Margot Soven, an English Professor at La Salle University who has spearheaded projects dealing with core curriculum, the teaching of writing, and integrating the humanities into the professions, received the University’s Faculty Service Award.
When Soven joined the La Salle faculty 31 years ago, there was a “revolution” in the teaching of writing, she said, adding that “there was so little training in the teaching of writing in the educational process.”
“What always interested me was faculty development,” said Soven, and she began a series of workshops at the University for faculty members to integrate the instruction of writing into the teaching of their subject matter.
In presenting the award to Soven, La Salle University Provost Dr. Joseph Marbach said the workshops introduced the faculty to recent research on the teaching of writing, which shaped the conversation about writing in many departments.
She also implemented the teaching of “doubles,” courses across disciplines taught by faculty working together. For instance, a philosophy course was doubled with a public speaking course. One student in those classes wrote that, “We learned the role that rhetoric played in western philosophy.”
“In the mid-1990s, she and William Sullivan, a former member of the Philosophy Department, secured a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities to fund a series of discussions on the theme: “Finding a Common Language: Integrating the Curriculum through the Humanities.”
The University, she said, was open to the changes and challenges she presented. “It was very easy to march around campus and make connections,” she said.
Recently, Soven organized discussions that explored the role of humanities in the professions and ways of integrating high-impact teaching practices into courses. “These workshops have served to introduce faculty to recent research and writing on important practices and have shaped the conversation and pedagogy of a number of faculty,” said Marbach.
She was also instrumental in developing the University’s Writing Fellows program, in which students are trained to tutor other students with writing. Soven has also authored two books, What the Writing Tutor Needs to Know and Teaching Writing in Middle and Secondary Schools, and she has co-edited six other books on higher education.taha