Save the Date! Norm, Read, and Rate Session

ICaP has scheduled a norm, read, and rate session for Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in PHYS 110 (see map below). This session is voluntary for instructors, but we have scheduled it during mentor group so that most instructors will be free. We will norm the portfolios from Summer 2019 to understand what may need to be revised for Spring 2020. 

Our goals for this norming session, include the following:

  • Create a consensus on what a portfolio should contain and how to read it 
  • Create a consensus on what the reflective log and final reflection should contain and how to read them
  • Discuss variations in how each 106 course meets ICaP goals and the portfolio’s need
  • Read and rate portfolios to illustrate changes for Spring 2020 common assignment

We will provide coffee, tea, and bagels at this session, so please come and help us out. The goal is to have incentives, so stay tuned for more updates. This post will be updated once more information is available. If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please email Derek Sherman (

ICAP Convocation, Fall 2019

The Fall 2019 ICAP Convocation was held Friday, August 16 from 11:00am to 3:30pm in Grissom Hall. We’ve shared slide decks for our general sessions and breakout workshops here.

General sessions

  • Welcome
  • Introduction of new instructors
  • News from ICAP partners (Writing Lab, GradSEA, OEPP)
  • ICAP policy reminders
  • Assessment update

Workshop breakout: Useful reflection

Workshop breakout: Rubrics roundtable

Workshop resources (Google Drive)

Workshop breakout: Teaching research posters

Welcome, new ICAP RAs!

Please welcome our new Introductory Composition research assistants as they begin work to prepare for the AY2019–20 school year:

Libby Chernouski
Assistant Director, Professional Development

Derek Sherman
Assistant Director, Assessment

Dee McCormick and Kristyn Childres
Technology Mentors

Sweta Baniya, Cody Krumrie, and Parva Panahi Lazarjani
Assistant Mentors

Thank you to Alisha Karabinus, Bianca Batti, Patrick Love, Rebekah Sims, and Kylie Regan for their work this past year.

English Graduate Pedagogy Showcase

ICAP collaborated with Professional Writing and the Graduate Program in English to host our first English Graduate Pedagogy Showcase. The lightning talks, poster session, and publishers’ book exhibits were well attended by staff, faculty, and graduate students from across the department.

Thank you to our judges: Kris Bross, Tom Ghering, Tom Huston, Lanette Jimerson, Rick Johnson-Sheehan, Tara Star Johnson, Brian Leung, and Nush Powell.

And a big thank you to our sponsors: Fountainhead Press, McGraw-Hill, Pearson, W. W. Norton & Co, and MacMillan Learning.

Congratulations to our award winners:

Best in show — Poster session:
Sweta Baniya, “Engaging with Community via Digital Communication Practices”

Runners up — Poster session:
Tony Bushner, “Teaching Visual Design & Accessibility Through Games in the PW/TC Classroom”
Libby Chernouski, “Theories of Language: Ancient to Contemporary”
Alejandra Ortega, “Joining the Conversation: Scaffolding Research Proposals in First Year Composition”

Lightning talks
First place, Allegra Smith, “Rhetorical History & Future for Audience Analysis”
Second place, Daniel Ernst, “Technical Metaphors and the Lemonade Stand”
Third place, Joe Forte, “In the District: Writing About Chauncey Hill”
Honorable mention, Erin McNulty, “Importance of A Revision Unit in First-Year Writing”

We thank Joy Kane, Alisha Karabinus, Devon Cook, Amanda Leary, and Derek Sherman for their logistical help.

We look forward to hosting a similar event in March 2020.

Approved Textbook Update

As we prepare to shift to syllabus themes, we have also assessed and updated our list of approved textbooks. We have made a few changes to the structure of the list as well as removing textbooks that were seeing no or very little use.

In updating the textbook list, we first removed all the approach categories. Going forward, all textbooks are approved for all syllabus themes, though there may be particular textbooks that work better with particular themes. We did remove some textbooks that have seen no use or light use in the past several semesters. If this impacts you, please know there are options to reclaim any beloved textbook that may have been removed. We realize there are instructors returning to ICaP and this may be an issue.

With the switch to syllabus themes, we may find a need for new textbooks. We have asked the publishers to bring potential recommendations to the English Graduate Pedagogy Showcase on April 15th, and we would like to encourage people to pilot new books that they think will fit syllabus themes. Piloting a new text doesn’t take much effort (here are the policies and procedures), and allows instructors even greater flexibility in tailoring texts to their course.

Here’s the updated textbook list.

Syllabus Theme Update

As we move toward the enactment of syllabus themes for ICaP courses in Fall 2019, we wanted to offer an update on the future and a recap of some of the work we have done to prepare for this transition.

In Fall 2018, ICaP administrative staff began exploring new options for English 106/108 curricula. With the changes to staffing, mentoring, and the courses themselves over the past few years, the syllabus approach structure had become unsustainable. As a solution, the ICaP staff proposed a new structure, syllabus themes, to the members of the Pedagogical Initiatives Committee (PIC). As development went forward, we held two public discussion forums about developments on themes. These forums helped us identify proposed changes to PIC to make that committee more sustainable in the future.

