JWAM is “Planting Seeds” for greater inclusion at UBC

At JWAM, Dr. Laila Ferreira, along with co-investigators Dr. Katja Thieme, Dr. Rebecca Carruthers Den Hoed, and Jennifer Walsh Marr (Vantage College) are working on a new TLEF-funded project to help faculties create inclusive writing experiences in their courses and classrooms.

(L-R) JWAM professors Dr. Rebecca Carruthers Den Hoed, Dr. Laila Ferreira, Dr. Katja Thieme, and Jennifer Walsh Marr (Vantage College) to start work on a new TLEF-funded project.

Proficiency in writing is key to student experience and learning across all disciplines: in their development as novice researchers at the university, pursuit of professionalization, or community engagement. Strong writing skills not only help students grow into effective researchers, but also position them for success in professional endeavours and community engagement. Solid instruction in university writing fosters belonging, confidence, and retention among students. Research has shown, however, that university writing can also form barriers for diverse students. UBC itself has called for more attention to the history of writing as a tool of colonialism and its continued use in the exclusion of BIPOC learners.

The new project “Cultivating Inclusive Writing Instruction: Planting Seeds Across the Curriculum” – funded by the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF), and led by Drs. Laila Ferreira (principal investigator), Katja Thieme, and Rebecca Carruthers Den Hoed from the Writing, Research, and Discourse Studies (WRDS) unit in JWAM, and Vantage College’s Jennifer Walsh Marr – addresses this deeply felt gap in university education. By building a set of resources that can be seamlessly incorporated into existing lessons, “Planting Seeds” will meet the varied needs of faculty members teaching in disciplines across UBC. The project also helps the university achieve its goals regarding EDI, anti-racism, and Indigenization as outlined in the Indigenous Strategic Plan, and StEAR framework.

“Planting Seeds” is the latest initiative by the WRDS unit in JWAM that is designed to improve inclusivity at and beyond UBC. The recently launched Minor in Writing and Communication, a brand-new program from WRDS, challenges students to go beyond the bounds of the classroom to use their writing and communication skills to affect real-world change. WRDS 370 and WRDS 390, two leading-edge courses offered by the unit also explore the role of marginalized groups in research and writing.

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