This article in the Daily Gazette caught my eye as really epitomizing student/faculty interaction at Swarthmore: WA Program Hosts 3rd Annual Student-Faculty Dialogue The Daily Gazette
| WA Program Hosts 3rd Annual Student-Faculty Dialogue |
Students and faculty gathered in the Schuer room last night to discuss writing assignments in an event sponsored by the WA program. This third annual student-faculty dialogue, centered on questions such as “What strategies can help students and professors avoid miscommunication?” and “What do the terms ‘analyze’, ‘engage with the text’, and ‘explain’ mean?”
Participants talked over a meal of Indian with tables of students and two faculty members each. Discussion topics included how professors should reduce ambiguity when assigning a writing prompt and how students should navigate the boundless research on broad topics.
The WAs are the Writing Associates. They are selected from first-year students and take a full-credit semester long course in advanced writing and editing taught by the head of the Writing Associates program. After completing the course, they serve as WAs. Students bring them drafts of papers to get feedback and suggestiongs that can be incorporated in final drafts. Some courses have WAs assigned and students are required to get their papers WA'd.
The Swarthmore WA program is often cited as a model by other liberal arts colleges because of the investment in training the students and the very high usage rates.
To have these student WA's enjoying a meal and talking about the realities of writing assignments with professors at Swarthmore is so valuable. It must be great for professors to get that kind of feedback from WAs who help large numbers of students wrestle with papers. Professors learning from students. It's no wonder they enjoy teaching at Swarthmore and always cite the students as the reason.