Revolution Lullabye

November 16, 2010

Howard, Power Revisited

Howard, Rebecca Moore. “Power Revisited; Or, How We Became a Department.” WPA: Writing Program Administration 16.3 (Spring 1993): 37-49. Print.

Howard explains that to create change at an institution, the agent of change must have power, and those who want change must propose the change as if they were equals to those they are proposing to (even if they are not equals.) She positions her non-adversarial approach to gaining power opposite Ed White’s more miltaristic view (in “Use It or Lose It”), characterizing the Colgate University Department of Interdisciplinary Writing as one that runs and teaches through collective, democratic power. She argues that this approach is a way for composition as a field to gain institutionally-changing power. She offers other WPAs advice for creating and cultivating power for their writing programs and departments based on her experience of creating the stand-alone department of writing at Colgate through the mid-1980s to early 1990s.

Notes and Quotes

Advice: 1. don’t rely only on written communications: talk to people face-to-face. 2. always write up and send follow-ups after meetings 3. write down what you do each day as an administratror 4. know that you must “hound” people (nicely) to do tasks for you 5. make sure your program is known for its scholarly work as well as its adminsitartive work on campus 6. get an external review of your program done

opportunism = method; collectivism = mode (46)

building political capital for things you want by doing things for others

everything is done by a vote, together, collaborative development and administration even in the midst of a hierarchal university structure.

department is made entirely of women.

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