and the editor of the English Department’s newsletter, Musings, and Jan Tyler, the Director of Academic Advising. And, thanks to Sandy Clark for lending her creative vision through the formatting of this newsletter. All of these voices contribute to the richness of this newsletter. I hope you agree and enjoy the diverse content.
Sharyn L. Hunter
Notes from the Chair
Student learning is our business both professionally and institutionally. As educators, we have come to know what works in fostering this learning and what does not. What we have sometimes not done as well for various reasons is sharing that information.
The whole notion of "best practices" speaks to this sharing. This sharing, in turn, speaks to implementation if something shared makes sense for us to try as we work toward improving student learning.
So how do we share? Available free time is short and precious. One example might be what the English Department and the DEV English area has done. As a vehicle to this sharing, the English Department and the DEV English faculty have an Angel shell that allows faculty from both departments to share best practices. In-services and institute sessions provide other discussion and training points for the sharing of best practices in the teaching of writing.
These opportunities also allow for the ultimate discussion: results! Not everything works for everybody...and frankly, thank goodness! But, neither can we be expected to know everything. The sharing of best practices acknowledges that we are all involved in the improvement of student learning and that no one of us has all the answers.
I don't know about everyone else, but I take comfort in that! Let the sharing begin!
News You Can Use: Thoughts from the DEV Faculty…
Best Practices, the latest buzzword across campuses everywhere is actually not a new notion at all. American engineer and management consultant Frederick Taylor coined the phrase over one hundred years ago. “Among the various methods and implements used in each element of each trade, there is always one method and one implement, which is quicker and better than any of the rest,” so became…”Best Practices.” Best Practices do not have one template for everyone to adhere to. It is not, in fact, to look at what everyone else is doing and simulate the activity in hopes of achieving the same height of result, but rather to ask, “What is possible? What is not being done?”
As educators, we like to fancy ourselves as “lifelong learners” who are constantly in search of that perfect assignment, the one that brings forth the best from our students. We experience great successes and upsetting failures in this quest. But, still we search because that is who we are, and that is what we do. We go to conferences, and we choose sessions aptly titled, “Best Practices” hoping to have that butterfly land softly in the palm of our hand and carry it carefully back to our own secure classroom where we let it loose and hope it flies. And, sometimes it does. And, those are the times we are rewarded.
So often, I struggle with students who say they have nothing to write about. They do not feel that what they have experienced is worthy of a college paper. One of my favorite assignments for 075 is to supply about fifteen open-ended sentences such as “People would be surprised to know that I…” “The stupidest thing I ever bought was…” “Behind my back, people probably say…” and “I hope I never have to…” and various other kinds of ideas that they complete. So the students create their own topic sentences (the hardest part of writing