The In-House Conference: A Strategy for Disrupting Order and Shifting Identities
The first-year writing program at Kennesaw State University has found its in-house conference (IHC) to be an important venue for faculty development. Based on the assumption that teachers actually know what they are doing, the IHC invites teachers of all ranks to propose a presentation on a selected topic and then to present those papers at conference sessions that other teachers attend. The IHC invites part-time faculty into the community, generates intellectual conversation about teaching across the lines of rank and hierarchy, allows the conversation to continue long after the conference since participants can see each other daily, and invites reflection on and modification of teaching. The success of the IHC serves as a reminder that some faculty development should be discipline-specific and local. In addition, the IHC asks teachers of writing to actually write themselves and allows them the opportunity for scholarship. The professional development that the IHC offers is not, however, limited to a writing program but can be used to stimulate intellectual engagement across the English department and, beyond that, to other departments across the university.
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