QEP Faculty Seminar
Finding a Voice: Improving Oral and Written Competencies
As one of the first iterations of the University of Southern Mississippi’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), the faculty development seminar provides the unique opportunity for ongoing pedagogical reflection and transformation in an interdisciplinary setting. The 10-week seminar focuses on the philosophical elements of pedagogical development, as well as the practical planning and production of more standardized written and oral components in the classroom. Seminar meetings provide a collegial setting for stimulating thought, discussion, and innovation on pedagogical praxis, and often uncover new directions in research and publication opportunities.
The seminar begins with an introduction to the history and purpose of the QEP and its key personnel, tours of campus facilities such as the Writing Complex and Speaking Center, training for relevant resources like Turnitin Plagiarism Software, an explanation of required assessment materials, and introductions to Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) and Oral Communication Across the Curriculum (OCXC) as fields of study. After this broad introduction, each seminar meeting then begins with brief presentations by the facilitators and occasional guest speakers introducing the themes and desired outcomes for the week, pertinent to the QEP. Faculty participants present reports on the most current and innovative research, to engage with the complex theoretical issues informing pedagogical questions and strategies. Interdisciplinary readings introducing strategies for teaching WAC and OCXC are discussed generally, and applied specifically to sample class exercises, activities and assignments designed by the participants. The facilitators also provide sample exercises, including writing and speaking exercises, written and oral assessment activities, and instructional aids such as sample handouts and video clips. Seminar discussion is facilitated to combine theory and application in order to produce pedagogical praxis specific to the disciplines. Participants test pedagogical models with the revision and development of teaching materials consistent with the research. To date, these materials have included revised syllabi with detailed assignments in oral and written communication, assessment rubrics, classroom exercises and accompanying handouts, technological instructional aids, and revised teaching philosophies.