Voting for the 2019 CWPA Executive Board Election
Voting tokens for the 2019 CWPA election will be distributed electronically to current CWPA members during February. Only current members are eligible to vote. Voting will take place for two weeks, and results will be announced shortly after voting closes.
Vote for three candidates of your choice for Executive Board from among entire slate of seven nominees. The three candidates receiving the most votes from CWPA members will be offered seats on the Executive Board. In the event of a tie, a run-off election will be held.
You will also have the opportunity to vote for one candidate for Vice President from among the two candidates.
Candidates for Vice President (vote for 1 of 2):
Paula Patch is a Senior Lecturer in English at Elon University (Elon, North Carolina), where she has served as writing program administrator for eight years. She has been an at-large member of the Executive Board of the Council of Writing Program Administrators for three years, serving on and as chair of the Diversity Committee for all off that time. She is the President of the Carolinas Writing Program Administrators, one of the largest and longest-running CWPA affiliates.
At Elon, Paula teaches first-year writing, grammar, and literature classes on campus, abroad, and, recently, in Alaska. She is currently collaborating on an institutional grant-funded project to do anti- racist, anti-sexist, anti-classist, and anti-ableist work (pedagogy, curriculum, program coordination, and leadership) in the writing program at Elon. And she is creating a research collaborative/collective run exclusively by and for permanent, non-tenure-track writing studies faculty to foster national, multi- institutional research, writing, and resource-sharing about the peculiarities of these positions. She has co-authored articles and book chapters on a summer-intensive writing class for students in a college access program; on library instruction and the high-impact practice of writing-intensive classes, with a long-time librarian collaborator; and on linked first-year courses in the Core Curriculum at Elon. She also helped create the first-ever mission, goals, learning outcomes, and assessment of the first-year courses in the Core Curriculum at Elon. And, she is currently working to making widely visible the circumstances and concerns of non-tenure track faculty at Elon and to creating needed change in some of the structures that no longer work for a changing academic workforce.
Paula has an MA in English from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico. She has presented at the CWPA, CCCC, RMMLA, SAMLA, and Lilly conferences. She reviews manuscripts for Teaching English in the Two-Year College and WPA Journal. She has a family with a spouse, two children, and two cats. She reads, takes naps, goes for long walks, and kayaks when she can at her home in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Statement: I came to Writing Program Administration in a way that seems perfectly natural to me, but that seems unorthodox in the field. I have a Master’s degree in English from a regional university in New Mexico that did not have a comp/rhet program, but where I fell in love with teaching writing, especially to the population served by this Hispanic-serving, modified open admissions university (I also deepened my relationship with reading literature: I won *both* graduate research writing awards in my second year: one in literature, one in writing studies). My mentor was a retired high school English teacher beginning a second career as an adjunct English professor; my thesis advisor was a literature professor who studied Shakespeare and Working-Class Studies. I wrote a Master’s thesis on portfolio-based pedagogy in basic writing classes, not because I had a faculty adviser—or even a WPA—who was an expert in this area, but because I was asked to help the department overhaul its basic writing curriculum and I figured I’d put all of the reading I was doing to use in a thesis. I was taught by three different WPAs, each of whom left or stepped down from the position while I was a graduate student. After leaving graduate school, I worked briefly as an adjunct English professor, before embarking on a short but intensive career in direct marketing and public relations and, then, print journalism, eventually serving as Managing Editor for HomeCare magazine, a trade journal for the home medical equipment industry.
But I missed teaching, so my family and I figured out a way for me to get back in the classroom—starting with taking a massive pay cut to teach part-time at a “junior college” in Georgia. Soon, I got a one-year, full-time adjunct position at the University of West Georgia; and, when we moved, a one-year, full-time adjunct position at Elon University. I eventually was hired full-time, permanently into a non-tenure track, teaching-oriented position at Elon, where my primary responsibilities are teaching, specifically teaching first-year writing, and university service. Four years and about 28 FYW classes later (and countless FYW classes before then), I became the Coordinator of College Writing.
I’ll admit that I originally approached CWPA warily. I may have been one of the only non-PhD holding/pursuing participants in the workshop in Baton Rouge. I didn’t have any graduate school colleagues to hang out with or long-term, large-scale research projects to present (still don’t). But I recognized that my presence was important, and I knew that although I may have been the only person like me in the room, I was certainly not the only person like me in the profession. This idea—the idea of radical inclusion—drives my service to the organization.
As WPAs, we work in a space considered to be one of the most marginalized (read: uninvited/uninviting) spaces on campus and, until recently, the field of English studies. We may even play a role in this. As a leader in the organization, I want to bring out of the margins and into the center these spaces and the writing faculty, WPAS, and students who inhabit them and who may wear these labels: non-traditional, non-white, contingent or adjunct, non-tenure track or untenured, staff, disabled, Master’s holding, community college, unaffiliated, second language, developmental, and, the Gen-Xers favorite, generally “alt.” I am particularly excited to continue our organization’s renewed attention to social justice and equity, demonstrated by the creation of a Diversity Committee, caucuses for underrepresented groups, intentionality in conference siting, and, this year, the call for radical inclusion. My own unorthodox path, including the path to the nomination for Vice President of CWPA, is nothing if not radical.
