Revolution Lullabye

October 18, 2006

601 Project Proposal

Filed under: Uncategorized — by revolutionlullabye @ 12:53 am

Laura J. Davies
October 9, 2006
CCR 601
Independent Reading and Writing Project Proposal

The Birth and Development of the Writing Major

An important sign of maturity for an academic discipline is for it to be a separate, autonomous field of study, in which graduates and undergraduates can pursue that specific field of knowledge towards a degree. Doctoral degrees in composition and rhetoric have expanded from minimal offerings twenty years ago to 66 different programs today, as listed on the Consortium of Doctoral Programs in Rhetoric and Composition website. Now, there is a new and exciting recent development in the field of composition and rhetoric: the creation of undergraduate writing majors, situated in both separate writing departments, which also house the university-wide writing programs, and in English departments.
For my independent reading and writing project for CCR 601, I want to investigate the writing major, which is being developed and implemented at colleges and universities across the country. I want to see how this administrative development reflects on the discipline as a whole: how does composition and rhetoric assert itself in the academy on the undergraduate level? I find the undergraduate major interesting because it is often said that composition, like law and medicine, is a graduate discipline. How are faculty bridging that gap and presenting a worthwhile, varied, four-year program of study to undergraduates?
I am fascinated by the processes that go into building an undergraduate major:
how its objectives are framed, how tracks and courses are conceptualized, how syllabi are constructed, how texts are selected. I want to see how different institutions define writing. Do they emphasize creative writing, technical writing, journalism, or are they a smorgasbord of all sorts of writing? Do the writing programs echo art and music by situating writing as productive knowledge, or do they include studies in history and methodology, making writing and rhetoric more like theoretical or practical knowledge? How is a writing major different from an English, journalism, or communications major (especially at institutions that offer all four!)
For me, a doctoral student in CCR at Syracuse University, the writing major is an especially relevant topic of inquiry now because the Writing Program here at Syracuse is currently in the process of proposing the adoption of a writing major. Therefore, I can use Syracuse’s proposal as a dynamic case study for my project. I also plan on using program descriptions from other colleges and universities (Ithaca College, University of Florida, Loyola College of Maryland) who have implemented writing majors as examples that showcase the variety of undergraduate writing degree programs. The writing major is a relatively new area of study in composition and rhetoric, so there are several recent articles dealing with the topic. Since I want to someday run a writing program, I believe that this project will give me a good foundation about a current development in writing program administration.
Generative Bibliography

Culler, Jonathan. “Imagining the Coherence of the English Major.” Profession 2003 [Modern Language Association]: 85-93.

Cushman, Ellen. “Vertical Writing Programs in Departments of Rhetoric and Writing.” Composition Studies in the New Millennium: Rereading the Past, Rewriting the Future. Ed. Lynn Z. Bloom, Donald A. Daiker, and Edward M. White. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2003.

Downs, Doug, and Sandra Jamieson. “Writing Majors, Minors, Tracks, & Concentrations.” Madison, NJ: Drew University Composition Program. 12 Mar. 2006.

“Guidelines and Directions for College Courses in Advanced Composition.” College Composition and Communication 18 (1967): 266-268.

Hult, Christine. “The Organization and Administration of an Undergraduate Writing Emphasis.” ERIC Document Reproduction Service, ED 358 479, 1993.

Jenseth, Richard. “Assignment Sequencing in Advanced Composition.” The ATAC Newsletter 1.1 (1989): 10-11.

Lovitt, Carl R. “Literature Requirements in the Curricula of Writing Degrees and Concentrations: Examining a Shifting Institutional Relationship.” WPA: Writing Program Administration 29.1-2 (Fall 2005): 11-30.

Mathes, J.C. “A Taxonomy of Communication Acts for the Design of Advanced Writing Courses.” Journal of Advanced Composition 1 (1980): 53-57.

Olson, Gary A., and Julie Drew, eds. Landmark Essays on Advanced Composition. Mahwah, NJ: Hermagoras Press, 1996.

Penfield, Elizabeth. “Freshman English/Advanced Writing: How Do We Distinguish the Two? Teaching Advanced Composition. Ed. Katherine H. Adams and John L. Adams. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1991. 17-30.

Shamoon, Linda K., Rebecca Moore Howard, Sandra Jamieson, and Robert A. Schwegler, eds. Coming of Age: The Advanced Writing Curriculum. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Boynton/Cook, 2000.

Shumaker, Arthur W. “How Can a Major in Composition Be Established?” Journal of Advanced Composition 2.1-2 (1981): 139-146.

Trimbur, John. “The Problem of Freshman English (Only): Towards Programs of Study in Writing.” WPA: Writing Program Administration 22.3 (Spring 1999): 9-30.

Weisser, Christian R. Moving Beyond Academic Discourse: Composition Studies and the Public Sphere. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois UP, 2002.

Yancey, Kathleen Blake. “Made Not Only in Words: Composition in a New Key.” CCC 56.2 (2004):297-328.


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