2009-2010 Election for WPA Executive Board

WPA is holding elections for three Executive Board members. We will say thank you and goodbye to Executive Board members Jeff Klausman, Eli Goldblatt, and Barbara L’Eplattenier, whose terms end in June 30, 2010.

Voting tokens for the election will be distributed electronically to current WPA members in late January. Only current members are eligible to vote. Voting will take place for three weeks, and results will be announced shortly after the vote closes.

The Executive Board oversees WPA's events and activities, creates policies and procedures for its management, and engages in special projects and initiatives. The new Executive Board members will serve for three years, with terms beginning in July 2010 and ending in June 2013.

Continuing Executive Board members are Linda Adler-Kassner, President, Eastern Michigan University (term ends 2011; will succeed to Past President); Duane Roen, Vice President, Arizona State University (term ends 2011; will succeed to President); Joe Janangelo, Immediate Past President, Loyola University (Chicago)(term ends 2011); Melissa Ianetta, University of Delaware (term ends 2011); Brian Huot, Kent State University (term ends 2011); Susan Thomas, University of Sydney (term ends 2011); Chuck Paine, University of New Mexico (term ends 2012); Doug Downs, Montana State University (term ends 2012); Darsie Bowden, DePaul University (term ends 2012). Ex-Officio members are Charles Lowe, Treasurer and Web Developer, Grand Valley State University; Keith Rhodes , Secretary, Grand Valley State University; Deborah Holdstein, Director, Consultant Evaluator Service, Columbia College Chicago; Charles Schuster, Associate Director, Consultant Evaluator Service, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee; Alice Horning, Journal Editor, Oakland University; Debra Dew, Journal Associate Editor, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs; Glenn Blalock, Journal Associate Editor, Our Lady of the Lake College.

Members will vote for one candidate in each of the three pairings below:

Executive Board Member #1: Vote for Eileen Ferretti or Clint Gardner

Eileen FerrettiEileen Ferretti is Associate Professor of English and Director of developmental English at Kingsborough Community College (CUNY). Her responsibilities include curriculum supervision of approximately 150 sections of several levels of developmental reading and writing and mentoring the instructional staff, of which approximately 70% are part-time faculty. One of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of her position is the opportunity it presents to nurture and hone a variety of instructional approaches through faculty development initiatives. Her participation as a seminar leader in “Looking Both Ways” (2000-2005) – a series of collaborative workshops for high school teachers and college professors co-sponsored by the NYC Board of Education and the City University of New York – illuminated the significance of faculty development at the two-year college. Her article, “The LBW Co-Leader: Under Construction,” which appears in Facilitating Collaboration: Issues in High School/College Professional Development (2005), examines the dynamics and processes of small teacher communities. She found this model truly creates a climate of respect among part-time and full-time instructors by leveling the perceived status and power of the various participants. This sharing of power and collaboration challenges teachers to practice the very kind of cooperation that we expect from our students. As a result of her LBW seminar leadership, Eileen introduced an integrated approach to best practices. As Director of developmental English she provides multiple forums for reviewing scholarship, sharing teaching models, and collaborating in assessment of student work and curriculum design. These forums include small teacher cohorts organized by a leader. As the cohorts encourage collaboration among faculty at various levels of experience and expertise, they evolved into “think tanks” and took on various projects. The cohort project produced an increase in passing rates for students on both the departmental and university-wide assessment. Under Eileen’s leadership the developmental English program at Kingsborough received the 2009 Diana Hacker Two-Year College Association (TYCA) Outstanding Programs in English Award. Eileen is currently on the Editorial Board of the Conference on Basic Writing (CBW) that selected her for the 2005 CBW/CCCC Fellowship Award.

