CWPA Mentoring Blog

The Mentoring Blog will be focusing on issues of diversity and identity in WPA work for 2012-2013. To add your voice to the conversation, you can either comment on our invited posts or create your own post and tag it with the keywords "Mentoring Blog."

Visit the CWPA Mentoring Project Page to learn more about the blog's context and how you can participate

Sign Up as a Mentor or Mentee for Mentoring @ Cs!

As an encore performance, the CCCC Committee on the Status of Graduate Students (SOGS) and WPA-GO are co-sponsoring Mentoring @ Cs (M@Cs) in Houston, Texas! We welcome mentees and mentors with a wide range of interests within rhetoric and composition. Mentors and mentees will meet at the conference to chat over free food and drinks (at an evening social and/or a light breakfast) and/or attend a session of mutual interest.

DIY Scholarship: Strategies for the WPA PhD

By Virginia Schwarz, University of Wisconsin-Madison


During my academic hiatus, I learned how to be a do-it-yourself scholar, and I 

think that approach can be helpful in PhD programs, especially for future writing 

program administrators (WPAs). The six years I spent in teaching and administrative 

roles at various community colleges helped me form a strong identity as a WPA, and I 

also learned to be very creative in finding—and making—opportunities. If you’re a new 

Keeping the Plates Spinning: Surviving as a Graduate WPA

By Katherine Daily, Arizona State University 


I’m sitting on the plane headed back to Wisconsin, throttled forward to a land of

cheese-shaped hats, my favorite beer (New Glarus Spotted Cow), and some of the 

nicest, most genuine people you will ever meet. I’m looking ahead to eight glorious 

days with family and friends: the baptism of my nephew and niece, an ugly sweater 

party (or two), meeting up with friends at my favorite cigar bar from my undergrad, 

and hopefully a snowstorm on Christmas eve. However, there’s a feeling of dread 

Negotiating WPA Service and Graduate Student Work

By Todd Ruecker, University of New Mexico


As the job market gets increasingly competitive, it is important for graduate students to build 

their professional profile in as many ways as possible.  Beyond completing a stellar dissertation 

and trying to get a few publications, students should seek varying service opportunities present at 

their institution.  As a doctoral student at the University of Texas at El Paso, I served at different 

times as the Assistant Director of the Rhetoric and Writing Graduate Program, Assistant Director 

But What Kind of WPA Am I?

By Melissa Ianetta, University of Delaware

Scene: MLA Convention, New Orleans, 2002.

A PhD candidate is interviewing for an Assistant Professor/WPA position at large state university in the west. The conversation, which thus far has examined her teaching and research, has been both genial and animated—which the intrepid job seeker takes as a good sign. The search chair then moves the discussion to the WPA portion of the job.

Great Results from the WPA-GO Breakfast Buddy Event at the 2013 CWPA Conference!

The Mentoring and Professional Development Committee is proud to present a mini-report about the “Breakfast Buddies” event from the 2013 summer WPA conference in Savannah. As you may know, last year was the first iteration of Breakfast Buddies. As we hope there will be many more are to come, we are using last year’s feedback to constructively critique the program, making it better for future CWPA appearances.

Call-Out for 2014 CWPA Roundtable Participants in Three WPA-GO Sponsored Mentoring Sessions

The WPA Graduate Organization’s (WPA-GO) Mentoring and Professional Development Committee is searching for colleagues, graduate students, and faculty mentors to participate in three roundtable mentoring sessions at the 2014 CWPA Conference. WPA-GO sponsors professional development sessions that support the preparedness and confidence of graduate students interested in WPA work. This year’s roundtable topics are described below.

Important note: Please know that an individual can participate in no more than two sessions, in any capacity, at this year’s CWPA conference.

What Makes a Good (Virtual) Campus Visit to a Two-Year College?

By: Jeffrey Klausman, Whatcom Community College

Last spring, my colleagues and I successfully completed a hiring process for a new full-time faculty member in English. By “successful,” I mean not only that we made a hire, but that we hired the person whose experience and interests most closely matched our needs. How did this one person rise to the top? How was he, along with a half-dozen other candidates, selected for an interview? Here’s the best answer I can give: He brought us something we needed.

The Top Three Questions to Ask on a Campus Interview

By: Nicholas Behm, Assistant Professor, Elmhurst College,

When I talk to graduate students planning a career in the academy, I always speak candidly with them about the dearth of tenure-line opportunities and the seemingly relentless challenges of working in the academy. So, before I address questions that should be asked on campus interviews, I want to relate what I wish I had known about the market before I went on the market.

“Expanding the Boundaries of WPA research: A response to Craig and Perryman Clark’s “Troubling the Boundaries”

By Kendall Leon, Purdue University

In “Troubling the Boundaries,” Craig and Perryman Clark conclude their article with recommendations for “proactive” measures that the CWPA can take to encourage diversity within CWPA. As a scholar of color and a WPA in training, I welcome the opportunity to respond with an extension—or maybe a step back?—to understanding how this problem the authors identified came to be. So, why is this? A good question to ask is: How do we come to these positions?

CWPA Mentoring Project Blog

I invite you to visit and bookmark the new CWPA Mentoring Project Blog going live today on our Web site. Throughout this inaugural year, the blog will be exploring issues of diversity, difference, and identities in WPA work. Every other day for these next few weeks, they will add a featured post from one of our colleagues. Check out the opening post for more information and add your voice to this important conversation:

“Introducing the CWPA Mentoring Project Blog!”

Welcome to the premiere of “The CWPA Mentoring Project Blog!”

We hope this forum will invite and inspire robust discussion, healthy debate, and best practices by, for, and with all CWPA members for years to come.

Because diversity, difference, and identities are essential and under-discussed topics for writing program administrators, CWPA as an organization, and the field at large, we wish to devote this entire upcoming year to these topics on the blog. We invite everyone to participate in this important conversation and the action steps we hope will follow.