The Writing Program offers collaborative workshops, individual consultations, and online resources for faculty and departments seeking to refine and polish their skills as writing teachers. 

Faculty Development Workshops -- Fall 2021


Preparing to Teach Writing in the First-Year Seminar 

When: August 16 from 8:30-3:30 
Where: Althouse 207
Facilitators: Noreen Lape, John Katunich, Chris Bombaro

The faculty-approved resolution of First-Year Seminars states that the purpose of FYS is to introduce students to the “habits of mind” that allow them to enter the “community of inquiry.”  What are those habits of mind that faculty identified?  How does one create an FYS to address those learning goals?    

This workshop focuses on how to teach writing, research, and information literacy in an FYS.  We will discuss the goals of FYS, scaffolding assignments, integrating information literacy goals, teaching analytical reading and writing, and incorporating writing skills into instruction – with a special focus on integrating Writing Analytically into class discussion. By the end of the workshop, you will have ideas about how to design your syllabus. 

Teaching the WID Course 

When: August 20 from 8:30-3:30
Where: Alden Room, Waidner-Spahr Library 
Facilitator: Noreen Lape

The workshop will help you plan your approach and assignments for teaching writing-in-the-discipline. The morning session will focus on these topics:

• addressing WID learning goals
• creating authentic assignments in the discipline
• sequencing and scaffolding assignments
• teaching the recursive writing and research process.

During the afternoon session, we will have some collaboratory time in which you create or refine your WID assignments, share your ideas with colleagues, and give and receive feedback on assignments. By the end of the day, you should have, at the least, a rough draft of your semester assignments and a plan to approach the teaching of writing skills in your particular discipline. 

Supporting Multilingual Writers at Dickinson - This workshop has been cancelled.

When: October 12 from 4:30-5:30
Where: Althouse 109
Facilitator: John Katunich, Associate Director of the Writing Program and Multilingual Writers Specialist

How can faculty best help international and multilingual students grow as writers?  What are some of the ways that international students, particularly in their first year, may be unfamiliar with conventions, genres or expectations of academic writing at Dickinson?  In what ways can faculty support them as language learners, while also recognizing and leveraging writers' multilingual repertoires? This interactive workshop will be an opportunity for dialogue about the diverse multilingual and international student writers whom we encounter in our classrooms, the strengths as well challenges that they bring with them to the classroom, and Dickinson resources that they can utilize. 


Teaching with Compassion in Post-Pandemic Times

When: September 22 from 4:15-5:15
Where: Althouse 204 
Facilitators: Noreen Lape, Associate Provost and Director of the Writing Program; and Donna Bickford, Director of the Women’s and Gender Resource Center

At the beginning of the pandemic, there were multiple articles in the Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed centered on the accountability vs. compassion debate.  In other words, as the pandemic worsened, should faculty focus their pedagogy on holding all students to the same rigorous academic standards, or should faculty display empathy and compassion for students who are suffering from stress, trauma, and various other inequities? 

While the pandemic exacerbated trauma and inequity, trauma and inequities have always existed for our students. As the pandemic becomes more manageable and we move back to campus life, should we readjust our notions of student accountability and instructor compassion? In what ways can we practice what some have called “compassionate accountability”?

In preparation for a discussion about balancing compassion and accountability, participants will be asked to listen to the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast: “The Role of Faculty in Student Mental Health.”

Faculty Self-Awareness and Self-Care 

When: October 6 from 4:15-5:15
Where: Althouse 204
Facilitator: Lauren Strunk, Executive Director of the Dickinson College Wellness Center

This workshop will provide an opportunity to get away from our busy lives and take time to reflect and learn from our experiences. This workshop will be used to question the long-term viability and sustainability of the ways that we work, highlighting ways of working that may produce stress, conflict, physical and mental health concerns and exhaustion. We will develop skills, practices and ideas to help us make changes in our day to day lives that will support our wellbeing and explore ways of working which keep ourselves healthy.

Equitable Grading Practices: Contract Grading, Specifications Grading, Ungrading

When: October 22 from 3:30-5:00
Where: Online Session
Facilitators: Sarah McGaughey, Associate Professor of German; Melissa Wehler, Instructional Design Specialist; Noreen Lape, Associate Provost and Director of the Writing Program

In “The Case Against Grades,” Alfie Kohn reports three conclusions from the research on grading.  

1. Grades tend to diminish students’ interest in whatever they’re learning.  
2. Grades create a preference for the easiest possible task.  
3. Grades tend to reduce the quality of students’ thinking. 

This workshop is for those who have changed their grading systems or are curious about alternative forms of grading. You will learn about three alternatives to the traditional grading system: contract grading, specifications grading, and ungrading. We will discuss such issues as inclusivity, disciplinary differences in implementation, and appropriateness for varying levels of learning. Discussions will allow participants to consider both small and large changes to grading in their courses.

Course Design Collaboratory

January 2022– TBA -- in Waidner-Spahr Library

The Course Design Collaboratory offers professors a collaborative and productive environment to finalize your syllabus and assignments before the semester begins. We will meet in the Waidner-Spahr Library where you will have space to work on your course design. In addition, you will be able to sign up for consultations with various campus experts. They will be available to consult on such topics as the research process and information literacy; digital and multimedia projects; best practices for students with disabilities; designing and teaching writing; syllabi and learning goals; different pedagogies (i.e. collaborative, active learning, etc.); and diversity and inclusion in the classroom, among others. You can choose as many consultations as you wish to attend, work on your course materials between consultations, share ideas with fellow faculty, and enjoy lunch together.   

Individual Consultations

The Writing Program offers individual consultations on a variety of topics:

  • designing assignments
  • sequencing and scaffolding assignments
  • facilitating effective peer review
  • responding to student writing
  • creating rubrics
  • working with multilingual writers
  • working with a Writing Associate
  • designing a WiD course
  • incorporating writing-to-learn activities into courses
  • and more.

If you would like to set up an appointment, contact Noreen Lape at (717) 245-1904 or

Online Resources

The Moodle site houses a comprehensive library of in-house and external resources regarding the teaching of writing.  If you would like to subscribe to the Moodle, email Noreen Lape at

For a comprehensive list of faculty development workshops, click on Past Faculty Development Workshops.