Teaching from Within
Meshing Interdisciplinary Learning and Writing Pedagogy in a University Seminar Program
RICHARD O. DAVIES
Seven years ago, the University of Nevada at Reno instituted a university-wide seminar program containing a major writing component. This essay, written in two parts by two professors, describes how this program was introduced, implemented, and developed. The first part explains the implementation of the seminar program under the leadership of English professor Stephen Tchudi and discusses background, course structure, and results. In the second part, Richard Davies, a history professor at the same school, provides a specific, personal view of the effects and results of teaching such a university-wide seminar. The conclusions of both authors end the chapter.
In 1992, the associate vice president for academic affairs at the University of Nevada-Reno, invited faculty members to apply for an administrative internship to develop a freshman-year seminar experience. Like such programs on many campuses, this one would place new students with experienced faculty as a way of welcoming freshmen to the university community. Through a process much too long and dreary to be recounted here, I was selected for the internship and developed a program we call the University Seminars. These are sections of the conventional English 102—boringly entitled Composition II—taught by faculty members and administrators from units across campus. In a sense, this structure is the reverse of traditional writing-across-the-curriculum projects: