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Faculty Members Awarded QEP Grants for Plans to Improve Disciplinary Writing

Four faculty members from three Old Dominion colleges have been awarded more than $78,000 in internal grants to design plans to improve disciplinary writing in their programs.

These are the inaugural grants in ODU's Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), an important part of the university's SACS accreditation initiative. ODU's QEP is intended to improve upper-division undergraduate students' disciplinary writing - that is, writing that demonstrates a reasoning process supported by research and reflection on a problem, topic or issue.

Lead recipients of the grants are Laurie Craigen, assistant professor of counseling and human services; Jennifer Kidd, lecturer of teaching and learning; Chris Osgood, associate professor of biological sciences; and Elizabeth Vincelette, lecturer of English.

"We were very excited about the quality of the proposals we received and are even more enthusiastic about seeing the recipients bring their projects to light. Improving Disciplinary Writing is an invaluable endeavor and these projects are further evidence that many of our colleagues are willing to find creative ways to support their academic programs, our students and this initiative," said Remica Bingham-Risher, director of writing and faculty development (QEP director).

Descriptions of the winning projects are given below:

LEAD FACULTY: LAURIE CRAIGEN

Lead Faculty College: Education

Action Project Title: "Human Services Program Initiatives"

Co-Investigators: Narketta Sparkman, assistant professor of counseling and human services, and Jill Dustin, associate professor of counseling and human services

Award Amount: $19,995

Project Description: In order to improve consistency and quality in the Undergraduate Human Services Program at ODU, they propose to create one new writing assignment (and rubric) for each of the 10 core courses in the program. This new assignment will align with the mission of ODU's QEP: Improving Disciplinary Writing and each corresponding rubric will be based on the QEP writing rubric.

LEAD FACULTY: JENNIFER KIDD

Lead Faculty College: Education

Action Project Title: "'Project P6': A Program-based Portfolio and Professional Development Project to Improve Pre-Service Teachers' Writing Performance"

Award Amount: $19,150

Project Description: She plans to improve pre-service teachers' writing by: 1) providing professional development to faculty teaching courses in the preK-6 program; 2) engaging preK-6 faculty in the collaborative development of interrelated writing assignments focused on the central theme of diversity; and 3) developing a digital repository to facilitate interaction with student writing across the preK-6 program.

LEAD FACULTY: CHRIS OSGOOD

Lead Faculty College: Sciences

Action Project Title: "Training Writing Fellows in the College of Sciences to Support W Courses"

Co-Investigator: Amy Landers, lecturer of psychology

Award Amount: $19,600

Project Description: They plan to offer an intensive, weeklong summer workshop with the aim of improving instruction in the writing-intensive (W) courses offered in biology and psychology by incorporating best practices highlighted in the QEP Faculty Workshops. The workshop will attract faculty currently or potentially involved in offering the W courses, teaching assistants drawn from the two departments and undergraduate peer educators.

LEAD FACULTY: ELIZABETH VINCELETTE

Lead Faculty College: Arts and Letters

Action Project Title: "Screencasting to Foster Formative Assessment: Improving Undergraduate Disciplinary Writing"

Co-Investigators: Jennifer Kidd, lecturer of teaching and learning, and Timothy Bostic, assistant professor of professional writing

Award Amount: $13,325

Project Description: They plan to recruit faculty from across the university who teach upper-level undergraduate writing-intensive (W) courses, and teach them to use Screencast (video screen capture) technology to provide formative feedback on student writing.