The CWPA Mentoring Project - A Portal for Conversation and More!

The WPA Mentoring Project, an exciting initiative guided by CWPA Past President and member Sheldon Walcher, has recently posted a report on the findings from the WPA Mentoring Survey. Inquisitive readers can find the full report at http://wpacouncil.org/mentoring_report, but I want to feature some of the highlights of their exciting work.

The Mentoring Report asked a lot of good, hard questions about what WPA is doing, how it's doing, and how we can do what we do better. 108 individuals who completed the survey provided some information that will help CWPA continue to take a good hard look at ourselves, think about the organization's values and survey taker's input, and think about how we can continue to grow as an organization.

The Report reveals three major findings:

First, CWPA's membership is diverse. We have full-time faculty at all levels of the tenure track; part-time instructors; graduate students (including members of our new graduate organization, WPA-GO -- more on that in the next blog entry!); four-year and two-year instructors; members who are in "administrative" jobs and not. Depending on how members defined themselves, they also identified different needs. Full-time faculty at the associate level or higher identified needs different than did full-time assistant professors; part-time faculty identified different needs, as well.

2. There is a perception that CWPA's efforts are focused more directly on research one universities, a finding that translates into a need for the organization to focus on non-R1 sites -- 2-year schools, comprehensive universities, small colleges, and other sites where writing instruction and program direction takes place. Additionally, we need to spread the word that "administrator" need not (and is not) in the title of many of those involved with program direction. Sometimes people are involved in work associated with administration with no title at all; sometimes people work in different sites (e.g., writing or learning centers)... the list goes on.

3. There is a clear desire, especially for those in ranks/titles other than full professor, for formal mentoring.

In addition to these major findings, the Report also describes other areas for WPA focus. If you haven't taken a look at the site and the document, definitely do so!

Finally, watch this space. There are several ongoing and upcoming Mentoring Project actions you'll want to participate in. These include:

*The Mentoring Strand for WPA 2010. Via the WPA 2010 web site (www.drexel.edu/wpa2010), it's possible to both suggest strands for Mentoring Project sessions *and* volunteer to participate in a session. (Click the "Submit a Proposal" link, then the "Instructions" link, and then the "WPA Mentoring Project Survey" link at the top of the page.)

*The Mentoring Blog, where CWPA members can write in with questions and concerns and receive mentoring from other members. This is coming soon!

The Mentoring Project is one of CWPA's most exciting initiatives -- and like all initiatives, it works because we all work together!