In July 2021, the CWPA Executive Board will say goodbye and thank you to Dominic DelliCarpini as Immediate Past President and to three board members who are ending their terms: Beth Brunk-Chavez, Lilian Mina, and Courtney Adams Wooten. Current President Mark Blaauw-Hara will transition to Immediate Past President, and current Vice President Susan Thomas will transition to President.
Therefore, we ask your participation in electing a new Vice President, who will serve two years as VP, two as President, and two as Immediate Past President. We also ask your help in electing three new Executive Board members, each of whom will serve a three-year term beginning in July 2021.
The Vice President cooperates with the President on coordinating the activities of the organization, the duties of the Executive Board, and other components of CWPA. In addition, the Vice President serves as a voting member of the Executive Board.
The Executive Board oversees the CWPA, its events, and its activities; forms policies and procedures for its management; and engages in special projects and initiatives. In addition, each board member serves on at least one organizational committee.
The CWPA Nominating Committee, chaired by Becky Caouette and consisting of Gin Schwarz, Meagan Newberry, Derek Mueller, Sheila Carter-Tod, Nick Behm, and Christine Cucciarre, puts forward the following candidates for your consideration. You will notice that the number of candidates matches the available number of seats. The Nominating Committee has full confidence in this outstanding group of scholars and WPAs and believes strongly that they have the skills and experience to help move CWPA forward.
There will also be a space for write-in candidates. If you choose to write in a candidate, it is important to have checked first with that person that they are not only willing to serve in this capacity, but that they have the time and commitment. Additionally, please be aware that all candidates need to be current members of CWPA, and Vice-Presidential candidates need to have served previously on the Executive Board.
Lilian Mina: I’m an Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Composition and the Director of Composition at Auburn University at Montgomery. At my university, a small regional comprehensive institution that serves students of color, first-generation, and non-traditional students, I have labored to foster student success in the first-year writing courses and beyond. I have supported writing initiatives at the department, college, and university levels, working diligently with colleagues across the disciplines to help them build on the updated first-year composition curriculum to facilitate writing transfer. I’ve come to be known as a strong advocate of fair working conditions for contingent faculty not only at my program but at AUM at large. I also worked with the Alabama Department of Education to update the K-12 English Language Arts Course of Study. That labor- and time-intensive work became a site for endorsing research-based writing concepts and best practices in areas such as digital literacies, multilingual composition, and assessment. That intensive work that spanned one year has been extremely rewarding for me because it paves the ground for more quality K-12 education for Alabama students, the majority of whom are Black.
I have served CWPA in multiple capacities over the past seven years. In addition to serving as an elected member on the Executive Board since 2018, I served on the Graduate Research Award, Conference Siting, Publication, and Digital WPA committees. I always view my work on CWPA committees and the EB as my way of paying back to writing program administration scholars and paying it forward to junior WPAs who rely on the organization and senior colleagues’ mentoring and support. Towards that end, I volunteered to co-lead two summer workshops offered by CWPA in 2020 on new WPAs and Antiracist WPAing. During the latter, I shared the three-dimensional model of antiracist pedagogy work that I have spearheaded and led at my own institution.
As a WPA scholar, I have published several articles and book chapters on various aspects of WPA work: assessment, online course programming, and professional development of writing faculty. I’m currently working on a monograph that’s under contract with the WAC Clearinghouse. In The Uncharted Territory of Writing Faculty Access to Technology Professional Development, I discuss the challenges facing WPAs to institute and sustain PD programs, demonstrate the various internal and external resources they may use, and provide WPAs in their local contexts with evidence-based research that they can use to create robust faculty TPD programs that train writing instructors for better teaching and learning of writing in the digital 21st-century classroom.
Personal Statement: Over the past years, I have had writing instructors at the heart of my scholarly and administrative work. I believe that supporting our students starts with empowering and training writing instructors, particularly contingent ones, to be able to prepare those students for success in their academic studies and career. My vision and plan is to advance CWPA’s commitment to social justice and equity through focusing on two strands: labor and inclusion. I strongly believe that confining the labor conversation to fair payment and equitable work conditions without acknowledging the increasingly wide gap between contingent faculty’s knowledge of their field’s theories and recent scholarship and pedagogies carries unethical implications for all parties involved. Equally important is empowering WPAs to lead their respective programs toward inclusive pedagogies and practices.
Providing robust, research-informed, and pedagogically sound professional development is our ethical, professional, and moral responsibility as WPAs. While we continue to fight for more inclusive and equitable policies and work conditions, we should direct our genuine efforts to areas that we can influence and change beyond divisive and toxic rhetoric: empowering and professionally developing instructors, particularly contingent faculty. This is the dimension of social justice, inclusion, and equity where we can put our privileges of academic training, scholarship, and administrative positions into real action for meaningful change.