For instructors, changes should be manageable—even minimal. We welcome your continued feedback as we make this transition.


Under the syllabus approach system, each individual approach was managed by a leadership team of two instructors, who were responsible for maintaining document repositories for each approach, keeping a census of approach members, running occasional workshops, recruiting, and filing renewal paperwork when the approach came up for review. This workload varied from approach to approach  and brought with it some issues in that information passed from leadership team to leadership team was often inconsistent, and managing documents was difficult. Approach members would at times not turn in documents, or remove documents from shared resources without warning. Not all approach members were even aware of document repositories.

The Pedagogical Initiatives Committee (PIC) was formed from approach leadership. However, scheduling instructors for regular meetings was proving more and more difficult. A leaner, more efficient committee seemed a better solution, but there was no easy way to achieve that with the approach structure.

Many of these difficulties stemmed from the shrinking size of our graduate program.  As the face of the department began to change—and mentoring with it—ICaP found it hard to staff all the syllabus approaches. The system was more easily sustainable when there were more people to shoulder the workload. But  with dramatically fewer staff, a full slate of ten syllabus approach leaders constitutes about 20% of ICaP staff, whereas before, PIC members represented less than 10% percent, even taking into account the higher number of approaches we maintained at that time.

With higher numbers of contingent faculty, too, the syllabus approach structure presented an obstacle to instructors teaching in ICaP for the first time. We now have more contingent labor responsible for multiple courses than ever before. In short, ICaP needs a system that is easier to manage and that instructors can more easily engage.

Theme Structures

In Fall 2019, we will be shifting to a theme-based structure for all ICaP courses, and moving to a centralized document repository of readings, syllabi, assignments, and more, rather than individualized document hubs for different groups of instructors. All ICaP instructors will have equal access to these resources, which will be organized by the ICaP Assistant Director in cooperation with ICAP assistant mentors. While our themes may change in the future as we continue to develop this new system, for now, our themes for 2019-2020 are:

  • Academic Rhetorics
  • Digital Rhetorics
  • Public and Cultural Rhetorics
  • Rhetorics of Narrative
  • Rhetorics of Science and Medicine
  • Rhetorics of Data Science

(Not sure how to select a theme? Let us help! And make sure you are planning with and around the common portfolio assignment for 2019-2020.)

Choosing these themes was a challenge. We wanted to preserve instructor autonomy and choice while simultaneously offering transparency and, we hope, choices for the students. Our eventual goal is to ensure themes are visible for students at registration. The ICaP team, in choosing the original, larger pool of themes, considered a number of other factors as well—student and instructor interests, program partnerships, and thematic programs in other universities. We wanted variety, but not too many themes. So, early in the process, we realized that tying themes to particular colleges or majors, while appealing in some ways, introduces too many logistical issues. Themes would then have to be scaled up and down to match changes in  student numbers across colleges and departments.

The themes we have chosen are broad enough that if we want to link courses for learning communities or particular programs in the future, we can explore those possibilities without introducing a new theme, simply by enacting these themes in different ways. Over the next year, we are excited to see how instructors use theme, and we look forward to feedback.

Under the new system, PIC will be comprised of the ICaP Assistant Director and two elected representatives from GradSEA. The committee  will be primarily responsible for updating the new centralized document repository and bringing instructor concerns to the director. This new charge will be less laborintensive, both in terms of numbers and labor, and is a more sustainable structure for the future.

Again, for instructors, not much should change. We have selected and designed the themes for ease of transition for instructors, and indeed, two of the new themes align with the two largest syllabus approaches. The bulk of this change will not occur now, for current instructors, but rather in the future, for incoming instructors, who will be presented with a more streamlined system as they adjust to teaching in ICaP.

This new system, however, does offer a few small changes, such as a reduced need for syllabus meetings during convocation, allowing more time for other forms of professional development. The new PIC structure, too, should allow for committee members to get more hands-on opportunities to help shape the future of ICaP without introducing an unnecessary burden of individual organization.

Looking Ahead

We have released the first part of the centralized document repository and will present the full first iteration by the end of Spring 2019, so that instructors will have plenty of time to prep for fall courses. We would love your contributions of effective assignments and activities. if you have anything you would like to share, please send links or files to Alisha Karabinus.

We also welcome your questions and comments on these changes. To offer feedback or get help, reach out to any member of the ICaP staff.

Common Assignment Update: Plans for 2019-2020 Academic Year

As a full year of piloting our common assignments comes to an end, we want to highlight our assessment efforts and what’s to come for the 2019-2020 academic year. We, the ICaP team, would sincerely like to thank all of you who have helped us in this assessment effort because we couldn’t have done it alone. There were certainly bumps along the way with our assessment goals and what it means to assess, but we feel that our efforts have allowed us to showcase the powerful work that our instructors and students create. From our successful pilots, feedback sessions, Spring 2019 Convocation, and our norm, read, and rate sessions, we believe that it was a successful year that has allowed us to collaboratively think about next year. Again, thank you all for your help and insight into this project.