Susan Thomas is Professor of Writing at the University of Sydney, Australia, where she has served as a WPA for fifteen years. She is the Founding Director of the Writing Hub and Writing Program (now the Department of Writing Studies), the first of its kind in Australia, and has worked tirelessly to change cultures and perceptions of writing in the Antipodes. Susan has held a variety of leadership roles at the University, including Chair of Department, Director of the Writing Hub, Associate Dean Teaching and Learning, and Teaching Development Coordinator for the Division of Arts and Social Sciences, Law, and Education. She has won several awards for excellence in teaching and innovation, has attracted substantial grant funding for writing research and infrastructure, and has held leadership roles in several Australian professional organizations.
Currently, Susan is working to expand writing center services at the University and create writing centers and WAC programs in schools. Together with Lisa Emerson (Massey University, NZ) she is the co-founder of the Asia-Pacific Writing Research Network, to be launched later this year.
Susan has served on the CWPA Executive Board and Liaison committee, and continues to serve as coordinator of the Australian affiliate and an editorial board member of the Writing Program Administration journal. She has also served on the CCCC Executive Committee, as inaugural co-editor of the International Exchanges in Writing series of the WAC Clearinghouse, and as a faculty advising editor for the Young Scholars in Writing journal. Susan continues to serve as a board member for the WAC Clearinghouse, as well as a reviewer for several journals and book series, and is a regular presenter at CWPA, IWAC, IWCA, and CCCC, where she has led pre-conference workshops.
Susan is the editor of What Is the New Rhetoric, a collection of essays from the international conference of the same name she convened in Sydney in 2005. Her work has appeared in the Australian Higher Education Supplement (comparable to the Chronicle of Higher Education) and the award-winning WPA Outcomes Statement: A Decade Later, as well as other collections. After a long period of start-up work at Sydney, she is now completing two monograph projects with the WAC Clearinghouse: Writing as a Cultural Act: What Australian Programs Can Learn from the History of Composition, and The Zen WPA: Navigating the Unexpected in Writing Program Administration, and has forthcoming journal articles in Writing Program Administration, Across the Disciplines, and TEXT: The Australasian Journal of Writing and Writing Programs.
Susan completed her BA in English at Lee University, her MA in English at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, her Ph.D. in English (concentration in Rhetoric and Composition) at Georgia State University, and a graduate certificate in Higher Education Studies at the University of Sydney.
When not teaching, researching, or making waves in the PTA as the resident feminist parent, Susan enjoys traveling with her family, including their four (yes four) Shih Tzu dogs.
Statement: Growing up in a South Georgia farming community in the seventies, barely a decade after Civil Rights, some of my earliest memories are of discrimination. By the time I enrolled in a doctoral program in 1998, it was still there, albeit more subtle. An eye roll here, a whisper there, a statement carefully prefaced with “I’m not racist/sexist, but . . . .” Marrying a Jewish Australian and migrating to Sydney in 2002, I came face to face with the antisemitism I’d previously only read about. And holding my newborn daughter in 2009, I knew firsthand the challenges she would face, simply for being a girl, having encountered gender and cultural discrimination as a young female “foreigner” in a conservative, male-dominated university. The people occupying the seats at the table all looked alike, and none of them looked quite like me.
Fortunately, times are changing, and while America has regressed over the past two years, the recent gains in the Senate and House—and the new faces at the table—give us renewed hope for the harmonious inclusion that our governments, workplaces, and professional organizations require to create better experiences for everyone they serve. My favorite Australian expression is “a fair go for all,” the unofficial national credo. This sense of creating equal opportunity for everyone is what drives my leadership work in writing program administration, an abiding sense of social responsibility to ensure a seat at the table for those who might otherwise be denied one. Having gained extensive expertise through my leadership roles and personal experience, my primary focus as Vice-President would be creating inclusive and harmonious spaces for learning and professional development that celebrate diversity.
Moreover, with globalization at an all-time high and with the world shrinking in the wake of yet more technological advances, the time has never been better to think across cultural, political, and national identities to harness the difference and diversity that continue to define and strengthen this organization. I see real opportunities for preparing new WPAs with the resilience they will need to enter workplaces increasingly plagued by bullying and discrimination, to equip mid-career WPAs with inspiration to keep up with shifting legislation and institutional agendas, and to support veteran WPAs at risk of burnout in a constantly changing education culture. Given my own challenges as a WPA, I am particularly concerned for the emotional welfare of new WPAs, as well as WPAs juggling the demands of parenting and work, so creating resources to support the emotional wellbeing of WPAs would be a priority. I also envision exciting opportunities for cross-cultural research, for international faculty exchanges, and for virtual exchange programs for students. With more and more countries outside the United States developing writing programs, CWPA’s potential for global leadership and mentoring has never been greater. As an international member of the executive team with strong connections to leading international universities, I would be ideally placed to help lead such initiatives.
