First Year Writing Program Policies and Recommendations (Approved 10-22-02)
On 10-02-02 the Writing Committee met to consider questions raised in the Chair's memo to faculty regarding the First-Year Writing Program and to respond to his request that all committees reconsider their composition and functions within the department.
All of the recommendations below were unanimously endorsed by the committee.
These recommendations were presented as a motion by the Writing Committee at the English department faculty meeting on 10-22-02 and were unanimously approved by all of the tenured and tenure-eligible faculty members present.
Recommendations and timelines for implementation are listed below:
Recommendation 1: Change the composition for the committee from its current configuration of three (3) tenured or tenure-eligible and two (2) non-tenure-eligible elected representatives to two (2) tenured or tenure-eligible and three (3) non-tenure-eligible elected representatives. (See also recommendation 3.)
Rationale: This change will more appropriately reflect the current responsibilities for teaching first-year writing courses and allow those with the most immediate knowledge of how the program is working on a daily basis to play the leading role in setting the committee's agenda and in developing its recommendations to the department.
Implement: Academic year 2003-04 (May and August elections)
Recommendation 2: Reconsider the recommendation of the Ad Hoc Committee on First-Year Writing that the Writing Center have a permanent, non-voting seat on the committee. We suggest instead that the Writing Center be invited to attend any meeting for which the agenda suggests that the perspective of that body would be helpful to discussion.
Rationale: Because the Department is no longer responsible for the ongoing operations and policies of the Writing Center, often the agenda for committee meetings does not pertain to the Writing Center or its staff. It seems more efficient and collegial to encourage this participation on an as-needed basis.
Implement: January 2003
Recommendation 3: Shift ongoing administrative responsibilities for FYW to non-tenure-eligible faculty. Appoint, from those ranks, two (2) Co-Directors of FYW, who would share the duties of the current Director of FYW position (the details of that sharing to be determined after the initial appointments to these Co-Directors' positions are made, based on the specific interests and talents of those appointed). Each Co-Director should be assigned a 2-2 load, with the expectation that 50 percent of the workload would be devoted to administrative duties. (Among those tasks the co-directors should be assigned are planning and running orientation of FYW faculty, supervising mentors for FYW faculty (see recommendation 4 below), conducting and reporting on classroom observations of new FYW faculty (including drafting annual evaluations in consultation with the Chair [and/or Associate Chair]), examining syllabi and making sure all courses meet departmental expectations, and participating in hiring of temporary faculty (searches, interviews, etc.). These Co-Directors would report directly to the Chair (or the Associate Chair, if so designated by the Chair). They would also become non-voting members of the Writing Committee, replacing the current position on that committee held by the Director of First-Year Writing.
Rationale: Because the academic world is based on a model of responsible self-governance and because the current situation in the Department is such that almost the entire responsibility for teaching 1101 and 1102 rests with non-tenure-eligible faculty, they should be given the authority to administer the policies established by the Department, based upon recommendations originating in its Writing, Curriculum, and Advisory committees and overseen by the Chair (and/or Associate Chair). Morale and efficiency are, in the committee's view, likely to be higher under this arrangement.
Implement: January 2003
Recommendation 4: Begin inquiries regarding the possibility of converting eight (8) temporary instructor and/or visiting assistant professor positions to lectureships that would not have a term-limit but would also not require these faculty to meet University expectations for tenure and promotion. Should we be able to make this change, the Co-Directors would be given two (2) of these positions and the six (6) remaining lecturers would serve as mentors to other instructors and visiting assistant professors.
Rationale: The Department and its FYW program would gain continuity and stability through this change. In addition, hiring, mentoring, and orientation demands would be greatly reduced.
Implement: Dependent on factors beyond the Department (and perhaps even the University) level. We do not believe we should wait on recommendation 3 just because this change might require more time to implement. We recommend appointing the Co-Directors and six mentors from the currently employed faculty at this rank.
Recommendation 5: Shift responsibilities for scheduling of Regents' grading and preview sessions, exemption exams (proctoring and assessing), etc., to departmental staff. Also, shift the primary responsibility for technical support to departmental staff and/or tech support staff from Arts and Sciences.
Rationale: The scheduling responsibilities are entirely clerical and can be handled without faculty expertise. Technical support should be done by faculty only as a last resort. All faculty should become competent in those technologies that pertain to instruction, but the University has historically provided and should continue to provide training and ongoing support.
Implement: January 2003
Recommendation 6: The Faculty Status Committee should write job descriptions and specific performance expectations for the Co-Directors' positions and should recommend a process whereby these appointments can be made in a timely manner, according to the time table laid out here. The Faculty Status Committee should also work with the appropriate administrators outside the Department to develop guidelines for the lectureship positions (when consideration of that recommendation indicates that such specificity would be desirable).
Rationale: This committee is made up of those within the Department most familiar with the issues that hiring involves.
Implement: As soon as the recommendations are adopted.