The following tips are compiled from an interview conducted by WIC with Deanna Lloyd, a Senior Instructor in Crop & Soil Science in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University. Lloyd teaches SUS 325: Agricultural and Environmental Predicaments, a WIC course which is cross-listed for both Sustainability and Crop & Soil Science students. The course encourages students to practice systems-thinking by examining each topic through the three dimensions of sustainability: the environmental, the economic, and the social. Although Lloyd's tips come from her experience teaching this WIC course, they can easily be applied to other WIC courses across disciplines.


Encourage Active Reading Skills 
  • Assign guided readings by providing students with specific, low-stakes questions or prompts to keep in mind while reading. This can encourage students to read to understand and to evaluate the usefulness of a source for their needs.
  • Have students practice evaluating articles. A few ways for doing this include:
    • Introducing concept maps to students and asking them to map out the major claims or pieces of information provided in a reading.
    • Asking students to answer true or false statements about a reading and support their answers with evidence from the text. 


Assign Genre- and Discipline-Specific Writing
  • Introduce disciplinary genres commonly used in your field and ask students to practice writing within these genres. Some example genre-based assignments from Lloyd's discipline are:
    • Journal article reviews of an article read in class or related to a certain class module.
    • Extension publications.
  • Encourage students to communicate content knowledge to different audiences by composing public-facing texts, like social media posts.
Enact Learner-Focused Approaches
  • Assign writing assignments that ask students to think about how the subject of the class relates to them personally. This can help bridge the gap between individual and community learning. Lloyd does this by:
    • Asking students to write a place-based, personal narrative essay at the beginning of the term. This assignment invites students to reflect on their relationship with a different place. 
    • Providing students with sample place-based, narrative essays and videos for inspiration. These pieces highlight not only place connection, but also issues of difference, power, and discrimination, as they integrate the perspectives of authors with diverse social identities.
Integrate a Difference, Power, and Discrimination (DPD) Lens
  • Incorporate DPD into WIC courses to bridge the conceptual gap between writing and "real life" for students. 
  • Encourage students to engage with critical and community-based thinking, as opposed to individual or isolated learning. Some possibilities for doing so based on Lloyd's teaching include: 
    • Introducing systems-thinking in class discussions, assignments, and course goals.
    • Selecting course topics that allow students to examine how different systems and structures can create inequities and predicaments.
    • Assigning readings and assignments that ask students to consider how certain inequities and predicaments affect different communities.
  • Create ties to other faculty in other fields and work with different departments and offices across campus. DPD is an inherently interdisciplinary endeavor, and working across disciplinary lines can help diversify curricula and encourage community-based problem solving. 
    • Invite guest speakers from various disciplines to discuss DPD issues in class.
    • Partner with faculty across campus to create initiatives that engage students with DPD in their learning and writing.