Posted in Calls to Action, CBW 2011, CCCC, History of Basic Writing, Mission Statement, Politics of Remediation, What's New in Basic Writing

Developing Ideas for the Mission Statement

Idea #1: Mission Statement
The Council on Basic Writing is an organization that advocates for all basic writers across all institutions types and supports basic writing teacher-scholars in the professional endeavors. We pursue these ends by:

· Working to raise the visibility of basic writings’ central role to the academic and civic enterprise across our campuses, in the profession and in the public eye.
· Fostering a network that encourages the development of new research and collaborative strategies to enhance teaching excellence through BWeThe Basic Writing E-Journal and an annual meeting,
· Advocating for the best conditions for teaching and learning Basic Writing, and
· Providing support for the development and dissemination of best teaching practices that foster student access and success.

We think we need position statements and Core principals!

Core Principals (we really like the way ATTW set this up)

  • To the public
  • The Council on Basic Writing sees a literate citizenry as the foundation of social justice.
  • To academy
  • To the promote the academic traditions as of advancing and sharing knowledge.
  • The CBW values diversity and diverse learners.


Idea #2: CBW Mission Statement and Core Principles:

The Council on Basic Writings’ (CBW) core values promote public and institutional basic writing policies and scholarship that advocate for and support students, faculty, and programs, in  connecting and enhancing their collective developing voices within a linguistically diverse world.

  1. Should have a role in building a culture of scholarship around basic writing
  2. Public voice of Basic Writing Scholarship:
  3. Support faculty and students in competence in using English for academic disciplinary, professional and social power for a linguistically diverse world.
  4. Work to influence public policy supportive of goals.
  5. Provide Professional development for faculty teaching Basic Writing
  6. Provide assistance in preparation of graduate students for teaching Basic Writing
  7. Support, promote, and provide community for instructors and graduate students of Basic Writing
  8. Advocate for public institutional Basic Writing Programs nationally
  9. Disseminate effective basic writing pedagogies.

Idea #3: CBW advocates and promotes the professionalizaton of basic writing studies, to provide access to diverse adult learners (or educational opportunities for an engaged citizens), embracing our knowledge and expertise in multiple literacies at multiple sites for all adult learners. To afford diverse adult learners access to academic, professional/technical, and other language communities.

Idea #4: Because we believe that all students are learners capable of constructing and expressing ideas that are both valuable and worthy of expression, the CBW supports student success, valuable academic partnerships with a variety of stakeholders, innovative practices in teaching/leaving and improved working conditions for Basic Writing teachers.

**this is a preamble to a larger statement**

Idea #5: CBW is dedicated to teaching, research, and administrative work that promotes social justice and supports students for whom continued support is necessary as they transition to new, more demanding rhetorical contexts. CBW’s core principles include:

  • collaboration between 2 and 4 year colleges
  • communication and cooperation between various campus support services
  • sophisticated pedagogy that integrates reading and writing across diverse learning styles
  • accessibile high quality education
  • scholarship that integrates theory and reflective practice

Discussion Points:

Are all learners capable of “constructing and expressing ideas that are both valuable and worthy of expression” or is it that we want to ensure that all students have ACCESS?

What happens when you put labels on people? What happens when you institutionalize those labels? What happens when we pigeon-hole students? Limit them?

On ACCESS: The Chronicle of Higher Education is regularly reporting on students who are closed out of classes that are full (courses close in April for a Fall semester).

We cannot assume that developmental studies are going to survive.

Our mission is wider than basic writing courses (writing centers, adult returning courses, community literacy, etc.)

We have to defend egalitarianism (again). Basic writing is on its way out. We need to go back to our basic values.

These statements assume that we’re okay. They do not assume we’re at risk.

We’re at risk.

We need to have a strong emphasis on advocacy: access, social justice. Advocacy must be one of our roles.

Gate keeping and standards seem to dictate our roles (legacy of the double function–Mary Soliday)–how do we push back.

The key is public.

The evisceration of the pubic sector is at work here: the privatization of what used to be public (K-12 and higher education); our students are expendable in this society.

In the 1960s, it was “cool” to have a basic writing program. It’s not “cool” anymore. The four year schools didn’t put up as much of a fight as they should have when basic skills were pushed to two year schools.

We also need to recognize that there has been a lot of research that indicates that what we’ve been doing for the last 20-30 years has not been as effective as we have hoped it could be. This is a complicated issue; it can work against us.

National push on completion rates: the more developmental students we can send to adult basic education, we don’t have to count in our completion rates.

Students need access to support services. Access doesn’t mean anything if students do not graduate.

Also, what happens with outsourcing of basic courses (including composition I).

We need to educate our colleagues.

The corporate move gets great support from the home schooling folks. Home schooling people have great suspicion of public education (and a negative perspective on public education). This limits the diverse mix of classrooms. Privatization of education in the homes leads to looking down on people who can’t privately educate their children.

The pecking order in departments: literature/creative writing, composition, basic writing.

Expendable students: we have more students who need the kind of support we can offer in basic writing.

We need to have an articulated sense of who we are; we need to clean house. How are we NOT LISTED IN THE CHAIRS’ ADDRESS? What does this say about the perception of basic writing within our own field?



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