Election for Executive Board 2007: Candidates' Information and Statements

Council of Writing Program Administrators
2007 Election of Vice-President and Executive Board Members
Slate and Candidates’ Statements

WPA is holding elections for three Executive Board members and for a Vice-President. We will be saying thank you and goodbye to Executive Board members Rebecca Moore Howard, Martha Patton, and Susan Miller-Cochran, whose terms end in June 2007. The Executive Board oversees WPA’s events and activities, creates policies and procedures for its management, and engages in special projects and initiatives. The new Board members will serve for three years, with terms beginning in July of 2007. Nominees for Vice-President make a six-year commitment to WPA, first serving as vice-president for two years, as president for the next two years, and as immediate past president for a final two years.

On February 13, 2007, current members of the Council of Writing Program Administrators will receive a separate email with information on how to cast their votes electronically. Please cast your vote by Monday, February 26, 2007.

For instructions on checking your membership status: http://wpacouncil.org/membership

Candidates' statements follow...

Nominees for Vice-President

LINDA ADLER-KASSNER is Associate Professor of English and Director of First-Year Writing at Eastern Michigan University, a position she has held for seven years; she has also been a writing center director and director of graduate instructors. At EMU, she directs a large and robust writing program that was honored with a CCCC Writing Program Certificate of Excellence in 2005. Her previous positions as a writing center director, a full-time lecturer and a graduate instructor have allowed her to experience the profession from a number of different vantage points.

Linda’s research, like her teaching and work with the EMU First Year Writing Program, begins with questions about teaching and advocacy: How is literacy defined in particular contexts? Whose interests are represented, whose not, from these definitions? In the last five years, her work has focused on considering these questions in the public sphere, especially in media coverage of and policy reports about writers and writing, and developing strategies for WPAs and writing instructors to advocate for their views with audiences outside the writing program. She is currently completing a book on the subject, Activist Writing Program Administration: Changing Stories. She has authored and co-authored articles and book chapters about various aspects of writing program administration published in WPA Journal, The Outcomes Book, and elsewhere. She also has published extensively in the area of basic writing, often with co-author Susanmarie Harrington. Together, they authored Basic Writing as a Political Act: Public Conversations about Writing and Literacy (Hampton, 2002) and numerous articles, including the forthcoming “The Public Work of Basic Writing” in Journal of Basic Writing’s 25th anniversary issue. Additionally, she has published articles in CCC, College English, English Education, and other journals, and she is on the editorial board of WPA Journal and Journal of Basic Writing.

As an executive board member on the Council of Writing Program Administrators, Linda was a co-author of the WPA Statement “Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA Statement on Best Practices” and chair of the WPA Media Committee. With that group, she collaborated with others to conceive and develop the WPA Network for Media Action, which she continues to help coordinate. WPA-NMA (wpacouncil.org/nma) provides talking/writing points and writing tips for writing instructors and WPAs who want to communicate with mainstream media on issues relevant to writing instructors, such as plagiarism, ‘grammar,’ and machine scoring of writing.

Statement: What does it mean to teach writing? Who gets to respond to the question? What stories do WPAs want to tell about what teaching writing means? What stories does the Council of Writing Program Administrators want to tell? What stories—about teaching writing, about learning writing, about students and teachers--do others tell?

Stories about writing programs – what they are, what is taught in their names, and who does that teaching – are powerful. They shape the ways our work is understood and represented by WPAs and by people outside of our programs, departments, and institutions. A Test of Leadership, the report from the Spellings Commission on Higher Education, is but one of a spate of recent narratives that have the potential to fundamentally change the work of college faculty, especially WPAs and writing instructors.

As a CWPA executive board member, I learned first-hand the power of the expert knowledge that CWPA brings to discussions about writing instruction. As a coordinator of the WPA Network for Media Action, I’ve also seen the passion and desire that WPAs and writing instructors bring to these discussions. When we get involved in these discussions we can make a difference – inside and outside of our programs.

