Revolution Lullabye

March 31, 2009

Phelps, “Budget, Enrollment, and Workforce”

Phelps, Louise Wetherbee. “Budget, Enrollment, and Workforce.” Exploiting Synergies: Positioning the Writing Program for the Nineties. Planning Document. The Writing Program, Syracuse University. November 1991.

This is one of a series of eight concept papers in a planning document submitted by Phelps, as Director of the Writing Program, to the new Syracuse University chancellor (Shaw) in 1991. In it, Phelps argues that the Writing Program’s budget be reconceived: that it depends on budgeted money (not variable allocations); that it is designed based on the Program’s goals (not on the categories of the old Freshman English program); that it uses people, not sections as a baseline for deciding how much money the Program receives; and that it is administered at the university level, not in the College of Arts and Sciences (because it serves the entire population.) Phelps directly ties the goals of the Program, those goals that were stated when she came to serve as director in 1986, to how the budget is constructed and administered.

Quotable Quotes

“The Writing Program recovers an unreasonably low percentage of the profit it generates over costs.”

“Since the status quo budget (no matter how increased) is conceptually organized by the categories and distribution of our teaching in the old program, the Freshman English program continues to repress our imagination through the perpetuation of its budget structures”

Notable Notes

SU was trying to cut costs and enrollment university-wide, early 1990s

make a budget that is based on planning (in this case, the number of faculty for the future grad program), not one that is reactive and scrambles together funds from a variety of sources at the last minute

look at the functions of the writing program: both teaching undergraduate courses and working consultatively in a writing center, with professional development, evaluation, TA training, university-wide projects and initiatives – all thesse, not just the teaching, need adequate funding

Taylor, Ten Commandments for Computers and Composition

Filed under: Uncategorized — by revolutionlullabye @ 6:51 am

Taylor, Todd. “Ten Commandments for Computers and Composition.” In The Allyn and Bacon Sourcebook for Writing Program Administration. Eds. Ward and Carpenter. New York: Longman, 2002.

Taylor presents ten principles for WPAs to think about when designing their program’s use of computers and instructional technologies. These principles are ideological guides, not nitty-gritty technical advice about the kinds of computers or programs to use because that information changes so rapidly and depends on institutional context. The ten commandments:

  1. Keep people first
  2. Build from program principles
  3. Start simple
  4. Invest heavily in hands-on instructor training
  5. Revise strategies for instructing students
  6. Consult with others
  7. Expect the crash
  8. Consider access
  9. Be critical of technology
  10. Use technology as a lever for positive change

Quotable Quotes

“We need to be aware that experiments require leaps of faith that place students, teachers, and writing programs at risk.” (235) – make people, not the technology, come first

Notable Notes

big emphasis on professional development – corporate world invests $1 for training for every $3 of hardware – it doesn’t do any good if you don’t have people who can use it effectively

WPAs need to be always responding to the changes in technology

McAllister and Selfe, Writing Program Administration and Instructional Computing

McAllister, Ken S. and Cynthia L. Selfe. “Writing Program Administration and Instructional Computing.” In The Writing Program Administrator’s Resource. Eds. Brown and Enos. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2002. 341-375.

McAllister and Selfe argue that the issues in instructional computing are intellectual as well as pragmatic, encompassing broader theoretical and pedagogical issues including rhetoric, social theory, social justice, education, and the social and literacy aspects of technology. WPAs, then, should see instructional computing as part of their intellectual administrative work. McAllister and Selfe identify five “moments” in which WPAs might work in expanding their program’s use of instructional technologies: focusing on programmatic and curricular goals (professional development and conversations about program objectives); focusing on issues of access (number of computers, availability of technical support, what those computers and classroom offer); focusing on issues of administration (scheduling, conducting assessments); focusing on issues of professional development and support (creative ways to give instuctors support the skills they need); and focusing on issues of funding (program and university-wide).

Notable Notes

best programs are started slowly and have wide, broad university support and funding (362)

programs need to train instructors who will be teaching computer-intensive classes (356)

do to issues of classroom and computer access, it’s best not to require large courses (university-wide 1st year comp) to have mandated computer-intensive assignments or requirements (355)

WPAs should start by assessing what their program already has, their needs and their goals

two questions to ask: “What are the instructional goals of the writing program? How can these goals be made to drive a computer-based program/course/activity/facility/decision?” and “Who is being served by these goals and the computer-based instruction that is derived from them? Who is not?” (345)

Anson, Figuring It Out

Anson, Chris M. “Figuring It Out: Writing Programs in the Context of University Budgets.” In The Writing Program Administrator’s Resource. Eds. Brown and Enos. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2002. 233-252.

Anson describes how WPAs can come to fully understand their program’s budgets by using a mapping heuristic to create a visual diagram of a program’s expenses, sources of income, and problems. He shows through a fictional case study how a WPA can find creative solutions to budgetary problems by mapping, because mapping allows for a WPA to create budgetary categories and to see relationships in and between those categories. He also advocates arguing for better pay and benefits for part-time instructors through analytical data and facts rather than emotional or theoretical appeals about equitable and ethical compensation because he believes administration will be more moved by hard-line data about the profits a composition program brings into the university.

Quotable Quotes

“That a program is forced to pay its teachers less than the full-time salary at the fast-food restaurant in the student union, and that it is unable to buy a new computer or provide donuts and coffee at its teacher-development meetings even though it is generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in net revenues is a sad commentary on the way in which an essential part of college-level instruction is viewed by those who govern our higher educatoin institutions. Jodi’s analysis, done carefully and disinterestedly, can contribute much more effectively to the mobilization of forces against such continued exploitation than will unsupported assertions, anecdotes, or the sort of victim mentality that lends to a begrudging acceptance of the status quo.” (251).

Notable Notes

responsibility-centered budgeting trend

uses Tim Peeples’ mapping concpet from his article about WPA and Postmodern Mapping

Create a free website or blog at