Call for Proposals – Fall 2021 WID Department and Program Projects

Writing in the Disciplines at Dawson invites faculty members to submit proposals for department and program-based projects focused on writing, critical thinking and active learning in the disciplines.  Building on the college-wide presence of WID Writing Fellows and Spring Institute participants, these projects provide WID support for innovations in instructional and curricular design.  In a departure from previous years, Department Projects will now run in the fall semester.  One or two projects will be selected for Fall 2021.

Proposals should be submitted to Jeffrey Gandell (WID coordinator) by Monday, March 15, 2021.   If you would like to discuss a potential application, don’t hesitate to contact Jeff.

  •  Who can apply?

Groups of several faculty collaborating under the leadership of at least one teacher who has participated in the WID Writing Fellows or the WID Spring Institute.  Applicants should consult with their department chairs and/or program coordinators on project objectives in advance of the submission of a proposal.  Course release will be available for one or two project leads.

  • What kinds of projects are eligible?

Projects will be formulated around specific objectives such as the following:

–  Develop and share new discipline-specific curricular materials that exploit the link between writing and critical thinking

–  Develop and share knowledge about new instructional approaches (eg. in-class writing, use of sources, effective peer review, new writing technologies, etc.)

–   Assess and report on the achievement of program-level competencies in writing and communication

–  Evaluate and make recommendations on the development of writing and critical thinking skills across sequences of required courses

–  Conduct and report on research on discipline-specific approaches to writing and communication in departments / programs at other higher education institutions

–  Design and conduct a series of department-based professional development activities focused on writing, critical thinking and active learning

  • Are there models for this type of project?

Over Winter 2019, Marie-Pierre Gosselin, Selma Hamdani and Madeleine Cote developed a suite of lab activities for the introductory General Psychology course.

In W2018, Cheryl Simon and Myriam Rafla from Cinema and Communications investigated different ways of assigning and evaluating new and interactive media projects.

Jean Francois Briere and Nadim Boukhira led a Physics Department project that began in Winter 2017 and continued through Fall 2017, focused on developing authentic scientific practices and writing through revised lab activities.

English teachers Susan Briscoe and Jeffrey Gandell led the W2016 project, which focused on creative alternatives to the traditional academic essay.  Susan and Jeff prepared a preliminary report for the English Department, and gave two departmental workshops in F2016.

W2015 saw WID projects completed in Nursing and Social Science.  In Nursing, Robin Simmons and Michelle Maguigad evaluated preparation of students for the new professional nursing order examination, while in Social Science, Davina Mill and Lisa Steffen examined faculty attitudes and practices in the design of the Integrative Seminar, the capstone research writing course in Social Science.

  • What resources and support will be made available for projects?

One or two sections of course release for W2021 will be assigned to successful projects, depending on the nature and scope of project proposals.  The WID director will work with project leaders over the duration of the project.

  • What is the application format and process?

Apply directly to Jeffrey Gandell in a two-page proposal with the elements below.  Proposals will be reviewed by the WID coordinating along with members of the WID coordinating committee.

1)   Detailed statement of the objectives of the project
2)   Individuals involved
3)   Department / program needs to which the project responds
4)   Anticipated impact on student learning
5)   Timeline for completion and evaluation of project activities and artefacts


Call for Participants F2020 Faculty Writing Fellows

Are you interested in exploring the contemporary literature on writing instruction, critical thinking in disciplinary contexts, and active learning?  In developing new strategies and materials in the supportive environment of a faculty learning community of teachers from across the college?

The Call for Participants for the F2020 Faculty Writing Fellows is now open.    The deadline for applications is Friday, February 28, 2020.  Interested teachers should review the program objectives, application process and selection criteria.

The facilitator of the F20 Writing Fellows will be Jeff Gandell (English).

