Outside of my curricular-based teaching, I have also utilized a rhetoric of respect to provide professional development opportunities for other faculty at SLCC. One of the priorities of the Writing Across the College program is to support student in writing across their college experience. One approach to this in Writing Across the Curriculum programs across the country is to ask faculty members in disciplines other than composition to increase their attention to and efforts towards teaching writing. As such, the activities of a WAC program become professional development and training for faculty how to do this work. This approach, however, is not in alignment with a rhetoric of respect. It does not recognize the very real labor increases inherent in writing pedagogies and as such does not respect the material realities of faculty at SLCC.
Therefore, to support student writing within a rhetoric of respect for students and for faculty, I am drawing on the findings from the SLCC State of Writing Report that I conducted last year to direct the WAC priorities. One major finding was a significant asymmetry of expectations on the part of faculty when it comes to students’ literacy and writing abilities, and on the part of students regarding faculty responsibilities surrounding writing assignments and their assessment (See Report, pp. 28-30). This asymmetry leads to animosity, resentment, and frustration on the part of both students and faculty, none of which support student learning and/or success.
To shift this hampered relationship among faculty and students in the realm of writing is a complex and tenuous task, riddled as it is with layers of fear, labor, insecurity, and misunderstanding. As I have learned in my work with the CWC, change does not come quick, nor grand in scale, if that change hopes to be sustainable. Therefore, following a rhetoric of respect helps to shape what is and can be possible while honoring the realities of both faculty and students. I have developed two initiatives that appear on the surface to be small and perhaps insignificant, yet I believe they will be the start of an improved writing experience for all at SLCC.