Committee on Writing In the Disciplines / Writing Across the Curriculum (WID-WAC)
Annual Report for 2020-21
TO: Academic Senate Steering Committee
FROM: Clarence Jefferson Hall Jr., Chair
SUBJECT: Annual Report for 2020-2021
DATE: May 22, 2021
Clarence Jefferson Hall Jr., History, Chairperson (2021)
Christi Saindon, Speech Communication and Theatre Arts, Secretary (2023)
Sanjay Koul, Biological Sciences and Geology (2022)
Chris Leary, English (2022)
Carla McIntosh, Academy Advisement (2023)
Linda Meltzer, Business (2021)
Rommel Robertson, Social Sciences (2022)
Ian Schanning, Physics (2021)
Stefan Spezio, Center for Tutoring and Academic Support (2023)
Elise Denbo, English, WID-WAC Coordinator
Robert Donley, Mathematics and Computer Science, WID-WAC Coordinator
Arthur Corradetti, OAA Liaison, Dean for Institutional Effectiveness
Academic Senate Steering Committee Designee:
Scott Litroff, Music
The Committee met four times (via Zoom) during the 2020-21 academic year:
- September 16, 2020
- December 9, 2020
- February 17, 2021
- May 12, 2021
Outline of the Committee Work
- The committee considered three requests for waivers of the WI requirement. After careful review of each petition, two were approved, and one was denied.
- In the fall of 2020, the committee considered requests from seven faculty members wishing to participate in the committee’s ongoing recertification initiative. These seven individuals had either participated in a previous round of recertification and had not been approved or had not responded to the committee’s original call for documents. The committee carefully reviewed each faculty member’s documents and approved all seven for recertification. Sandra Palmer, Dean of Faculty, notified both the faculty members and their department chairs of the outcome.
- Beginning with our first meeting in September 2020, the committee devoted considerable time, energy, and thought to our sixth Senate bylaw charge: “Insure through a certification and recertification process that all classes designated as WI meet the criteria for a WI class.” Julian Stark, secretary of the Academic Freedom Committee, attended our first meeting and related concerns brought to his committee by faculty asked to participate in past rounds of WI recertification. During the same meeting, Dr. Arthur Corradetti informed the committee that faculty could not be forced to participate in recertification. Dr. Corradetti also informed the committee that because the power to create course schedules rests with department chairs, faculty who do not participate in recertification may continue teaching WI courses. Revocation of an individual faculty member’s original WI certification is therefore not possible.
- In March 2021, the committee solicited WI packets (syllabus, formal writing assignment, and rubric) from fifty faculty members—roughly evenly divided across the academic departments—for recertification. The email sent from the Office of Academic Affairs—on behalf of the WID-WAC Committee—to these fifty faculty members indicated that while participation was totally voluntary, the central mission of recertification was to provide as much support as possible to faculty teaching WI. Only three out of fifty faculty members submitted packets and were approved for recertification. A couple faculty members asked to participate at some point in the future, while a couple others indicated they would participate but ultimately never sent documents to the committee.
- The three faculty members who were successfully recertified were notified via email by the chair of the WID-WAC Committee. The Dean of Faculty, Dr. Sandra Palmer, and the faculty members’ departmental chairpersons were copied on these emails. The committee would like to recognize Dr. Rommel Robertson, who volunteered to evaluate the packets submitted by the three faculty members approved for recertification. Robertson completed this work on his own time, during spring break, and the committee is most grateful for his service.
- Palmer informed the chair of the WID-WAC Committee that the names of faculty members who did not participate in the recertification initiative this semester would be sent to their departmental chairpersons.
- Before the Office of Academic Affairs sent the initial email to faculty on March 19, the chair of the WID-WAC Committee consulted with Drs. Corradetti and Palmer about the large number of faculty who are eligible to participate in the recertification initiative. The chair received several spreadsheets from Dr. Palmer containing the names of faculty members who are certified to teach WI courses. Excluding faculty members who have already gone through recertification and those who are no longer employed by the college, there are still over two hundred faculty members who have not been asked to participate. Corradetti signaled his desire for the committee to work through half of this list in Fall 2021 and the other half in Spring 2022.
