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Faculty Seminar in Writing Instruction

The Faculty Seminar in Writing Instruction provides a small group of Cornell faculty an opportunity to explore the relationship between teaching and writing while developing or refining new or existing courses. Participants receive a stipend of $1800.

Facilitated by Dr. Elliot Shapiro, the 2016 Faculty Seminar will consist of an intensive two-day seminar held on June 2 and 3, followed by two intensive workshop days on June 7 and 8. The seminar days will focus on exploring frameworks for teaching writing in a range of courses. The workshop days will focus on reviewing draft materials produced by seminar participants and shared with the other members of the group. The seminar will have no more than eight participants.

Participants are typically either working on a new course or revising an existing one. These courses may be designated as writing courses but they need not be. We welcome applications from faculty of any rank; we particularly invite applications from faculty who are new to Cornell. The call for applications appears on the following page.

Since 1986, the Faculty Seminar in Writing Instruction has provided dozens of Cornell faculty members with a forum to reconsider teaching practices and to examine the role of writing at every level of the university curriculum. The seminar gives faculty an opportunity to discuss teaching and writing with colleagues from a range of disciplines. Departments represented among Faculty Seminar participants in recent years include:

Africana Studies


Art History

Asian Studies

City and Regional Planning


Creative Writing


Comparative Literature

Development Sociology





Food Science

German Studies




Human Development

Landscape Architecture

Labor Relations, Law, and History


Molecular Biology


Near Eastern Studies

Performing and Media Arts



Romance Studies

Science and Technology Studies



If you have questions about the seminar, please contact Elliot Shapiro.

Instructor Consultation

First-Year Writing Seminar instructors interested in free, private consultation are invited to participate in the Essay Response Consultation program. In this program a writing specialist or tutor reads a set of papers on which an instrcutor has commented, and then meets with the instructor for a one-to-one consultation about questions and insights regarding response to student work.

Less formal, unscheduled consultation is also possible; when a brief, informal meeting in the midst of responding to a set of papers could clear up temporary confusion and restore a balanced perspective, drop by any of the Writing Centers during our regular hours.

If you hear of any other strategies that have worked particularly well, please share them with us so we can pass them along to others. And if you wish to arrange for either an Essay Response Consultation or for some special assistance for a student during the semester, please contact Dr. Tracy Hamler Carrick.

Other Programs for Faculty

During the academic year, faculty members from the departments offering First-Year Writing Seminars act as course leaders for graduate students who are teaching seminars. Course leaders continue the support and training begun in "Teaching Writing" by holding regular staff meetings, visiting classes, reviewing papers comments, and so on.

An important mechanism for encouraging a heightened level of self-awareness surrounding questions of disciplinarity and the teaching of writing has been the "Peer Collaboration" program for graduate students, a program previously initiated by the current director as a course leader in Comparative Literature which has since been instituted across the Institute as a whole. The peer collaboration program has the pedagogical advantage of encouraging teachers from within each discipline to define and discuss their own terms for what constitutes successful writing in their chosen fields. Collaboration among peers from within the same field, as well as across fields, has the additional advantage of avoiding unhelpful disidentifications with authority figures from other fields (English in particular) which a writing-in-the-disciplines based approach must circumvent if it is to avoid unproductive forms of discipline-based resistance.

During the year, Teaching Assistants may collaborate with other, perhaps more experienced Teaching Assistants as part of a recently developed peer-collaboration program. Projects might include visiting each other's classes, team-teaching, or acting as guest instructor. Faculty act as consultants, approving the proposals for peer collaboration, attending one or more lunch meetings, and submitting the final reports from the collaboration to the Knight Institute Office.