2014 Election for CWPA Executive Board

Voting tokens for the 2014 CWPA election will be distributed electronically to current CWPA members on January 31. Only current members are eligible to vote. Voting will take place for two weeks, and results will be announced shortly after voting closes.

Executive Board: vote for one candidate in each of the following pairings:


Executive Board Member #1: Vote for Jacob Babb or Mark Blaauw-Hara

Jacob Babb<Jacob Babb is an Assistant Professor of English at Indiana University Southeast, where he will be Writing Program Coordinator in 2014. At IU Southeast, Jacob is currently working to revise the core curriculum for the English major, which will include two new courses in rhetorical theory and writing studies that he is currently designing. He has served as Assistant Director of Composition for two writing programs, and in both positions, Jacob led the effort to revise writing portfolios and learning outcomes for first-year writing courses. He also served as Assistant Director of the Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he worked to improve the center’s outreach to and consultation with graduate students. Jacob has served on WPA-GO’s Events Planning committee, and he is currently serving on the Best Book Award Committee. Jacob’s research focuses on the relationship between curricular structures, such as first-year writing programs, undergraduate writing majors, and doctoral programs, and disciplinarity in rhetoric and composition. His research is enriched by his interest in writing program administration, an area of rhetoric and composition that has long given consideration to the crucial overlap between programs, pedagogies, and disciplinary knowledge. Jacob writes about his experiences on the tenure-track in a blog entitled Inventing the Professor.

Statement: CWPA has had a profound impact on how I envision my role in the profession since I began attending the conference in 2010, and I want to serve this organization to the best of my ability. I am drawn to WPA work because of its pedagogical and practical demands. WPAs must address numerous institutional needs while pursuing their own teaching and research agendas, and such work instills in WPAs the ability to examine problems from multiple perspectives. It is that curiosity and flexibility that I find so engaging about being a WPA. Because of my admiration for and fascination with WPA work, I seek election to the Executive Board. As a member of the Executive Board, I would contribute to several areas that are important for CWPA’s continued success. First, I believe mentorship has become a vital part of what CWPA provides for graduate students and junior WPAs. I think my own status as a young WPA makes me uniquely qualified to speak to their concerns about the job market, assuming responsibilities for a program, and seeking a balanced professional life. I would work with WPA-GO and the rest of the Executive Board to continue building the organization’s ability to provide mentorship through webinars, blogs, and podcasts aimed at professionalizing graduate students and new WPAs. Second, I would continue to emphasize the role that writing program administration plays in our professional lives by encouraging more writing programs to take advantage of the Consultant-Evaluator Service, using such self-study to produce scholarship that contributes to our understanding of writing programs. Third, I want to help CWPA increase its national visibility as a body of scholar-teachers whose considerable expertise in writing pedagogy and assessment should be consulted for the improvement of writing instruction in all levels of education.


Mark Blaauw-HaraMark Blaauw-Hara is Professor of English at North Central Michigan College, a public community college, where he has been Writing Program Administrator for eight years. Currently, he serves on the CWPA’s Task Force on Untenured/Nontenured WPAs. In addition to his administrative work, Mark teaches composition from developmental levels through the first-year courses. Mark is a peer reviewer for Teaching English at the Two-Year College, where he has published “Transfer Theory, Threshold Concepts, and First-Year Composition: Connecting Writing Courses to the Rest of the College” (forthcoming), as well as several other articles. His scholarly work has also appeared in  Currents in Electronic Communication, and the Writing Center Journal. His recent research is on transfer theory and communities of practice, as well as the writing experiences of student veterans.

Statement: My main motivation to run for the CWPA Executive Board is to help strengthen the organization’s connection with community colleges. During my time as WPA of a community college, I have encountered many of the situations that concern the CWPA at large, such as how to support contingent faculty and how to deal with the changing landscape of developmental writing. However, the community-college environment poses unique challenges. For example, at many CCs, contingent faculty not only come from disciplines other than rhetoric and writing, but many are retired or only working short-term while searching for more stable jobs. National organizations such as the CWPA must find ways to advocate for better working conditions and to support the continued professionalization of this group.I want to help the CWPA engage these issues.

An additional consideration at the community college is the connection between the writing program and occupational disciplines. Relatively new areas of research like threshold concepts and transfer theory are vital for the success of a CC writing program. I would like to support the CWPA in its exploration of these issues and help grow its connection to disciplines such as health care and “green” businesses—fields with two-year degrees that, while occupationally oriented, nevertheless ask students to write well. In these and other respects, I would like to provide a community-college perspective on the Executive Board and help the organization as a whole reach out to this vital constituency.


