A Message from the Director of Writing Across the Curriculum
Welcome to the TRAC Writing Fellows Program website. I hope you find the information here both interesting and helpful. As Director of Writing Across the Curriculum, I am proud of our mission of supporting student writing at Lehigh, and I find great joy in working with TRAC Fellows and all the other wonderful people involved in that effort. Together, we have built this program on a few fundamental guiding assumptions that should be noted here.
The first is our belief in the value of a writing-centered pedagogy. Far more than just requiring students to produce written documents for assessment purposes, a writing-centered pedagogy empowers students to engage with new, complex and sometimes strange ideas and information—and to do so as active, autonomous learners. This is writing as exploration, a fruitful mode of learning instead of a pro forma articulation of something already learned in order to earn a grade. At its best, writing is a process of discovery and finding one’s voice—and also, perhaps most importantly, of connecting with others.
Second is our belief in the power and effectiveness of peer learning. In the nine years since the program was launched, we have discovered that something very special can happen when TRAC Fellows join together with students to help them improve their writing. The peer relationship that they share allows for a genuine exchange of ideas, an exploration of options and strategies for revision, and authentic attention to the writing process itself. This kind of interaction is simply inaccessible to anyone who does not share this special peer relationship with our students. Add the intensive training that TRAC Fellows receive, and you can see why they are so effective.
Third, we embrace an expanded conception of writing that includes oral and multi-modal communication. We also value research as an integral part of the writing process and strive to integrate new technologies whenever they serve or enhance communication and learning.
Fourth is our emphasis on diversity. When students become better writers they learn to empathize and understand, to collaborate, to acknowledge and embrace difference, to assimilate new, unfamiliar, and even opposing views. A successful TRAC Program helps prepare Lehigh students to compete in a global culture while they also acquire the skills and motivation they will need to make the world a better place.
Finally, we cherish the relationship we have developed with our faculty partners. Lehigh faculty who choose, by their own accord, to work with TRAC Fellows share the vision and values discussed here. Just take a look at our Faculty TRAC Stars page, and you’ll see why we feel so fortunate to work with such accomplished and devoted Lehigh faculty.
For more information or to schedule a meeting, contact me by phone or e-mail—or stop by our home in the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) on the lower level of Fairchild-Martindale Library.
Greg Skutches, Ph.D.
Director of Writing Across the Curriculum