Sunday, July 1, 2012

Additional Selections from The Allyn & Bacon Sourcebook for Writing Program Administrators

Chase, Geoffrey. “Redefining Composition, Managing Change, and the Role of the WPA.” Eds. Irene Ward and William J. Carpenter. The Allyn & Bacon Sourcebook for Writing Program Administrators. New York: Longman, 2002. Print. 243-251.  (Originally published in 1997).

This article addresses composition’s continual propensity for change. It aims not to argue for whether or not first-year composition programs should continue to exist (an argument of some) or what specific form they should take but instead to explores what directions should we move in with this problematic curriculum. The article advocates for an “it depends” response to this question. How any department will address the future of composition must depend upon its local condition, the perception of its internal coherence and consideration of its external relevancy. The author demonstrates who these three factors were used to help reshape his intuition’s curriculum, while remind the reader that his or her institution may not benefit from the same changes because of differed conditions, coherence and relevancy. Each institution should approach changed based on their unique positioning.

Discussion: The introduction of these three factors for determining the path of change for a writing program is quite useful. I think this piece is useful for providing “invention” material for thinking about programmatic change or simply just assessment. I particularly like how this piece focuses on the unique circumstances of each department in an isolated moment in time, rather than suggesting one cookie-cutter solution for all departments. This factor alludes to one reason WPA work is so very complex. 

CCC Task Force on the Preparation of Teachers of Writing. “Appendix E: Position Statement on the Preparation and Professional Development of Teachers of Writing.” Eds. Irene Ward and William J. Carpenter. The Allyn & Bacon Sourcebook for Writing Program Administrators. New York: Longman, 2002. Print. 362-365.  (Originally published in 1989).

This position statement outlines the skills and opportunities that teachers of writing should be afforded. These teachers should have the opportunity to write, to read and respond to writing, to read their own texts perceptively, to study writing as a process, to explore writing as a process, to assess progress of writers, to study research in the field, and to student writing in other disciplines. In addition, the position statement asserts that colleges/universities, teacher education programs, teacher and administrators at secondary schools, and the state department of public instruction should all work to foster these opportunities for teachers of writing. 

Discussion: While I thinks the organization and style of this type of document is extremely useful, the piece is aged and as a result does not consider multimodality, digital media or technology in general; all of which are, to me, really important for contemporary writing teacher preparation. I would like to do some exploring to see if a similar document exists for the contemporary context. 

Council of Writing Program Administrators. “Appendix F: Evaluating the Intellectual Work of Writing Administration.” Eds. Irene Ward and William J. Carpenter. The Allyn & Bacon Sourcebook for Writing Program Administrators. New York: Longman, 2002. Print. 366-378.

This piece introduces the concern of justifying the work of WPAs for purposes of tenure and promotion. It shows the unfortunate case where a WPA might be unsuccessful with their tenure case, despite being a productive faculty member, because the nature of their work was not readily identifiable using the “exchange value” or “use value” associated with the traditional system of academic judgments. Therefore, this piece outlines how the work of WPAs might be characterized as intellectual work to qualify for tenure and promotion. The chapter demonstrates how the WPA’s work might fall into five different categories of intellectual work: program creation, curricular design, faculty development, program assessment and program-related textual production. The authors demonstrate how each of these categories constitute intellectual work and then develop a framework for developing a tenure portfolio based upon such categories. 

Discussion: I found this piece to be quite enlightening. I have long worried about the role digital publications might have on tenure and promotion, but I haven’t considered the way the work of a WPA would be interpreted for those purposes. I think this article is useful to introducing both how the academy works as well as specific issues to the WPA. I think this is a useful one to keep for future classes, for sure. I think it would be particularly interesting to pair with an example tenure portfolio, if a WPA willing to share such example could be found.

1 comment:

  1. That whole thing about counting the work of the WPA toward tenure is a big element of my readings, too. I think it's a big concern at research-oriented institutions--the WPA doesn't have time to do the same volume of research as others.

    It would be worth seeing if CCCs has released anything more current (in regards to the guidelines).