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LEARN Center Workshops 2003-2004

January 2004

Luncheon Workshop: Thursday, 15th January 2004 ( 12:30 pm- 4:00 pm ),
South Commons-University Center

Writing Across The Major: Taking The First Step

This past fall, Terry Beck from UW-LaCrosse came to UW-Whitewater to share his experiences on his own campus related to writing-across-the-curriculum and writing-across-the-major. Terry has agreed to return to UW-Whitewater in January in order to assist us in developing writing-across-the-major plans for each department. We are asking for 3 - 5 faculty members from each department to attend the workshop where they will accomplish the following

  1. Define formal writing competence for the department
  2. Identity the genres in which students will be competent upon completing the major
  3. Determine department evaluation criteria for formal writing

It is assumed that each department's plan will be unique, and Terry is prepared to assist each departmental team in achieving the objectives of the workshop. What will result is the beginning of a plant to ultimately infuse writing in a systematic way across the departments presented at the workshop.


Terry Beck is an Assistant Professor of English with a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition. He has worked in WAC at UW-LaCrosse since 1980 and was a member of a team that created both the Writing Emphasis program (begun as a General Education requirement in 1991 ) and the Writing-in-the-Major program, which became available as an alternative General Education requirement in 1998 . He has chaired the English Department Writing Committee for the last 10 years, a committee that develop a Writing Minor in the mid 1980's and has recently developed a Rhetoric and Writing tract for the English major.

His current research interests come from his involvement with two UW-LaCrosse campus faculty groups: the UW-LaCrosse (and System wide) project for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and the UW-LaCrosse Lesson Study Project, led by Bill Cerbin. In both group, the focus is on techniques for using writing to facilitate learning.

Tuesday, 26 August, 9:00am-Noon (8:30am Continental Breakfast),
Hamilton Center in University Center,

Perspectives on Critical Thinking and their Classroom Application

Research reveals one of the most commonly listed course objectives on post-secondary course syllabi across the United States is the development of critical/higher order thinking skills. This session will explore three major approaches to fostering the development of critical thinking skills: cognitive science (mental models and misconceptions, novice v. expert distinctions, models for thinking about thinking); intellectual and ethical development (especially on Perry and on Belenky et al.'s Women's Ways of Knowing) and, thinking-as-conversation (college as reacculturation; disciplinary discourse).

Mini-lectures will alternate with writing and small-and whole-group discussions of examples and implementation. Participants will explore how these approaches apply to their own teaching and how related instructional choices can foster and support students' movement towards more powerful modes of thinking and valuing.


Every Course Differently: Diversity and College Teaching
We now understand that diversity is a resource, not a problem. Bias and stereotypes are problems, however. These ideas will be developed contrapuntally in this session. We will experiment with some questions that may help in learning to see both op and bias in aspects of disciplinary discourse such as word choice, metaphors, questions asked and not asked, and definitions of the appropriate scope. We will also explore opportunity and bias in the classroom practices we adopt (assumptions about students, their responses, teaching/learning styles, and social structuring).

Key questions will include: How can the development of more sophisticated modes of thinking be used to make our address to diversity more effective? And: How is grading related to issues of diversity and to the development of critical thinking? Brief development of these ideas and of examples from both science and the humanities will help participants provide additional examples and discuss implementation in their own courses.


Craig E. Nelson, Professor of Biology at Indiana University, has taught: biology, intensive freshman seminars, great books and other honors courses, collaboratively-taught interdisciplinary courses, and a graduate course on Alternative Approaches to Teaching College Biology. He has received the President's Medal for Excellence, the highest honor bestowed by Indiana University. Craig also was named the Outstanding Research and Doctoral University Professor of the Year, 2000, by the Carnegie foundation for the Advancement of Teaching/Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and has served on the editorial consulting boards of the Journal for Excellence in College Teaching and College Teaching.

August 2003

Tuesday, 28 August, 8:45am-10:00am (8:30am Continental Breakfast),
McGraw 125

Evaluating Higher-Order Cognitive Skills
Using Multiple-Choice Questions
(Yes, it can be done!)

The advantages and disadvantages of using multiple-choice questions have been well-documented, and vehemently debated, in a voluminous amount of scholarly outlets. Yet many instructors fail to appreciate the fact that constructing an exam is an "art" that requires a full understanding of (1) content (or subject matter), (2) goals (i.e., what we want our students to know), and (3) tools (e.g., proper item-writing techniques).

During this session, attendees will explore essential concepts behind effective testing and item-writing, with special emphasis on how to assess and evaluate higher-order cognitive skills. Specific recommendations for writing effective exams will be shared and cognitive taxonomies of learning objectives (e.g., Bloom) will be examined.


Robert Gruber is a Professor of Accounting, a winner of the Leon Hermson Award for Excellence in Teaching from the College of Business and Economics and served as a UW-Whitewater representative in the UW System's Teaching Scholars Program.

Tuesday, 28 August, 8:45am-10:00am,
McGraw 117

Improving Your Scholarly Writing
Using the Key Sentence Method

Research conducted by Noble (1989) revealed that a well written, coherent argument was the number one characteristic searched for by peers when reviewing submissions for scholarly publication. During this session, participants will examine the coherence of their own scholarly writing by using the Key Sentence Method—a remarkably simple but useful tool employed by faculty development centers around the nation.

Attendees are asked to bring a paper copy of an article that they plan to(re)submit to the scholarly review process. This article will serve as a basis for review and discussion during the session.


Sally Vogl-Bauer is an Associate Professor of Communication, winner of the College of Arts and Communication Research Award, and has served as a mentor in the 2003 Scholar/Mentor Program.

Tuesday, 28 August, 10:15am-11:30am
McGraw 117,

Web-Based Diversity Tools:
An Internet Resource

In August 2003, the LEARN Center launched its new website. A section of this website is devoted to providing information about teaching on issues of diversity. The site contains proven approaches for teaching about issues of difference, race, ethnicity, and culture, and also sections that link faculty to resources both on campus and elsewhere. The site was funded by the Chancellor's initiative on Cutriculum Diversity and developed by Jim Winship of the Social Work Department.

In this workshop, Jim Winship will introduce the website and participants will engage in several of the exercises/class activities found on the site.


Jim Winship is Associate Professor of Social Work, and former director of the UW-Whitewater Teaching.

Tuesday, 28 August, 10:15am-11:30am
McGraw 125,

The Subject: Human

Federal regulation regarding the use of human subjects in basic and applied research initiatives are continuously evolving. The requirements for protection of the rights are welfare of participants in such projects may have changed since your Ph. D. days. This session will provide an overview of UW-Whitewater's policies and procedures. Attendance at this session will eliminate the need to attend other such sessions soon to be mandated by the federal government.

If you are conducting research, supervising student research, or preparing a grant proposal during this academic year that will involves the use of human subject, you're strongly encouraged to attend this session.


Denise Ehlen, Coordinator of Research and Sponsored Programs, and Steve Friedman, Ex Officio member of the UW-Whitewater Institutional Review Board of the Protection of Human Subjects.