The table is perhaps the best metaphor for CWPA and its annual conference, which has always struck me as a big family reunion with its relaxed atmosphere and summer vacation vibe. From the delighted willingness of colleagues to pull up an extra chair, entertain children, and make more room at the table to their trademark hospitality in welcoming new faces every bit as warmly as the more familiar, the table is what brings us together. CWPA should be a safe haven of inclusivity where we can be our authentic selves and encourage and support others to do the same, around an ever-extending table with an endless supply of chairs to pull up as our family grows and expands. It would be a privilege to sit at this table as Vice President and give back to the organization that welcomed me as a graduate student, saved me as a new WPA, and continues to sustain me.
Candidates for the Executive Board (vote for 3 of 7):
Kristi Murray Costello is the Associate Chair of Writing Studies and an Associate Professor at Old Dominion University. She earned her Ph.D. from SUNY Binghamton in 2010 and has been working uninterrupted as a WPA in one form or another since 2006 when she became the Graduate Assistant Director of the Writing Center at Southeast Missouri State University. More recently, Kristi served as the Director of the Campus Writing Program and the Writing Center at Arkansas State University where she developed a GTA teacher training and mentorship program, piloted a collaborative, grant-funded FYC curriculum transformation, made strides toward reversing abysmal labor conditions for part-time faculty, and saw an increase of Writing Center visits by 975%. In 2017, she and her colleagues were given honorable mention by the CCCC Certificate of Writing Program Excellence Committee for their work transforming the A-State Writing Program, an award Kristi also accepted in 2011 alongside Mark Branter and Kelly Kinney for their work with the SUNY Binghamton Writing Initiative.
Kristi’s research is often rooted within her institutional and professional contexts. For example, “Who’s Failing Who?: An Exploration of the FI Grade,” published in the 2016 College Composition and Communication Intellectual Property Annual informed her campus’ discussion about policies regarding intellectual property, patchwriting, and plagiarism. Similarly, her 2018 Peer Review article "From Combat Zones to Contact Zones: The Value of Listening in Writing Center Administration” illustrates a method for rhetorical listening in Writing Center work that she implemented at A-State. As the A-State Campus Writing Program, Writing Center, and the demand for writing support across campus grew, she began investigating how to create collaborative spaces-- rhetorical, emotional, and physical-- for creating a culture of writing and theorizing the emotional labor involved in such work, drawing from concepts of ecocomposition and affect theory. This exploration led to her forthcoming Utah State University Press edited collection, The Things We Carry: Strategies for Recognizing and Negotiating Emotional Labor in Writing Program Administration, which she co-edited alongside Courtney Adams Wooten, Jacob Babb, and Kate Navickas.
Kristi’s work in the field is not confined to the office, classroom, or the page. In service to the profession, Kristi is a member of the Steering Committee for the 2019 Regional CCCC, consistently serves as a Mentor for the Mentoring Thread, and has served on the Southern Regional Composition Executive Board for the past three years, hosting the conference in 2016. In service to her campus, colleagues, and students, Kristi has served on many student projects and university committees, including PRT, Curriculum, and Assessment, and has been faculty sponsor to Sigma Tau Delta, The Tributary Literary Journal, The Creative Writing Club, The Gay-Straight Alliance, and Alpha Phi Omega. She is a nationally certified Safe Zone trainer, an active member of the Women and Gender Studies Committee, and works to anticipate and meet the needs of traditionally marginalized student populations, including organizing Lavender Graduations and consulting with departments across campus to bring awareness to the ways in which policies and assessment measures can disadvantage at-risk populations. Always aware of her own first generation background, she aims to also be in service to the community and remind others what can be possible through writing, literacy, and education. To this end, she leads panels at Girls’ Day Out, a day of empowerment and education for young women, co-coordinated Shakespeare in the Schools, which takes tour-ready, free performances of Shakespeare plays into rural schools, and this past fall, she worked with David Jolliffe, Kathy McGregor, and others on the Prison Story Project.
Statement: When I was in fourth grade I was nominated by my teacher, Mrs. Davis, and invited on scholarship to a one-day “Young Authors’ Conference” in my hometown of St. Louis. At the convention center, I was surrounded by other young writers, established writers, and enthusiastic teachers. It was those sessions and the energy of the teachers, writers, organizers, and my peers that led to me creating a makeshift classroom in my grandparents’ basement to play “writing teacher.” A first-generation college student, I wouldn’t have dreamed of being here, doing what I do, without the support and mentorship of great teachers, peers, and WPAs. If chosen to be a member of the CWPA Executive Board, I can be counted on to be an enthusiastic ambassador of the organization and field, at large, because I love what I do and, more importantly, I will work to expand access to and opportunity in the organization.
