WPA Position Statements and Resolutions

CWPA and CCCC Joint Statement in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has created not only an unprecedented public health crisis but also significant challenges for educators and educational institutions. In response, professionals must reassess current restrictions on assembly and mobility as well as imagine new means for meeting our goals. All our familiar educational routines—for example, meeting in classrooms—must be refigured as social distancing mandates direct us to remain isolated and to avoid public spaces where human contact is possible. Typically, writing courses have small class sizes and include significant levels of interaction, group work, and peer-to-peer discussion. For this reason, holding classes online rather than in person is the safest instructional approach for reducing exposure to and circulation of the novel coronavirus. That said, we recognize that each program will make its own judgments about how it plans to ensure the health, wellbeing, and safety of instructors and students, using institutional guidance specific to their local context. In any of those contexts, instructors and students should have the right to maintain their safety and thus have the ability to be accommodated with remote teaching and learning environments.

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Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA Statement on Best Practices

Plagiarism has always concerned teachers and administrators, who want students’ work to represent their own efforts and to reflect the outcomes of their learning. However, with the advent of the Internet and easy access to almost limitless written material on every conceivable topic, suspicion of student plagiarism has begun to affect teachers at all levels, at times diverting them from the work of developing students’ writing, reading, and critical thinking abilities. This statement responds to the growing educational concerns about plagiarism in four ways: by defining plagiarism; by suggesting some of the causes of plagiarism; by proposing a set of responsibilities (for students, teachers, and administrators) to address the problem of plagiarism; and by recommending a set of practices for teaching and learning that can significantly reduce the likelihood of plagiarism. The statement is intended to provide helpful suggestions and clarifications so that instructors, administrators, and students can work together more effectively in support of excellence in teaching and learning.

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CWPA Position Statement on Bullying in the Workplace

Prepared by the Taskforce on WPA Workplace Bullying: Cristyn L. Elder, Beth Davila, Staci Perryman-Clark, and Sherry Rankins-Robertson, as charged by President Dominic DelliCarpini. Approved 2019.

The Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA) condemns any form of bullying in writing program administration (WPA) workplaces, whether witnessed or experienced within writing programs, WAC programs, writing centers, online, in the classroom, at faculty meetings, at professional conferences, etc. Despite being well documented in the fields of human resources, management, and psychology, as well as higher education more generally, workplace bullying has largely remained unacknowledged within the field of writing program administration. Instead, bullying is often referred to as politics or working conditions. However, according to a survey completed by more than 100 WPAs and stakeholders, as many as 84% of respondents report having experienced bullying in the WPA workplace at some point in their career (Davila and Elder, “Shocked”). Given the significant negative consequences of workplace bullying, the CWPA calls on its members to be aware of the forms bullying can take and address them when they arise.

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WPA Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition (3.0), Approved July 17, 2014

This Statement identifies outcomes for first-year composition programs in U.S. postsecondary education. It describes the writing knowledge, practices, and attitudes that undergraduate students develop in first-year composition, which at most schools is a required general education course or sequence of courses. This Statement therefore attempts to both represent and regularize writing programs’ priorities for first-year composition, which often takes the form of one or more required general education courses. To this end it is not merely a compilation or summary of what currently takes place. Rather, this Statement articulates what composition teachers nationwide have learned from practice, research, and theory.[1] It intentionally defines only “outcomes,” or types of results, and not “standards,” or precise levels of achievement. The setting of standards to measure students’ achievement of these Outcomes has deliberately been left to local writing programs and their institutions.

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Evaluating the Intellectual Work of Writing Administration

It is clear within departments of English that research and teaching are generally regarded as intellectual, professional activities worthy of tenure and promotion. But administration--including leadership of first-year writing courses, WAC programs, writing centers, and the many other manifestations of writing administration--has for the most part been treated as a management activity that does not produce new knowledge and that neither requires nor demonstrates scholarly expertise and disciplinary knowledge.

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Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing (2011)

The concept of “college readiness” is increasingly important in discussions about students’ preparation for postsecondary education. This Framework describes the rhetorical and twenty-first-century skills as well as habits of mind and experiences that are critical for college success. Based in current research in writing and writing pedagogy, the Framework was written and reviewed by two- and four-year college and high school writing faculty nationwide and is endorsed by the Council of Writing Program Administrators, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the National Writing Project.

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