Revolution Lullabye

November 10, 2010

Rehling, Small but Good

Rehling, Louise. “Small but Good: How a Specialized Writing Program Goes It Alone.” 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. 62-74. Print.

Rehling explains the history of the creation and development of an independent Technical and Professional Writing Program at San Francisco State University, which oversees a small undergraduate major and certificate but does not have responsibility for any university-wide service courses. It is an interdisciplinary program, separate from English completely, and housed in the College of Humanities. The program is largely staffed by adjunct lecturers, who are required to hold a master’s degree and have both workplace writing experience and teaching training. It was a problem to recruit these adjuncts: they are in high demand in the industry in the Bay Area and the university compensation is extremely low. Also, having practitioner-lecturers was a problem: they required lots of help from the department with their teaching: classroom observations and feedback, help designing syllabi and class activities, discussing grading strategies and standards. The administrative work of this small department is extensive, and the university has one tenure-track faculty member overseeing the program. The TPW program does not have its own budget – its budget is determined on allocations  from the dean of the College of Humanities.

Notes and Quotes

The requirements for local expert practicioners to teach the courses validates the adjunct’s position in the department and the university – much like adjuncts in business, music, engineering are valued because of their expert knowledge.

Look at this case to compare budget, adjunct roles with SU Writing Program.


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