My experience working in and serving as an administrator of various and multiple facets of writing programs (bridge programs, Basic Writing, living learning communities, First-Year Composition, WAC/WID, writing center, and Writing Studies) often concurrently and at four different institutions (Southeast Missouri State, Binghamton University, Arkansas State University, and, as of this year, Old Dominion University) in different geographical regions (midwest, northeast, and south, both urban and rural) at different ranks (graduate Assistant Director, Coordinator, Assistant Director, Associate Director, Director, and Associate Chair) not only makes me a highly qualified candidate for the CWPA Executive Board, but it also means that I have firsthand experience serving in liminal capacities and advocating for colleagues in liminal spaces. If chosen to serve on the board, I will work to continue and expand productive conversations regarding the emotional and invisible labor of WPAs, GWPAs, GTAs, contingent faculty, and other traditionally marginalized populations and use rhetorical listening practices to ensure that colleagues from different backgrounds, institutions, ranks, and regions are heard, included, and supported. I aim to acknowledge and address the emotional and invisible work of those who have a place in this organization, even if they aren’t yet members. Such efforts are supported by my administrative practices, my scholarship, and my current role on a CWPA subcommittee with the purpose of creating an open access digital repository for vetted examples of WPA workplace documents, conference handouts, and panel reviews. As someone who has benefitted from the organization’s statements and resolutions during annual reviews, tenure, curriculum transformations, and negotiations, particularly “Evaluating the Intellectual Work of Writing Administration,” I would like to expand such resources to also include more suggestions and models for best practices to help us help each other implement changes on our campuses and make necessary arguments about our work and its value.
I have actively participated in the CWPA conference for the past five years and, especially as I transition into my new role at ODU, have become even more aware of how the CWPA community and conference have been crucial to my ongoing development as a WPA. I am committed to the work of CWPA because I believe our disciplinary community values the important work of fighting for those who are marginalized, under-represented, and often unrecognized, and I want to help. I am a student-centered teacher and mentor and a motivated writer, scholar, administrator, and community organizer who works tirelessly to support, embolden, and empower myself, my colleagues, my students, and my neighbors; If elected as a member of the Executive Board, you can count on me to be a hardworking, supportive, and reasonable colleague who will work to support, embolden, and empower the organization and those within.
Annie Del Principe has been teaching composition since 1997 and has served as the Director of the Composition Program in the English Department of Kingsborough Community College, CUNY, since 2006 and on the CUNY-wide Writing Discipline Council since its inception in 2015. Annie holds a BA in English and Women’s Studies from Marquette University, an MA in Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a PhD in English Education from New York University. During her tenure as WPA, she’s overseen the transformation of the English department’s loosely-defined and overseen two-semester sequence of “Freshman English” classes into a more cohesive and consistent two-semester sequence of inter/multi-disciplinary composition courses. Back in 2013, the program begin offering Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) courses, thus expanding the student groups the program teaches and serves. This expansion has inspired a grass-roots renovation of the program’s approach to assessment and has broadened the faculty’s understanding of the student body’s literacies and needs. Annie has organized Kingsborough’s composition program as a collective, a style of leadership and decision-making that includes and honors the voices of all faculty, regardless of their status. At present, this program collective is busy at work designing principles and practices to guide the expansion of the program’s online course offerings. Annie is proud of the work she’s led and inspired in the program over these years, and, of course, this work is ongoing and ever-expanding.
In her research and scholarship, Annie has focused on examining closely various aspects of faculty and student experience in the community college setting. Her earlier work includes studies of writing assessment practices, in particular the varied, individual practices faculty bring to portfolio assessment and how these practices influence their decisions about student writing ability. More recently, Annie and a colleague conducted a longitudinal study of community college students’ reading and writing experiences across the curriculum and during the full, 2-4 year, tenure in the college. This expansive project piqued her interest in the reading experiences, in particular, of these students and led her and a group of colleagues across the disciplines to found Kingsborough’s Faculty Initiative on Teaching Reading (FITR). In it’s first year, FITR hosted a two-day symposium on the role of reading in undergraduate education, which included national reading experts Alice Horning, Daniel Willingham, and Laura Davies. Annie’s work has appeared in Teaching English in the Two-Year College, The Journal of Basic Writing, and Writing Across the Disciplines. In addition, Annie has served as book review editor for TETYC and serves as a reviewer for TETYC and JBW. This spring, Annie is excited to start a new longitudinal study of community college students’ integrative learning in interdisciplinary learning communities that bring together hard science and composition courses.
Statement: I’m truly honored to have been nominated to the slate for the CWPA Executive Board, and, if elected, I would bring 12+ years of experience serving as WPA of a large, urban, diverse community college writing program to my work as a board member. I’m inspired by this year’s CWPA conference theme of “radical inclusion,” and, in thinking about what in particular I would bring to the CWPA table, I’ve identified three areas I’d like to highlight: teaching/designing for a diverse student body, leading with colleagues (including contingent part-time faculty) as collaborators, and navigating the boundaries of expertise and academic freedom.
