Friday, September 11, 2009

Northwest regional conference, report #7

In the final session, we enjoyed a variety of presentations on programs and curricula.

Cheryl Beckett of Gonzaga discussed how an increase in status for LP profs leads to an increase in workload (e.g., committee assignments) and then an increase in burnout.  Signs of burnout include grumpy behavior, absence from the office, decreased comments on student papers, and squabbling with colleagues.  She suggested options such as leave time, additional adjuncts, and modifying the system used to evaluate papers (e.g., peer critiques, live grading) to ease the burden.  Several participants questioned her about how well live grading works and whether it actually saves time.  Steve Johansen of Lewis & Clark talked about his approach, which includes not reading the paper at all until the conference and then reading it as a "real" reader would.

P1030637 Cristina Lockwood of University of Detroit Mercy talked about Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) programs and how a variety of learning theories support that approach to developing writing skills and ultimately mastery. 

Finally, Lance Long of Stetson talked about the use of intensifiers in briefs and judicial opinions.  He noted that everyone likes to think it bolsters an argument, and he said that according to his analysis, all judicial writers use them more in dissent situations.  Using Supreme Court cases (looking at briefs and opinions), he applied a readability analysis and intensifier analysis and found that neither correlated with success on appeal.

What a great conference!!  Thank you to everyone from Oregon and Lewis & Clark who contributed to its success.


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