Here’s a wonderful link for faculty members who might be using Barry Lopez’s work this year. Lopez, the author of Arctic Dreams, Of Wolves and Men, and “A Dark Light in the West: Racism and Reconciliation” (among many others), is the Lane Community College Reading Together author for 2011-2012. Especially for those who may be reading “The Naturalist,” included in Vintage Lopez, our selected collection of some of his most famous essays, you’ll find this wonderful array of notebook entries fascinating as well as instructive. They include drawings, prose, watercolors, and photographs that focus a multifaceted lens on the naturalist’s curious, curious mind.
Yes, our own Lane CC makes an appearance in the data. We outstrip other institutions by FAR in per-completion spending, but this is likely tied to the fact that our rate of student “completion” is so very, very low. That, of course, is based on an incredibly narrow definition of “completion,” which doesn’t include part-time students, students who transfer for completion, students who stop-out, and students who’ve attended college before, ever. (And yes, that’s pretty much Lane’s entire student body.) Still, the data are interesting, particularly in light of the move toward “achievement compacts” (away from FTE) and emphasis on college “completion” that was recently endorsed by Governor Kitzhaber–a plan that is currently being promoted across the state by the OEIB. You can do side-by-side comparisons by institution or by state, and did I mention that the graphics are awesome? It’s definitely worth taking a look:
Recently I’ve given a few presentations around campus discussing my work on diversity and a pedagogy of/for social justice. One focus of those presentations has been the role of rhetoric and ideology, through what education theorist Lee Anne Bell calls “stock stories,” in either preserving or disrupting historical patterns of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and other forms of discrimination that operate along the axes of difference.
Following along those lines, I wanted to share this multimedia project by Lakota students of the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, created in response to ABC’s reductive representation of Native Americans in the recent 20/20 special “A Hidden America: Children of the Plains.” One of the reasons I find this video so compelling is that it demonstrates how students themselves can use storytelling to make their own interventions for social justice–in this case, a multimodal “transforming” story, to once again draw upon Bell’s framework:
You can also listen to an NPR story about the students and their project here: Through Video, Lakota Students Reject Stereotypes : NPR.
A fascinating new contribution from the folks over at Edge is now available. This year’s collection centers on the question: “What scientific concept will improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?”
Last week I was talking to my WR 115 class about “reflective learning” as one kind of meta-cognition, and this book could potentially help expand our metacognitive abilities–both students’ and teachers’–in a big way. In terms of writing and especially the teaching of writing, we ask our students to get metacognitive every time we put them together to workshop drafts of their essays, when they think/write about their own writing experiences and practices (in postwrites, revision plans, self-assessment, etc), and when they reflect back on their work in our composition courses as they prepare final portfolios, just to name a few.
Those of you thinking about Lane’s core abilities (which are currently under revision) and/or considering undertaking a critical thinking assessment project will find this book especially timely and, at least from what I’ve seen so far, a pleasure to read, to boot. You can find a description and some wonderful excepts from the text over at Brainpickings (a personal favorite and fabulous resource for all things “cultural” for the curious mind):
Visions of Students Today. (A Michael Wesch remix)
You have arrived at Metaphrasis, the blog of the Writing (WR) Program at Lane Community College, which lies nestled, gemlike, near the base of the Cascade Mountain range in the fair bohemian burg of Eugene, Oregon. What you’ll find here is content–some intriguing, some useful, and once in a while a little outré–developed primarily for Lane’s faculty and program administrators. Metaphrasis is particularly tailored for those who teach college writing or have a special interest in the teaching of college writing. Below you can learn a little bit about the Program: the philosophy and purposes that guide the collective endeavors we call Writing at Lane.
The Writing Program at Lane Community College encourages students to meet and engage with the world as writers: to intentionally absorb themselves in language, to purposefully interact with readings, and to produce their own texts as situated participants in ongoing critical conversations.
To this end, Writing faculty at Lane emphasize the practices of reading, research, writing, and thinking as fundamentally rhetorical acts—acts with particular exigencies, demands, and purposes that are shaped by context—which have wide-ranging significance and important stakes beyond the mere completion of assignments or achievement of desirable grades. To foster students’ awareness and understanding of writing as a rhetorical endeavor, Writing courses at Lane work to build classroom communities and cultivate deep collaboration among students as central to the acts of making meaning and communicating effectively in the world.
While the Writing Program shares this common set of broad objectives as well as specific learning outcomes defined for each course in the Writing sequence, the Department also values the strengths, interests, and expertise of individual faculty members who are themselves immersed in the creative and scholarly practices of research, reading, and writing. The result is a vibrant mix of pedagogical tools and approaches that allow the Department to draw on the strength of its diversity as faculty work toward the same curricular goals.
Students will benefit from such diverse classroom approaches as they get to know and work collaboratively with fellow students in writing workshops, encounter a broad range of beliefs and ideas about the world, and explore a variety of different strategies for writing. In addition, students will often meet with faculty to discuss their work in a one-on-one or small group conference setting. This focus on the communal nature of knowledge and writing as a recursive process provides students with the time and space necessary for thoughtful reflection, extensive drafting and revision, and ongoing reading and research that is undertaken in the true spirit of inquiry.
Ultimately, the Writing Program introduces students to writing as a critical way of knowing, making meaning, and communicating in the world, and in so doing it poses a challenge for students along with the other programs and disciplines that make up the larger College community. The challenge is to foster and support students as practitioners of writing: as they continue to meet the world as writers, to think rhetorically, and so to write with increasing complexity and critical insight throughout their education at Lane Community College.