English Prof to Lead CSU's Writing Improvement Effort

CSU has selected Jim Owen, professor of English, to lead the recently established Quality Enhancement Plan.

Owen will assume the role in July as Director of Faculty Programs in Teaching and Learning, with offices in the Richards building. He will supervise a program specialist and administrative assistant and report to Vice President for Academic Affairs, George Stanton.

“The quality enhancement program represents an emerging focus on academic integrity and the utilization of assessment programs to assist and encourage efforts by the faculty to improve learning outcomes through effective teaching and an emphasis on student responsibility for effective learning,” said Stanton.

Owen’s appointment follows recognition by his faculty peers. He has received the Faculty Service Award that cited him for, among other achievements, “tackling service tasks that require steady hard work and that keep the institution on an honest academic footing.”

His next task, the five-year, $1.8 million QEP, is a recent faculty response to a new accreditation requirement of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. CSU’s plan is entitled “Writing the Solution: Steps Toward Developing Competent and Professional Student Writers.” “This initiative is important because it has started a dialogue about how we teach writing skills across this campus; in order to succeed it will require faculty support and time,” Owen said.

Samples of freshmen student writing have already been collected and evaluated. The plan will be applied on a larger scale to students in the coming academic year. CSU’s QEP features separate components: competent writing that addresses grammar and critical analysis in lower-level classes, and professional writing that guides upper-level writers in conforming to professional writing standards of a given field.

Initially, Owen will assume responsibility for programs underway that are engaging faculty campuswide to prepare to carry out the QEP. “I look forward to working with the faculty to create a center to carry on the conversations about teaching that have started during the year and a half,” he said.

Since joining the CSU faculty in 1995, Owen has supervised part-time faculty and has chaired numerous CSU faculty and administrative hiring committees. Respected by peers campuswide, he has been twice elected as executive officer of the Faculty Senate. He also has been nominated twice for Regent’s Distinguished Professor (1998 and 2002). In his new position, he will continue to teach at least one course per semester.

In addition to the QEP, the new Office of Faculty Programs in Teaching and Learning also will develop and administer other specialized academic programs with campuswide implications.

For more information on the QEP, visit http://sacs.colstate.edu/plan.htm.