Application Process and Selection Criteria

Applicants for the Writing Fellows should respond by the deadline with a one-page letter to WID Director Ian MacKenzie that touches on the following:

  • Reasons for interest in learning about evidence-based approaches to writing, critical thinking and active learning
  • Some specific challenges in current teaching practices related to writing
  • Commitment to producing artifacts that can be shared within and across departments
  • Willingness to learn and produce in a cross-disciplinary, collaborative initiative with other Writing Fellows

Applicants letters are read by the WID Working Group, which consists of several former Writing Fellows, the WID Director and at least one Dean.  Candidates are selected on the basis of three criteria: 1) their degree of interest in innovative pedagogies for writing, critical thinking and active learning; 2) their capacity for leadership on behalf of WID within their departments and programs, including the production of a discipline-specific teaching portfolio.  The WID Working Group also considers 3) the participation within the Fellows of a variety of departments and programs across the college.


To view examples of the work of the Writing Fellows, browse the Teaching Portfolios page.   There are now 82 Writing Fellows in 29 different departments & programs, and we welcome applications from both new and experienced teachers.  Before applying, please verify with your department chair that you will have a full teaching load for the Fall 2019 semester.  Contact Ian MacKenzie with any questions.

Browse some of the feedback from the F2016-W2017 Writing Fellows:

How would you characterize the experience of working alongside teachers from other departments in the Writing Fellows?

– Very good! I really liked having courses in common, like IS, to talk about and anchor new topics.

– It was wonderful to learn from and work with colleagues for other disciplines. We are too often siloed off from one another.

– It was great! Lots of interdisciplinary exchanges.

– C’est très intéressant et enrichissant. Pour la première fois depuis j’enseigne au collège Dawson, j’ai pu avoir des échanges à la fois éclairants et utiles avec mes colleagues, d’autres départements, la communication et l’échange entre les différents départements sont, selon moi, essentiels pour une démarche pédagogique cohérente et efficace.

Really wonderful to see how common lessons and frameworks can apply to different disciplines – I was surprised to what degree some of their applications also could be adjusted for my classes.

Has the experience informed, advanced or changed the way you think about and practice the teaching of writing in your discipline?

Gave me many more ways to think about how to incorporate writing, and appreciate low stakes writing activities in particular.  Helped me recognize the importance of student reflection on process, which is applicable in all courses, not just writing courses.

– Yes, I now pay more attention to audience and genre, and clarifying student expectations.

– Yes, I’ve incorporated some of these great ideas already into my courses.

– WID m’a ouvert les yeux surs les plusieurs aspects: l’importance d’une bonne planifaction des cours, la necessite de varier les exercises d’écriture, les bienfaits d’une bonne grille d’évaluation, etc. et surtout m’a aidé à acquérir plus d’assurance, plus de confiance dans ma démarche.

Yes, especially the utility of freewriting, and my ability to step away from copy-editing every piece of work that is submitted for assessment.  Also, I am thinking much more about audience.

Do you foresee these changes having an impact on student engagement and learning in your courses?

As I become better at incorporating writing, I see engagement increasing.  Asking students to do even brief  writing tasks keeps them involved actively in the class.

– I think – and already know from introducing new assignments – that my WID expertise will help students become more engaged.

– Hopefully an increase in engagement, learning!

– Je pense que tous les changements que je suis en train de faire en ce moment dans mes cours vont aider à concevoir des activites d’apprentissage plus motivantes et plus connectées à la vie réelle.

– I think when you show students “process,” and focus on praxis, they become aware that there can be a point to their writing, and especially when you talk of process & praxis that lead to persuasive, authoritative texts for different real-world audiences.

Call for Proposals: W2020 Department & Program WID Projects

Writing in the Disciplines at Dawson invites faculty members to submit proposals for department and program-based projects focused on writing, critical thinking and active learning in the disciplines.  Building on the college-wide presence of WID Writing Fellows and Spring Institute participants, these projects provide WID support for innovations in instructional and curricular design.  One or two projects will be selected for the W2020 semester.

Proposals should be submitted to Jeffrey Gandell, Writing Fellows coordinator, by Wednesday, October 9, 2019.   If you would like to discuss a potential application, don’t hesitate to contact Jeff.  Proposals will be reviewed by Jeff Gandell and WID director Ian MacKenzie.Continue reading