Statement: The Council of Writing Program Administrators provides access to a national forum on the issues faced by composition faculty who take on the responsibility of shaping and preserving best practices in the field throughout the university system. No constituency needs this life preserver more than administrators of writing programs at the two-year colleges. More than half of America’s college population now attends community colleges, where increasing numbers of under-prepared students inhabit a subculture currently known as “developmental English” or “basic-writing.” More often than not, administrators of these programs are situated within continuing education or other pre-college venues, cut off from meaningful interactions with their peers in the English department. On the other hand, I have been fortunate enough to head an exceptional developmental English program at Kingsborough Community College (CUNY) that is part of the English department and plays an integral role in the college community. Over the past decade, I have worked to maintain a cohesive structure, while striving to create a coherent and forward-looking vision through an integrated approach to course design and faculty development that serves the literacy goals of at risk- students. I hope to bring my experience with course design and faculty development at the two-year college into the conversation of Writing Program Administrators. Kingsborough’s Developmental English program benefited greatly from my collaboration with other college and high school faculty through CUNY’s “Looking Both Ways” initiative and the introduction of small teacher cohorts at Kingsborough. I hope that my participation as an executive board member on the Council of Writing Program Administrators will foster a more complete understanding of the literacy goals of under-prepared students and mission of the community college faculty who serve them. At the same time, I want to increase my knowledge of the larger community of writing program administrators and the ways in which they contribute to the institutional practices and policies in higher education.

Clint GardnerClint Gardner is the Coordinator of the Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) Student Writing Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. He recently completed his term as Past President of the International Writing Centers Association (IWCA), and is currently Secretary of the Two-year College Association (TYCA) of the National Council of Teachers of English. His writing center research focuses on the development of peer writing consultants (tutors) at community college writing centers and the uses of online writing center resources. One the most important aspects of his writing center work is to support and offer feedback to the student writers who come to the SLCC Student Writing Center, as well as to the SLCC Students who work as peer writing consultants in the Center. Clint teaches college composition and literature with a particular interest in writing center studies, discourse studies, and genre theory.

Statement:  While I believe that the CWPA is an extremely useful organization and provides our field with many important resources, I believe that we can work to broaden our membership to include people from different institution types and institutional settings.  I have already been working with others on the Council to start that effort.  Given my situation in the leadership of both the TYCA and in the International Writing Centers Association, I believe that I can provide connections to and insights of professionals in those two areas.  The common interests of people who work in writing programs around the world would best be addressed by a CWPA that represents the broadest range of people.

Executive Board Member #2: Vote for Barbara Lutz or Sheldon Walcher

Barbara LutzBarbara Gaal Lutz is the assistant director of the University Writing Center at the University of Delaware and an instructor in the Department of English. In addition to training undergraduate and graduate tutors for the center and providing leadership to the writing center, Barbara also coordinates both the Writing Fellows initiative in the WAC program and the ESL conversation classes for the general university community. In addition to this WPA work, she co-teaches literacy courses with colleagues in the School of Education and teaches first-year writing and first year seminar courses. Currently, she is in her fourth year of teaching a grant-funded advanced composition course she designed that links education majors with middle school students in an online tutoring environment. Barbara presents regularly at regional and national conferences. Her most recently published scholarship is “English as a Second Language: How Can We help?” in Teaching Language and Literacy: Preschool through the Elementary Grades. Eds. James F. Christie, Billie Jean Enz and Carol Vukelich. Barbara has participated in professional organization leadership at the regional and national level. Regionally, she served as president of Mid-Atlantic Writing Centers Association (MAWCA) for five years, and Executive Board member of Pennsylvania Writing Program Administrators (PWPA) for three years. She also helped organize the 2004 Council of Writing Program Administrators conference in Newark, DE, and has served as co-chair to the 2000 International Writing Center Association (IWCA) Conference in Baltimore, MD. Currently, she is co-chairing the MAWCA 2010 conference at the University of Delaware and the International Writing Centers Association-National Council of Peer Tutors in Writing (IWCA-NCPTW) 2010 joined conference in Baltimore, MD. She is also serving as a member of the 2010 CCCC WPA Breakfast Committee.

