According to Mary Ann Winkelmes, in “Transparency in Teaching: Faculty Share Data and Improve Students' Learning,” (Liberal Education 99.2, Spring 2013), transparent teaching and learning methods explicitly focus on purpose, task and criteria for success. Similarly, the “Clear Writing Expectations” construct (Anderson et al.) that emerged from a 2014 NSSE (National Survey of Student Engagement) survey provides students with an accurate understanding of the skills instructors are asking their students to demonstrate in an assignment and the criteria by which their work will be assessed. These findings, which emerged from two recent national studies, link more transparent teaching methods to measurable student gains in advanced reading, writing, and analytical skills. Additionally, both studies also note significant gains in student persistence and sense of both empowerment and belonging. At the intersection of these approaches lies the core concept of increased faculty transparency—communication directly to students of the scaffolding for each assignment, from links to course and program outcomes to clear assessment models. Increased transparency can move in two directions: from teacher to student through faculty training and redesign of assignments, or it can occur through a “reverse” process that empowers students to request and participate in designing more transparent and purposeful assignments. At UNG, we are testing these findings by employing two methodologies: first, faculty workshops offered to engage faculty in productive conversations that lead them to re-design classroom assignments, and second, student-led redesign opportunities through the UNG Writing Fellows program. These approaches emerged from Turlington and Shimkus’ 2016 Presidential Innovation Grant entitled “Academic Cross Training: A WAC/WID Initiative and Clearinghouse at UNG.”
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- Date submitted
19 July 2022
- Additional information
Anita Turlington is an Associate Professor of English on the Gainesville campus, where she has taught for 16 years. A former chair of the English department at GSC and former Associate Head of English at UNG, she is currently ABD at Georgia State University. Her research interests include the New Woman writers of the late 19th century, ethical criticism, and Writing Across the Curriculum. Current projects include a collaborative Presidential Innovations Grant with Jim Shimkus to develop the WAC initiative at UNG, managing an Affordable Learning Georgia grant to develop an open-access World Literature textbook, and completing her dissertation, an ethical study of the New Woman writers. Jim Shimkus has undergraduate degrees in English and Journalism from the University of Georgia. He holds an M.A. in Literature and a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from Georgia State University. He has served as Writing Center Coordinator at Georgia Military College and Director of Writing Programming at the University of North Georgia. He is currently Director of Writing Fellows at the University of North Georgia.