At the same time, I understand that that when WPAs become involved in work that lies outside of the traditional boundaries of faculty reward structures, there can be (sometimes unanticipated) consequences. One possible contribution that CWPA can make to this dilemma is to help frame the public work of program administration, including work that involves communicating about the profession to those outside of it, as part of our intellectual endeavor.

As CWPA Vice-President, I would continue to work with the entire organization to make sure that our stories – those of WPA as an organization, those of WPAs and writing instructors at institutions of all types – are represented. This work involves building on CWPA’s already-strong foundation to:
*encourage research that investigates best practices in writing program administration and instruction, and publicize the results of that research widely;
*help people outside of our profession understand how and why our work is (or can be) effective by speaking about our research and our commitments;
*continue efforts to expand WPA’s membership base and ensure that CWPA speaks with and includes a broad constituency of 2- and 4-year instructors and administrators.

At the same time, I would work to ensure that the CWPA plays four important roles in gathering and promoting WPA’s and writing instructors’ stories about writing and writers:
*organizing writing instructors at all levels by learning about their stories, their interests, and their concerns;
*developing leaders to help promote those stories and address concerns;
*identifying local/national issues where CWPA members’ expertise can shape and frame the conversation; and
*planning action to influence the discussion of writing and writers at the college level.

CWPA is an organization that brings together some of the most passionate and committed instructors in our field. As an organization it is nimble, flexible, and proactive. As Vice President and, later, as President, I would work to continue putting our passions and our abilities to important uses.

MARTY TOWNSEND was hired as Director of the University of Missouri’s Campus Writing Program (fresh out of Arizona State University with a new PhD) in 1991, a position she held until just last summer. She is a Fellow of the Bryn Mawr Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration and a former literacy consultant for The Ford Foundation. Having earned tenure and promotion while serving as WPA—and, in part, for her work as WPA—she is now “just” an associate professor directing graduate studies in MU’s English Department. Her professional interests focus on WAC/WID program development and assessment in the U.S. and abroad. As Campus Writing Program (CWP) director, Marty taught first-year composition, the department’s capstone course, graduate seminars in composition and WAC/WID, and faculty seminars for writing-intensive instructors. Townsend presents regularly at CCCC, WPA, and WAC conferences and has consulted on writing for over seventy colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad, including China, Romania, Thailand, South Korea, and Costa Rica.

Along with CWP colleagues Marty Patton and Jo Ann Vogt, Townsend hosted the 2004 National WAC Conference in St. Louis, the first with an international focus. Because of the positive reception, the conference was subsequently renamed the International WAC Conference. Also in 2004, CWP was recognized with one of CCCC’s first Writing Program Certificates of Excellence. Marty previously served on the WPA Executive Board and currently serves on the WPA Editorial Board and the WAC Board of Consultants. She has twice been co-leader of WPA’s summer workshops. Marty is the subject of a recent WAC Journal interview, “A Different Kind of Pioneer,” in which author Carol Rutz notes that CWP “is among the largest and sturdiest examples of WAC.” CWP’s example is reflected in MU’s citation for Writing in the Disciplines in U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges every year that WID has been featured. Townsend’s most recent publication, co-authored with MU sociologist Edward Brent, is "Automated Essay Grading in the Sociology Classroom" in Ericsson and Haswell’s Machine Scoring of Student Essays (Utah State UP, 2006). Her chapter “Negotiating the Risks and Reaping the Rewards" is forthcoming in Dew and Frank’s Untenured Faculty as Writing Program Administrators (Parlor Press, 2007).

Statement: For over two decades, I've been learning from WPA’s collective membership, first as a graduate student, then as a writing program administrator myself, via the organization's pre-conference workshops at CCCC, summer conferences and workshops, Consultant/Evaluator Service, journal, newsletters, website, and other events. Serving as an executive officer would be a privilege—and an opportunity to repay a portion of the organization’s fundamental contributions to my career.

