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The Next Three Years: Listening, Learning, and Looking Forward

Amid mounting inequality and amplified demands for social justice, CWPA’s organizational policies and practices have come under increased scrutiny, manifesting in widespread calls to revise the WPA Outcomes Statement for First-Year Writing (e.g., Institute of Race, Rhetoric, and Literacy, 2021) and remake the organization as a whole. The past decade has seen an increasing number of scholars of color interrogating the racism they’ve experienced in our writing programs, institutions, and organization and laying out pathways toward a more just future (Carter-Tod, 2020; García, 2017; García de Müeller & Ruiz, 2017; Green, 2018; Kynard, 2015; Perryman-Clark & Craig, 2019; “Special Issue: Black Lives Matter and Anti-Racist Projects in Writing Program Administration,” WPA, 2021, edited Carter-Tod & Sano-Franchini; “Symposium: Challenging Whiteness,” 2016). In 2011, for instance, Collin Craig and Staci Perryman-Clark reflected on the racism they encountered as BIPOC WPAs and as graduate students while attending the CWPA conference. In their 2016 follow-up, they noted, “the more things change, the more they still stay the same,” yet they also observed that “through rhetorical action, we can engage in the kinds of coalition building that bring awareness to inequities and racial microaggressions in strategic ways” (p. 20), and they close by “propos[ing] CWPA as the next intellectual space that engages whiteness as a call to action” (p. 25).

In light of lessons learned through these and other critiques of CWPA, our ongoing organizational culture audit, the pandemic, and other organizations who have achieved new ways of collaborating, we are deliberately moving away from the traditional online conference format to ensure ample space and time to address the challenges facing our organization and discipline.

We invite you to join us for an Open Colloquium, dedicated to hearing from our members, delegates, and external auditing firm One Eight Create about what/where CWPA needs to be and which directions it should take over the next three years. This experience will be structured around:

  • Listening sessions grounded in and informing the findings and recommendations of CWPA’s ongoing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) audit conducted by Dr. Joynicole Martinez, Ms. Candice Barnes, and Mr. Donald Wood of OneEightCreate
  • Active learning sessions on topics proposed and led by participants
  • Keynote addresses (TBA)

Key Dates

  • September 1: Proposals due
  • September 15: Notification of acceptances sent
  • October 3: Colloquium schedule and website published. Registration opens.
    • Sessions will be spread over four weeks, from 13 October to 4 November, on Thursdays and Fridays of each week. To accommodate our West Coast members, sessions will not begin before 1 pm EST, and we will have several evening sessions to accommodate our international members and guests.
    • The final weeks’ sessions (3 and 4 November) will be dedicated to hearing from our auditors, OneEightCreate. If there is a time between 13 and 28 October when you cannot present, please indicate this in your proposal.

What Will Happen at the 2022 CWPA Colloquium?

Keynotes

More information on keynotes will be added to our website shortly.

Listening Sessions Facilitated by OneEightCreate

CWPA leadership, facilitated by the DEI professionals leading our audit (OneEightCreate), will hold listening sessions to consider thoroughly what types of antiracist and equity-minded actions will enable us to transform this organization, our writing programs, and the experiences of BIPOC colleagues in all professional spaces.

Active Learning Sessions Facilitated by Attendees

In addition to our listening sessions facilitated by OneEightCreate, we encourage you to propose synchronous, guided, problem-exploring sessions, workshops, reading groups, or other ways of engaging participants in direct reflection and action. We invite proposals that discuss the challenges facing CWPA in the next three years, as well as the challenges facing your own writing programs.

You may also propose options for asynchronous participation, including facilitated electronic text discussions and prerecorded research and poster presentations. Regardless of format, all proposers will take the lead on facilitating the sessions they’ve proposed and shaping the conversations and activities of our colloquium participants. We want to include as many voices as possible, and we hope you will join us.

