Currently, my program-development focus is on structural and pedagogical systems of injustice as part of creating a program that is responsive to changes in the environment, whether that’s new research findings, shifts in student demographics, or developments in technology and literacy. In particular, I look at placement, curriculum, and assessment as three system that work to maintain dominance by certain groups.
For example, after twenty years of relying on the Accuplacer test to place students, we developed and implemented a multiple-measures of placement approach. Preliminary data showed that we eliminated the racial bias of the previous placement process. Before, African-American students were twice as likely or more as white students to be placed into pre-college classes. Now, the numbers are exactly the same.
Based on this success, my colleague, Signee Lynch, and I developed a fully online Informed Self-Placement process that all students (with the exception of F1-Visa holding students) use to access classes at Whatcom. Preliminary data show that 86% of students have chosen English 101 as their starting point with 95% choosing a college-level class. Data on success and persistence will be gathered in 2019.
Areas I’m working on at my own campus and in concert with colleagues around the state, in addition to Informed Self-Placement, include Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT), teaching/learning for transfer, and non-racist writing assessment.
My gurus in this included Asao Inoue, Christie Toth, Holly Hassel, Joanne Giordano, Joe Janangelo, Linda Adler-Kassner, Kathy Yancey, and Neil Lerner; and especially all the good folks on WPA-L. My thanks to Signee Lynch, my partner in crime in reforming our program at Whatcom and taking much of the political heat! And thanks, always to our writing center director and my spouse, Sherri Winans, who keeps me from thinking too much in the box!