Reading and Writing in the Disciplines

Reading and writing in the disciplines

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Programming Overview

Reading and Writing in the Disciplines is a multiple certificate pathway designed to meet the ongoing needs of reading and writing instruction for all disciplines. As seen below, there are different types of programs to meet the different needs of our faculty.

You can earn certificates in:

  • Active Reading Online: Reading Apprenticeship (Attendance at four out of five synchronous workshops, one self-paced asynchronous workshop, final consultation, and teaching artifact required for the certificate.)
  • Faculty Book Club (Synchronous meetings on a new learning/literacy-focused book each semester. Attendance at all sessions required for the certificate.) 
  • Writing in the Disciplines (Attendance at five synchronous workshops, final consultation, and teaching artifact required for the certificate.)

Every year CETL receives many requests from faculty from all different disciplines for support and best practices on reading and writing instruction in their field. In response, our CETL Faculty Fellow for Reading and Writing, Dr. Margaret Finnegan, has helped us develop two new certificate series that will introduce you to best reading and writing practices. The workshops have a special focus on managing grading.

Dr. Finnegan has worked at Cal State LA for over 15 years and received her PhD in History from UCLA. Her work has appeared in American Quarterly, College Composition and Communication, The Los Angeles Times and other publications. She is also the author of Selling Suffrage: Consumer Culture and Votes for Women (Columbia University Press) and the middle-grade novels We Could Be Heroes and Susie B. Won't Back Down (both from Atheneum Books for Young Readers). With her diverse experiences and scholarly practice, Margaret has honed the best and most practical strategies to approach reading and writing at the university level.

We strongly encourage any faculty who assigns reading or writing in their class to join us in this important work!

To consult with Dr. Finnegan about helping your students become better disciplinary readers and writers, email her directly at [email protected].

CETL Faculty Book Club

BookClub badge an open book with a cup of tea

Enhance your professional development, have fun, and make some work friends! Join the CETL Faculty Book Club! A new book is choseneach semester and is divided into manageable segments that can be discussed over the course of about four months. ALL faculty are welcome. Watch your email for annoucements. 


Writing In The Disciplines, Workshops And Descriptions

This pathway consists of 5 workshops. All workshops are required. Workshops introduce best practices for assigning writing and addressing feedback and grading.

To complete the Program and Earn the Certificate, Faculty should expect to:

  • Attend and participate in all five workshops.
  • Incorporate best reading and writing practices into your syllabus/course schedule.
  • Incorporate best reading and writing practices into ONE assignment.
  • Conference at least once with CETL staff about what you've done. 

Threshold Writing Concepts Threshold concepts get at the heart of not only what you know in a discipline, but how you think and act in one. Unpack key threshold writing concepts and learn how you can pair them with your disciplinary expertise to help students with metacognition, transfer of knowledge, and real-world writing situations.

Workshop Duration: 1.5 Hours


Feedback that Counts


Drowning in papers? Learn best practices for responding meaningfully to student writers without sacrificing your sanity or assessment integrity.

Workshop Duration: 1 Hour


Not your Grandma's Grammar Workshop
Tired of playing the grammar cop? Drawing on meta-analyses of grammar and writing instruction, this workshop shares tips and activities for helping students (and graders) make peace with grammar conventions and instruction.
Workshop Duration: 1 Hour


Creating Significant Writing Assignments
Research suggests that students find writing assignments meaningful when they foster personal agency, build social engagement, and provide opportunities for knowledge transfer. Learn how to design assignments that leverage these powerful factors and improve student learning.
Workshop Duration: 1 Hour


Working with Evidence
Are your students struggling with choosing and using evidence? We’ve got you covered. This workshop provides active-learning strategies for helping students identify credible sources, select relevant evidence, and integrate quotations, paraphrases, and summaries into writing.
Workshop Duration: 1 Hour


Active Learning Online: Reading Apprenticeship Workshops and Descriptions (Offered Spring Semesters)

This pathway consists of 6 workshops: One required Self-Paced Worrkshop and 5 Elective Active Learning Teaching Practice workshops. You'll need to complete the self-paced workshop and 4 of the 5 other electices before you can submit your final assignment and earn your certificate


To complete the program and earn the certificate, faculty should expect to:

  • Participate in at least 4 Active Learning Online: Reading Apprenticeship workshops
  • Choose one of the RA strategies that you learn.
  • Create a video of you introducing and then modeling the strategy
  • Create a Canvas assignment or discussion board that asks students to use the strategy themselves
  • Submit your completed work
  • Do an exit interview.consultation with a CETL staff member

Threshold Writing Concepts

This Self-paced webinar provides an overview of the RA model and how we’ve internalized it at Cal State LA. Instructors will learn about the 4 dimensions of reading, and they will practice using one of our favorite Active Learning Reading techniques, the Think Aloud!

Workshop Duration: Self-paced

Feedback that Counts

Learn how to create classroom norms and a collaborative reading strategies list. These Reading Apprenticeship tools will increase the social and instructor presence of your classroom and contribute to a more inclusive classroom.

Workshop Duration: 45-minutes

Not your Grandma's Grammar Workshop

The Reading Apprenticeship take on double-entry notetakers, the use of Evidence-Interpretation charts promote active reading and meta-cognition. Learn how you can add them to your classroom.

Workshop Duration: 45-minutes

Creating Significant Writing Assignments Help students retain and remember what they've read by helping them get the GIST. This great strategy for teaching paraphrasing can also be used by students to help them avoid plagiarism.
Workshop Duration: 45-minutes

Working with Evidence This workshop introduces a variety of strategies that will help students read actively, increase metacognition, and strategize on how to approach a text.

Workshop Duration:45-minutes

Working with Evidence Introduces Reading Apprenticeship strategies for annotating texts using Perusall.
Workshop Duration:45-minutes

A Showcase of Faculty Writing Assignments: Writing as Problem Solving

A Showcase of Faculty Writing Assignments: Writing as Problem Solving

Want to create creative writing assignments that engage students and get them thinking like disciplinarians? Fantastic! Here is what you do:

  1. Self-enroll in the Showcase of Faculty Writing Canvas hub.
  2. Read the home page and then explore the modules. The first module introduces you to the concept of meaningful Writing Assignments. It also gives you some ideas on how to create your own. The final three modules categorize the submissions into three types:
    • Career relevant assignments
    • Assignments that connect with communities and build civic engagement
    • Assignments that help students set/achieve personal goals