National trends in higher education suggest that the stakes for our field are higher than ever. Virtually all aspects of college writing—programs, curricula, funding, assessment, technologies, hiring practices—are impacted by an array of forces both within and outside our control. It is incumbent on WPA to keep our membership apprised of new developments and to offer support to the best of our organizational ability. I’d like to work with WPA’s leadership on a range of issues including:
• continuing WPA’s long history of providing professional education for our field,
• promoting more research in the field and showcasing exemplary models,
• exploring how WPA might increase knowledge of key issues for our members but also for the deans, provosts, and presidents to whom we report: could we be more proactive on behalf of pre-tenured faculty in WPA jobs? is it time to go beyond our well-crafted Intellectual Work document to make a broader case about the benefits academe derives from our members’ work? can we foster a better understanding of assessment’s complexities?
• supporting WPA’s ongoing exploration of international connections, to find new venues for conversation, research, and collaboration; the international work I’ve been doing in WAC/WID since 1995 has taught me a great deal, and I’d like to encourage other WPAs along these lines.

I don’t claim to have answers for the myriad issues that writing program administrators face, but I do know that I’m energized daily by the camaraderie and good will of the people in our field and by the desire we have to do our jobs well. I’d welcome applying that energy to this leadership role in our organization.

*Nominees for Executive Board Members

*Board Member #1: Vote for One of These Two Candidates
ELI GOLDBLATT is Associate Professor of English and Director of First Year Writing at Temple University. He is both a compositionist and a poet. His forthcoming book is Because We Live Here: Sponsoring Literacy beyond the College Curriculum (Hampton P). His book ‘Round My Way: Authority and Double-Consciousness in Three Urban High School Writers (U of Pittsburgh P, 1995) draws on his six years of high school teaching in urban Philadelphia. His article on Saul Alinsky and community/university literacy partnerships won the 2005 Ohmann award, and other essays have appeared in College English, CCC, Linguistics and Education, Writing on the Edge, and the Journal of Peace & Justice Studies. His poems have appeared in journals such as Cincinnati Review, Ixnay, Another Chicago Magazine, Hambone, Louisiana Literature, Hubbub and 6ix, and his book-length collections include Sessions 1-62 (Chax P, 1991), Speech Acts (Chax P, 1999), and Without a Trace (Singing Horse P, 2001). He has also
published two children’s books and a verse play.

Statement: “Universities are changing rapidly as employers, knowledge producers and preservers, and licensing agents. As WPA’s, we are deeply involved with (or implicated in) these changes. I want to strengthen our resolve to fight for justice in employment for adjunct and graduate composition instructors. I also believe we must articulate a new vision of WAC that will guide writing programs as they go beyond the curriculum: K-16 connections, community-based learning, writing for the workplace, and action research off the campus. I hope to help in an effort to expand the active membership of WPA and encourage the growth of regional affiliates.”

ALICE HORNING is Professor of Rhetoric and Linguistics and Director of the Rhetoric Program at Oakland University. She provides leadership to a program that offers courses in first-year writing, upper-level courses that satisfy writing intensive requirements in General Education. The Rhetoric Program faculty have submitted a proposal for a major and minor in Rhetoric and Writing Studies, currently undergoing review. Her educational background and scholarly work focus on the cross-disciplinary nature of human literacy; her publications seek to explore the psychological and linguistic bases on which literacy rests. In addition, she has made use of research in applied linguistics to understand basic writers, revision processes and the teaching and learning of literacy. Her books have been published by Hampton Press, Parlor Press, Ablex and Southern Illinois University Press, and her articles have appeared in College English, JAC, The Reading Matrix and other journals, with work forthcoming in WPA. Her concern for untenured faculty serving as WPAs appears in a volume co-edited with Debra Dew called Untenured Faculty as Writing Program Administrators: Institutional Practices and Politics (Parlor Press 2007).

