The Calderwood Institute on the Teaching of Writing

About the Goals of the Institute

The Calderwood Institute is dedicated to improving student writing by helping faculty across all disciplines become better teachers of writing. Since 2003, we have worked with faculty members from a wide variety of fields—from mathematics to graphic design, biology to physical education. Even though writing is integral to our lives as academics and good writing is an expectation we have for our students, we rarely have the opportunity to engage in meaningful and sustained dialogue about the teaching of writing. The Calderwood Institute provides us with just that kind of intensive opportunity.

The Institute was funded for the first five years with a generous grant from the Calderwood Foundation in Boston; since 2009, Keene State College has demonstrated its commitment to improving the quality of writing on our campus by continuing to fund the project internally.

Workshop Facilitators

Mark C. Long, Professor and Chair of English, has been teaching writing for over twenty years. He has served as an assistant director of the expository writing program at the University of Washington and the coordinator of the Thinking and Writing course at Keene State College. He collaborated with Phyllis Benay and Kirsti Sandy in designing the Calderwood institute and has co-facilitated the Institute since 2003.

Phyllis Benay, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Director of the Center for Writing, brings twenty years of experience promoting writing-across-the-disciplines at KSC. She has presented the work of the Calderwood Institute at national and international conferences, and specializes in the relationship between cognitive development and writing.

About Stipends and Applications

  1. Interested faculty need to complete our online application by May 20, 2013. Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis; the funding for this project allows for eight full-time, tenure-track faculty per year. You will be informed by late May about your participation in the program.
  2. The Institute will begin Monday, August 5th at 10:00 a.m. and will end on Friday, August 9th at noon. Each day, with the exception of Friday which ends a bit earlier, begins at 10:00 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m. Participants must be available for the entire week. In addition, the group will decide on two follow-up meetings during the Fall, 2013 semester.
  3. The stipend for participation in the year-long Institute is $1,000 paid in two installments: $800 at the completion of the Summer Seminar and $200 at the end of the fall semester.

About Faculty Response to the Institute

My simple and honest response to the Calderwood week was that it was a feast of thoughtful engagement about the heart of the craft of teaching. It became clear to me that the teaching of writing, in essence, is helping students see their emerging self through the writing of their stories. This voyage of identity is well-aligned with our mission as an institution that promotes authentic learning. It was a gift to me to be a part of this, and I deeply appreciate the skill and attunement of the facilitators.
                                                                                               Len Fleischer, Education, 2008

Entering the Calderwood Institute of Writing, I envisioned taking a professional writing course, but instead, I was delighted to engage in literature, conversation, and reflection on how to improve student writing by being more purposeful about why I want students to write versus what I want students to write. The course provided synergy and clarity to my thoughts and the implementation of course assignments. I would recommend this to every faculty member that requires any form of writing in the course.
                                                                        Wanda Swiger, Physical Education, 2008

I found the Calderwood Institute to be ab excellent and informative experience. It helped me to clarify the broader objectives that underlie my writing assignments. There were also some specific highlights for me. The first was to discover that a very diverse group of colleagues shared many of the basic goals and assumptions about the use and merit of writing at the college level. I also received some very specific advice about the wording of an assignment that my students have been having trouble with recently. It was truly amazing that with the change in wording, the assignment will hopefully be much clearer and less intimidating for students. I would recommend Calderwood to all faculty regardless of department or rank.
                                                                                    Gary Bonitatibus, Psychology, 2008

As classes opened this week, I found myself asking students what type of writers they were as part of my introductions to the class. I made it clear that writing (in the form of our course texts and their assignments) that would sustain and support their work in the course. While this is really nothing new intellectually (I mean, how could I not know writing is important to teaching about literature and culture, right?), making this connection to students as well as myself is a pedagogical act that seems to be a “self-evident truth” that I’d somehow overlooked or failed to articulate.  I suspect this is just the start of something important and powerful. It is a good feeling and it comes from Calderwood.
                                                  Michael Antonucci, English/American Studies, 2008

Every writing assignment is an act of self-exploration.  This is the overarching message that I gained from the Calderwood writing seminar experience, and it has radically altered the way I design my courses.  This is the tree upon which I will hang the design of the courses that I teach.  I teach economic theory, and frankly, prior to participating in this seminar, I never would have even considered the idea that writing about economic theory could be an act of personal self-exploration.  Two other revelations occurred in this process for me.  The first is that what we learned about student writing is for the most part true for the scholarly writing that professors do, as well.  The other revelation is that this experience more than any other has given me some of the tools I have long known I needed to become an excellent teacher.
                                                                                            Marie Duggan, Economics, 2007