The profound diversity of the student body on my campus has shaped deeply my priorities in curriculum development and writing assessment in our program and my evolving sense of equity in the teaching and assessing of writing. I believe strongly in the necessity of (re)designing curricula, outcomes, and assessment practices to respond to the reality of (often tacitly) racist and oppressive practices that have been so common in our field since its inception. At the same time, I think it’s equally important to continually revisit and redefine the overall purposes and philosophies we bring to our writing programs given that most of our students will go on to academically and professionally diverse lives that will most likely not involve extensive academic writing beyond our courses. I find myself continually revisiting the what and the why of compulsory composition courses and leading my faculty colleagues to do the same.
Our students are not the only ones who are diverse; the faculty in our programs bring a host of varied experiences and statuses to the collective enterprise of teaching composition. For many years, the presumed norms in WPA discussions—I’m thinking of both scholarship and the WPA listserv—have been either the R1 writing program, in which authority and hierarchy are quite clear and well-articulated, or the relatively small writing program, in which authority and hierarchy are more diffuse and are shared relatively easily. Neither of these norms has ever spoken to my years of WPA experience. My experience running my program and “overseeing” up to 65 full-time tenure-line colleagues and up to 80 part-time contingent colleagues has taught me that structured, transparent collaboration is key to the health of the program. I would bring to my CWPA role respect for the importance of bringing all faculty, including contingent faculty, fully into the process of program creation (curricula, initiatives, professional development, etc) and decision making.
Further, I would advocate for an expanded, and yet rigorous, sense of disciplinary expertise within writing programs that positions disciplinary authority, and therefore academic freedom, in the collective rather than in any individual instructor or WPA. While advanced degrees in Writing Studies are extremely important and do signify knowledge of and professional participation in “the field” of composition, the reality on the ground is that the vast majority of composition courses being taught in our colleges at any given moment are not being taught by faculty holding or pursuing such degrees. Therefore “the field” is always in motion within and among the many thousands of institutions of higher education in the United States and in ways that are not represented in the professional literature. This reality has powerful implications for all discussions of what a “writing program” is and how power might be shared and asserted within one.
Again, I am deeply flattered to have been nominated for this election, and I hope to be confirmed as a new member of the CWPA Executive Board in order to be able to bring these key concerns and perspectives to the table.
Brett Griffiths is the Director of the Reading and Writing Studios at Macomb Community College, a two-year college located 22 miles north of Detroit, where she works with a uniquely diverse group of students from a range of economic, educational, and national backgrounds and citizen statuses. She has also served as the founder and administrator for the School of Public Health Writing Lab, a writing support service for graduate students in health fields, including biostatistics, epidemiology, and health management and policy. In her current role, she collaborates with faculty and administrators across campus to develop situated writing supports across the disciplines of the college. In recent years, she has also administered over a grant project to improve communication between writing studies professionals in high schools, two-year colleges, and four-year colleges in the region to identify and share teaching approaches and expectations. This work has aimed to facilitate and reinforce the preparation of historically underrepresented students for their transition into college, as well as their transfer of knowledge from high school writing environments to their two- and four-year institutions.
Brett’s research explores the professional roles of English faculty at two-year colleges, including their professional positioning, autonomy, and the resiliency of individual teachers and departments in the context of current economic and cultural pressures on education, generally, and writing instruction at two-year colleges specifically. Her current research explores qualitative data from a regional project to improve high school students’ meta-awareness of their writing knowledge and successful transfer to college. Her writing, teaching, and scholarship are rooted in observations and analyses of complex interactions in social systems originating in her first professional experiences in social work. This family of knowledge reinforces the importance of disciplinary kinship and professional autonomy across academic fields, especially in the face of perceived distinctions in institutional purposes and outcomes.
Brett earned her PhD in the Joint Program of English and Education at the University of Michigan in and her MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University. She currently serves on the executive board for TYCA Midwest.
Statement: I am an unlikely candidate for the Council of Writing Program Administrators. To begin with, my position as director of the academic literacy services at Macomb Community College is structurally divorced from the English department. I was as surprised as I was honored and humbled when former executive board member, Cheri Lemieux-Spiegel nominated me for a board position. In fact, my role is increasingly representative of the large percentage of writing studies professionals who work in administrative capacities to develop writing pedagogies across campuses and institutions, to represent and advocate core tenets of the field, such as threshold concepts in writing education and the habits of mind highlighted in WPA’s Frameworks for Success in Postsecondary
Writing. As institutions adapt to changes in enrollment and public funding, the professional roles writing studies professionals serve and the “hats” we wear shift responsively, often without title or compensation. For many, the role of administration is ad hoc, a mantel of responsibility to ethical teaching practices and the advocacy for the professional status and autonomy of our colleagues, a call to organize colleagues and to amplify professional conversations within and between our institutions. However, like me, many of our colleagues conducting this work do not define themselves as WPAs. This disconnect means that the crucial work and advocacy of CWPA is often least available and accessible to those most in need of its support and service.