- In our final meeting held on May 12, 2021, three newly elected members joined us: Raul Armendariz (Physics), James Nichols (History), and Dimitrios Stroumbakis (Engineering Technology). The committee would like to acknowledge the work of outgoing members: Jeff Hall (Committee Chairperson, History), Linda Meltzer (Business), and Ian Schanning (Physics). Thank you for your time, service, and commitment to the work of the committee.
- Robert Donley (Mathematics and Computer Science) and Elise Denbo (English) announced their intention to resign as WI coordinators (and ex officio members of the committee) effective at the end of the Spring 2021 semester. The committee thanks Bob and Elise for their service to the WI program and WID-WAC Committee.
- The committee looks forward to welcoming the new WI coordinators, Melissa Dennihy (English) and Monica Rossi-Miller (Foreign Languages), when they assume their new positions at the beginning of the fall semester.
- Christi Saindon (Speech Communication & Theatre Arts) was elected chair and James Nichols (History) was elected secretary for academic year 2021-2022. The committee thanks Christi for exemplary service as committee secretary over the past year.
- In addition to the regular work of the committee (completing recertifications and considering student waiver petitions) there are a few other issues that should be addressed in the coming academic year:
- The committee will adjust the language of the “required” and “recommended” items of the checklist used to evaluate faculty WI recertification packets to reflect the different instructional modalities (in-person, online, hybrid) currently in use at the college.
- The committee should create one master document (either a Word or Excel file) containing the names of all currently employed faculty who are certified to teach WI courses. This document should also indicate whether (and when) faculty members have been asked to participate in recertification, along with the outcomes. Currently, this information is scattered across several different spreadsheets. Perhaps the committee could form a small subcommittee to better organize this data.
- The committee should work to find undergraduate students willing to serve as full members during the academic year.
- The committee should designate an individual (or individuals) whose job is to keep the committee’s website updated. The names of committee members and meeting times must be kept current, and meeting minutes (once approved) must be posted on the website. This same individual might also be asked to submit approved meeting minutes to the College Archivist (currently Professor Constance Williams, Library). Dave Moretti can help teach the individual (or individuals) how to access the Cascade system and how to keep the committee website up to date.
- The committee should update the Academic Senate Steering Committee’s Committee Guide to include information on the Committee on WID-WAC.
- Following excellent suggestions put forth by Dr. Chris Leary at the May 12, 2021 committee meeting, the committee should consider ways to better coordinate the efforts of the Committee on WID-WAC, the WI coordinators, CTAS, and the Composition Committee.
- The transition from an old leadership team to a new one should be as smooth as possible. The committee would be well advised to create a document designed to ensure an incoming chair and secretary have all the tools they need to succeed during their term in office. Such a document might include information on the following:
- Date that current leadership team (chair and secretary) leaves office (day of spring commencement) and date that new leadership team (chair and secretary) assumes office (first day of fall semester).
- Status of committee work during annual leave (summer). Summertime WI-related inquiries from faculty and students should be directed to the incoming leadership team. They will decide when and how to dispose of such inquiries, either during annual leave or at the beginning of the fall semester.
- Location where important committee documents are stored. Ensuring ease of access for all committee members (current and future) should be a priority.
- General duties of chair and secretary.
- Establishing meeting dates / times.
- Maintenance of committee website.
- Transmittal of approved meeting minutes to College Archivist (currently Professor Constance Williams, Library).
- Information on how to conduct a fair election for chair and secretary at the end of the spring semester.
- Only continuing and incoming members may nominate and vote. Outgoing members are ineligible either to nominate or vote.
- Individuals may nominate either themselves or a fellow committee member.
- Nominations and voting for chair and secretary should be conducted via secret ballot. An outgoing member of the committee may be designated to collect nominations and count votes.
- The names of the newly elected chair and secretary should be immediately communicated to the committee and the Academic Senate Steering Committee.
- Unresolved question regarding recertification:
- Once a faculty member is approved for recertification, how much time should pass before they are once again asked to participate? The committee charge should be updated to include this information.