Executive Board Member #2: Vote for Jonikka Charlton or Tracy Ann Morse

Jonikka CharltonJonikka Charlton is an Associate Professor of Rhetoric & Composition at the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA), a Hispanic-serving institution located on Texas’ southern border with Mexico. She has been in and out of WPA positions since 1998 when she began her WPA career as a writing center director and basic reading/writing program coordinator at a small, regional university with a mostly rural student population. At UTPA, she served as WPA for five years, during which she led program efforts to create new program- and course-specific student learning outcomes and build a strong culture of teaching and an institutional commitment to the professional development of faculty teaching in the program. These past few years, she has also been involved in a large-scale grant project supporting the work of UTPA’s innovative developmental reading/writing program, as well as state-level advisory groups related to the new state test used for developmental education placement in Texas. Most recently, she has taken a position as Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies where she is learning to apply her WPA knowledge and experience to work on institution-wide retention initiatives.

In addition to a piece in BWe on UTPA students’ reactions to the use of a writing studies approach in developmental writing, Charlton’s scholarship has mostly been driven by questions of WPA identity and preparation. She co-authored GenAdmin: Theorizing WPA Identity in the 21st Century with Colin Charlton, Tarez Graban, Kate Ryan, and Amy Ferdinandt Stolley and has collaborated with Shirley K. Rose on two major national surveys of CWPA members. She and Shirley have published on the 2007 results in the WPA Journal and are working on a second article based on 2012 results, as well as a book. She and Colin Charlton also have a chapter in Going Public: The WPA as Advocate for Engagement in which they discuss their work as WPAs at an HSI.

Statement: From the moment I decided to move my family to Purdue so my husband and I could pursue our PhDs, I knew I wanted to dedicate my professional life to being a WPA. I had been one already, but I wanted to surround myself with people dedicated to studying what it means to be one and to do the work well. Since that time, I have been in and out of formal WPA positions, but I have always considered myself a WPA even while on “hiatus.”One of the more interesting changes in CWPA membership over the last 25 years has been the increasing number of members––1 in 5––who have never held formal WPA positions, but still feel connected in some important way to WPA work. Through our survey research, Shirley and I have tried to learn more about this group, and, if I am privileged enough to be elected to the Executive Board, I hope to find more ways to meet the specific needs of this segment of our organization.

I am also interested in helping the organization meet the needs of the generation that my co-authors and I write about in GenAdmin; more and more, today’s graduate students enjoy thinking programmatically, and we take WPA classes and write WPA dissertations, all in the hopes of taking on leadership positions in our future programs and institutions. Increasingly, new faculty are entering the field committed to WPA work as an area of scholarship and a career path; I would like to contribute to the organization’s thinking about how we can support the unique needs of this group, as well as how other WPAs with alternate pathways into the profession can add to this group’s understanding of WPA work.

Finally, as a (former) WPA at an HSI in Texas, particularly during a time when so much attention has been focused on the “crisis” in developmental education in our state (and nationally), I hope to be able to add an important perspective to the board’s work. There is an increasing interest in the field on both of these issues, and I would encourage the board to find ways to reach out to potential members who work with these populations, many of whom do not know of CWPA’s existence. This organization has kept me connected with fantastic colleagues and support, and I would be honored to serve its members and the profession.


Tracy Ann MorseTracy Ann Morse, assistant professor of English, serves as Director of Composition/Writing Foundations at East Carolina University. She is incoming President Elect for the Carolinas WPA affiliate. Currently, she serves on the CWPA’s Disability Committee and Exploratory Task Force on WPA Labor Policies. Tracy is a Co-Chair of the North Carolina Ready for Success Alignment Team for English. In this role, she represents the UNC system in discussions about public education (i.e., Common Core, high school to college transition, and community college to UNC transition) with K-12, community college, and other UNC educators. She teaches courses in first-year writing and undergraduate and graduate courses in rhetoric and composition. Her research interests include composition theory and practice; writing program administration theory and practice; religious rhetoric, especially in the American deaf community; and disability studies. Her work has appeared in Rhetoric Review, Disability Studies Quarterly, inventio, and Journal of Teaching Writing. She co-edited (with Michael Donnelly, Rebecca Ingalls, Joanna Castner Post, and Anne Stockdell-Giesler) Critical Conversations About Plagiarism (Parlor Press, 2013). She co-authored (with Teresa Grettano and Rebecca Ingalls) “The Perilous Vision of the Outcomes Statement,” a chapter in The WPA Outcomes Statement: A Decade Later (Parlor Press, 2013). Signs and Wonders: Religious Rhetoric and the Preservation of Sign Language is forthcoming by Gallaudet University Press (expected March 2014).

Statement: I am compelled to serve on the Executive Board because of our organization’s focus on collegiality, support, advocacy, and building of alliances. I place at the center of my motivation the students we serve at our respective institutions and I hope I can be proactive in helping address our regional and states’ concerns as they apply to our local contexts. Currently I am the Director of Composition at ECU where we are implementing university-wide changes to our writing program as part of our Quality Enhancement Plan. My past experience teaching in the two-year college; as a WPA in a private, liberal arts institution; and currently as a WPA in a large, public institution situates me well for a position on the Executive Board. I would like to help CWPA address labor issues as they relate to WPA work as well as to faculty teaching in our programs. In addition, I hope to help CWPA encourage WPAs to understand the impact of disability on practices inside and outside the classroom.