Statement: As the description of my background might suggest, service to the profession has both grounded and defined my growth as a writing teacher and a writing program administrator. My tenure on the Executive Board for PWPA, for example, provided the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues to address local concerns in the field, such as adjunct labor issues and program assessment. Additional service to CWPA, as a member of the conference site committee for two years as well as a participant in the WPA/NSSE collaborative, strengthened my commitment to CWPA’a initiatives. I value the opportunities CWPA has provided for my professional growth and am honored to be considered for the Executive Board. If elected, I would contribute to CWPA’s leadership in several critical areas: in writing centers, by advocating for institutional recognition of writing center administration; in ESL programs and courses, by addressing the special needs of both instructors teaching ESL courses and non native speakers of English; in community outreach, by encouraging service-learning programs that use online tutoring and hybrid courses; in adjunct and part-time faculty advocacy, by working on CWPA initiatives that address adjunct and non tenure track faculty concerns; and finally in networking with other organizations, by helping CWPA strengthen ties with writing center organizations. To each of these critical areas, I bring considerable expertise: as writing center assistant director, I can speak to the daily and long-range administrative concerns of running a successful center; as a non native speaker of English myself, I bring special insight to my instruction of ESL composition courses, my training and mentoring of ESL tutors, and my years of item writing for the TOFEL exams; as the designer and instructor of a grant-funded advanced composition course that links education majors with middle school students, I continue to advocate for greater collaboration between composition programs, teacher education programs, and public school teachers; and finally, as a long-time member of regional and national writing center organizations, I can contribute to CWPA’s interest in dialoging with writing center organizations.

Sheldon Walcher

Sheldon Walcher is Director of Composition and Assistant Professor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi. He joined the faculty in 2007 as part of a Quality Enhancement Plan committed to improving writing and speaking across the curriculum. His initiatives include redesigning the first-year curriculum, implementing portfolio assessment throughout all levels of the program, and developing several new courses. One such course is Expanded Composition, a program developed in partnership with the campus writing and speaking centers, university library, and other support units aimed at improving traditionally marginalized students’ retention and success. In 2008, he secured a $50,000 grant from the National Center for Academic Transformation to create a hybrid upper-division course titled, “Writing in Academic, Professional and Public Contexts,” in which students collaborate with area non-profit organizations to create multimedia projects. Sheldon has been involved in several regional initiatives seeking to improve the status and practice of writing instruction. With Anita DeRouen (Millsaps College) and Doug Robinson (Ole Miss), he helped found the Mississippi Council of Writing Program Administrators, and is currently collaborating with colleagues from the South Mississippi Writing Project and Southeast Two Year College Association to host a Teaching, Writing and Technology conference at USM in 2010. He also serves as special advisor to the Developmental Education Task Force of the Mississippi Institutes of Higher Learning. In addition to research on program administration and technology, he focuses on discursive constructions of “deviance” and “unconventionality” within professional and academic communities, and the implications these have for how members understand and react to change. He regularly presents at CCCC and WPA, and has published in a variety of journals. He is currently working on two book projects: Writing With Power: A Social Rhetoric (under contract with Fountain Head Press), and Riddled: Error, Productivity and Change in Discourse.

Statement: My administrative work is guided by the belief that great writing programs must do four things well: (1) offer challenging courses that help students engage the world in meaningful ways; (2) provide ongoing training, professional development and support to writing teachers; (3) promote a culture of excellence in writing and research across their campuses; and (4) serve as centers for writing and civic engagement both regionally and nationally. In all these areas, my efforts have been guided by the outstanding work of the Council of Writing Program Administrators, and as a member of the Executive Board, my primary goal would be to seek opportunities to help others develop their programs in similar ways. One initiative I am proud to be involved with is the WPA Mentoring Project, which emerged out of conversations at the 2008 WPA Conference concerning how to provide additional opportunities for exchange among our members. Along with Joe Janangelo and Duane Roen, I coordinated several panels devoted to professional development at the 2009 WPA Conference. We also created an online survey to assess the needs and expectations of CWPA members, and the viability of implementing a formal mentoring system. Based on these efforts, the Executive Board recently approved several new projects, including a partnership with the International Writing Center Association to plan additional professional development sessions at the 2010 conference. We are also building a range of online mentoring tools, including an ongoing blog featuring writers from a range of professional contexts and perspectives. This work is extremely important because mentoring plays such a crucial role in many writing programs’ success, and as a large organization representing increasingly diverse constituencies, I believe the future success of the Council depends on how well we can expand the range of voices, perspectives, and interests we reflect and serve.

