and our culture.

Find these sections in the UF Schedule of Courses:

  • Travel Narratives
  • Medical Narratives
  • Home Places
  • Propaganda
  • Work Life

What students say about this course:

“I hoped for a class that would expand my mind in areas I had not considered before and teach me techniques to become a better writer. My expectations were blown away. I have been forced to consider ideas and topics that have never been topics of thought for me. The focus of this class, illicit behavior, is something that people are so often taught to accept and not question. I used to be one of those people. Now, I can proudly say I question everything” (UF ENC2305 Student).”

“Coming in to this class, I hoped to improve as a writer. However, what I learned in this class went far beyond that. This class taught me a lot about writing–things I am good at and things I need to improve on. It taught me to front load sentences, make topic sentences clear, limit modifiers, have better organization in my papers, and write effective introductions. I also learned so much about critical thinking. For example, the critical definition paper helped me to think abstractly and show me that things can be looked at from many different viewpoints and angles” (UF ENC2305 Student).

The University Writing Program is pleased to announce the first annual Word Art Competition. UF students are encouraged to submit works of graphic art that give voice to the values and goals of the program. To learn about the University Writing Program, contact Creed Greer, Program Director, or Alison Reynolds, Associate Program Director.

Winning submissions will be displayed for at least one year in the UWP office at 2215 Turlington Hall and will be recognized on the UWP website in a homepage feature story. Contestants should visit the UWP office to learn about the venue and installations.

Submissions should be the original work of the artist, with references to any other printed or published work provided in an artist’s statement. Submissions should be made in PDF or JPEG format. Review of submissions will begin on May 1, 2019.

Andréa Caloiaro is a lecturer and faculty member with the University Writing Program at the University of Florida. Caloiaro holds a PhD in English from the University of Florida as well as an MA in English from Boston College. He received his BA in English, with a minor in Rhetoric and Composition, from Stetson University. After having taught with the UWP and Department of English as a Teaching Assistant and Postdoctoral Instructor, Caloiaro joined the UWP as a fulltime lecturer in 2017.

One of the courses Caloiaro most enjoys teaching with the UWP is Writing in the Medical Sciences. He believes this is an opportune time to teach it, citing stats by the American Association of Medical Colleges, which predicted both an increase in applicants to medical school and an upcoming shortage of physicians in the United States. “I like teaching this class because the students have a pretty good indication about what specialization in the medical field that they want to enter into, so they come to the class intellectually capable and highly motivated,” says Caloiaro. “In this course, we write in genres that are germane to the health sciences. They love it and I love it.”

Caloiaro’s dissertation was built around Irish literature during the first World War. His focus was on three things: trauma, memory or collective memory, and men in combat. He argued that Irish literary narratives have been occluded from study into the 21st century mainly because what the combatants had to say about fighting for the British military as Irish citizens didn’t mesh with public politics regarding Ireland’s transition from being a country under the United Kingdom into a separate republic.

Says Caloiaro, “Since I first had a chance to teach a course in English as an undergrad TA, I knew that I wanted a teaching focused career. However, while pursuing a PhD, I mainly had research and writing on my mind and didn’t adequately note how much the act of teaching texts and theories – and obtaining students’ insights thereon – can illuminate our understandings of our own projects. But now that my focus is more on teaching – and working with bright and enthusiastic students – I’ve noticed that these experiences, in fact, influence what I want to research, and the extent to which I envision students as contributing to how I teach and what I plan to research and write next.”

Caloiaro’s goals for the future include publishing on teaching writing. He also hopes to have a course devoted to professionalization for undergraduates and new graduate students regarding navigation of the terrain of publications and professional interviews. Caloiaro says, “I’d like to be at UF and the UWP long-term. I’d like to build a career here in Gainesville.”

Replicating the close connections Caloiaro was able to make as a graduate student remains another one of his goals. He never had to go far to find help preparing for an interview or getting feedback on something he wanted to publish. Caloiaro acknowledged the effort put forth by instructors for him when he was a graduate student and hopes to repeat that experience for his own students.

The diversity of Gainesville and UF’s student body is cited by Caloiaro as one of his favorite things about the school and city. He plans to volunteer with the Arts and Medicine program and will provide tutoring for the Alachua county school system in summer 2018. In his free time, he surfs, plays guitar, and enjoys being outside in nature.

The openness and inclusivity of both Gainesville and UF are qualities Caloiaro appreciates about his current home. As faculty and part of that community, he now tries to model what was done for him here by combining his goals in research and in mentorship to help cultivate a sustainable learning environment through the UWP.

