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Final Report to IECE Regarding PWR Model Project



The IECE provided $6,000 and PWR provided $5,000 for course buy-outs and summer funding for me, Veronica House, to found and run the Writing Initiative for Service and Engagement.  The following is a summary of the work that has taken place from 11/08-1/10:


A Year in Review:

After receiving the Model Project Grant in November, 2008, I created and began coordination of the Writing Initiative for Service and Engagement (WISE Project). 


In December, 2008 I visited the Stanford University Community Writer’s Project, which was a model for me in my conceptualization of the PWR project. I met with their Director, Nancy Buffington, and with the Writing Center Director, Clyde Moneyhun, to gather ideas for the WISE Project and to promote our work.


As the WISE Project coordinator, my primary objective has been to provide as many resources and as much training as possible for other PWR instructors interested in service-learning and civic engagement.  I liaised with Colorado Campus Compact Director Theresa Cusimano to plan the 2/20/09 Chautauqua Retreat, attended by 20 members of the PWR.  This four-hour retreat centered on developing a programmatic strategy to implement service and engagement across the writing curriculum. 


I worked with Neal McConomy, Juliet Wittman, Catherine Kunce, Josh Kupetz, and Ginger Knowlton in Nov. 2008 as they wrote Course Development grants for the Office of Service-Learning, and with Matthew Wilsey-Cleveland, Sally Green, Damian Doyle, Anna MacBriar, Jesse Stommel, and Michelle Albert in Nov. 2009.  I then met with Marty Bickman to discuss these grant ideas before he awarded each applicant between $250-2,000. 


In February, 2009, I applied for and received $3,000 in grant money from the Office of Service-Learning for six instructors who taught a service-learning based first-year writing course for the first time in Fall 2009.  Part of their agreement in accepting the grant money was to work closely with me in developing their courses. 


In April, 2009 I organized a workshop with the PWR Outreach Committee entitled “Designing Service-Learning Syllabi and Assignments.” 


Throughout the Spring 09 semester, I met individually with all nineteen of the PWR’s instructors who stated interest in teaching with service-learning to discuss their course ideas and their vision for service and engagement in the PWR.  I have also provided readings on reflection, course design and implementation, definitions, and more. 


I created and wrote all material for the WISE website as a resource for instructors:


I created a service-learning library and service-learning office for the PWR with resources, books, xeroxed articles, DVDs, and community brochures.


I worked with Caroline Sinkinson, the PWR reference librarian in Norlin, to design a Service-Learning/Writing Classes link off of the Norlin homepage.  Unlike the WISE website, which is designed primarily for instructors, the Norlin link is a resource for students in service-learning based writing courses.


In May, 2009 I held a 2-hour workshop with the six First-Year Writing grant recipients to focus on creating assignment and reflection ideas and finding community partners.  I also met individually with each of them to discuss their course ideas. 


Summer: I held several 1-hour meetings with non-profit coordinators across Boulder.  I visited the organization sites and discussed collaboration ideas with them, focusing on needs they have for written materials from our PWR students.


Fall 09: I joined the PWR’s Program Committee as the service-learning coordinator and liaison to IECE.  I continue to chair our newly-named Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Committee (formerly Outreach).


On November 15, I held a four-hour focus group with four of the six new 1150 instructors.


On November 20, I led a 1.5 hour nuts-and-bolts workshop for PWR faculty newly interested in service-learning.


On December 11, PWR held a two-hour community partner luncheon and workshop with speakers and collaborative group sessions.  16 PWR faculty and 35 community partners attended.


Current Work:

I continue to update the WISE website and service-learning library.  I am collaborating with Peter Simons and Willem van Vliet on running an Engaged Department workshop for faculty across campus on 3/4.  I am working with Peter to bring nationally renowned scholar Patti Clayton to campus next November to run two full-day workshops for PWR and IECE.  I have joined the IECE Steering Committee as a PWR representative.  In the near future, I envision creating a (perhaps annual) spring symposium of student service-learning projects and running a workshop on technology and service-learning assignments.


PWR Director John Ackerman has been instrumental in encouraging a culture of engagement by promoting all of this work at faculty meetings, in program planning, and in curricular innovation.  PWR’s Upper-Division Writing Committee has worked to redesign a major portion of the PWR’s upper-division curriculum to include courses, any of which could be service-learning based, under the headings of Civic Engagement, Identity Politics in the Contemporary U.S., Globalization and Difference, Contemporary Debates, and Sustainable Communities. 


PWR’s Current Numbers:

The PWR has more instructors teaching with service-learning and teaches more service-learning courses than any other academic unit on the CUB campus. 

Fall 09: 13 instructors out of 88 (14.7%)/ 16 sections out of 227 (7%)/ 305 students out of 4525 (6.7%)

Spring 10: 14 instructors out of 89 (15.7%)/ 18 sections out of 211 (8.5%)/ 355 students out of 4150 (8.5%)

12 of the 19 instructors teaching with service-learning and civic engagement have joined on since the WISE Project began—a 271% increase.


Final Observations: 

I did not encounter any barriers to achieving the goals I set last year.  In fact, we accomplished more than we imagined.  The funding for a course release each semester was critical in providing me with the necessary time to delve into all aspects of creating a model program, which include training faculty, creating resources, and connecting with community partners.   The PWR will continue this fundin