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Fall 2019 Faculty Seminar

Exploring Best Practices in Writing Instruction: Investigating Practices, Values, and Beliefs about Writing in Your Discipline

The Writing Center is offering a seminar to support faculty in any discipline in their efforts to teach students to write more effectively and to use writing in ways that encourage deep learning of disciplinary material. 

Faculty will engage in collaborative work together to explore:

  • threshold concepts/underlying values and beliefs about writing in their disciplines,
  • goals and expectations for meaningful student writing in their field,
  • best practices for creating effective formal and informal writing assignments, and
  • strategies for responding to student writing that motivate writers to improve and revise. 

Departments planning to create or resubmit Written Communication (“WC”) courses for approval for the new Vol Core (general education) curriculum, or those who have identified learning outcomes involving student writing as something to work on in the coming year, should find this seminar especially useful.

How to Apply

Professorial and/or lecturer faculty from any campus department or unit are invited; GTAs may be part of a team if joined by a professorial or lecturer faculty member. Preference will be given to applications from teams of 2-3 members from a department or unit; however, individual applications from professorial and lecturer faculty are also welcome. We’re aiming for about 20 people.

Apply here by Monday, September 16. We expect to notify people on September 17 about whether there is space in the seminar for them.  

Participation and Commitment

Click here for a detailed overview and schedule.

  • 7 sessions. The first intensive session will take place on Saturday, September 21, from 9-2 (lunch and refreshments provided). The bi-weekly meetings that follow will take place on Tuesday afternoons, 3:30-5:00 pm, starting September 24. At least one member from each team should be present for each of the Tuesday meetings.
  • Participants will complete short readings prior to some of the seminar meetings and will be asked to bring various teaching materials to some sessions.
  • After the seminar ends, participants will share the teaching materials or strategies they developed, which may be posted on the Writing Center’s website for the benefit of other faculty on campus and/or used to train tutors to help their students.

Incentives for Participating

  • Each participant will receive a small stipend of $250 following the seminar.
  • Participants will finish the seminar with new or revised teaching materials and practices, such as writing assignments, strategies for in-class, writing-focused lessons, and effective ways to respond to student writing. 
  • Each participant who completes the seminar will be able to use the title “Herbert Writing Center Fellow” for the duration of their time at UT. 
  • The Writing Center will use the information shared by participating faculty to develop resources and train tutors to better help the student writers in their courses. 

Seminar Facilitators

  • Dr. Kirsten Benson, Director, Writing Center
  • Dr. Chris Kilgore, Special Programs Coordinator, Teaching and Learning Innovation and Lecturer, Department of English
  • Dr. Melinda Backer, Lecturer, Department of English


Please contact Kirsten Benson, director of the Writing Center, at

Supported by the Jim and Judi Herbert Excellence in Writing Endowment