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Patricia Donahue, associate professor of English at Lafayette and director of its College Writing Program, is one of 26 outstanding faculty members chosen from applicants around the world as 2003-04 Carnegie Scholars by the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

She will collaborate with her fellow scholars to invent and share new models for teaching, learning, and research through the prestigious program, an initiative of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Donahue’s focus will be to extend her work on reading theory and practice beyond English Studies by examining various disciplinary styles of reading and writing and the relationship between the two.

“The Carnegie Scholars Program supports the work of distinguished faculty who are contributing to an emerging scholarship of teaching and learning,” says Lee Shulman, president of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Established in 1998, the goal of the program is to establish and refine standards for the critical review of teaching and learning by faculty members in college and university classrooms. The Carnegie Foundation provides the scholars with new settings and ways to exchange information and build upon the work of their colleagues.

As a Carnegie Scholar, Donahue will investigate and document work on issues in the teaching and learning of her field, and liberal education in general, for one year. This will include a session with her fellow scholars at the institute this summer and the following one. During the academic year, scholars may also present their work at professional conferences, attend workshops and institutes, and collaborate with previous Carnegie Scholars.

An award-winning teacher, Donahue will continue to develop her work in the scholarship of teaching, in teaching as a theoretical subject, and in pedagogy as a self-reflexive practice.

“Participation in the program will allow me to share my ideas within a community of like-minded scholars, subjecting those ideas to supportive yet resistant critique,” says Donahue, who founded Lafayette’s cross-curricular writing program 17 years ago. “I regularly engage in discussions about teaching with colleagues from across the College, but I am well-aware that my institutional position inflects and complicates the way in which my ideas are received, evaluated, and acted upon. I welcome the opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary inquiry in a context removed from local assumptions, biases, and restraints.”

“I will have the opportunity not only to rethink my ideas about the ‘reading and writing interaction’ in broader disciplinary terms,” she adds, “but also to reconsider how to assess that work in ways that make active learning visible and measurable in institutionally valued and viable ways.”

According to Carnegie Vice President Pat Hutchings, who co-directs the higher education program of the Carnegie Academy, the program seeks “to support work that will foster significant, long-lasting learning for all students, enhance the practice and profession of teaching, and bring to teaching the recognition and reward afforded to other forms of scholarship.”

Donahue has been the recipient of several grants to pursue her research. Her publications include Elements of Understanding, a book she coauthored with Mariolina Salvatori that will be published by Allyn and Bacon. She edited “Popular Images of Teachers and Teaching,” a special issue of Reader, published in fall 2001, and co-edited Reclaiming Pedagogy: The Rhetoric of the Classroom, with Ellen Quandahl, published by Southern Illinois Press in 1989.

Donahue’s publications last year included “Strange Resistances,” an article in the fall WAC Journal; “English Studies in the Scholarship of Teaching,” co-written with Salvatori, in Disciplinary Styles, published by the Carnegie Foundation for Teaching in collaboration with AAHE; and a review in the journal Pedagogy.

She recently completed a collaboration with Salvatori on the book Reading Difficulties, which has been submitted for editorial consideration, and is writing another book, The Trial(s) of Composition. She is co-editing two collections of essays: Alternative Histories, with Gretchen Fletcher Moon, which challenges the “Harvard Narrative” and offers archival evidence of alternative institutional histories, and Images of Teachers and Teaching, with Dale Bauer and Salvatori

Donahue also has shared her research at nearly 30 conferences and forums, including meetings of the Modern Language Association, Conference on Popular Culture, Early Modern Culture Conference, Conference on Politics and Pedagogy, and others.

Last year, she was elected as the Mid-Atlantic delegate to the Modern Language Association and began a term on the editorial board of WAC Journal. She also is a member of the editorial board of Reader. As a member of the MLA’s Executive Committee on the Division on the Teaching of Literature from 1998-2001, she organized highly successful panels on popular representations of teaching, pedagogical ethics, and graduate student preparation. She is a founding member of a special interest group on small-college teaching and administration, and serves as an outside evaluator for numerous tenure cases and professional publications, including College English, Reader, and Written Communication. She has served on more than 30 committees at Lafayette.

Donahue joined the Lafayette faculty in 1985 and has served as director of the College Writing Program since 1992. She was coordinator of the Comprehensive Writing Program from 1986-1993.

The College Writing Program helps integrate the practice of writing into courses throughout Lafayette. It trains selected undergraduates as Writing Associates, assigning them to specific courses in a wide variety of disciplines. Writing Associates meet with each student in an affiliated course at least four times during the semester in conferences of about 30 minutes. They also run a drop-in service for students in courses not affiliated with the program.

Writing Associates function not as editors or proofreaders, but as informed and intelligent readers who help students formulate tough questions about their own writing. They participate weekly in required and rigorous staff meetings, which provide strategies for peer collaboration and examine complex questions. They also provide faculty with feedback on assignment design, student progress, and evaluation of written work. Each semester, the program involves 50-60 Writing Associates, approximately 750 students, and 50 faculty members from all divisions, including engineering.

Donahue received Lafayette’s Marquis Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1998. She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from University of Redlands and earned her Ph.D. in English from University of California, Irvine, writing her dissertation on “Circe’s Potion: The Language of Passion in English Renaissance Poetry.”

Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered in 1906 by an act of Congress, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center with a primary mission “to do and perform all things necessary to encourage, uphold, and dignify the profession of the teacher.” Located in Menlo Park, Calif., the foundation fulfills this mission through its contributions to improvements in education policy and practice.

Categorized in: Academic News