Alexis Ulseth, a sophomore at UF, has won a $400 grant for Noah’s Endeavor, the local nonprofit for which she volunteers. Ulseth, a biochemistry major who is pursuing a Disabilities in Society minor, was first introduced to Noah’s Endeavor when she volunteered for Friends For Life last spring.

At Noah’s Endeavor, “most of the children have a disability or are connected to a child with a disability,” Ulseth says. The children come together each week and play a sport, “but it’s not about the sport, it’s about activity, friendship, and fun.”

Her interest in Noah’s Endeavor deepened when she took Exceptional People, a course at UF requiring volunteer hours. Then, in Fall 2016, Ulseth took ENC3254, Melissa Mellon’s “Writing for Non-Profits” course. One of the assignments was to write a grant proposal for a non-profit and Ulseth rose to the challenge. In the end, she won a grant from the Finish Line Youth Foundation, which Noah’s Endeavor will use to purchase new sports equipment and expand the organization’s community presence.

“Writing for Non-Profits” was first offered at UF through the University Writing Program (UWP) in Fall 2016. The goal of the course was to bridge the gap between academic writing and real-world writing. Thus, Ms. Mellon encouraged her students to pick a non-profit to work with and write assignments which could serve the organization’s needs. The assignments included a special interest report, a grant proposal, and a white paper, and students were required to interview representatives of their chosen non-profit for each assignment.

For the grant proposal, students met librarian Bess de Farber, who is the UF library’s grants manager. Through the library’s internal grant-seeking program, which Ms. De Farber set up, students were able to search for grants relevant to their chosen non-profit organizations. It was through this resource and with Ms. Mellon’s guidance that Ulseth was able to find the Finish Line Youth Foundation grant. Ulseth completed the grant application in October 2016 and in January Finish Line contacted her to conduct a telephone interview. In February, Ulseth was told she had won the funding.

Ulseth grew up in Crystal River, FL, where she still volunteers at the Rotary Club. When she came to UF, she brought her love of volunteering with her and joined Rotaract, Impact Autism, Friends for Life, and Noah’s Endeavor.

Noah’s Endeavor, originally named the Endeavor League, provides a place where children with disabilities can get involved with sports and feel part of a community. Shelly Voelker, a Family and Information Specialist at UF, and her husband, Will Voelker, took their son Noah there. Noah was born with cerebral palsy and spent his life in a wheel chair. But, at Endeavor League, Noah was able to swim, play soccer, baseball, and basketball, and interact with other children of varying ages. When Noah passed away in 2009, the Voelkers took over the Endeavor League and changed the name to Noah’s Endeavor.

Ulseth says the goal of Noah’s Endeavor is to help people realize “that a child with a disability is first and foremost a child.” Ulseth volunteers on Sundays from 2:00-4:00pm and spends her time playing sports (baseball in the spring and soccer in the fall) with the children and making sure that they are having fun.

Here is a video Ulseth made to thank the Finish Line Youth Foundation for the grant and to showcase the invaluable work done at Noah’s Endeavor.

–Holly Pratt

“Even though I already had tutoring experience, I was really interested in the course because I wanted an official course in tutoring, as well as more professional experience as a peer tutor at UF.” – Valerie Melina, UWP Peer Tutor

“Peer tutoring gave me the opportunity to bask in the writing I rarely dealt in anymore and do something I definitely had never even thought of doing: teach.” – Victoria Todd, UWP Peer Tutor

ENC 4930, an undergraduate peer tutoring course launched by the UWP in Fall 2015, trains qualified undergraduates to work one-on-one with peers to improve grammar and meet the outcomes of academic assignments. During the first six weeks, students are trained in basic grammar concepts, writing structure and organization, and writing to meet the objectives of an assignment prompt. During the second six weeks, the students are assigned a workspace in the UWP where they apply their training to real-world situations by helping undergraduates, graduates, and ESL students improve their written assignments. The two-credit course, run by Dr. Martin Simpson, is departmentally controlled which means that in order to sign up for the course students need to email Dr. Simpson with a CV and then conduct a half-hour interview. During the interview, Dr. Simpson looks for a specific skillset: “an approachable, friendly demeanor; solid grammar and writing skills; good time management, and the ability to quickly triage potential weaknesses in a paper in order to focus on the most important issues first.”