My vision is to bring WPAs together to discuss, reflect, and plan what we can do to build and grow our writing programs in knowledge, empathy, practice, and social justice for writing teachers in our programs.
My initiatives to enact social justice among CWPA membership are as follows:
One of the two conferences I’ll chair will be about Social Justice WPAing on the Ground. The purpose will be not only to have conversations about social justice and inclusion recent scholarship and practices, but to help all WPAs develop action plans on how to translate that work on the ground at their respective institutions and writing programs.
The second conference will be about WPAs’ Professional, Moral, and Ethical Responsibilities. Similar to the first conference, this one will invite WPAs from diverse backgrounds, institutional contexts, and with varied lived experiences to ponder ideas and action plans on how they can fight for empowering and professionally developing instructors, particularly contingent faculty.
Expanding and revamping the mentoring program to allow for seasoned and junior WPAs to continue more individualized conversations beyond the conference and workshop. Topics of discussion will include tenure and promotion of WPAs, BIPOC WPA labor issues, leading change at the program and institution level in meaningful and sustainable ways, and the life cycle of WPAs post tenure and pursuing higher administrative positions.
As I said recently, when we see that something isn’t working, as responsible educators and WPAs, we roll up our sleeves and get to work to make the change we want. I commit to play my role as VP by collaborating actively with the President, the EB, committee chairs, and CWPA members to begin the work outlined above. I’ll continue my active collaboration and active listening as President while mentoring the new VP in the future to assure a continuity of this work throughout the organization and beyond my time as officer.
The following three candidates are running for seats on the Executive Board and are presented in alphabetical order.
Melvin Beavers is an Assistant Professor and the First-Year Writing Director in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. His research interests involve writing program administration, composition pedagogy, online writing instruction, rhetorical theory, and popular culture studies. He teaches first-year writing and a variety of upper-level writing courses. His work has been published in Academic Labor: Research and Artistry, the forthcoming WPA Symposium on Black Lives Matter, and an edited collection entitled, Pedagogical Perspectives on Cognition and Writing. He serves as president of the Executive Board of the Southern Regional Composition Conference. Additionally, he has presented research at several national conferences, including conferences for the Council of Writing Program Administrators, Conference on College Composition and Communication, and the Association of Rhetoric and Writing Studies.
Personal Statement: What does it mean to be a member of CWPA’s executive body? I have thought about this question over the last few weeks, especially in light of the recent events. Although they are regrettable and unfortunate, those events have not changed my mind about CWPA. I am encouraged to know that as an organization, CWPA is committed to making changes that better reflect antiracist goals and that the organization strives to become a more equitable and diverse body.
If elected to the board, my main goal is to work toward building connections through positive communication. Building strong relationships is key to creating an organizational culture that is inclusive of all. Furthermore, serving on the board could be a great opportunity to grow my network. As a new WPA, I want to work within an organization that is a strongly knit community. Additionally, as CWPA moves to make changes, I am eager to help the board transform and reimagine its vision, mission, and values.
I have served as a WPA for a year and ½. While I do not have years of experience under my belt, I hope to bring and use my positionality as a Black, Cisgender, Queer male to the proverbial table. These intersections of my identity will and should inform my choices and contributions to the board. Additionally, I have worked as a part-time faculty member for many years before I landed my first full-time gig. It was a Visiting Professor position at the University of Central Arkansas. A year later, I was offered another full-time non-tenure track position at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Fast forward five years and I became the Director of First-Year writing and now I am a newly minted Assistant Professor. So my trajectory gives me insight from serving in multiple capacities.If the board wants to ensure it has a body that’s diverse (in all ways), please consider my statement.
Al Harahap is a Lecturer in the University of Oklahoma's Expository Writing Program. His administrative, research, service, and teaching interests lie at the intersections of the institutionalization/programmatization of writing (WPA, WAC/WID, WC) and diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) work. He writes individually and collaboratively on the political complexities of the field and profession, academic organizations, conferences, and journals; inclusive assessment practices (contract grading, democratic grading, ungrading); and the teaching and transfer of writing into public spheres such as media and workplaces. His current projects include a forthcoming piece on the broken gWPA-to-WPA pipeline, and the urgency of public writing skills in the teaching of STEM writing. His institutional research ranges from campus writing ecologies and policy, to contextual writing support configurations, to learning communities. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of the WAC Clearinghouse and as a Managing Editor of Xchanges: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Technical Communication, Rhetoric, and Writing, which is dedicated to publishing the work of writing studies undergraduate and graduate students. Since 2013, he has served continuously across multiple committees of CWPA, WPA-GO, and CCCC to do DEI work, and most recently together with a group of 10 scholar-teachers from various institutions has been developing an antiracism workshop, most recently facilitated at CCCC and the University of Pittsburgh.
