Writing in the Disciplines
One of the areas the 2000 Honors Task Force identified "for future expansion, development, and implementation" was a programmatic effort emphasizing speaking and writing in the disciplines (WID). In response to this recommendation, Provost Johnson formed The Writing Board, which is composed of faculty, staff, students and administrators and is charged with creating a plan that will move UMBC toward the creation of a "writing in the disciplines program." The plan includes short-term and long-term goals with a mind toward the budgetary issues of the University.
Studies continue to support the need for colleges and universities to take a proactive approach to providing students with opportunities to improve and develop communication skills. Regardless of the students' educational or employment goals, they must be able to communicate well and must possess abilities that go beyond those typically developed through courses in composition.
Joseph Harris, Director of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Writing at Duke University, states that the teaching aims of WID are
"to engage students in writing as a form of critical inquiry and scholarly research while making the uses and roles of writing in the disciplines more visible to students."
Further, he states that related aims would include
the practices of research and teaching by discussing the roles of writing
in the formation of knowledge and by inquiring into the ways disciplines
form themselves (in part) through their distinctive conventions in writing."
Last year, the Provost approved WID grants for three departments. The departments wanted to identify the ways in which they could make their curriculum more writing intensive. The departments explored curricular reform in a variety of ways. For example, one department brought in a writing expert in the discipline, while another department took this opportunity to include faculty in a discussion and a review of their course offerings, and thus, revamp their curriculum to include writing-intensive opportunities throughout their course offerings.
As one of the short-term goals, the Board decided to continue to provide resources to interested departments that would enable them to take initial steps in creating writing-intensive courses. While still in the process of formulating a comprehensive plan for a WID program at UMBC, the Board believes it is important to support those departments that want to explore writing-intensive courses within the context of their discipline.
As a result, the Board has developed a call for proposals. Attached is a proposal form that departments may complete. Proposals will be reviewed by the WID Advisory Board, and three proposals will be selected annually. Those departments submitting successful proposals will receive $5,000.00 in order to begin this process. Click here to access the proposal form (pdf) (word).