I am happy to articulate some of the changes spawned by my participation in the Calderwood Institute.  As I have mentioned, it was a very positive experience for me, and has benefited the students I teach.  It was also one of the more satisfying intellectual experiences I have had at Keene—the opportunity to sit with a group of bright people and talk about writing was a real joy.  The institute gave me the courage and support to break some old habits.  These spanned the writing process, from assignment to evaluation and grading.
                                                                                              Rich Blatchly, Chemistry, 2006

The Institute helped remind me that learning the process of writing is as much of a challenge for students as it is to learn through writing. I regularly remind myself of this whenever I encounter students who “just aren’t getting it.”  The Calderwood has helped me better emphasize the process of writing with students who are struggling. My students and my sanity have both benefited from this.
                                                                                            Mark Timney, Journalism, 2006

As a result of attending the Calderwood Writing Institute this past summer, I included several new writing assignments in my Management Information Systems course this fall.  These assignments increased student learning, made “correcting” papers more enjoyable, and provided me with valuable feedback during the semester.  I believe that infusing more carefully crafted writing assignments into my MIS course curriculum enhanced the course from my perspective as well as that of my students.
                                                                                       Linda Hadden, Management, 2006

The biggest impact of the Writing Institute’s program on my teaching is that as a scientist I am assigning writing projects with a sense of confidence and authority that I’ve never experienced before. I’ve lost much of my timidity over assigning written work and become more creative and enthusiastic. This newly found security is due in part to the knowledge that the support and expertise is there when I need it.
                                                                                         Susan Whittemore, Biology, 2005

The Writing Institute has had a pervasive effect on my teaching. I approach writing assignments with a new set of questions that I ask myself before I communicate my expectations and I have a new language with which to articulate them. In other words, I finally understand what part I play in the college’s efforts to teach writing across the curriculum.
                                                                                              Linda Baker, Psychology, 2004

It drove home to me how much writing itself is a way of learning, not just a way of demonstrating learning. While I have myself learned a lot from the writing I have done, I was never conscious enough of this process to convey that or emphasize that in my classes. This new way of thinking about the role of writing in learning provides a sounder basis for its use in the classroom.
                                                                              Rosemary Gianno, Anthropology, 2003

Colleagues Who Have Participated in Calderwood Institutes

Institute I–2003
Rosemary Gianno—Anthropology
Dave Payson—Communication
Peggy Walsh—Sociology
Karen Stanish—Mathematics
Dick Jardine—Mathematics
Bob Kostick—Graphic Design

Institute II–2004
Linda Baker—Psychology
Steve Clark—Psychology
Karen Jennings—Psychology
Karen Honeycutt—Sociology
Margaret Smith—Health Science
Becky Brown—Health Science
Prudence Cuper—Education

Institute III–2005
Evie Gleckel—Education
Pam Smith—Health Science
James Stemp—Sociology
Kristin Porter-Utley—Biology
Susan Whittemore—Biology
Jeff Timmer—Physical Education
Rose Kundanis—Journalism

Institute IV–2006
Becky Dunn—Health Science
Nigel Malcolm—Communication
Mark Timney—Journalism
Marie Duggan—Economics
Linda Madden—Management
Yi Gong—Education
Rich Blatchly—Chemistry

Institute V–2007
Sue Castriotta—Computer Science
Sara Hottinger—Women’s Studies/Philosophy
Celine Perron—Theatre
Nic Germana—History
Jerry Jasinski—Chemistry
Shari Bemis—Computer Science
Jeff Halford—Journalism
Therese Seibert—Sociology

Institute VI—2008
Wanda Swiger—Physical Education
Kate Tirabassi—English
Michael Antonucci—English/American Studies
Gary Bonitatibus—Psychology
Len Fleischer—Education
Wes Martin—Political Science
Peggy Partello—Library Science

Institute VII—2009
Kathleen Johnson—Management
John Finneran—Health Science
Candace Bosse—Modern Language and Women’s Studies
Jiwon Ahn—Film Studies
Bartlomiej Sapeta—Technology, Safety, and Design
Armagan Gezici—Economics
Joel Feldman—Physical Education

Institute VIII—2010
Renate Gebauer—Environmental Science
William Fleeger—Environmental Science
Fitni Destani—Physical Education
William Stroup—English
Graham Warder—History
Barbara Ware—Modern Language
Debra White-Stanley—Film Studies

Institute IX—2011 (Experimental Part Two Follow-Up Institute)
Becky Dunn—Health Science
William Stroup—English
Wes Martin—Political Science
Sara Hottinger—Women’s Studies/Philosophy
Jerry Jasinski—Chemistry
Fitni Destani—Physical Education
Linda Baker—Psychology



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