Learning Together: Faculty Learning Communities in Composition

Learning Together: Faculty Learning Communities in Composition

 

The Composition program’s Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) provide professional development opportunities for program faculty on a voluntary basis each semester.  There are a wide range of learning communities offered each semester: here’s a survey of those offered last Spring through this Spring.

During the Spring of 2019, the composition program facilitated an FLC focused on Public Writing. Faculty read from current scholarship in public pedagogy and civic engagement and discussed how advanced research and writing courses like ENGH 302 might make strong connections between disciplinary concerns, rhetorical contexts, and public writing. Faculty designed assignments that approached public writing from different perspectives, including thinking of students as public writers, as researchers of public writing, and as those who are critically engaged with public discourses.  

Bethany Camp/Creative Services/George Mason University

A Hybrid Task Force met during the Fall of 2019. The task force reviewed recent scholarship on blended and hybrid teaching environment, developed a survey and interview protocol for faculty who teach hybrids, and created teaching resources for faculty in the program. Lourdes Fernandez, Jessie Matthews, Brian Fitzpatrick, Kerry Folan, Sheri Sorvillo, and Ariel Goldenthal all contributed their vast expertise as they created new materials for the program. Brandon Biller, a PhD student in the Writing and Rhetoric program and current teaching assistant, helped develop the survey and interview protocols that will help the program better understand faculty needs and experience. The task force presented recommendations for the program, and those recommendations will be reviewed and implemented over the next few semesters.

First in Fall 2019 and now continuing in Spring 2020, the Language Diversity Policy working group, comprised of Anna Habib, Elizabeth Paul, James Savage, Dr. Hyunyoung Cho, Hollie Villenueva and Paul Michiels, convened to develop a Language Diversity Position Statement for the Composition Program.  This bottom-up position statement is an effort to align with and provide support for Mason’s multilingual norm, by first considering the program’s existing language practices, beliefs and management.  In the Fall, the group drafted a working rationale for the development of a Language Diversity Statement, then designed and distributed a survey to gain a better understanding of faculty’s experiences, attitudes and perceived needs around multilingual writers.  This Spring, their goals are to use survey results to design Composition faculty workshops and to include faculty in the development of the program’s position statement.

Bethany Camp/Creative Services/George Mason University

The Multimodal Faculty Learning Community, meeting in Spring 2020, is exploring what multimodal composition is and why it is the subject of so many writing studies discourses.  In this FLC, faculty are learning the basics on how to compose in multiple modes including audio and video. Faculty are receiving hands-on experience working with several multimedia platforms that can be used for student assignments.  By reading seminal texts in the field of multimodal composition, they are seeking to understand what key scholars are saying about multimodal composition, and they are learning how to make those productions accessible to differently-abled people.  By the end of the course, faculty will create several multimodal projects and a multimodal assignment designed for students.

This wide variety of FLCs are offered as part of the program’s commitment to improving professional development; stay tuned for details on future FLCs.