Cuppa Coffee a Cuppa Success in the Inland Northwest!


It was my privilege to host a “Cuppa Coffee” event on November 5, 2009, at Northern Lights Brewing Company in Spokane, WA.  I appreciate CWPA’s help in underwriting the expense for this casual but informative gathering that included several WPA colleagues from my immediate geographic area.


As WPA at Gonzaga University, I wanted to expand the local network of colleagues for myself but also for the faculty who teach in the local institutions.  The Cuppa Coffee event provided a nice opportunity to do just that.  I invited the following colleagues:


  • Jennifer Heckler, Eastern Washington University
  • Betsy Lawrence, Spokane Community College
  • Laurie Olsen-Horswill, North Idaho College
  • Melissa Sprenkle, Whitworth University
  • Jared Anthony, Spokane Falls Community College


Unfortunately, Jared could not attend the gathering, but he was mentioned in a good light by the other five of us.  During our Cuppa Beer, I mean Coffee, we met our initial goals:

  • Meet one another and explain a bit about our respective jobs and programs
  • Share ideas for local collaborations
  • Discuss the possible benefits of joining the High Mountain Group, a regional organization with aspirations to gain CWPA affiliate status.


Given my role as co-chair of the High Mountain Group’s leadership team, I tried to convince my colleagues of the relative value of our linking to a larger regional group that so far includes Gonzaga, University of MT (Missoula), Boise State, Washington State, University of MT (Dillon), and Montana State (Bozeman).  All of my local colleagues seemed enthused about the High Mountain organization, even if their level of interest varied when it came time to talk about how such a group might be of use to them personally and/or to their programs.  We left the meeting with new energy to collaborate locally, and we intend to have another meeting in the spring semester.  Our discussion will no doubt also return to the question of who (all) might find useful a membership to CWPA.


In the meantime, I would be happy to answer questions if anyone wants to know more specifically why I think the Cuppa Coffee initiative is worth the time and effort.  Thanks again for the opportunity, Doug and CWPA!




John Eliason

Director of Composition and the Writing Center

Associate Professor of English

Gonzaga University

(509) 313-6717 and