What Happens When Writing is Listening

This summer, I attended a writing workshop where the facilitator said something that really struck me:

“Writing well is actually an act of listening and listening to others helps you hone that skill.”

One of my personal and professional goals since I started my position as program administrator for faculty development in August of 2013 is to write blog posts that are more than just announcements.

There are 8500 faculty who teach in our community and technical colleges in Washington State, and I want to write blog posts that truly serve you.

When I was a faculty member, I found myself frequently overwhelmed by the growing complexity of teaching and the work.  Since I’ve left the classroom, my job as a faculty professional developer means I get to talk to faculty from around the state on a daily basis.

From what I hear about the problems of practice you face on a daily basis, I know teaching has gotten even more complex since I left the classroom.

However, to produce the kinds of blog entries that might possibly help you, I needed to know more about what you are facing.

While there are lots of ways that writing well is listening, I took the advice from the writing facilitator very literally.  So, to help me write well for you, I created what I called a “Faculty Success Survey.”

In the survey, I asked you to tell me about your challenges to success in two key areas:

  • the classroom
  • their organization

184 of you responded.

I spent most of December reading the survey responses and looking for patterns, themes, trends, and other insights that I could use to create the kind of writing that listens well . . . that listens to you.

Over the course of the next year, each week I’ll write a blog post on what I’ve discovered and what I’m discovering.

For now, I want to highlight and acknowledge this memorable and provocative insight from the survey.  One faculty member wrote,

“Find out from us what we want, don’t just offer what you think you need.”

I’m hoping that each week, as I listen and write more through this blog about what emerged in the survey, I will be better able to do just this– provide offerings that you really want.

If you missed participating in the survey and would still like to, it’s not too late!

Take the Survey Now!

If you choose to take the survey, there’s also an option to provide me with your e-mail address for a follow-up interview.  I plan to do the interviews this summer, after I’ve processed the initial information from the survey.

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