Infrastructure & Immobility in in Basic Writing

Michael D. Hill presented “Basic Writing Among the Natives, or How to Change Survive a Program from the Inside.” He began with the compelling explanation that the campus is “locked between the University of Michigan Dearborn on one side, a freeway on another, a rive behind us, and Ford Motor Company in front of us.” This leads to physical limits in growth and development for the college.

He discussed the challenges of working for change, trying to implement WPA, portfolio assessment, new pedagogies. HillĀ also discussed a common thread in today’s session: how to innovate in a department. Many people at today’s workshop have raised the question of how to introduce new pedagogies.

Change is easier when there is a group you can point to position statements and a presence; innovative pedagogies are easier to introduce when you can point to a field.

Hill called for CBW to make clear & strong best practice statements on issues like: assessment, grammar instruction, placement procedures, class size, faculty training, ESL, programmatic support, textbooks, contingent faculty, acceleration, what it means to teach for student voice & student empowerment, and curriculum.

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