My work experiences and research on two-year college writing instruction have highlighted the crucial role knowledge of organizational histories and familiarity with institutional structures play in the long-term health of writing departments at two-year colleges. By extension, this combination of administrative knowledge can help to ensure and sustain ethical and equitable practices in two-year college writing classes, especially in the face of persistent pressures from national policy and higher education initiatives to simplify instruction and accelerate learning, sometimes at the expense of learning itself. Importantly, however, writing studies professionals at two-year colleges –and those at many small liberal arts colleges facing similar pressures—have little or no structure for administrative mentoring and existing structures can complicate rather than clarify institutional processes of management and advocacy. It is against such a backdrop that I run for a position on the CWPA executive board. If elected, I will seek to amplify the voices of other writing studies administrators from institutions historically underrepresented by the CWPA, including open-access colleges and small liberal arts colleges, seek strategies for improving access for participation in professional activities, such as the CWPA conference, and argue for equitable outreach and support for administrators who need stronger networks, more direct mentoring, and greater political advocacy for their roles in their institutions.
Derek N. Mueller is Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing and Director of Composition at Virginia Tech. His teaching and research attends to the interplay among writing, rhetorics, and technologies. Mueller regularly teaches courses in visual rhetorics, writing pedagogy, first-year writing, and digital media. He continues to be motivated professionally and intellectually by questions concerning digital writing platforms, networked writing practices, theories of composing, and discipliniographies or field narratives related to writing studies/rhetoric and composition. Along with Andrea Williams, Louise Wetherbee Phelps, and Jen Clary-Lemon, he is co-author of Cross-Border Networks in Writing Studies (Inkshed/Parlor, 2017). His 2017 monograph, Network Sense: Methods for Visualizing a Discipline (Colorado State University Open Press's #writing Series) argues for thin and distant approaches to discerning disciplinary patterns. His other work has been published in Kairos, Enculturation, Present Tense, Computers and Composition, Composition Forum, and JAC.
Mueller earned his Ph.D. from Syracuse University's Composition and Cultural Rhetoric (CCR) program in 2009. He holds an M.A. from University of Missouri-Kansas City and a B.A. from Park University (Mo.). For more, visit derekmueller.net.
Statement: I am grateful to be nominated for a position on the CWPA Executive Board. My experience as a writing program administrator in Michigan and Virginia has been shaped over the past seven years by many generous colleagues who comprise this organization, as well as by the ground-changing scholarship that circulates in WPA Journal and by pragmatic resources, such as the nuanced revisions to the outcomes statements. It is with this in mind that I am particularly honored by the opportunity to serve the organization in return. When wicked problems arise—as they so often do in everyday administrative contexts—CWPA has again and again provided an abundance of resources for making positive change toward more responsible, humane, and equitable writing programs.
As an executive board member, I will remain steadfastly committed to the organization’s principle strengths, which I consider to be formal and informal mentorship activities, the development and maintenance of resources tailored to curricular innovation and coalition building, and its cohering the invaluable work across all types of programs in service of public and institutional policy-making, as well as student and instructor advocacy. CWPA has many difference-making initiatives to its credit, and I consider it within the purview of the executive board to assure that this important work continues. I am particularly invested in efforts to fortify regional CWPA affiliates, which I was recently involved with in Michigan, and to learn more about what affiliates really need to sustain active and inclusive agendas and to be well-connected with affiliate-wide stakeholders, both within and beyond higher education institutions. I am also interested in exploring what regional affiliates might adapt from the WPA consultant-evaluator service, toward the possibility of mid- and small-scale (i.e., local and regional) consultation exchanges.
My recent research attends to the disciplinary formation and maturation of rhetoric and composition/writing studies as well as the ways distinctive data sets and visualizations contribute to representations of the field, especially for newcomers. I remain committed to open access publishing and to developing and maintaining digital resources for the good of all. I believe these scholarly focuses on disciplinary formation, visual rhetorics, and accessibility broadly construed coalesce in ways that also inform my approaches to writing program administration and to professional leadership more generally, in that the challenges we face together may be more formidably engaged when we can see them collectively and in their simplest projections. In scholarship as in administration, such work regards as deeply interwoven the ways we lead our programs, the models we circulate insofar as promoting progressive approaches to writing instruction, and the complex and immensely rich lifeworlds of the students and instructors we serve.
Siskanna Naynaha is Associate Professor of English, Writing Across the Curriculum
Coordinator, and Director of Early Start English (ESE) at California State University, Dominguez Hills where she teaches courses in composition, rhetorical theory, and writing center/tutoring pedagogy. In her current role as WAC Coordinator and ESE Director at CSUDH, she works predominantly with university faculty to help them effectively integrate research and theory from the field of composition and rhetoric with their disciplinary teaching practices. In the past, Naynaha has administrated writing programs at the regional campus of a large research-intensive university (3 years) as well as a mid-sized community college (5 years). She also chairs the CSUDH University Writing Committee and serves on the university’s Composition Committee, which is currently using TFT and the WPA Outcomes Statement to completely redesign the university’s Composition Program, including the curriculum, program assessment, and faculty professional development.