Personal Statement: I grew up in writing studies, and my early entries as an undergraduate into our professional spaces were fraught with un-belonging. This has been especially the case with CWPA. What is it about the ways we administer our writing programs, the ways we conduct and police our organizations, the ways we organize our conferences, that perpetuate the exclusion of many groups? High-research, doctoral-degree granting institutions and programs, and their tenure-track faculty-administrators, have been centered in this community and its visible theories and practices. But as the terrain and culture of academia continue to change, we too must shift in certain ways. As institutions of higher education around the US and the world become more and more accessible, economic systems impose conditions that create a stratification of our community into a majority of contingency. This intersectionally pushes out and keeps out even more those of us who are already at the margins, and I hope to be a voice for various underrepresented groups in our WPA community.
As contingent faculty, I bring the perspective of colleagues whose administrative and service work is undercompensated, when it is at all, and as the group most deploying our CWPA philosophies, policies, outcomes, and goals in our classrooms. As an immigrant to the US, I see academia in general and writing programs specifically in global and international contexts to inquire why it is that the WPA community is not as accessible to our international colleagues as sibling organizations. As a non-native, second-language English speaker, I aim to provide ongoing feedback on our efforts to enact linguistic justice. And as a former Chair of the WPA Graduate Organization, my administration was tasked with fostering a pipeline of more diverse scholar-teacher-administrators to eventually become active in the parent organization and community. But this work cannot be done at the onset alone, and must be sustained, so I hope to contribute to reviving those efforts now in this space.
My three-year plan: In my first year on the Executive Board, I will observe and assess the CWPA's policies and operations, specifically how it is perceived as hostile by many, and what efforts can be done to combat the systemic exclusion and for it to be more representative. In my second year, I will collaborate with various committees, members of marginalized groups, and affiliate entities such as the Consultant Evaluator Service, the WPA-GO, and the WPA Journal to enact these plans in tangible ways. In my third and final year, I will focus on solidifying processes through which these efforts can continue sustainably by others who follow.
Erin Lehman: I am an associate professor of English and dean/faculty lead for the online School of Arts, Sciences, & Education at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis, Indiana. I have been teaching undergraduate writing for twelve years—starting as an adjunct faculty member at IUPUI, and now full-time. I teach composition and capstone courses and have facilitated teacher institutes with the Hoosier Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project since 2018.
I enjoy mentoring undergraduate writers and serve as a Faculty Advising Editor for Young Scholars in Writing. I am an active scholar and recently published work with the Journal of Teaching Writing. I am a Master Teacher and the recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Instruction.
My students include working adults and parents; dual-enrolled students, and guest or transfer students from 4-year institutions. We know that online students lean female, non-traditional, and Pell Grant recipients. Our instructors include full-time faculty and part-time faculty who might be retired, high school teachers, or instructors with other institutions. Many instructors live in-state, but some also reside out-of-state or abroad. Working with this diverse group of students and faculty has given me insights that I am keen to share with CWPA’s membership.
Personal Statement: As an Asian-American woman working in a largely-White field, I would strive to bring an awareness of the complexity of racial inequities to the Executive Board. I know what it’s like to be silenced and dismissed by people in positions of power. These lived experiences inform how I interact with others. As part of the Board, I would be committed to listening carefully and treating colleagues with compassion and respect while being unafraid to let every voice be heard.
Working with a diverse group of students (adult, international, transfer, English language learners) and faculty (high school teachers, adjunct and retired college professors, instructors working in/out of state and internationally) has expanded my understanding of writing programs and teacher education needs.
I would welcome an opportunity to serve CWPA’s membership and think through the following questions:
If elected for the CWPA Executive Board, I would bring these questions and working interests as central contributions. I would include online writing students and instructors in considerations and discussions of writing programs and teacher education.
Both community colleges and online learning have histories of inclusion and exclusion within higher education. Seeing as community colleges serve a diverse group of students, and students have an appetite for online programming, it seems forward-thinking to fully include both in our conversation of writing program administration.
I am part of a growing online department within a statewide community college, the largest singly-accredited community college system in the nation. I would be humbled to serve CWPA’s members, advocate for online students and instructors, and explore potential ways that technology might re-form (and reform) our structures, pedagogies, and institutions.
Instructions on how to vote will be distributed via email to all current members. Please remember to check all your folders, including spam.