Executive Board Member #3: Vote for Beth Brunk-Chavez or Heidi Estrem

Beth Brunk-ChavezBeth Brunk-Chavez is an Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing Studies in the Department of English at the University of Texas at El Paso. From 2008 to 2013, she served as the Writing Program Administrator for the First-Year Composition Program which won the CCCC Writing Program Certificate of Excellence in 2012. At the start of her term, she led the program in a significant redesign that included changes in curriculum, delivery, evaluation/assessment, and professional development. She also serves as an Associate Dean for the College of Liberal Arts. Her major responsibilities in this role include facilitating online course development and teaching in the college as well as directing the Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies Program and the related Finish@UT online program. In 2009, she was honored with a University of Texas Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award and was named to the Regents’ Academy of Distinguished Teachers in 2013. A graduate of New Mexico State University, the University of Texas at El Paso, and the University of Texas at Arlington, her recent scholarship has focused on writing program administration, digital writing and assessment, professional development, online writing instruction, and the writing lives of students. Beth recently served on the College Section Steering Committee for NCTE and is the past Assistant Chair. She is also serving on a WPA Outcomes Statement task force.

Statement: I joke that my institutional preparation to be a WPA amounted to acquiring a milk crate of files. I was fortunate, however, to attend the WPA workshop that July in Denver. Without having had mentoring or coursework in Writing Program Administration, this workshop was vital. Not only did it help me better understand my role as a WPA, but it also established a network of scholarly conversations with colleagues that is essential to every WPA's professional development...not to mention the support!

To that end, I appreciate the opportunity to give back to CWPA by serving on its Executive Board. There are several subjects I’d like to assist the organization in addressing. First is the branding of writing programs through thoughtful innovation. As a member of the WPA Outcomes Statement task force, I’ve seen a number of issues to be addressed with this complex revision: thoughtful adaptations to our Outcomes, the development of new curricula, and the preparation of instructors to teach and evaluate multimodal literacies. Another concern of mine is the ongoing professionalization of WPAs. While the Summer Workshop makes a significant contribution, WPAs need continued mentoring related to directing a program. Finally, as a faculty member at an HSI institution, I’d like to focus increased attention on the diverse contexts and students learning in our writing programs (L2 writers, first-generation, returning, and veteran students, for example) and how WPAs can adapt writing programs to best prepare students for a diverse writing world. Important to each of these subjects is the generation and publication of thoughtful, data-driven research that supports our decisions and decision-making processes as WPAs. This fall semester, I had the opportunity to teach a graduate-level WPA course for the first time. If nothing else, it reminded me how rich a field we work in, how incredibly significant our work is, and how important it is to have strong leadership at the national level. I hope to participate at this level on the Executive Board.


Heidi EstremHeidi Estrem is an Associate Professor of English and serves as the Director of First-Year Writing at Boise State University. At the national level, she recently completed a four-year term on the CCC Editorial Board, and she has served on numerous CWPA and CCCC committees or task forces, including the CCCC Task Force on the CCCC Statement on Writing and the CWPA Task Force on the Position Statement on Pre-College Credit for Writing. She is also a founding board member of the High Mountain Affiliate of the CWPA.

Heidi has published a co-authored book as well as numerous articles and book chapters.This work includes publications on new writing instructor development; for example, “The Effects of Writing Pedagogy Education on Graduate Teaching Assistants’ Approaches to Teaching Composition” (with E. Shelley Reid and Marcia Belcheir, WPA Journal 2012) and “What New Writing Teachers Talk About When They Talk About Teaching” (with E. Shelley Reid, Pedagogy 2012). Her research on writing pedagogy has led to publications in edited collections, such as “Participation and Collaboration in Digital Spaces: Connecting High School and College Writing Experiences” (with Rachel Bear, Dawn Shepherd, and Jim Fredricksen, forthcoming in The Next Digital Scholar).

Statement: As a WPA, one of my guiding principles is the old Hippocratic adage that we should at least do no harm.This goal alone will keep me – and all of us – in business for a long time; problematic policies and practices exist at every turn that impact our work with students and our professional engagement as writing instructors. Just as my personal goal is to intervene where damage is being done,CWPA also actively works to provide help and reduce harm through supporting WPAs and writing instructors, promoting richer understandings of literacy, and advancing thoughtful policies and pedagogies. The WPA Journal and statements written by this organization have given me traction on local and statewide policy discussions, while personal interactions at the WPA conference and with past EB members have helped me articulate and shape approaches to a range of issues that impact writing pedagogy.Thus, I am honored to be considered to serve CWPA as a member of the Executive Board.

It is both my interest in contributing to CWPA as an organization and my belief in the power of collective action that compel me to seek election to the CWPA EB in 2014. Within our state, I have been engaged in collaborative statewide educational reform efforts related to writing curriculum and policy for over seven years; this work requires dogged persistence, relentless enthusiasm, careful listening, and the use of flexible strategies for responding to the interests of a range of constituents. Leading these efforts has given me the opportunity to work with colleagues and others to improve conditions for the teaching and learning of writing across our state. The EB offers another venue for this important work, and I would look forward to contributing to these efforts in a national context.