The Oregon Writing and English Advisory Committee (OWEAC) is a permanent advisory committee serving college and high school English faculty in Oregon. OWEAC has adopted a mission statement guiding its activities:
- To promote high academic standards in English composition and literature in community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, and high school dual enrollment programs
- To facilitate communication among English faculty in Oregon
- To provide policy recommendations regarding English instruction
The work of this committee emphasizes improvements in English composition and literature instruction that enable students to understand and apply reading and writing skills essential to critical thinking and to their success as students, informed citizens, and members of the workforce.
The State System of Higher Education/Community College Coordinating Committee originally appointed this Ad Hoc Committee on Competencies in English Composition in 1974. Our original charge was to improve articulation between community and four-year colleges, with special attention to transfer and equivalence of required composition courses. Committee activities gradually broadened (and its name changed to the State Composition Advisory Committee and then to the Oregon Writing and English Advisory Committee) to consider the goals and content of required writing courses, testing and measurement of writing skills, teacher preparation, and continuing education.
In recent years, OWEAC’s accomplishments have included the following:
- Recommendations for aligning lower-division ENG and WR course numbers statewide
- Outcomes for ENG 104, 105, and 106, Introduction to Literature; WR 115, Introduction to College Writing; WR 121, Expository Prose Writing; WR 122, Argumentative Writing; WR 123, Research Writing; and WR 227, Technical Writing
- Survey of adjunct faculty
- Participation in outcomes development for the AAOT (Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer and the OTM (Oregon Transfer Module)
- Information literacy proficiencies developed and mapped onto WR 121 and WR 122
- Co-sponsorship of the annual Oregon Information Literacy Summit with the Oregon Library Association Library Instruction Round Table and with the Information Literacy Advisory Group of Oregon (ILAGO)
- Position statement on dual credit/dual enrollment
- Position statement on information literacy
- Criteria for general-education writing courses
- Advocacy against the use of machine scoring of writing and against a single cut score on high school writing assessment to determine “college readiness”
OWEAC shall evaluate and recommend placement, sequencing, content, proficiencies, performance standards, student outcomes, and teaching strategies and learning environments of language, literature, reading, and composition programs in community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, and high school dual enrollment programs.
OWEAC shall monitor, review, and publish guidelines on issues that affect language, literature, reading, and composition instruction related to the following:
- Curriculum (core composition and literature requirements, reading competencies, developmental writing, articulation, and workplace writing)
- Instructors’ professional development
- Changing technology (computer-based instruction, distance learning)
- Changing student needs (foreign students, students with limited English proficiency, Article 504 accommodations)
- Assessment, testing, advising, and placement
- Education reform
OWEAC shall review and publicize core writing and literature requirements to create a “seamless” transfer from high school to college and to improve articulation and communication between all levels.
OWEAC shall work with and advise other statewide and local agencies and organizations that are involved in setting policies affecting English instruction.
OWEAC’S OPERATING PRINCIPLES
- Membership: Members of OWEAC are drawn from writing program coordinators, English and writing faculty, librarians, or administration from Oregon community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, and high schools offering dual enrollment, as well as a designee from the Information Literacy Advisory Group of Oregon (ILAGO). Meetings are open, and institutions are encouraged to send a representative.
- Voting practices: Because OWEAC is an advisory committee, decisions are generally made by consensus of present and participating representatives. If the need for a formal vote arises, each participating college or university will be allotted one vote that should represent the views of their campus. Upcoming votes will be marked on meeting agendas and sufficient notice will be given to participants.
- Officers: Members nominate and elect a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Technology Officer, and Membership Coordinators at the spring meeting for a two-year term. The elected officers shall function as the nominating committee, recruiting potential candidates and accepting nominations from the floor.
- Chair duties: 1) conduct OWEAC meetings, 2) delegate work to meet each year’s goals, 3) provide an annual summary of OWEAC accomplishments, 4) conduct elections when next Chair is to be elected, 5) co-chair key committees as needed, 6) serve as liaison to other agencies and organizations, such as the HECC or other state-level governing body, and 7) attend meetings as Past Chair for one additional year.
- Vice-Chair (Chair-Elect) duties: 1) serve as co-chair of key committees as needed, 2) conduct meetings if Chair is absent, 3) serve as liaison to other agencies and organizations if Chair is unavailable, 4) conduct part of meetings dealing with committee work, and 5) serve as Chair after the term of Vice-Chair is completed.
- Secretary duties: 1)help Chair set agenda, 2) attend all meetings (or find substitute beforehand if unable to attend a meeting), 3) record meeting business including discussion and votes, 4) post a preliminary draft of the meeting minutes on the wiki for review by the attending members within 30 days after the meeting, 5) make needed revisions and post minutes for approval at the next meeting 30 days prior the meeting 6) Ensure approved documents are archived on the OWEAC website through the Technology Officer.
- Technology Officer duties: 1) maintain OWEAC’s web presence, 2) update the website with meeting information, membership, OWEAC statements and recommendations, and other materials as needed, 3) modify website, wiki, and listserv as needed, and 4) facilitate remote access for meetings (in coordination with hosting location), including communicating access instructions to members prior to the meeting, monitoring and troubleshooting access during the meeting, and watching to make sure communication for remote attendees is acknowledged and shared during the meeting.
- Membership Coordinators duties: 1) coordinate with the Technology Officer to maintain a clear and updated membership list, 2) be responsible for outreach to campuses without participating representatives, and 3) coordinate with the Secretary and Chair to provide members with a truncated list of current OWEAC projects for public distribution, 4) the role of Membership Coordinator shall shared between two- and four-year colleges with a representative from each.
- Meetings: OWEAC shall meet once each quarter during the academic year at a location members agree upon, with a quorum consisting of those members present. All effort will be made to make remote access available for members and invited guests unable to attend in person.