WPA Conference + 1 - More on WPA's Future Directions

A query on WPA-L this morning: "How many postcards were submitted?"

I mentioned some numbers last week, but here's a new one that we're really excited about: 550 or so! That's the number of WPA Directions postcards that were submitted by conference attendees where they shared flashes of insights and ideas for WPA to take up in the short- and medium-term.

For those not in attendance, a little context: At this year's events, we distributed (and that's probably a kind word -- pushed like CRAZY might be more accurate --  postcards to conference attendees. On them, people wrote flashes of insights and ideas for WPA to take up, as above. Each evening, a group of willing volunteers went through the postcards and identified subjects raised in them, which we then shared with attendees and invited feedback. Then, at Sunday's Town Hall meeting, we organized discussion topics at tables based on the input and invited folks to come up with ideas, questions, and projects that they might want to focus on related to their topics. (I've attached the tag cloud summarizing this input to this message.)

A list of table topics is below, and the ideas and projects generated from them is coming soon. But the mantra of WPA Directions is crucial to remember as we all consider the work ahead: WPA is more than a conference, a journal, or a web site. WPA is all of us. It's great to think about what WPA should do in response to issues that come up every day. And when we do that -- and by we I mean you, me, all of us -- we also need to think, "What part of that doing am I willing to take up?" Barack Obama (borrowing from another community organizer) said it best: "We are the ones we've been waiting for. That's what WPA Directions is all about.

For our part, the WPA Executive Board is undertaking a number of initiatives to expand our membership -- our base -- and to make the work of our organization more transparent (or, a word I prefer, visible) and open. Watch this space for news on that. We heard this expressed in lots of ways at the conference, from attending to issues of collaboration to thinking and acting more explicitly on issues of expansiveness and inclusion, especially related to diversity.

It's an exciting time for CWPA, and an exciting time for writing instructors across the country. Sometimes that excitement comes from unexpected challenges. I've said it before, though, and I'll say it again -- together, we can make a difference. Watch this space for more!

WPA Directions Town Hall Meeting Table Topics:

  • Diversity
  • Faculty Development and Mentoring
  • Writing Centers/Building alliances with other organizations
  • Research
  • Assessment
  • Community colleges
  • Web 2.0 –
  • Promotion and Tenure/Non-tenure track faculty
  • NCoW/NDoW

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