Naynaha’s research explores the rhetorical and political economic intersections of globalization and race, particularly as they manifest in the teaching, theories, and practices of language and literacy in American higher education. She co-authored the book Linked Courses for General Education and Integrative Learning: A Guide for Faculty and Administrators, including the chapter “Learning Communities in the New University.” She has had several pieces appear in TYCA-PNW’s Pacific View and the Community College Moment, and her most recent publication, "Assessment, Social Justice, and Latinas/os in the U.S. Community College," appeared in a special issue of College English dedicated to writing assessment as social justice. She is currently conducting research for her second book, a monograph exploring the sustainability and structure of different WAC programs amid rapidly changing economic exigencies and shifting cultural and linguistic student demographics. She has served on NCTE committees at both the regional and national levels, and formerly served as vice-chair and then chair of the Oregon Writing and English Advisory Committee (OWEAC), which lead the statewide revision of learning outcomes for first-year composition in alignment with the updated WPA Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition.
Naynaha received her Ph.D. from the Washington State University, and both her M.A. and B.A. from Boise State University.
Statement: While I have served as a WPA at different institutions for over 10 years now, I am thrilled to be nominated to serve our field at the national level. Attending past CWPA conferences, workshops, and institutes taught me the indispensible value of an organization that supports, mentors, and connects those responsible for the design and administration of the writing programs that deeply impact so many of our students’ and colleagues’ lives every day.
As a member of the CWPA Executive Board, I would focus my energies first and foremost on the recruitment and retention of WPAs of color at every level of the organization—in WPA-GO, the general membership, and on CWPA committees and task forces. While membership has indeed diversified significantly in the past several years, more can be done to keep pace with changing student demographics in higher education. In the California State University system where I work, for example, the number of Latinx, African American, and ADPI students has continued to grow exponentially for decades. Simultaneously, the same students have been subjected to high-stakes testing and placed in basic writing courses in wildly disproportionate numbers over the same years. Not coincidentally, these groups are still woefully underrepresented among WPAs across the CSU. The CWPA stands uniquely positioned as a national organization to help address such structural inequalities by increasing the representation and professional engagement of people of color who serve as disciplinary leaders in our colleges and universities.
In a similar vein, as a member of EB I would work to increase access for and representation of non-tenure track faculty within the CWPA. Though scores of tenure track WPAs have benefited from the research, resources, and disciplinary leadership of the CWPA, the graduate assistants and adjunct faculty who teach the vast majority of composition courses typically lack the institutional support that would allow them to join or participate in the organization meaningfully. The lack of access for those most directly responsible for teaching in our writing programs is one of the most pressing social justice issues facing academe today, with wide-reaching implications for our most vulnerable students and colleagues. Again, the CWPA is poised to address these systemic issues through the recruitment, retention, and creation of professional development opportunities specifically aimed at adjunct composition instructors. Rethinking the dominant modalities of CWPA conferences, workshops, and institutes, for example, to allow online attendance and participation could begin to address these structural issues by increasing access for and engagement with contingent writing program faculty members.
In short, I have committed my professional career to increasing social justice in language and literacy education through the systemic analysis and ongoing structural reform of our field, positioning me to make significant and productive contributions to the national disciplinary landscape through service on the CWPA Executive Board.
Patti Poblete (poh-BLEH-teh) is the Writing Program Administrator at Henderson State University in Arkansas, where she teaches a smorgasbord of writing classes in addition to guiding the writing program. Since she began working at HSU in 2017, she has developed an administrative structure for the Basic English program, deployed new assessment mechanisms for the first-year writing classes, helped kick-start the WAC program, and worked with multiple departments to develop effective plagiarism policies. Prior to her work at HSU, Patti served as the Assistant Director of Iowa State University’s Writing and Media Center, where she mentored and trained graduate and undergraduate tutors, oversaw the expansion of services and locations, and co-created a creative workshop series focused on gender identity. Patti completed her doctorate at Purdue University, where she served as Assistant Director of the Introductory Composition program. Patti has also acted as the Assistant Registrar of La Sierra University, where she took a deep dive into the bureaucratic side of university administration. She has been teaching at the college level for 15 years.
Patti currently serves on the CWPA Digital Writing Program Administration committee, and previously was a part of CWPA’s graduate student committee, WPA-GO. She has also acted as the Digital Media Coordinator for the Asian/Asian American Caucus at CCCC and was part of the planning committee for the Iowa State Conference of Race and Ethnicity. She has reviewed for and published in Composition Forum and WPA Writing Program Administration, and is currently one of the editors for the collection, Toward More Sustainable Metaphors for Writing Program Administration. Her curated conference tweets have been collected in Building a Community, Having a Home: A History of the CCCC Asian/Asian American Caucus. Her research interests focus on institutional ecologies and university curricula, multilingual learners in writing programs, and the impact of digital media on writing pedagogy. Her current projects examine the pedagogy of habituation in first-yearwriting classes, the exclusion of English language learners from composition narratives and practices, and problem metaphors employed in writing center scholarship.
