Revolution Lullabye

January 4, 2013

Valentino, Serving Those Who Have Served

Valentino, Marilyn J. “Serving Those Who Have Served: Preparing for Student Veterans in our Writing Programs, Classes, and Writing Centers.” WPA 36.1 (Fall/Winter 2012): 164-178.

This article, which is from the author’s 2012 CWPA address, explains several strategies writing teachers and writing program administrators can take in order to accommodate the specific needs of veterans in their classrooms and writing programs.  Valentino cites the increase of student veterans (and children and parents of veterans) at American colleges and universities. She stresses the diversity of the veteran population, she argues that writing teachers and WPAs need to be prepared to help veterans make a successful transition into college life. Some of her suggestions include resisting “profiling” student veterans, giving student veterans the option to talk or write about their war experiences (or not), being attune to other civilian students’ attitudes or comments to student veterans, and making assignment and classroom expectations clear from the get-go.  Her article also provides some helpful statistics about student veteran demographics.

November 30, 2010

Forum: Newsletter of the Non-Tenure-Track Special Interest Group Fall 1998

Forum: Newsletter of the Non-Tenure-Track Special Interest Group 01.2. Insert in College Composition and Communication 50.1 (1998): Print.  

The Forum, first published in CCC as a special insert in early 1998, before the CCCC in Chicago, is a newsletter dedicated to representing the voices and concerns of non-tenure-track writing faculty members. The notes and quotes below address some of the reflections and articles in the newsletter.

Notes and Quotes

“The tide has finally begun to turn, I think, toward greater awareness and more productive action in support of the profession’s non-tenure-track ranks, so it’s no wonder we’re feeling a bit more hopefuland revitalized than in times past” (Roberta Kirby-Werner, editor of Forum, A1).

Cynthia Selfe, CCCC Chair, noted in the 1998 CCCC Chair’s Report that the publication of Forum as a special insert in CCC for the first time before the conference was one of the most significant things of the year for the field (A1)

At the 1998 CCCC, CCCC resolved to support the printing and distribution of Forum and to compensate the editor (first editor is Kirby-Werner of the Syracuse Writing Program)

Susan Griffin, “Speaking from the Middle”: speaks about the shift that happened at CCCC this year. Instead of just sessions about the poor working conditions for non-tenure-track facutly, there were sessions about what to do: build coalitions, collective bargaining. She talks about her position in the middle – not tenured, but full-time with multiple year contracts, no time for publishing but some support for conferences, representation with a union but no say in faculty governance. She argues that this kind of position comes at a cost for the university and the students – it denies her academic freedom, equal standing in the academy, and the power to uphold academic integrity standards.

 “My own non-tenured position – which had always seeemd so marginal, so different, such a deviation from the traditional academic path – is after all average. In fact, for thsoe who teach writing courses in higher ed, it’s typical” (A4). 

Scott Hendrix, “Talking to Janitors, Working with Students: What’s Next for (Contingent) Academics?” Hendrix argues that non-tenure-track writing faculty should expand their networks for coaltion-buidling beyond other adjunct teachers at the university and include “other contingent academic workers, as well as our undergraduate students, other campus and community groups, and organized labor,” using janitors as an example. (A6). He argues that unionized labor will make workplaces more democratic, and argues for more activism by both full-time and part-time faculty to improve the academic workplace. He explains the outcomes of the CCCC collective bargaining, coalition-building, and organizing strategies workshop: goals for educating 1. contingent faculty; 2. full-time faculty; and 3. the public and the press about university working conditions. He gives examples about how the graduate TA union at his institution started to build this kind of cross-university and cross-community coalition.

We are teachers of language, of rhetoric. Now we need to use what we know for this new purpose – social action, public rhetoric.

Sample “Who pays?” ad to give the press to explain how poor working conditions for adjuncts affect everyone.

“Our starting point, though, should be the same – to make academic work (teaching and learning) less continent, more visible and more valued, both financially and professionally” (A6).

Susan Crowley: “While we are doing all of that [organizing a system in CCCC to address contingent labor issues], I ask you to remember who it is that puts the bread on our table: the absent multitudes whose labor we exploit, whose labor allows us to enjoy positions as WPAs, researchers, and scholars. Those folks are the heart of composition instruction in America. They always have been. It is time we remembered that, and it is time that we put them at the center of our organizational efforts” (A14).

Francis Fletcher, Jamey Nye, and Steve O’Donnell “The Adjunct Faculty Manifesto” – drawing on Marx and Freire. Class system at the academy, oppression, deflecting responsibility, exclusion, fragmentation

March 31, 2009

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)

February 9, 2009

McLeod, The Foreigner

McLeod, Susan H. “The Foreigner: WAC Directors as Agents of Change.” In Resituating Writing: Constructing and Administering Writing Programs. Eds. Joseph Janangelo and Kristine Hansen. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1995. 108-116.

McLeod surveys five metaphorical models for viewing the role of the WAC director, ultimately arguing that the best model is that of a change agent, a director that uses collaboration and conversation among the university-wide faculty to enact change in the college curriculum and in individual teachers’ pedagogy and teacher theories. The other four models that WAC directors often adopt – the conquerer, the diplomat, the peace corps volunteer, and the missionary – position the WAC director in a negative light, either by appearing top-down and combative, by acting like writing is the sole concern of a single department or unit (usually English), by decreasing the WAC director’s authority and effectiveness by having no budget or support, or by approaching writing instruction with a sort of moral authority, not allowing for dialogue about writing across the disciplines.

Quotable Quotes

WAC directors need “to invent their role with care as they venture into new territory”, make their “foreignness” work for them, not against them. (108)

WAC as a “quiet revolution” (look at Fulwiler) (115)

Notable Notes

Importance of securing a budget for director time release, clerical support, student support (peer tutor), and faculty workshops and follow-up for a successful writing across the curriculum program

WAC must be a faculty-owned, university-wide goal for it to be successful

Build a WAC advisory board or an all-university writing committee

Importance of an outside evaluation to get faculty support and budgetary support for a WAC program

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