Executive Board Member #3: Vote for Shelley Reid or Kelly Ritter

Shelley ReidShelley Reid is associate professor of English and Director of Composition at George Mason University. Before coming to GMU, she served as Associate Director of Composition at Oklahoma State for four years. (And before that, she taught multicultural American literature at a small college in northern Texas for four years, and was a writing center tutor and technical writing teacher in Wyoming for a year.) She has been a member of WPA since 1999 and has worked with the Assistant Professor Administrator SIG of the organization. In 2007 she was awarded a WPA Grant in support of her three-year study of teaching assistant development, and she's been known to post to WPA-L now and then. Her primary professional interests focus on writing-teacher preparation and support, which she has argued can and should be addressed through writing curriculum development, administrative actions and approaches, expert- and peer-mentoring programs, and TA education courses and programs. Learning to teach (writing) is no more a fourteen-week task than is learning to write; in articles on the abovementioned topics (in journals such as Pedagogy, Composition Studies, WPA, and CCC), she affirms that writing teacher education is most successful when it is addressed via a long-term, multifaceted collection of strategies—and that orchestrating such a collection is a primary responsibility of a writing program administrator.

Statement: I took a temporary WPA job in 1999 despite knowing from long family experience that it was an insane job to accept; I kept the job and subsequently switched my professional field in large part because I discovered that the WPA organization had the highest concentration of sane and supportive colleagues I have encountered anywhere in academia. I'm honored to be in the very good, very sane company of the current nominees for Executive Board, and would be delighted to work with any of them and the continuing members on a range of issues we all see as pressing: publicity and political advocacy for writing programs and writing teachers, establishment and revision of curricular and professional standards, encouragement and support of research that helps substantiate our professional intuitions. I would also bring to the Board my own interest in creating, formalizing, and extending outreach and mentoring programs to increase and diversify our membership and provide clear avenues of support to members at various stages of their careers. As an organization, WPA has done very well at both big-ticket support (the summer workshops, the CE service) and the small daily support available online or through chance meetings. I'm interested in the ways in which WPA Affiliates, SIGs, a nascent Mentors program, tools available through the website, and other kinds of continuing education coordinated through the main organization could enable more of us to step into the gap between those poles in order to serve more of our colleagues in ways that meet their local and professional needs.

Kelly RitterKelly Ritter is Associate Professor of English and Director of First-Year Composition at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. She was previously (2000-2008) an associate professor of English and the first-year composition director at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Connecticut. Kelly is a current member of the CCCC Executive Committee and the CBW Executive Board, as well as the MLA Delegate Assembly. She is the author of Before Shaughnessy: Basic Writing at Yale and Harvard, 1920-1960 (Studies in Writing and Rhetoric/Southern Illinois UP, 2009) and Who Owns School? Authority, Students, and Online Discourse (Hampton Press, forthcoming December 2009). She is also co-editor, with Stephanie Vanderslice, of Can It Really Be Taught? Resisting Lore in Creative Writing Pedagogy (Boynton Cook, 2007). Kelly’s articles and essays on writing pedagogy, history, and theory have appeared in College Composition and Communication, College English, Composition Studies, Pedagogy, Rhetoric Review, and WPA, among others. Her current project is on women’s literacy education, specifically the institutional intersection of composition and creative writing pedagogies and the influence of general education initiatives in the postwar public women’s college.

Statement: As someone whose graduate degrees are in creative writing, and whose knowledge of the field of composition and rhetoric is thus largely self-taught, I am grateful for the professional support of organizations such as WPA, which encourages me to continue to grow as an administrator, scholar, and teacher of writing and values my current and potential contributions to this field, without concern for where I began. Because my background is, perhaps, different than many of my fellow WPA members, I am especially sensitive to the ways in which we might continue to grow our organization by attracting members such as myself, who have been trained in allied fields outside of composition and rhetoric, but who are nonetheless invested in the work of writing programs and the challenges of administrative work. I am also sensitive to sustaining the notion that what we do, as WPAs, is indeed informed by—and often takes the shape of—research and scholarship in writing studies, broadly construed; as such, as a board member, I would strive to vigorously promote the scholarly dimensions of administrative work (whether this be in FYC, WAC/WID, or WC administrative work), and to support the individual research agendas of its members. I feel strongly that WPAs, like any other writing faculty, need to find their own logical and situated scholarly positions within the wide range of research and publication on college writing and its related endeavors that appears in our journals and at our conferences today. I would thus support an even greater attention within our organization to supporting junior WPAs in their scholarly work, and to providing mentoring opportunities in research and scholarship for members at all levels of their careers.