WPA-GO 2016 Graduate Committee Election

In July 2016, the Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA) Graduate Committee (GC) will say goodbye to members Logan Bearden (Florida State University), Christina LaVecchia (University of Cincinnati), and current Chair, Kat Daily O'Meara (Arizona State University).  The CWPA GC ensures that the Writing Program Administrators--Graduate Organization (WPA-GO) fulfills its mission to support graduate student preparation and strengthen connections between graduate students and professional WPAs by providing its constituents with opportunities for funding, mentoring, networking, and professional development. In order to maintain the 7-person GC as outlined in the Bylaws, we will elect 3 new GC members.  Voting will begin in early February (corresponding with CWPA Executive Board elections), and will end after a two-week period.  Results will be announced soon thereafter. 

The new GC members will begin their terms at the CWPA Conference in July, 2016, Raleigh, NC, ending immediately following the CWPA Conference of the year their terms end. Continuing GC members are: Virginia Schwarz, vice chair (University of Wisconsin--Madison), Ruth Osorio (University of Maryland--College Park), Emily Simnitt (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), and Matthew Tougas (Louisiana State University). 

In selecting this year's six outstanding candidates, the Elections subcommittee considered the following: 

  • Commitment to service in the field
  • Geographic, demographic, and Institutional diversity
  • Length of potential service
  • Articulation and relevance of scholarly interests
  • Demonstrated leadership ability
  • Plan for promoting WPA-GO at home institution, conferences, online, etc.

The  following candidates all demonstrate significant experience in WPA work and/or interest in WPA work with significant other organizational experience, a vision for the future of WPA-GO that will ensure our organization continues to respond with creativity and zeal to the ever-changing needs of graduate students. We are pleased to present a ballot that ensures the continued institutional and geographical diversity of the WPA-GO GC.

In past years, elections have been done following a bracketed system whereby voters select one candidate per bracket.  This year, we're asking instead that you rank the six candidates (preferably according to the criteria listed above), and the top three ranked candidates will serve as your vote. WPA-GO members will receive a link to the ballot via email with specific instructions, including a scoring rubric for ranking the six candidates.  All votes are confidential.  

If you have questions about this year's election, please contact Matthew Tougas (mtouga1@lsu.edu), Chair of the Elections Subcommittee.  Other subcommittee members include Virginia Schwarz, Katherine Hanzalik, Samuel Stinson, and Lindsey Albracht.

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Note: Upon receiving the link to the ballot, you will rank each of the six candidates from 1-6, with one being the highest rank.  The top three ranked candidates will serve as your three selections. All WPA-GO members are eligible to vote (this means ONLY graduate students). Each member is allowed only one vote.

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Sarah Snyder, Arizona State University

Sarah Snyder is the Associate Director of Second Language Writing at Arizona State University as well as a third year Ph.D. student in Rhetoric, Composition, and Linguistics.  She specializes in L2 Writing and Writing Program Administration.  Her current research focuses on mainstream, basic writing, and L2 writing student success and retention in first year composition.  Sarah has served on the WPA-GO Mentoring and Professional Development Committee since 2012, and is the creator of the Breakfast Buddies event at CWPA and the Mentors @ C’s event at CCCC.  She has also served on the Bruffee Award Committee since 2014.  In 2014, Sarah received the WPA-GO Distinguished Service Award in recognition for her role in the conception, implementation, research, and evaluation of Breakfast Buddies. 

Sarah has also earned two Master's Degrees from Northern Arizona University: an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language, and an MA in Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing.  She has taught composition and the English language to L1 and L2 students in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States.

Statement: WPAs need many different types of skills that often times there is no formal preparation for.  WPA-GO is an organization that recognizes this need, and strives to prepare incoming colleagues through various channels, one being the Mentoring and Professional Development Committee, which I have had the pleasure of serving on since 2012. 

My first experience at CWPA inspired me to suggest and create the Breakfast Buddies program.  I joined WPA-GO that year and my suggestion for Breakfast Buddies was almost immediately allowed by the egalitarian committee to be implemented.  Breakfast Buddies, a blind-matched, cross-institutional mentoring program, with its hundreds of participants to date, has confirmed the intuition that established and incoming WPAs alike might appreciate a more structured mechanism to get to know people outside of their regular circles.  To this day, I hear things such as, “I just met the most wonderful and promising jWPA.” or, “I learned SO much about the job search.” and, “Thank you!! Breakfast Buddies was my favorite part of the conference!”  Hearing this from participants reinforces my goals to create more mentoring and outreach opportunities at CWPA, CCCC, and other conferences through my involvement with WPA-GO.  Thank you to all who have participated, and future thanks to all who will!

My specialization on diverse populations within writing programs (e.g., basic and L2 writers) also complements the WPA-GO committee’s commitment to diversity.  If elected, I can help advocate for diversity throughout the WPA-GO and WPA community.  It would be my pleasure to serve this constituency in an official capacity as a WPA-GO Graduate Committee member.  I am humbled by the nomination to be a part of this great organization, and I look forward to the contributions that I can continue to make to our community.

