Faculty development and support for computer-assisted writing instruction

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Siering, Gregory John
Newbold, William Webster, 1950-
Issue Date
Thesis (Ph. D.)
Department of English
Other Identifiers

Despite calls for better training of college composition teachers utilizing computer-assisted writing instruction (CAWI), English departments have only recently begun to systematically address the faculty development needs of these teachers. Other fields such as adult education and staff development have begun applying theory and research to faculty development efforts, but CAWI proponents have yet to attain that depth of study and commitment.By investigating methods and characteristics of CAWI faculty development programs, this study found that academic-year workshops were the most common development activity, although teachers preferred personal, collaborative approaches like mentors, consultants, and discussion groups. These patterns were consistent across types of colleges and universities, indicating general context descriptors like institutional size and mission did not significantly influence or limit faculty development practices. This discrepancy between preferred and offered programs indicates faculty needs are not being met, and offers potential reasons for a lack of satisfaction with CAWI faculty development and administration.Faculty respondents identified adequate time and funding as the most important contributors to the success of CAWI faculty development, noting that faculty support-particularly the personalized attention teachers prefer-is time-intensive and requires extensive commitment from those providing the services. These time concerns reflect staffing patterns: CAWI administrative duties were added to the workload of current departmental administrators just over half of the time, and CAWI support duties were assigned to current administrators over onethird of the time. These support duties were assigned to non-tenure-line personnel over one-quarter of the time, a practice that raises questions about authority and credibility needed to administer faculty development programs.Despite a relative lack of concern among faculty, evaluation and reward systems play an important long-term role in CAWI support. Current structures do not adequately recognize and reward CAWI-related scholarship and service, including faculty development work. Applying Boyer and Glassick's expanded concepts of scholarship might prove useful in improving and professionalizing CAWI faculty development efforts, thereby helping secure scholarly identity for CAWI and its support activities.