Bianca Falbo

Lafayette College

Upcoming Meetings for FYS Faculty

14 August, 12-3pm, Pardee 102 B

Informal, introductory meeting for all FYS instructors.  The first half of the meeting (12-1:30) will be devoted specifically to FYS matters:  I’ll provide you with some updates about the current state of the program, remind you about the various kinds of support around the College available to FYS faculty, and speak about a couple new initiatives for this year.  I will also be happy to answer any questions you have about getting started with your course.  The second half of the meeting (1:45-3) will be devoted to discussion of the summer reading.  If you are planning to meet your FYS section during orientation to discuss Hidden Figures, I  invite you to stay and swap approaches and ideas with your FYS colleagues.
If you cannot attend, but have questions or want feedback on FYS course materials, send me an email and we will find a time to meet.  If you are interested specifically in the summer reading discussion, the Office of the Dean of Advising is holding another discussion on 23 August.   Look for an invitation (and RSVP request) in your email inbox.
21 August, Pardee 102 B.  9:30-4pm for those teaching a new FYS, 1-4 for everyone else.
The morning session will be focused on the needs of new instructors, but anyone who wants a refresher on writing pedagogy is welcome to join us for part of all of the afternoon session (1-4 in Pardee 102 B).
Light refreshments will be served at both meetings.  Email me if you would like to attend.  (New faculty need not reply for Aug 21—you are all set.)

Designing Better Writing Assignments

Could your writing assignments use some updating? There are two events happening next week that can help you!

My Favorite Writing Assignment is back!  On Wednesday, March 21, 12-1, join Han Luo (Foreign Languages and Literatures), Khadijah Mitchell (Biology), and Jorge Torres (Music) for a discussion of their favorite assignments for teaching writing and critical thinking. Gendebien Rm.  Light lunch provided.  Open to all faculty.

And on Thursday March 22,  don’t miss the second installment of CWP’s four-part workshop series on designing a writing-intensive class.  Thursday’s topic is assignment design. You might consider attending if you are thinking about teaching a writing-intensive course in the future, or if you are interested in adapting a current course into a W course.   In addition to “Assignment Design,” upcoming topics include “Feedback” and “Assessment.”   Email Tim Laquintano ( if you are interested.

The Changing Face of Humanities Research

Thanks to my colleague Patricia Donahue for sharing a link to this article published last October in The Guardian about current Humanities research.  Here’s an excerpt:

… humanities research teaches us about the world beyond the classroom, and beyond a job. Humanities scholars explore ethical issues, and discover how the past informs the present and the future. Researchers delve into the discourses that construct gender, race, and class. We learn to decode the images that surround us; to understand and use the language necessary to navigate a complex and rapidly shifting world.

Read more…


CWP Summer Updates

  • CWP is holding a few WAs in reserve for faculty who missed the spring deadline to request WA help for a fall course.  Anyone interested kindly email me asap.
  • I am available and happy to meet with faculty over the summer to discuss writing plans for  fall courses.
  • FYS faculty, please remember to add the St. Martin’s HB to your required reading list.  You need not order copies.  The bookstore will have enough for all FYS sections.

Faculty WA Requests for Spring 2014 Classes

The College Writing Program is currently accepting requests from faculty for Spring 2014 Writing Associates. Please note: your course does not have to have the W designation for you to work with a Writing Associate. All that’s really required is (1) a willingness on your part to meet with your WA to explain assignments, criteria for evaluation, grading policies, and disciplinary conventions, and (2) a commitment to schedule, at regular intervals across the semester, four mandatory conferences between the Writing Associate and every student in the class.

If you would like to work with a WA for any course next semester, please visit the CWP website, or click on the link below to go directly to our online request form:

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more, please contact Christian Tatu at He will be happy to answer your questions via e-mail or set up an appointment to discuss how a Writing Associate can help you and your students achieve your course objectives.

Faculty Workshop: What a WA Can Do for You

Faculty, did you know that

• all writers—both experienced and novice—benefit from having an informed, curious, engaged reader of their texts.

• any instructor can request a Writing Associate, even for courses that are not designated writing-intensive. Over the past year, WAs have assisted professors and their students in upper-level chemical engineering, economics, government & law, international affairs, and mathematics courses, just to name a few!

• students have lots of very thoughtful questions about academic writing—questions they may be more willing to ask fellow students than their professors.

• working with a Writing Associate does not lock you in to any set number of assignments for your course. WAs are expected to hold four conferences with your students, and conference should be spread out over the course of the semester.  But you decide when and where those conference will be most helpful.

• WAs can meet with your students at any stage of their writing processes, even while the student is still formulating an idea. By meeting with students before there’s an actual draft, WAs can often steer students away from projects that are unlikely to be successful and toward projects that better meet your expectations.

• contrary to popular belief, WAs can and do work with students on grammar and proofreading—along with the higher order concerns that make up the bulk of their conferences.

• WAs can also work with students on projects other than papers, including web pages and blog posts, PowerPoint presentations, podcasts, posters, etc.

Want to learn more? The College Writing Program cordially invites faculty to join us for lunch on Friday, November 22 at 12:15 in the Watt College Writing Room (Pardee 319). Bianca Falbo (CWP Director) and Christian Tatu (CWP Coordinator) will be on hand, along with our current senior WAs to discuss “What a WA Can Do for You.”

If you’re interested in joining us, please send an email to Christian at When responding, please feel free to include any questions you might like to have answered by the College Writing Program staff about working with a WA, or about teaching and learning with writing in general.

Upcoming CWP Events for Faculty

Supporting Multilingual Writers in the Classroom
Friday November 1, 2-4 PM
For:  Faculty and Staff
Speaker:  Dr. Ethan Joella
Snacks:   Provided!
RSVP:  Bianca Falbo
New FYS Faculty, Friday
October 25, 12-1 PM, P 319
Topic:  Responding productively to sentence-level problems
Lunch provided courtesy of the Provost’s Office

New Course

ENG 250.  Writing Genres:  The Essay 2.0

An exploration of the essay genre in the digital age.   What is an essay? How has it been defined at different historical moments?  What possibilities and opportunities for essay writing are emerging in the digital environments currently available to us as 21st-century writers?  We’ll read a range of essays from early to contemporary examples of the genre.   Writing projects will include a podcast and a digital essay on topics chosen by students, as well as shorter assignments responding to the reading and our class discussion.

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