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Kristen Ruccio, Georgia State University

I have undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Philosophy from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and my MA is also from UAH in English (I focused on literary studies and rhetoric and composition in my MA). I served as Research Assistant in charge of curriculum for all GTAs to use at UAH, in addition to teaching myself. After receiving my MA, I taught as an adjunct instructor for seven years. Currently, I am a PhD student in Rhetoric and Composition at Georgia State University focusing on issues of disability studies and the WPA. In my second semester at GSU, I was hired as the Assistant Director of Lower-Division Studies in English. I stay active on the conference circuit with upcoming presentations at CCCCs, RSA, and SWCA. I also have forthcoming publications in an edited collection about using the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN) in the classroom and my co-collaborators and I are writing a chapter for L2 English writers and speakers in our GSU FYC textbook, The GSU Guide to First-Year Writing. I am on several committees at GSU and I work on the WPA-GO Mentoring Strands Committee under Logan Bearden’s expert guidance. My blog can be found here.

Statement: I have worked as a college English Instructor for the past 10 years, several of those as a junior WPA. I fully intend to become a full-time WPA when I finish my PhD program, using my experience as both a junior WPA and as an adjunct to inform my work. Building community is of the utmost importance to me and I’ve focused my work at GSU as junior WPA on that process; community-based pedagogy and feminist pedagogies ground my teaching. As a member of the WPA-GO Mentoring Strands Committee, I’ve come to realize that the issues of workload, time management, and job stress are not just buzzwords for WPAs, GTAs, instructors, and tenured faculty—junior or senior. It is difficult to coalesce a community because we are all simply so busy. I accepted this nomination because I want to work, on a national level, for our community. Let’s face it, we GTAs and Jr. WPAs do the heavy lifting across this country and  many, many departments would not function without our labor. I want to make sure we realize our own worth to academia. My scholarly work focuses on disability studies and Buddhist rhetorical practices. These areas bring alive my commitment to diversity, inclusion, community, and justice. As I am completing my comprehensive exams this term, I believe I am in an excellent position to work on the WPA-GO. I would love the opportunity to serve you. If you have any questions for me, please email me at kruccio1@gsu.edu

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Shane Wood, University of Kansas

Shane Wood is a second-year PhD student in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Kansas, first-second year writing instructor, assistant editor for Composition Forum, first-second year writing program administrative intern, and local bookstore employee. Shane received his M.A. in Composition Theory at Fresno State (being mentored by Asao B. Inoue), and his B.A. in Literature from Western Kentucky University. As an administrative intern, he’s conducted faculty workshops, helped bring in composition scholars for presentations, co-coordinated an inaugural undergraduate writing showcase, and worked with textbook publishers. Shane also has experience with writing centers at Fresno State and the University of Kansas. His areas of interest include writing assessment, translingual and multimodal pedagogies, genre theory, and first-year writing program curriculum.

Statement: My interest in writing program administration is tied to writing program assessment and how assessment affects our writing classrooms and our students. Currently, I’m theorizing how different assessment models shape and are shaped by our programs: each assessment model – traditional letter-grades, portfolios, grading contracts – inherently possess a variety of values (or beliefs) which is communicated through our programmatic systems and designs. I’m drawing from Asao B. Inoue and Mya Poe’s (2014) collection on race and writing assessment as well as Amy Devitt and Carolyn Miller’s concepts of genre to perceive how assessment affects students differently. My research looks at the different affordances of each assessment model being used in writing programs, while also questioning how race, gender, and socio-economic status is interwoven with assessment. I’ve recently been historicizing the nature of assessment in the U.S. university in an attempt to connect past and present ideologies that potentially exist within our structures.

If elected to serve on the Graduate Committee, I’ll continue to support and foster the great work that’s already being done through the mentorship and outreach initiatives set forth by WPA-GO. I’m thankful for the good people who have come alongside me and appreciative of the work being done to make our programs and classrooms more effective and more successful for our students. I’m in a PhD program because of mentors and writing teachers that have pushed and encouraged me to be a better teacher, student, and scholar; because of organizations like CWPA that have given me the opportunity to feel more involved in the larger community. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be on this ballot, and I’d be honored to serve on this committee. 

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Mandy Macklin, University of Washington, Seattle

Mandy Macklin is a second-year Ph.D. student in Language & Rhetoric at the University of Washington, Seattle with research interests in rhetorical genre studies, writing program design & administration and research methods. She holds an M.A. in Rhetoric & Composition from CSU-Northridge where she conducted a two-year case study on the politics of implementing various curricular models for linguistically diverse students and the complexities that come with assignment design, professional development and program assessment. Mandy’s current research focuses on first-year writers’ genre uptakes in the context of narratives surrounding “college-readiness” in order to examine how secondary and post-secondary institutional partnerships might intervene with institutional histories, state standards and local language policies to improve writers’ transitional experiences, particularly those who are considered ELL, nontraditional and first-generation.

