Sunday, July 8, 2012

Anson's "Figuring it Out"

Anson, Chris M. “Figuring it Out: Writing Program in the Context of University Budgets.” The Writing Program Administrator’s Resource. Eds. Stuart C Brown and Theresa Enos. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002. Print. 233-252.
In this article, the author addresses the important issue of the writing program budget. Since, like so many things related to writing program administration, the budget is varied from institution to institution and will come with idiosyncrasies at each, Anson suggests the process of visual mapping as a means through which greater understanding of the budgetary situation can be developed. He first recommends drawing out the expenses of the program and categorizing those. Next, the sources of income and their expected (allowed) uses can be mapped, including sources of income that are variable or only hypothetical (grant money). With these issues outlined so that they can be clearly observed, the author suggests the WPA can then begin to think about budgetary problems and map those as well. With the budget and budget related problems mapped clearly, the administrator can then begin to think about the ideological and political problems that feed into the financial concerns of the program. Intimate knowledge of one’s budget, in the way mapping provides, will help the administrator deal with changes in circumstances and rising problems which are certain to develop.

Discussion: This piece gives a detailed case study into one institution’s budgetary concerns to help the reader see the layers involved in budgeting at an institution along with a creative way to help the reader learn to understand the unique situation of a budget when the assume a position wherein they are in charge of budgetary issues. Useful—I think it would be useful and interesting to give students in a WPA class a situation and example spreadsheets and ask them to map the budget in this way.

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