Revolution Lullabye

November 10, 2010

Agnew and Dallas, Internal Friction in a New Independent Department of Writing

Agnew, Eleanor and Phyllis Surrency Dallas. “Internal Friction in a New Independent Department of Writing.” In A Field of Dreams: Independent Writing Programs and the Future of Composition Studies. Ed. Peggy O’Neill, Angela Crow, and Larry W. Burton. Logan: Utah State UP, 2002. 38-49. Print.

The authors trace the issues that arose in the new independent department of Writing and Linguistics at Georgia Southern University, a large (60-plus faculty) department that was created top-down by the upper administration when the Department of English and Philosophy was divided in the fall of 1997. The authors claim that the department was so troubled and divisive because of three main issues: that the creation of the department was driven by administration, not the faculty within the department (who actually voted to keep the large English and philosophy department one or place them in a school together); that those with degrees in literature and literary studies were assigned – without asking them what they thought – to a department of writing – and the new department did not have a major, and therefore its central purpose was open to contestation. There were tensions between the seven newly hired rhet/comp faculty and the “senior” faculty and instructors in literature who had worked at the university for years: who decides curriculum? Who is in charge? Also, the department was seen at the university as a service department, adding low pay and low morale to the mix.

 Notes and Quotes

Interesting connection to SU Writing Program – the vast majority of the teachers in the new program were trained in literature, literary studies. How was this implosion sidestepped?

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