Statement: It is my belief that dialogue among a diverse community of writing scholars, teachers, graduate students and professional WPAs is necessary to foster a culture that invites fresh perspectives and new ways of envisioning WPA practice and scholarship. My specific contributions would focus on advocating for opportunities that equip graduate students with the support to put our research projects into action and to also forge meaningful paths to professionalization. A strong network of graduate students is integral to this mission, and I think it is more pressing than ever to make our work visible in ways that authorize us to participate in dialogue within and beyond the field.

My service to the organization would be informed by my experience as current graduate student, former adjunct instructor, and two years as graduate assistant to six composition directors at the third largest university in California. In addition, the presence of WPA-GO has played a significant role in my professionalization by providing opportunities for me to grow as a grad-researcher with a desire to pursue WPA scholarship. I am grateful to currently serve as Co-Chair of WPA-GO’s CWPA Planning Committee, which has prepared me to promote WPA-GO on a broader scale. If elected, I would be honored to contribute to the organization in ways that support emerging graduate WPA researchers to pursue ambitious work.  

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Clare Russell, Wayne State University

Hello CWPA members! My name is Clare Russell and I thank you in advance for reading my statement and participating in the WPA-GO Graduate Committee elections. I am a second-year Rhetoric and Composition doctoral student at Wayne State University (WSU) in Detroit, MI. I am also a Graduate Teaching Assistant, tutor at the writing center, and member of the English Department Curriculum Committee, in which I help develop and support the common first-year writing curricula.  My inclination and ability for writing program administration work developed during my graduate studies at the University of New Mexico (UNM), where I found mentorship and support in the graduate student organization Writing Across Communities. As Co-Chair of Writing Across Communities I coordinated the Writing the World Symposium, an event that brought scholars, administrators, faculty, students, local poets, politicians and musicians into a community-wide dialogue about social issues. My Writing Across Communities leadership experiences continue to inform my scholarly and philosophical endeavors.  I consider service to my department, institution, and local communities necessary for co-creating universities that value students, faculty, staff, and the civic communities with which the school is allied.

Statement: A steadily increasing movement towards greater inclusion and diversity in the CWPA community is corroborated by the title of the 2016 CWPA Conference, “Engaging Multiple Perspectives in and about Writing Program Administration.” WPA Asao Inoue’s recently published book, Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Teaching and Assessing Writing for a Socially Just Future, is a scholarly advancement towards engaging multiple perspectives. Similarly the creation of the CWPA People of Color Caucus in 2014 is an institutional advancement in engaging multiple perspectives. As a member of the WPA-GO Graduate Committee I will strive to engage multiple perspectives in the CWPA dialogue. If elected to the WPA-GO graduate committee I specifically hope to strengthen cooperation between the WPA-GO Diversity and Outreach Committee and the People of Color Caucus (POCC). Coordination between the POCC and the WPA-GO Diversity and Outreach Committee can increase more funding, publishing, and professionalization opportunities for underrepresented populations in the CWPA, thereby increasing the diversity of participants that will co-create the future of the CWPA. 

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Jill Grauman, Iowa State University

Jill Grauman is a third-year Ph.D. student in Rhetoric and Professional Communication at Iowa State University. She completed her MA in Rhetoric and Composition at Washington State University and her BA in English and Communication Studies at Luther College. In her time at ISU, she has taught Critical Thinking and Communication; Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic (WOVE) Composition; Honors WOVE Composition; and Business Communication. She has also spent the last two years working as a graduate consultant at the Writing and Media Center. Her research interests include writing program administration, quantitative composition research methods, professional development, and teacher comments on student work.

Jill currently serves as the secretary of Phorum, ISU’s Rhetoric and Professional Communication graduate student organization. In this position, she has collaborated in the organization of several social and professional departmental events designed for graduate students. Jill has begun collecting data for her dissertation, a mixed-methods, longitudinal study tracing the development of new TAs’ comments on their students’ papers. This research will offer an understanding of how teachers’ comments develop and will also suggest helpful professional development opportunities. When Jill is not working, she enjoys geeky cross-stitching, watching B movies, and reading presidential biographies.

Statement: My passion for researching and working in writing program administration stems from my interest in helping to develop and sustain excellent composition instructors, and my dissertation research on how inexperienced composition TAs’ comments change and develop over time reflects this interest. In addition, I also believe in the value and, indeed, the necessity of conducting data-driven as well as qualitative research in the WPA field, and I am currently carrying out this kind of mixed-methods work. Finally, my coursework in professional communication and experience teaching business communication has allowed me to see just how relevant classes beyond first-year composition are to our field of study. My interest in researching teachers’ comments, belief in the value of multiple research methodologies, and knowledge of professional communication would all be assets to this organization.

If I am fortunate enough to be elected to the WPA-GO Graduate Committee, I would contribute to the organization’s goals of helping students prepare for WPA work in at least two ways: 1) expanding professional development opportunities that would be useful to aspiring WPAs and 2) using my knowledge of professional communication to help enrich a sometimes overlooked aspect of WPA work. I would also look forward to collaborating with other members of the WPA-GO Graduate Committee in further facilitating relationships and conversation between aspiring and professional WPAs.