Three faculty members sitting together in a discussion

2022 WEC Institute

May 5–6, 2022
9:00 am–5:00 pm (CST)

The 2022 WEC Institute is a virtual two-day event in which WAC/WID professionals, faculty members, researchers, and educational administrators inside and outside of the University of Minnesota come together to discuss practical and theoretical aspects of the Writing-Enriched Curriculum approaches and models.

The institute is composed of topical clusters of concurrent sessions. Sessions geared to the interests of participants who are new to WEC are offered alongside sessions geared to the interests of participants that are experienced in WEC implementation. Still other sessions are geared to the interests of participants whose interest in WEC is primarily research-oriented. Each day, the schedule of sessions is punctuated with brief opportunities for participants to meet and discuss ideas in teams.

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2022 STEMwrite Institute for Writing to Learn in STEM Disciplines

June 22-24, 2022

The Writing Across the Curriculum Program at the University of Minnesota is hosting the third of three STEMwrite Institutes for faculty teams from biological sciences. Grounded in evidence that brief writing assignments have positive impacts on conceptual learning, the STEMwrite Institute enables participants to develop brief, conceptually-focused writing activities and assessment tools that can be realistically implemented in large-enrollment, introductory biology courses. Participants complete the STEMwrite Institute with ready-to-use writing to learn prompts and peer response activities, as well as an assessment plan to evaluate their assignments at their home institutions and action plans to guide subsequent iterations.
Previous STEMwrite Institutes, held in 2018 and 2019, included teams from the University of California Santa Barbara, the University of Kansas, Auburn University, the University of Kentucky, the University of California, San Diego, Syracuse University, Stony Brook University, and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. For the 2022 STEMwrite Institute, the research team vetted 23 applications and accepted four institutional teams–from Northeastern University, the University of Georgia, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, and the University of Miami, who demonstrated alignment with STEMwrite goals, team composition, and evidence of institutional capacity for implementation. Teams include faculty in biology and one member charged with improving undergraduate STEM education and/or writing in the disciplines (from campus-wide centers for teaching and learning or writing centers).

Description of research and approach

The 2022 STEMwrite Institute will draw substantially on an ongoing program of research developed in conjunction with the Association for Undergraduate Education at Research Universities (formerly the  Reinvention Collaborative) and funded by the National Science Foundation. Addressing the Boyer Commission’s (1998) call for an increase in research-based pedagogy, and Rivard’s (1994) call to understand better the metacognitive processes by which writing activities support conceptual learning, the  three-institution research team (University of Michigan, Duke University, and the University of Minnesota) is investigating the use of writing activities to help students learn key scientific concepts. This research aims to reveal both the effects of writing to learn interventions on students’ conceptual learning gains and the mechanisms by which these learning gains are achieved, including metacognitive awareness and regulation of learning.