Statement: CWPA has been an essential part of my growth and development as a scholar, teacher, and administrator. When I became a member of WPA-GO several years ago, I was astounded by the sincere welcome and generous mentoring offered to graduate students. As I’ve grown into my roles, first as a non-tenure track administrator and now as tenure-track faculty, I’ve relied upon the support and advice from you, and I’ve been glad to offer mentoring and co-mentoring in turn. The work of CWPA is essential to the field of Composition and Rhetoric, as well as to the academy as a whole.
I am honored to be nominated for the Executive Board, and I decided to run because, as an organization and body of scholars, we still struggle to talk openly and generatively about race and assessment, about the needs of international and multilingual students, and about the hierarchy inherent in our conversations about writing program administration. As someone who works in a rural area, I’m perturbed by the lack of concern about students who don’t have regular access to the digital media—or, in fact, computers— that most graduate programs train our future teachers to use. As someone from an immigrant family, I believe that we should be definitive about how we engage in the political climate, because the ongoing debates have a material and psychological impact on our students. As someone of Asian descent, I often feel disconnected from the accepted narratives that guide our field. To address these and similar concerns, we need to think about whose ideas we amplify, and what biases manifest through those choices. We need to reach out to the WPAs at institutions and in programs that don’t show up when we gather, and figure out the kind of support we can provide to them. We need to talk about best practices for programs that train writing teachers, as well as create pathways for those who have fallen into the task.
As a member of the Executive Board, I want to commit myself to amplifying the voices of WPAs whose work doesn’t fit into what we talk about when we talk about writing programs, or whose profiles don’t match what we think about when we think about WPAs. I want to make sure that race, ethnicity, class, and gender are part of our everyday conversation, rather than once or twice a year at conferences. I want to reach out more to folks who teach at community colleges, language institutes, and literacy programs. I want to talk to all of you about your work, your triumphs, and your concerns. And let’s be clear: This kind of engagement is hard. It takes time, and attention, and money—three things WPAs don’t often receive in abundance. We’re talking the talk about how to practice radical inclusion in our work and in our institutions; I’d like to be part of how we figure out how to walk the walk.
Lizbett Tinoco is an Assistant Professor of English at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition, where she served as the Assistant Director of the University Writing Center. Her current research project examines the work of community college WPAs and how they engage in strategic ways to advocate for their work. This work was awarded the 2018 Council of Writing Program Administrators Award for Graduate Writing in WPA Studies. Her most recent publications include chapters titled “Dismantling Writing Assessment: Toward Collaborative Rubrics at an HSI in the Southwest” in Beyond the Frontier: Innovations in First-Year Composition and “Tenemos Que Hacer la Lucha: Reflections of Latinas in Rhetoric and Writing Studies” in a forthcoming edited collection. Lizbett is committed to building equitable and sustainable practices in pedagogy, research, program development, and community engagement.
Statement: I am honored for the nomination and opportunity to run in the CWPA Executive Board Election. As a Latina and first-generation college graduate, my research and scholarship are influenced by my commitment to include underrepresented and marginalized voices in writing program administration and rhetoric and writing studies. During the early years of my teaching career, I worked as an adjunct at several community colleges in central California. My first graduate course as a doctoral student was a WPA course, but there was a complete absence of community colleges in our syllabus. My previous work experience at two-year colleges and the lack of much two-year scholarship throughout my graduate coursework inspired my research and scholarship. As a result, my dissertation and current research focus on the work of community college WPAs and writing programs at two-year colleges. I am committed in continuing to make space and advocating for community college WPAs and contingent faculty. I will work to cultivate cross-institutional collaborations between two-year colleges and four-year university WPAs and writing programs.
As an executive board member, I look forward in continuing the CWPA efforts in building initiatives that center diversity and antiracist practices across all aspects of writing program administration. All of my teaching and administrative experiences come from my work at various HSIs where I have had the privilege of developing pedagogies and research to support linguistic and cultural diversity in the teaching and research of writing. I strongly believe writing programs need to be responsive to the local communities they serve. Within CWPA, I have been involved in diversity initiatives through the People of Color Caucus (POCC), specifically the POCC research grant committee, to encourage scholars to explore issues of race, equity, and social justice in WPA work. My vision is for the CWPA to have more people like me, scholars of color, feel safe and participate in our professional spaces.
The CWPA played an instrumental role in my professional development as a graduate student. CWPA was the first conference I ever attended as a graduate student, and I have been an active member of the CWPA since 2014. Most of my involvement in CWPA has been through WPA-GO where I had the opportunity to participate in mentoring events, the WPA-GO research writing groups, and various WPA-GO committees focused on diversity. As a member of the CWPA Executive Board, I want to give back to the organization that fostered my professional growth by supporting and mentoring graduate students in the organization. I am interested in recruiting young scholars, especially young scholars of color, and promoting graduate student education and professional development by continuing to advocate for all of the WPA-GO programs that helped shaped me as a teacher-scholar.