Jennifer Morrison

Purdue University’s School of Liberal Arts writing intensive initiative: A case of professional development for teaching assistants (Indiana)

Jennifer Morrison

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2002 pp: 110
  • Advisor: Weiser, Irwin
  • Source: DAI-A 64/08, p. 2870, Feb 2004
  • Subjects: Language, Rhetoric And Composition (0681); Education, Teacher Training (0530); Education, Administration (0514)
  • ProQuest Document Number:
  • ISBN: 0-496-46783-4
  • UMI Number: AAT 3099190

Abstract:

    This research project is an example of collaborative program assessment and research in the field of writing program administration, conducted using feminist epistemology and critical research practices. By that I mean that I problematized my research methodological decisions (regarding my research site, research participants, research question, data collection and analysis, and research reporting) and I used this research to enact positive change for my local context. Through individual and group interviews, I found that teaching assistants (TAs) participated in Purdue University’s School of Liberal Arts’ Writing Intensive (WI) Initiative by responding to and grading students’ writing. I identified gaps in the TAs’ pedagogical support that could hamper the successful implementation of the WI Initiative, namely that TAs do not receive instruction in writing-to-learn strategies similar to the kind that WI faculty receive. By framing my investigation with the lens of professional development, I guided these TAs to view their participation in the WI Initiative as an important part of their professional development, particularly when their supervising professor included them in their pedagogical decision-making processes. Furthermore, by reflecting on my own experiences as the Resource Person to the WI Initiative, I documented how my contribution to the WI Initiative contributed to my own professional development, particularly as an apprentice WPA. Finally, I found that these professional development processes are most effective when they are responsive the personal and professional goals of the TAs, while helping TAs learn how to become professional academics.