Statement: I owe a tremendous debt to the WPA organization that I hope I can repay in small part by serving on the Executive Board. Nearly all of the positive changes I have been able to make in the Rhetoric Program at OU have come about, in one way or another, as a result of my membership in WPA, my participation in its workshops and conferences, and my reading of the listserv. I have been the founder and co-leader of the Michigan affiliate of WPA (with Roger Gilles), developed a Festival of Writing modeled on a great idea stolen from Linda Adler-Kassner, lowered class size in my program, and created a small pool of money for program enhancement and project support from a custom version of our program-wide handbook; all of these ideas have come through my interaction with WPA. I hope to bring my cross-disciplinary background and understanding of the psycholinguistics of reading and writing to bear on the work of the organization and to support all WPA enterprises that help students develop critical literacy urgently needed for their higher education and participation in democratic society.

Board Member #2: *Vote for One of These Two Candidates

JEFF ANDELORA has taught writing and literature for twenty-one years, the past eleven at Mesa Community College, located just outside of Phoenix. Prior to that he taught high school English for ten years. Jeff completed his PhD in rhetoric and composition at Arizona State University in 2005. His dissertation examined the impact of the Two-Year College English Association (TYCA) on the professionalization of two-year college English faculty. He has published in Teaching English in the Two-Year College and has presented at CCCC, WPA, and TYCA West. Additionally, Jeff is a consulting reader for TETYC, has served on the 2006 James Berlin Outstanding Dissertation Award Committee, and serves on the CCCC Basic Data Task Force.

Statement: The Council of Writing Program Administrators has done remarkable work with four-year college and university writing programs; however, for a variety of reasons, the CWPA has had little success working with two-year colleges. The primary reason for this, I believe, is that two-year college English departments rarely have a WPA, so they don’t readily see the relevance of the CWPA. Instead of a WPA, the duties of overseeing first-year composition in two-year colleges typically fall to an already overburdened department chair, leaving little time to coordinate the challenges of student placement, course outcomes, textbook selection, and program evaluation. In many two-year colleges, these tasks go on as they have for decades, without a coherent vision driving them. Given that half of America’s college students take their composition courses at the more than 1200 two-year colleges, a stronger relationship between two-year colleges and the CWPA would benefit students, the colleges, and the organization.

If elected, I would help the CWPA work more deliberately with two-year colleges. The first step would be to forge an alliance with TYCA to examine the current state of writing programs in two-year colleges. Once we have a better understanding of how composition is administered at two-year colleges, we can develop strategies to help with some of the challenges they’re facing. Some possibilities: I’d like to see members of the CWPA speak at TYCA’s regional conferences about the work the CWPA is doing. I’d like us to devote a special issue of WPA to two-year college writing programs, and, as interest and membership grow, I’d like us to regularly solicit articles from two-year college faculty. I’d also encourage members of the CWPA and graduate students to view two-year college writing programs as important sites for research. In short, I’d like two-year college English departments to see the CWPA as an organization that is interested in and relevant to the work they’re doing in two-year colleges, and I’d like to help in that effort.

MILES McCRIMMON is Professor of English at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, Virginia, where he has been teaching composition and literature for more than fifteen years. He served as English Department Chair from 1998-2001 and he is beginning a new three-year term in 2007. He currently holds the Chancellor’s Commonwealth Professorship, a state-wide award for excellence in teaching and scholarship. He has published articles in Teaching English in the Two Year College (March 2005) and College English (November 2006) and has contributed pieces to a forthcoming NCTE collection, Creating the Teachable Moment (2007). He wrote the Instructor’s Manuals for the first two editions of The World is a Text (2003 and 2006) and he is at work on a writing guide designed for first-year experience programs. He was Program Chair for the 38th TYCA-Southeast Annual Conference, served on the Regional Executive Committee of TYCA-SE from 2000-2002, and served as a Site Leader for a FIPSE Dissemination Grant from 2001-2004. His college service work has included co-directing the most recent self-study, coordinating dual enrollment offerings, writing and editing major federal grant proposals, serving as co-chair of his college’s first-ever Major Gifts Campaign.

