WPA Sessions at the 2007 MLA Conference: Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals: WPA Sessions at MLA
December, 2007
Chicago, IL

The WPA Executive Board and the committee on WPA at MLA (Dominic Delli Carpini, Joe Janangelo, and Rita Malenczyk) invite proposals for 2 panels to be held at the December, 2007 convention of the Modern Language Association in Chicago, IL.

Panel 1
Ethical Practices in Delivering Composition: Beyond Labor Problems to Labor Solutions

One of the most difficult issues we face as WPAs arises from our status as what Joseph Harris has called "composition bosses." The ethical issues surrounding labor problems, our day-to-day attempts to keep our ships afloat without abusing those who deliver our composition curricula, have been rehearsed for many years--and with great sincerity. However, for this panel, we invite presentations that provide solutions to labor issues that have ameliorated the problem in specific sites--and especially solutions which have the potential to work elsewhere as well. Presenters might discuss issues included, but not limited to:
-- successful negotiation strategies toward obtaining better working conditions,
-- funding sources and agencies that have provided resources for contingent faculty,
-- new configurations of labor or composition teaching positions,
-- faculty development initiatives that have helped to professionalize, protect, mentor, and empower adjunct faculty.
We are especially interested in hearing about the ways that these solutions might be useful for WPAs at other institutions and/or for the organization.

Panel 2
Current Research Agendas in Composition and Writing Program Administration

In his 2006 plenary address to the WPA Summer Conference, past WPA president Chris Anson noted that in the context of "ideological attacks on our universities and our writing programs," WPAs might go beyond "fighting belief with belief, conviction with conviction, theory with theory." Instead, Anson suggested, we might "revive and reenergize the significant research agenda that helped to create the field of composition and its curricular manifestations in writing program administration." We invite proposals for this panel that describe ongoing research that has the potential to further our understanding of, to once again quote Anson's plenary, "how students acquire the ability to write and how we can best support that acquisition through principled, well-run writing programs." We also invite presenters to speculate on how that research can provide a firmer foundation from which WPAs can explain our work to the broader public.

Though research on any research topic important for writing instruction and WPA work is welcome, we are particularly interested in:
-- replication studies—studies that return to past findings and re-test their findings in current times;
-- meta-analyses of existing research that can help to summarize and synthesize the state of current research on key questions faced by WPAs;
-- classroom-based and site-specific research that has the potential to be expanded into broader-scale studies (e.g., how findings about WPA work at one urban college might have implications for urban WPA work in general; how a study at one religious institution, one small college, one community college, etc., might be expanded by networking with other such institutions);
-- how research findings can be framed and expressed (in print or in new media) in ways that are persuasive to specific and multiple audiences;
-- how WPAs can conduct and compose research projects in ways that are inclusive of diversity; and
-- how WPAs might design projects that foster conversation across various institutions including high schools, community colleges and self-sponsored literacy sites (e.g. reading groups).

One goal of these papers might be to invite studies that test local findings through collaboration with other institutions nationally, helping to overcome our sometimes isolated work and to instead develop a shared research network among WPAs at various institutional types.

Proposals for either panel should be no longer than 250 words and must be received no later than March 12, 2007. Proposals should be sent via email attachment to Dominic Delli Carpini at dcarpini@ycp.edu.

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