2008 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., May 6, 2008
HUB Ballroom

Session Description



Odegaard Writing & Research Center: The Hidden Curriculum

John W. Holmes - University Libraries, Tish Lopez - College of Arts and Sciences

Recently, The College of Arts and Sciences has been trying to restructure their writing requirements to provide more opportunities for departments to develop writing activities to replace, supplement, or alter existing content-based courses. Because, the curricular structure of the University is saturated and will not accommodate new courses, the Odegaard Writing & Research Center (OWRC) is interested in determining whether an interdisciplinary writing center offers a more realistic and effective solution to the challenge of writing to learn and is better equipped to make more explicit the kinds of writing and research valued across disciplines.

The OWRC was established as a result of a series of faculty task forces convened by the College of Arts and Sciences; these task forces saw writing not simply as a discrete activity to be taught in selected courses in a few departments, but also as a powerful mode of learning. In linking writing and learning, these faculty groups argued that their proposals followed directly from the University’s mission statement that it should “[cultivate] in its students both critical thinking and the effective articulation of that thinking” (http://www.artsci.washington.edu/writing/UCWCreport.pdf).

Our ongoing research reveals that the OWRC can offer students a “hidden curriculum” that may introduce scholarly conventions and academic culture over periods of time longer than a course or an academic year. Our “syllabus,” built upon a set of learning outcomes, provides learners with frameworks for understanding how different disciplines may approach writing, thinking, informal communication, information-based research, and other activities. By drawing students into guided reflection and conversation about their learning through their writing and research, we hope to show that the OWRC provides learners with opportunities to practice developing and communicating new knowledge for a variety of audiences, developing their own personal voices in the process.




Index of Symposium Presenters