Possible session topics might include:

  • How are we defining the terms “access,” “diversity,” “equity,” and “inclusion”? How do they mean different things for different people such as administrators, instructors, students, and other stakeholders of specific positionalities? How have they been employed (and received) in different spaces such as curricula, the classroom, writing programs, WAC/WID programs, writing centers, professional development, teacher/tutor-training? How can we work towards a shared vocabulary for DEI work?
  • What do we want the field of WPA to be? And who do we want WPAs to be? What are the challenges to writing programs and WPA work becoming more equitable, accessible, and inclusive? How do we persevere in this work in the face of resistant or even hostile working environments? How do we persevere in the current political climates?
  • How might we design more equitable transitions into our programs from secondary schools, migration, military, prisons, and other institutions?
  • How do our roles as administrators and instructors perpetuate gatekeeping mechanisms such as standard Englishes and writing program pedagogies, policies, and practices? How can we reimagine these roles?
  • What methods from within and beyond our field can we employ to interrogate the structural and systemic issues impacting our work? How might we employ them to more critically, systemically, and productively reflect on the future of WPA?
  • What is WPA-GO/graduate students’ role in establishing, developing, and maintaining a sustainably inclusive pipeline to the CWPA/the WPA field? And what does inclusive mentoring look like?
  • How can our field better support graduate students and make their work more visible? How can we help them leverage networks?
  • How do we make connections between the various silos of WPA work around the US and other regions of the world? What colonizing and decolonizing ethics need to be considered here? And how might this work inform antiracism and other inclusion efforts?
  • How do we address other injustices that affect our writing programs (sexism, ableism, nativism, homophobia, transphobia), and vice versa? What intersectional cross-movement coalitions can we build?
  • How can we as a field establish more harmonious and compassionate ways of working together towards education reform? How can we learn to disagree and critique in ways that reflect our expertise and ethos as educators and rhetors and set a good example for our students?
  • How can we prioritize self-care in increasingly unstable work environments?

For Inquiries

If you have any questions, please contact one of the following members of the Executive Board:

For registration issues, contact Kelly Blewett, CWPA Secretary: cwpasecretary@gmail.com

For website issues, contact Amanda Presswood, CWPA Website and Social Media Coordinator: amandapresswood@brandeis.edu 

For scholarship enquiries or any other general queries about the conference or CWPA, contact Susan Thomas, CWPA President: cwpapres@gmail.com 

References

Carter-Tod, S. (2020). Administrating while black: Negotiating the emotional labor of an African American WPA. In C. A. Wooten, J. Babb, K. M. Costello, & K Navickas (Eds)., The things we carry: Strategies for recognizing and negotiating emotional Labor in writing program administration (pp. 197-214). UP Colorado.

Carter-Tod, S., & Sano-Franchini, J. (2021). Black lives matter and anti-racist projects in writing program administration [Special issue]. WPA: Writing Program Administration, 44(2).

Craig, C. L., & Perryman-Clark, S. M. (2011). Troubling the boundaries:(De)constructing WPA identities at the intersections of race and gender. WPA: Writing Program Administration, 34(2), 37-58. http://162.241.207.49/archives/34n2/34n2craig-perryman-clark.pdf

Craig, C. L., & Perryman-Clark, S. M. (2016). Troubling the Boundaries Revisited: Moving Towards Change as Things Stay the Same. Writing Program Administration, 39(2), 20+. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A569114270/AONE?u=anon~1d5bf48b&sid=googleScholar&xid=6d770cb8

García, R. (2017). Unmaking gringo-centers. Writing Center Journal, 36(2), 29-60. https://www.jstor.org/stable/44252637

García de Müeller, G. G., & Ruiz, I. (2017). Race, silence, and writing program administration: A qualitative study of US college writing programs. WPA: Writing Program Administration, 40(2), 19-39. http://associationdatabase.co/archives/40n2/40n2mueller_ruiz.pdf

Green, N. A. (2018). Moving beyond alright: And the emotional toll of this, my life matters too, in the writing center work. The Writing Center Journal, 37(1), 15-34. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26537361

Institute of Race, Rhetoric, and Literacy. (2021, June 11). Abbreviated statement toward FYC goals. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1A0YO3K4IVIJLJTNSBGl5HJKOdddAK73spe2GbOmJn1w/edit

Kynard, C. (2015). Teaching while Black: Witnessing and countering disciplinary whiteness, racial violence, and university race-management. Literacy in Composition Studies, 3(1), 1-20. https://doi.org/10.21623/1.3.1.2

 

Important Dates

None at this time.