“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.

To begin the conversation throughout November 2012, we will offer some compelling invited responses to Collin Lamont Craig and Staci Maree Perryman-Clark’s fine essay “Troubling the Boundaries: (De)Constructing WPA Identities at the Intersections of Race and Gender” published in WPA: Writing Program Administration 34.2 (Spring 2011), which we've also attached to the bottom of this blog entry so you can refamiliarize yourself with their important arguments. For those of you who missed it the first time around, here's the abstract:

This essay forefronts how race and gender play implicative roles in navigating administrative work within the context of writing programs. We situate our understandings of race and gender within the context of our own personal experiences as African American graduate Research Assistants (RAs) while learning to become WPAs at a Land Grant Midwestern university. We call for a racialized and gendered understanding of writing programs. In other words, we look at the ways that both gender and race impact the work that we do as WPAs and provide recommendations for ways that CWPA can acknowledge race more directly in WPA scholarship and the organization.


In an effort to take up their important call for the field, we've asked a few smart respondents to reflect on this article and get the conversation going. As you'll see, they've shared some important ideas about helping writing programs and CWPA more fully reflect the range of identifications and social locations that students, faculty, and administrators already bring with them to these spaces.

We’ll post a new invited response every other day throughout the first few weeks of November leading up to Thanksgiving, starting with today's entry by Rita Malenczyk below and an entry by Carmen Kynard coming next. Please add the blog to your RSS feed so you don’t miss any of the insights contributed by our colleagues here. Please also note that these entries were composed during summer 2012, and we've left them as is to preserve their original authorial intent. Hopefully, this will spur the authors and others to update these remarks as they see fit in the coming conversation.

We now invite you—and this means YOU—to contribute your ideas, whether you are a brand new graduate student or a veteran of the field or anywhere in between. We invite you to post your own responses to the article and this first set of posts. We also invite you to raise your own ideas, objections, suggestions, qualifications, and visions for our collective future. Below this post, at the top of the comments list, you'll find some sample prompt questions that might help to get you started.

We especially invite graduate instructors teaching WPA seminars and other courses to make use of these provocative comments, and to encourage graduate classes to individually or collectively respond to these posts with your insights. The conversation is ongoing, and we look forward to your wisdom, commitment, and—as Collie Fulford notes in an upcoming entry—your particular versions of “affirmative activism.”

To post your own response to Craig and Perryman-Clark or the invited blog post authors, or to raise any other issue related to diversity and WPA work, just create a blog entry on the CWPA website and tag it with the keywords “Mentoring Blog” and “Diversity” separated by one space and a comma (Mentoring Blog, Diversity) in the keywords field. Your entry will then automatically post here and add to the conversation.

Thanks in advance for your thoughtful contributions!

 

In optimism and solidarity,


The CWPA Mentoring Project

Joe Janangelo, Tim Dougherty, and Michele Eodice

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Comments

In the spirit of transparency and as an aid to further invention, here are the original prompt questions we offered to respondents over the summer:

1. In reading this article, what ideas or questions resound with you personally and/or professionally?

2. How might the authors’ ideas affect and influence WPA work?

3. What action steps can be taken to make WPA work and CWPA more inviting, inclusive, and more responsive to our differences?

4. How might these ideas transform graduate student preparation and leadership? For example, how can teachers use this blog in WPA graduate courses (e.g. as discussion points) and other graduate preparation venues? How can Writing Center Directors and other campus leaders use this blog in scholarship and tutor preparation?

5. How does “troubling the boundaries” relate to human, cultural, and institutional diversity, e.g. two-year colleges, liberal arts colleges, state schools, and faith-based institutions?

6. How does this article contribute to knowledge-making in Composition, and what research and scholarship ideas does this article inspire for you?

7. What are the implications for the work of mentoring in Composition and WPA work, and who are our allies in this work?

8. What are the implications for multilingual writers and those who tutor and teach them?

9. How might we use digital forums to make WPA work more inclusive and responsive to our differences?

In solidarity,

Tim Dougherty and Joe Janangelo