University of Minnesota
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Teaching with Writing: Annual Faculty Seminar

freewrite lab classroom


The 2018 edition of the TWW seminar will take place August 20-24, 1-4 PM.

This semester is offered at no-cost to faculty and full-time P/A instructors. Request registration here.

Participants commit to the entire week-long session (five afternoons). This is because the seminar builds sequentially from designing effective assignments through coaching the writing process to grading writing that will result from assignments.

Seminar design

This brief, pre-Fall seminar presents a unique, retreat-like opportunity for busy professors to focus on the roles writing plays (or could play) in the specific courses they teach. We define writing broadly to include words, figures, numbers, etc., and our discussions are interdisciplinary, lively, practical, and inspiring. Each half-day session involves hands-on activities using sample writing assignments and student-written drafts. Throughout the week, participating faculty members develop materials and approaches that are apt for a course they teach or plan to teach soon. By week's end, everyone will have...

  • articulated a subset of specific writing abilities they expect students to develop/demonstrate
  • designed low-stakes and high-stakes writing assignments appropriate for developing these abilities
  • become familiar with strategies for providing students with effective, actionable feedback on their writing
  • created assignment-specific grading schemes that ensure fair and constructive assessment
  • experimented with time-saving commenting, peer response, and grading strategies;
  • been given access to a site loaded with instructional strategies, models, and pedagogical research
  • spent five mornings drinking good coffee and talking to interesting colleagues from across the disciplines about relevant teaching ideas.

Who takes this seminar?

Since 2002, the annual Teaching with Writing seminar has enrolled participants from the following departments: Academic Health Center; Accounting; Aerospace Engineering; African American & African Studies; Agricultural Education; Agronomy and Plant Genetics; American Studies; Architecture; Art; Art History; Asian Languages & Literatures; Biochemistry; Biology; Chemical Engineering; Chemistry; Civil Engineering; Communication Studies; Computer Science & Engineering; Construction Management; Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature; Curriculum & Instruction; Dental Hygiene; Design, Housing, and Apparel; Ecology, Evolution and Behavior; Economics; Education; Electrical Engineering; English; Epidemiology; Family Social Science; Finance; Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology; Food Science and Nutrition; Forest Resources; French & Italian; Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies; General College; Genetics, Cell Biology and Development; Geography; Global Studies; German, Scandinavian & Dutch; Health Systems Management; History; History of Medicine; History of Science and Technology; Horticultural Science; Industrial and Systems Engineering; Journalism & Mass Communication; Kinesiology; Linguistics; Mathematics; Mechanical Engineering; Medical Lab Science; Medicine; Microbiology; Music; Nursing; Pharmaceutical Care & Health Systems; Rhetoric; Philosophy; Plant Biology; Preventative Sciences; Political Science; Second Language Acquisition; Social Work; Soil, Water Climate; Spanish & Portuguese Studies; Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences; Social Work; Soil, Water and Climate; Surgery; Theatre Arts & Dance; Veterinary Medicine; Work & Human Resources Education; Writing Studies; Youth Studies

Reactions from past participants

“Absolutely, one of the best workshops I've attended at the UMN. Excellent teaching strategies that extend beyond writing.  I found everything useful! I'm really excited (rather than intimidated) to incorporate more writing into my design courses and now feel I have the tools to do it effectively.”

“Re-framing how I felt about writing in the classroom has changed my perspective from anxiety to excitement.”

“I have never taken any writing or teaching course and I was anxious to get some formal training and new ideas. I have been really pleased with what I have learned! This seminar has given me confidence to continue reducing lectures and increasing discussion and writing-oriented activity.”

“This was the most useful faculty development offering I have ever experienced. It has changed the way I teach and the way I write!”


Pamela Flash, Director, Writing Across the Curriculum; Co-Director, Center for Writing​


Questions? Contact