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Faculty Beliefs and Practices About Writing Initiatives as Classroom Strategies and Institutional Objectives

Joan Kreiger, Johnson & Wales University

Abstract

Employers consistently rank “writing skills” as a desired quality of college graduates; however studies show that students’ writing skills often fall short of the mark (AAC& U, 2008; Charting the Future, 2006). Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) initiatives are one way universities attempt to improve student writing and promote student learning outcomes (Fulwiler, 1984; McLeod & Shirley, 1988). Linkages between critical thinking and writing are well documented, as examples of ways to promote general cognitive and intellectual growth (Bean, 2003; Britton, 1972; Chaffee, McMahon, & Stout, 2008; Fulwiler, 1982). Additionally, WAC programs have varied ties to general education goals and institutional-level assessment, including those noted in regional accreditation standards for writing. ^ The purpose of this quantitative, descriptive study was to examine whether the factors of attendance at WAC training, academic discipline, and/or years of teaching experience reveal any differences in the three dimensions of critical thinking, writing strategies utilization, and writing strategies beliefs, or relate to faculty beliefs and practices of WAC initiatives and other writing strategies in an effort to promote student learning outcomes, as well as institutional mission of continuous improvement. ^ This study utilized a questionnaire to examine the differences in beliefs and practices toward writing strategies among faculty (N=171) at a mid-size private institution to provide insights related to the following research questions: How do faculty members differ with respect to dimensions of critical thinking, writing strategies utilization, and writing strategies beliefs, when sorted by faculty with WAC training experience and faculty without WAC training experience; when sorted by academic affiliation, and; when sorted by years of teaching experience? ^ Is there a statistically significant difference in faculty perspective of a link between WAC initiatives and institutional goals, among faculty with WAC training experience and faculty without WAC training experience? No significant differences were noted on the t-tests between faculty who attended the training and those that did not, however faculty who attended the training were more likely to see WAC initiatives as aligned with institutional mission and outcomes. Findings also indicate that faculty members see strong links between critical thinking and writing. ^

Subject Area

Education, Language and Literature|Education, Pedagogy|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Kreiger, Joan, "Faculty Beliefs and Practices About Writing Initiatives as Classroom Strategies and Institutional Objectives" (2013). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3560619.
http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/dissertations/AAI3560619