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ERIC Number: EJ793938
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1938-5978
Joint Authorship: Faculty Members from Six Institutions Collaborate to Measure Writing Competence
Kleniewski, Nancy
New England Journal of Higher Education, v22 n2 p29-31 Fall 2007
Southeastern Massachusetts is home to six public institutions of higher education. In 2003, at the invitation of Bridgewater President Dana Mohler-Faria, five of them joined together to form a regional collaborative called CONNECT. (The original members were Bridgewater State College, Bristol, Cape Cod and Massasoit community colleges, and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The sixth, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, joined in 2007.) The collaborative's goals are to improve the institutions' services and increase their efficiency by combining resources. The organizing principle is meetings of counterparts--chief executive officers, chief financial officers, human resource directors, etc.--who share ideas and identify collective projects. The CONNECT chief academic officers identified the group's top priority as smoothing the process of student transfers among institutions. They agreed that students faced two types of challenges in the transfer process: administrative challenges and academic challenges. To reduce administrative challenges, the four-year institutions agreed to create "transfer coordinator" positions to help transfer students navigate their new campuses. To reduce academic challenges, the institutions sought to ensure that community college students would master the same basic skills and knowledge, cover similar foundational work in their disciplines, and experience equivalent academic expectations as in a bachelor's curriculum. The chief academic officers decided that these issues of curriculum and evaluation standards could be best addressed through faculty dialogue around course goals, syllabi, and evaluation methods. The chief academic officers chose to begin the faculty dialogue with the institutions' first-year writing courses. They reasoned that writing is the bedrock skill in any general education program and that writing instructors were already practicing assessment (as distinct from grading) through the placement process. The charge to the group was threefold: identify common outcomes for the first-year writing/composition courses, develop a common evaluation scheme, and disseminate this common framework to writing instructors at all of the campuses. The Writing Project experience points to several ingredients for a successful and lasting collaboration among different types of institutions. First, peer-to-peer interaction with others in the discipline is a powerful tool for faculty collaboration, reducing barriers between two- and four-year institutions and between adjuncts and full-time faculty. Second, a focus on common student learning outcomes and successful pedagogy allows all instructors to address a common goal: creating a good teaching and learning environment. Finally, leadership must come from the top, with the blessing and financial support of presidents, provosts, and deans.
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts