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CWPA Winter Bulletin

Dear Friends,

I hope this finds you safe and well. So much has changed since my autumn update, as once again we find ourselves pivoting in the wake of yet more Covid variants. I am aware of several cases (including my own) in our WPA community and extend my heartfelt wishes for full recoveries and continued health and safety. These developments have impacted CWPA planning, which is why this bulletin is coming a little later than I’d hoped. However, I am pleased to update you on what we know at this stage.

CWPA Committees

Our Vice President Lilian Mina has been hard at work devising committees for this academic year. We received an overwhelming response to our Expression of Interest survey, and I'm happy to report that all committees have now been formed, and the website will reflect this shortly. Many thanks to Lilian for her considerable work on this monumental task and to everyone who volunteered for a committee. It's great to see that interest in CWPA remains strong!

Archivist, Treasurer, and Social Media Coordinator Positions 

I'm very pleased to report that all three of these positions have now been filled. Doug Hesse has graciously volunteered to be our Archivist. Since Doug already possesses a treasure trove of CWPA archives, not to mention considerable institutional memory and research expertise, the role seems a natural fit.

Mary McCall will take the reins of Treasurer when our wonderful Sherry Rankins-Robertson’s term finishes this summer. Sherry will leave big shoes to fill, but Mary is up for the challenge and brings a wealth of experience to the role, having served as WPA-GO Treasurer.

Amanda Presswood will step into the inaugural role of Social Media/Website Coordinator. A past President of WPA-GO, Amanda also knows her way around CWPA and will do a great job keeping everyone informed and connected.

We look forward to welcoming all three of these colleagues to the Executive Board–or back to the Executive Board, as the case may be.

DEI Audit

One Eight Create has been contracted for our audit, having been selected by our DEI Working Group as the most suitable firm for our current needs.  We are eager to begin this work and will be posting regular audit updates on our website. Many thanks to the DEI working group for their hard work in reviewing the proposals--and to Shirley Rose and Michael Pemberton for being willing to assist the Executive Board with a preliminary self-study. All going to plan, the audit will culminate in live meetings at our summer conference in Reno, including listening sessions with conference delegates and a Town Hall meeting dedicated to discussion and member feedback. I am particularly grateful to Sherry for the steady financial assistance she's provided at each stage of our audit preparation, from planning to budgeting to contracting.

Summer Conference

Our Secretary Kelly Blewett has been hard at work on a summer conference survey. At this stage, we are still planning for a face-to-face meeting on some scale. I am hoping (again) that we’ll have seen the worst of Covid by July, but am investigating various protocols, which other smaller conferences have adopted successfully, including proof of vaccination (or exceptions) upon registration, mandatory masking, and rapid antigen testing. I encourage all members to have their say in our conference planning by completing the survey before 15 February, when it will close.

We have an exciting conference program planned and will circulate a CFP shortly. For now, I’m thrilled to announce our all-star line-up of plenary speakers: Drs. Neisha-Anne Green, Natalia Ávila Reyes, and Iris Ruiz. I am very much looking forward to hearing from these inspiring, trailblazing women.

Our workshop for new and experienced WPAs will run as usual, and I'm delighted to announce that Erin Lehman has joined the leadership team, along with veteran facilitators Melvin Beavers and Darci Thoune. I look forward to what this group will bring to the Workshop, including some serious entertainment and comic relief, if planning meetings are any indication. Special thanks to Erin and Melvin for taking this on, in addition to serving on the DEI committee, and to Darci for her ongoing deep commitment to this work.

I also look forward to the Antiracist Institute, which will be led by Al Harahap and Brian Hendrickson, with additional facilitators to be confirmed. In addition to devoting the entire Institute space to our ongoing antiracist education efforts, we are currently considering ways to integrate the Institute content into the conference proper, to allow for a richer experience beyond the usual half-day format. If you have ideas on this, please include them in the conference survey. Hat tip to Al for the extensive consultation and coordination work he has undertaken to date with his team and the Executive Board, on top of serving on our DEI committee. We are fortunate to have such an experienced group leading this important work for CWPA.


I am also pleased to report that CWPA has re-established communication with WPA-GO, and I have asked Immediate Past President Mark Blaauw-Hara to lead this initiative as GO faculty liaison. Mark will be aided by Al Harahap and Kat O’Meara, former GO presidents and current EB members, who have generously agreed to serve as advisors and mentors. I was energized by our initial meeting with the outstanding GO leadership team and am truly excited about all the wonderful work we will do together and all we will learn from each other in the process. Many thanks to Mark for taking on this important work and for all the insight, wisdom, and goodwill he has brought to these conversations. And kudos to Kat and Al for wearing yet another hat for the organization. Their firsthand experience and knowledge will be invaluable as we work towards a more productive and collaborative future for both organizations.

CCCC Events

This year's WPA Breakfast at Cs will be held on Wednesday, 9 March, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time (breakfast for dinner, if you will). The theme will be the issues currently facing graduate students, and we will co-host the event with WPA-GO. Donations to the Connors Fund (which supports graduate students) are again requested in lieu of a registration fee. More details and email reminders will follow shortly, but please consider signing up for the popular “Breakfast Buddies” program (either as a mentor or mentee) when the invitation arrives.

Other News and Events

Melvin Beavers has announced plans for the 7th Annual Southern Regional Composition Conference. Please share with your networks and consider proposing a paper. I'd also like to congratulate Melvin on his appointment as the inaugural Chancellor's DEI Fellow at his institution, The University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 

That's all for now, but please don’t forget to complete the Conference Survey. Your feedback will assist us greatly in planning a safe and meaningful time of camaraderie, reflection, and renewal this summer. And please don’t hesitate to be in touch about any other matters of concern. You can always drop me a line at

I hope to see you all at the Cs Breakfast in a few weeks. In the meantime, please stay safe and well.

With warmest wishes,

Susan Thomas

CWPA President

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