The future of our ICaP assessment efforts will be shifting from four common assignments down to one: the portfolio. Portfolios were chosen based on several reflective sessions that we have had with instructors, norm, read, and rate participants, and especially the many voices at Convocation:

  1. Portfolios can measure all six outcomes instead of individual outcomes–which would require multiple common assignments
  2. They allow us to assess our new syllabus themes with a common assessment protocol already in place; essentially, we are able to tell which themes best fit students’ and ICaP’s needs.
  3. Portfolios push students towards metacognition with the reflective component, while also preparing them to work towards greater proficiency in writing.
  4. Portfolios allow instructors to continue a diversity of teaching assignments with only minor standardization in the reflective component.
  5. Students are provided with a product that can be showcased to future employers to demonstrate that they are able to write effectively in multiple rhetorical situations and genres, and are able to address multiple audiences that goes beyond the teacher-as-audience model
  6. The portfolio allows students to guide instructors and raters through their writing and learning processes instead of the instructors making those choices without student input

In all, the portfolio, in terms of assessment, allows ICaP to assess students’ ability to meet all six of our outcomes while at the same time placing the onus of learning on the students. For assessment purposes, we have standardized the reflective essay, assignment sheet, and components (e.g., rough drafts, peer review feedback forms, etc.) that are required.  By creating a commonality amongst all of our 106, 106Y, and 108 sections, ICaP is able to assess how well each of our courses are doing in terms of meeting the outcomes set forth by the Undergraduate Core Curriculum committee for information literacy and written communication. This rhetorical move on our part allows students to develop the metacognition that is required as they move throughout their general education and major curriculum.

The assessment committee is finalizing the portfolio assignment now, and we’ll share that with supporting materials here shortly.

Quintilian Awards, Summer and Fall 2018

We’re pleased to announce the winners of our Quintilian Awards for Summer and Fall 2018. These awards are given to the instructors with the top 10% of course evaluations.

Summer 2018

  • Jie Gao
  • Margaret Sheble
  • Yachao Sun

Fall 2018

  • Sandra Banales
  • Libby Chernouski
  • Lydia Cyrus
  • Javan DeHaven
  • Amy Elliot
  • Erika Gotfredson
  • Jen Hughes
  • Vanessa Iacocca
  • Cody Krumrie
  • Kelsey Schnieders Lefever
  • Alex Long
  • Jennifer Loyd
  • Kyle Lucas
  • Erin McNulty
  • Maggie Myers
  • Olivia Nammack
  • Alejandra Ortega
  • Parva Panahi Lazarjani
  • Jenna Sparks
  • Yachao Sun
  • Phuong Minh Tran
  • Jessica Varkonyi
  • Shelton Weech
  • Sebastian Williams

We thank our instructors for their excellent classroom work.

Foundational outcomes assessment, part one

For the 2018-2019 academic year, ICaP has two extensive assessment projects underway. First, we are continuing our own programmatic assessment based on the external review completed by the Council of Writing Program Administrators’ Consultant-Evaluator Service in 2017. ICaP instructors will recognize this as our common assignment initiative. We’re currently scheduling two program-wide norm, read, and rate sessions this semester which will allow us to finalize (a) the selection of the common assignment to be implemented in all ICaP courses in AY19–20 and beyond, and (b) a comprehensive assessment plan which will include both short- and long-term measurements of  ICaP’s effectiveness.

Second, we are completing an assessment of English 106 and 108 focusing on their role in Purdue’s Undergraduate Core Curriculum (UCC) Foundational Outcomes, specifically written communication and information literacy. This assessment draws on the direct measurement of student writing ICaP instructors are supporting through our norm, read, and rate sessions, and adds background to showcase how ICaP policies like syllabus review, as well as our assessment efforts, ensure we meet and exceed Purdue’s UCC Foundational Outcomes.

These two assessment projects overlap in many ways, so we are sharing the preliminary report we’ve written for the Foundational Outcomes assessment for the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment and Effectiveness. We’ve published some of the appendices already, but those new to ICaP may be interested in them.

In a follow-up report, ICaP will provide the additional data requested for the foundational outcomes assessment.

My staff and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the student workers, instructors, and administrators who have helped us with these assessment efforts. Without our “grassroots curricular assessment model” (Conti, LaMance, and Miller-Cochran, 2017), our assessment efforts would not have been as rich or as rewarding as they are now. And I would like to highlight Derek Sherman’s work as Assessment Research Coordinator: he’s built on previous efforts extremely well, and I’m looking forward to our next steps.

Attachments: Foundational outcomes assessment preliminary report (as PDF, 284kb) and appendices (as a single PDF, 5.9mb, and also as separate PDFs).