Statement: “More than half of America’s college students and more than half of all WPAs are at two-year institutions. As a former and returning WPA, I can represent this vast constituency and bring a valuable perspective to the board about the unique and dynamic relationships two-year colleges hold with senior institutions, the workforce, and K-12 education. Community colleges are contact zones (between disciplines, literacies, ethnicities, and levels of acculturation) where rich moments of generous and fruitful collaboration take place daily. Virtually every significant insight in my career has arisen when I stepped outside my comfort zone. My mission with WPA is to help to make these sorts of ‘border crossings’ a productive part of everyone’s professional experience.”

Board Member #3: Vote for One of These Two Candidates

BARBARA L'EPLATTENIER is an Associate Professor in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in historical studies, technical writing, theories of technical communication, grant writing, gender studies, and queer theory. She has been published in The Writing Program Administrator as Researcher: Inquiry in Action and Reflection, (editors Shirley K Rose and Bud Weiser); Calling Cards (editors Jackie Jones Royster and Ann Marie Simpkins); and the forthcoming Labor of Love, (editors Gesa Kirsch and Liz Rohen). Her co-edited collection, Historical Studies of Writing Program Administration: Individuals, Communities, and the Formation of a Discipline, published by Parlor Press, won the 2004-2005 Award for Best Book on Writing Program Administration.

Statement: I look to WPA as a model of administrative structure and professional organization development; WPA's strength is its ability to create standards and outcomes for a field as diverse and complex as college writing. I'm deeply interested in seeing WPA continue to develop its presence on a national level. WPA needs to continue pushing forward to gain the respect of university officials, elected officials, and others who criticize or have an impact on writing programs and writing projects. I would like to see WPA develop stronger public relations strategies, make more explicit connections with non-profit and advocacy groups vested in writing, promote and disseminate WPA research, and have a more prominent voice in national discussions about writing.

BARBARA GAAL LUTZ is assistant director of the University Writing Center at the University of Delaware and, with her colleagues, hosted the well-attended 2004 WPA Conference. Her administrative work at Delaware includes coordinating a writing program for developmental students which was run through the Writing Center; in addition, she teaches freshman composition courses, ESL composition classes, and honors composition courses through both the English department and Honors College. Currently she is in her second year of teaching a grant-funded advanced composition course she designed that links education majors with middle school students in an online tutoring environment. Lutz presents regularly at regional and national conferences, including IWCA, CCCC, and WPA. Her most recent published essay “English as a Second Language: How Can We Help?” was reprinted in Teaching Language and Literacy: Preschool through the Elementary Grades. Eds. James F. Christie, Billie Jean Enz, and Carol Vukelich. Boston: Pearson Education, 2007, 299-300.

Lutz brings twenty years of experience working with professional organizations: she served as co-president of Interstate Developmental Educators Association (IDEA) for five years, president of Mid Atlantic Writing Centers Association (MAWCA) for five years, and Executive Board member of Pennsylvania Writing Program Administrators (PWPA) for three years. In all, she organized or helped organize ten regional conferences, co-chaired two national conferences and served on several national committees for IWCA and WPA.

Statement:WPA continues to be a dynamic and critical voice in the field, one that assesses, addresses, and advocates best practices and policies within the educational community as well as the public sphere. Sustaining this high level of leadership requires commitment and strategic direction from its members and executive board to ensure that the organization remains unified in its goals. I believe that I can contribute to this mission in several areas: having learned English as a second language, and having designed and taught EFL composition courses for many years, I would advocate for the special needs of EFL students in both writing centers and composition classes; as a veteran writing center tutor and now an administrator, I would represent the needs and concerns of writing centers; and working in a continuing non-tenure track position, I would speak to the ongoing policy discussions concerning the use of adjunct and non-tenure track faculty in teaching and administration.

Overall, from twenty-five years of teaching experience and almost as many in board involvement, I have learned how people collaborate effectively in order to bring an organization’s goals to fruition. I hope that the WPA membership will give me the opportunity to serve on the executive board as the organization confronts upcoming challenges in reaching its goals.