Revolution Lullabye

November 18, 2010

Smith, Louise Z. Smith Responds

Smith, Louise Z. “Louise Z. Smith Responds.” College English 51 (1989): 436-7. Print

Smith argues that a WAC program only works in context, and the challenge of any WAC program is to make it fit in with the individual institution’s needs and goals. She questions the Colgate Department of Interdisciplinary Writing, asking if it is prudent to value “retrained” compositionists from other fields (science, history, etc.) over literary specialists in reader-response theory, hermeneutics, etc., who might be able to bring a foundational understanding of composition theory and then some more.

Notes and Quotes

“Through helping a wide variety of colleges and universities to develop WAC programs, I’ve come to see every one of them as a living entity with a memory and an imagination, with a developing philosophical and political character – and with idiosyncracies, long may they wave! Consequently, I believe that any discussion of administrative models can carry us so far; then we need to think about the fit between a model and the character of the college where we hope it will serve. No model should be called ‘too idiosyncratic’ until thosewho will teach within it have tried it on and either discarded it or let the program director negotiate the tailoring and alterations for what can be used with durability, comfort, and pride, as the IWP clearly is” (437).

interesting connection here to Syracuse – Smith leaves it up to the program director to negotiate the tailoring and alterations, the Syracuse WP gave that responsibility, in part, to PWIs

November 17, 2010

Howard, Hess, and Darby, A Comment on ‘Only One of the Voices’ and ‘Why English Departments Should ‘House’ Writing Across the Curriculum’

Howard, Rebecca Moore, David J. Hess, and Margaret Flanders Darby. “A Comment on ‘Only One of the Voices’ and ‘Why English Departments Should “House” Writing Across the Curriculum.'” College English 51 (April 1989): 433-5. Print.

The authors comment on recent articles published by Blair and Smith about how best to constitute a WAC program, drawing on their experience from the Colgate University Department of Interdisciplinary Writing, recently founded in 1989 as a stand-alone program whose faculty are from a range of disciplines who don’t just assign writing but teach it in the disciplines.

Notes and Quotes

“The experience at our institution demonstrates that the interdisciplinary composition faculty is an achievable ideal.”

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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