WIS Events

2016 Backwards by Design Working Retreat 

Are you a WWU faculty member who teaches with writing?  If so, we invite you to participate in "Backwards by Design: A Working Retreat for Faculty Who Teach With Writing." WIS is providing a late summer professional development opportunity for faculty focused on developing practices for enhancing writing instruction.

This three-day retreat will run Monday, August 29 through Wednesday, August 31 at Western’s Shannon Point Marine Center nestled in the woods and near the water in Anacortes. All expenses for lodging, food, and materials are covered.  An additional stipend will be available to participants who submit a brief follow-up survey identifying what specific ideas/practices they gained from the retreat followed by a brief write-up within the 2016-2017 academic year tracking the results of how those practices resulted in improved student learning.   

Our theme Backwards by Design reflects the belief that “teaching is a means to an end. Having a clear goal helps us as educators focus our planning and guide purposeful action…” (Wiggins and McTighe). We envision where we want to end up and work backwards on how to get there.

Program Outcomes:

  • Create or transform a course through the integration of a service-learning and/or writing component;
  • Gain best practices for teaching and learning;
  • Form partnerships and supportive teaching and learning networks;
  • Apply the “Backwards by Design” model to course planning;
  • Learn how to prepare a course portfolio to document and enhance your learning results;
  • Reflect, relax, and recharge through this interactive retreat, which will include dialogue, presentations, demonstrations, reflection, and time to work on your own course materials.

Program Commitments:

  • Attend a 3-day working retreat at Western’s Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes; sessions will be Monday, August 29 from 9:45am through Wednesday, August 31 at 4:00pm.
  • For additional stipend: submit a brief survey within one week of the retreat and a two-page write-up tracking results of the retreat on student learning within the 2014-2015 academic year.

Agenda of Topics:

  • Day 1 - Design: Course portfolio and reflection, disciplinary concepts, course syllabus, evaluation schemes.
  • Day 2 - Enactment: Course portfolio and reflection, creating assignments, building partnerships, engaging practices, disciplinary concepts, course syllabus, evaluation schemes.
  • Day 3 - Results: Course portfolio and reflection, learning activities, Work samples.

Space is limited, so if you’re interested in attending, please pre-register by emailing For more details, contact WIS director Julie Dugger, who will facilitate the workshop,

Writing Faculty in the Learning Commons

Want to support your students doing researched-based writing?  Consider scheduling office hours in the Corner, Wilson Library 265. To schedule a regular space in the Corner, send an email to


Watch for quarterly events and more information.