Liberal Arts Level Up Professional Development

Responding to the Challenges of Assembly Bill 705 in an
English Composition Course

The following professional development opportunities presented strategies to help new and returning faculty in facing and combating the inevitable challenges associated with the implementation of Assembly Bill 705.  Since instructors now find themselves teaching to a wider variety of students, with varying degrees of academic and writing abilities, faculty must prepare for a breadth of new challenges and opportunities in their classrooms.

The Professional Development opportunities below were available to Saddleback College Liberal Arts faculty. Faculty were compensated for their participation through the LA Level Up Grant.

High Engagement-High Impact Strategies

Facilitated by Janelle Brunner and Sara Gonzalez

Open to all Liberal Arts Faculty:

This two hour, three session workshop series presented a variety of high-impact teaching strategies to help new and returning liberal arts faculty better engage their students. Since instructors continually find themselves teaching to a wider variety of students, with varying degrees of academic abilities and experience, we seek to offer some tips, techniques, and strategies to help transform the class into a more level playing field. We also hope to build cross-departmental sharing of resources and teaching strategies.

Workshop 1

Preparing for a Successful Semester

This workshop focused on creating a strong classroom community and culture for both
instructor and student, as well as setting clear expectations to ensure a successful semester. Activities and strategies focused on creating a cohesive, collaborative environment through the exploration of shared interests and social contracts, as well as developing strong study habits through a focused note-taking system, clearly and effectively constructed reading prompts, and student-led presentations.

Workshop 2

Creating Engaging In-Class Activities

This workshop focused on the importance of creating collaborative, low-stakes, in-class
activities to reinvigorate student interest, as well as build up to larger in-class or out-of-class projects and/or writing assignments. Participants learned how to engage their students in peer-driven seminars, and how to incorporate more visual texts in order to promote further understanding and relevance between classroom assignments and activities and the students’ lives outside of college.

Workshop 3

Preparing for the Final Project and/or Research Paper

This workshop focused on empowering students with effective research practices, which will further assist them in writing/preparing for their final projects/papers. Strategies focused on creating effective and intriguing thesis statements, learning to anticipate and respond to opposing viewpoints/arguments, and finding one’s own unique voice in the larger academic conversation. There was also be time reserved at the end for participants to share/swap assignment prompts/ideas, as well as reflect on how the strategies from each workshop can be implemented into future assignments.

Contact Janelle Brunner for more information


Twelve Principles for the Successful Teaching of Postsecondary Writing

Facilitated by Sara Gonzalez

Open to English faculty:

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has established twelve principles for the postsecondary teaching of writing. Because these principles were created specifically with student success in mind, they serve well in our goal of meeting AB 705 challenges.

Every two weeks, in the online forum, one principle, its description, and its corresponding resources and research was posted with 3-4 discussion questions. Faculty posted their response and then responded to the ideas put forth by their colleagues. Faculty were also asked to share assignments that demonstrate the application of this principle, if they available. The principles covered also ground faculty in pedagogical practices to aide in the
potential challenges of AB 705.

Principle 1

Sound Writing Instruction Emphasizes the Rhetorical Nature of Writing

Principle 2

Sound Writing Instruction Considers the Needs of the Real Audience

Principle 3

Sound Writing Instruction Recognizes Writing as a Social Act

Principle 4

Sound Writing Enables Students to Analyze and Practice a Variety of Genres

Principle 5

Sound Writing Instruction Recognizes Writing Processes as Iterative and Complex

Principle 6

Sound Writing Instruction Depends Upon Frequent, Timely, and Context-Specific Feedback from an Experienced Postsecondary Instructor

Principle 7

Sound Writing Instruction Emphasizes Relationships Between Writing and Technologies.

Principle 8

Sound Writing Instruction Supports Learning, Engagement, and Critical Thinking in Courses Across the Curriculum.

Principle 9

Sound Writing Instruction Provides Students with the Support Necessary to Achieve Their Goals.

Principle 10

Sound Writing Instruction Extends from a Knowledge of Theories of Writing (including, but not limited to, those theories developed in the field of composition and rhetoric).

Principle 11

Sound Writing Instruction is Provided by Instructors with Reasonable and Equitable Working Conditions.

Principle 12

Sound Writing Instruction is Assessed through a Collaborative Effort that Focuses on Student Learning within and Beyond a Writing Course.


Contact Sara Gonzalez for more information


Additional Information & Resources on the NCTE [National Council of Teachers of English] Principles for the Postsecondary Teaching of Writing