Dr Alison Farrell – Maynooth University

Title: ‘Why write?’ Writing as Engaging Pedagogy and Empowering Process

The emergence of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) has prompted a range of
questions across higher education. Amongst these are questions associated with
assessment and written assessment in particular. This presentation will explore the
contemporary role of writing in higher education as contextualised in threshold
concepts of writing studies, recent research on assessment and current higher
education trends. It will consider writing as a thinking tool, a connection channel and
an empowering process through which we learn about ourselves, others and the
disciplines. It will make a case for the inclusion of writing as part of engaging
pedagogy and empowerment through learning. The presentation will link theory
directly with practice by providing suggestions around the enactment of the ideas
explored and facilitating the sharing of practice amongst participants.

Dr Alison Farrell has worked as Teaching Development Officer in the Centre for Teaching
and Learning, Maynooth University since 2001. In 2011 she established the University
Writing Centre. From 2016 – 2021 she was Management Chair of the European funded
COST Action ‘We ReLaTe – Advancing effective institutional models towards cohesive
teaching, learning, research and writing development’. From January 2019 to December
2021, she was seconded to Ireland’s National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and
Learning in Higher Education as Senior Lead for Sectoral Engagement. Within that role she
led a range of national expert and advisory groups, and acted as a facilitator on the
European University Association collaborative leadership project LOTUS.
Dr Farrell has acted as an external examiner for a number of Irish Higher Education
Institutions (HEIs), has been a programme panel review member for Irish HEIS, a
programme reviewer for Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), a reviewer for Irish and
international HE professional departments, and an expert reviewer for European projects.

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