Writing Development Initiatives (WDI) Program

Writing Development Initiatives (WDI) Program

Faculty Opportunities: UTM Faculty Writing Fellowship Program - Call for proposals (2017-2018)

WDI Proposal Form 2017/ 2018

For WDI funding criteria, please click here

Background: Since the 2005-2006 academic year, UTM has supported discipline-specific writing instruction through the Writing Development Initiatives (WDI) Program, which is funded by the Office of the Dean. Each year, the WDI provides financial support for projects that integrate writing instruction in core courses across the curriculum: this financial support comes primarily in the former of supplements to TA funding to allow for more writing assignments, more time spent giving feedback on assignments, more writing instruction, and/or TA training in assessing writing and teaching writing skills. As it is the departments themselves that can best assess their students’ needs, departments and departmental faculty are encouraged to submit proposals for projects that will help students become better writers as they work within the requirements of their discipline—although RGASC staff are available for consultation on project development if the department so desires.

Recent Developments:  Starting in 2017-2018, proposals that have already been approved, received funding, and been carried out in 2016-2017 no longer need to be resubmitted: rather, the details in the project’s Final Report will be used by the Committee to determine the project’s continued funding. Instructors will be able to signal proposed changes in the course, the project, and/or the budget in their Final Report. A template for Final Reports will be distributed to instructors.

Informed by current “Writing Across the Curriculum” scholarship (see, for example, https://wac.colostate.edu/intro/), the RGASC offers several centralized forms of support for individual Departments participating in the WDI. The RGASC provides an intensive (4 hour) Writing TA Training Program in early September and early January that provides discipline-specific instruction in writing assessment and pedagogy for TAs in funded projects; if additional training is necessary, such training (to a maximum of 4 hours/TA/project) can be designed in collaboration with the RGASC’s Writing Instructor.

We also offer a variety of forms of support for faculty and students in any writing intensive course offered at UTM. We provide assignment-specific interactive writing workshops (inside or outside class time); dedicated drop-in “help sessions” for students in specific courses; and we assist instructors with assignment design, classroom instruction, and other activities that integrate writing into their curriculum.

It is crucial to measure the efficacy of successful proposals. Assessment provides clear evidence of the value of the instruction; it guides instructors and the WDI in their ongoing reflection on, and efforts to improve, the writing assistance that students are given; and it provides data for ongoing research into writing pedagogy and writing in the disciplines.  The RGASC’s Writing Specialist will organize and carry out assessment of the efficacy of funded projects: the authors of proposals are urged but not required to collaborate in the planning and execution of assessment.

 The annual “Call for Proposals”: Please note that proposals are only necessary for new projects; once approved, projects are then assessed on the basis of the Final Report that is submitted at the end of each iteration of the project. The key areas of writing proficiency targeted by the WDI include organization, coherence, clarity, grammar, and discipline-specific conventions for integrating sources. While detailed requirements are outlined in each year’s Call for Proposals (see the top of this page for the 2017-2018 Call), the WDI typically asks Departments to identify the following:

  1. The methods of instruction they will employ to improve students’ writing.
  2. The ways Teaching Assistants will be used in their project.
  3. The specific writing tasks students will be doing as a direct result of the additional funding requested.
  4. The number of students participating in the project.
  5. The budget.

Funding for specific projects is determined in part by the number of students enrolled in the targeted course(s), although other factors are also taken into consideration. Funding preference is typically given to projects in courses that are part of a program of study that requires students to continue to develop their writing skills.  As mentioned above, assessment will be done by the RGASC, although the collaboration of the authors of proposals is welcome.

For more information on the WDI, please contact michael.kaler@utoronto.ca. Also, please check the RGASC website for information on upcoming “Writing Across the Curriculum” events under the Faculty page.