Those students who perform well in ENC 4930 will have the opportunity to work as paid tutors in the University Writing Studio in future semesters. Currently, the Writing Studio employs mostly graduate students from the English and Creative Writing Departments. With the peer tutoring course, Dr. Simpson aims to “build and diversify our tutor line-up, while at the same time providing more UF students with individual tutoring, and providing our peer tutors a part-time job that lets them build both their skills and their résumés.”

Valerie Melina and Victoria Todd have both completed the peer tutoring course and currently work as undergraduate tutors in the writing studio.

Ms. Melina, an English and Communications major, has previous experience working as a freelance tutor and as a tutor at UF’s Office of Academic Support, however the additional training she received in ENC4930 helped her strengthen her editing and writing skills through “checking students’ writing for compliance to the prompt, making sure the evidence was logical, checking for proper structure, and finally proofreading for grammar mistakes.”

Ms. Todd, a Journalism major, was able to take her passion for the English language and transform it into a useful tool for others as well as a rewarding experience for herself. “I learned the integral approaches to disassembling a stranger’s essay and then giving them the guidance and confidence to piece it together again through a more structured and realized process. The training and my experience as a peer tutor have rekindled my love for English and fostered a need for continual improvement as a student, as a reader and as a tutor.”
While both Ms. Melina and Ms. Todd are pursuing language-related majors, the aim of ENC 4930 is to recruit peer tutors from diverse backgrounds. Over the four semesters that the course has been offered, peer tutors have had majors as different as Political Science, Psychology, English, and Engineering. Initially the number of students admitted to the peer tutoring course was capped at four, but for the fall semester it will be capped at twelve.

–Holly Beth Pratt

Mallory Szymanski won the prestigious University of Florida Graduate Teaching Award for her instruction in the University Writing Program, where she has taught since 2012.Currently a PhD candidate in the Department of History, she also teaches courses in sociology, history, and women’s studies.

Across these disciplines, Mallory maintains a collaborative pedagogy in which students and teachers work together to inspire curiosity, strengthen critical thinking tools, and hone professional writing skills. The UWP teaches that writing is a process and not simply the product of formulaic responses; a collaborative environment facilitates the patience and fortitude this process requires. Mallory complements this group-oriented theme with individual attention to students’ strengths, interests, and areas in need of improvement. She tailors daily lesson plans to address the distinctive skills and needs students bring from their high school training. From this base, students use the course to practice rhetorical strategies and writing fundamentals and produce coherent, convincing arguments. By the end of the semester, they will have mastered a writing process that is unique to them and that can aid them in future academic and professional undertakings.

Much like her teaching endeavors, Mallory’s research engages multiple fields. She studies sexual neurasthenia, a medical diagnosis given to fatigued American men in the late nineteenth century. Physicians heralded neurasthenia as the “national disease of America” and feared that modern civilization was crushing its workers underfoot. Mallory’s dissertation will provide a cultural and medical history of sexual neurasthenia to explain how this diagnosis sparked a national conversation about men’s sexual and reproductive health in the Gilded Age. She expects to complete her dissertation in Spring 2016 and pursue an interdisciplinary teaching and research position.

Jamie Lee Marks is a PhD student in UF’s Anthropology department and has been teaching for the University Writing Program since Fall 2011. She has served as a mentor to incoming Graduate Assistants for the Writing Program this year. A UF alumnus, Jamie Lee received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Women’s Studies and Political Science, and Master of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Florida. In addition, she earned a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults from the University of Cambridge. She describes her experience as a UF undergraduate student as demanding, liberating, and transformational because of committed instructors that required high quality written work and dialogue-based classroom environments that challenged her to connect her lived experience to scholarly materials. These experiences inspired a commitment to undergraduate pedagogy and education at the University of Florida. Working with undergraduate students has and continues to teach, move, and motivate her, as each student brings with her or him a particular perspective on each course’s subject matter and, more broadly, on human social interaction and connection. She considers teaching one of the most rewarding components of graduate studies.

As a cultural anthropologist, she is primarily interested in ethnographic field methods, and narrative ethnography as a genre allowing social scientists—and artists—to move their experiences to text and share them with various audiences. She has worked as a contracted researcher and also done fieldwork in Lima, Huaraz, and Huánuco, Peru; Mallorca, Spain; and Gainesville, Florida. Her work thus far has explored themes of narrating migration, mobility and transportation infrastructure, and representations of gender in popular culture both in the United States and Peru. Her dissertation project currently focuses on the politics, aesthetics, and experiences of contemporary transport reform in Lima, Peru.