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The CBW Needs Three New Voices for CCCC 2017

Dear Graduate Students, Advisors, and Professors in Composition:

At CCCC 2017, the Council on Basic Writing will be considering the future of Basic Writing as both a field of teaching and a field of research. In order to help us consider the future, we will be using the CBW’s sponsored session to highlight the work of graduate students in our field. We will be selecting three presenters from applicants and will invite these students to take the stage of one of our major events of the year. Any graduate student who is working on issues pertinent to Basic Writing studies is eligible to apply, though we recommend that you have some familiarity with the field. Once selected, students will be paired with a long time CBW member and scholar of Basic Writing for mentorship on their work before it is presented on a major stage. Presenters will then present their work at the CBW Sponsored Session “Emerging Voices in Basic Writing Studies” on Thursday morning from 10:30-11:45. Presenters will also be invited to the CBW pre-conference workshop and to our Thursday evening SIG meeting so that they can learn about how the CBW might become a resource in their professional lives. Unfortunately, there is no CBW funding for participants’ travel .

In order to apply, please send the following materials via email to Michael Hill,, by January 9, 2017:

  1. A brief letter of application introducing yourself, your interest in Basic Writing, and your work.
  2. A 250 word abstract of the work you intend to present. This abstract should give some indication of your presentation style and of your research/argument.
  3. A letter of reference from a professor or advisor in the field that both recommends you as a presenter and verifies your status as a graduate student.

Either your letter of application or letter of reference should also promise that you will be able to attend CCCC 2017 if you are selected.

If you have any questions about this session or the requested materials, please contact Michael Hill at the email address above. You can also Tweet your question to @4cCBW.

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Official CBW Events at CCCC

Here is your guide to every official Council on Basic Writing session at CCCC 2016.  Please try to attend one or more of these sessions in order to help us continue to build the CBW as an institutional force at CCCC.  A guide to other Basic Writing sessions is forthcoming.

4/6               9:00-5:00     W.05  CBW Workshop                Hilton Room 335 C, Level 3

“The Transformative Action of Basic Writing”

This year’s all-day workshop will explore how the lives of students and instructors intersect with their institutions and communities to demand basic writing action that fosters social justice. Throughout the day, we will consider how the practice of BW affirms student lives and respects student agency while fostering collective action amongst BW researchers and instructors.

4/7               1:45-3:00    TSIG.11 CBW Business Meeting             Hilton Room 344A, Level 3

“CBW Business Meeting”

The Council on Basic Writing, a standing group of CCCC, invites all members of the CBW and all interested parties to attend the first public meeting of the CBW Executive Board. Agenda items for this meeting will include reviewing the CBW mission, membership, and annual goals; discussing annual awards; planning for the annual CCCC workshop; electing new board and committee members; and electing a new co-chair of the CBW. Member and audience commentary will be welcome; voting will be limited to board members.

4/7               4:45-6:00     E.06  CBW Sponsored Session      Hilton Ballroom of the                                                                                                                              Americas, Salon E, Level 2

“Shaping the Field, Shaping the Community, Shaping the Classroom:  The Council on Basic Writing at 35”

The Council on Basic Writing (CBW) is thirty-five. Where have we been? How has the field changed? How has the CBW helped to navigate those changes? Where is the field going? How will CBW be part of the shifting field? In this roundtable discussion, we invite six former chairs of the CBW to reflect on the past, present, and future of basic writing in general and the CBW in particular, based on their experiences of guiding the CBW through new steps of development and through institutional and cultural challenges to both the organization and the field.

4/7               6:30-7:30         TSIG.02  CBW Sig                   GRB Room 351C, Level 3

“CBW SIG:  Contemplating Action in the Classroom, Institution, State, Nation”

The Council on Basic Writing hosts this Special Interest Group for basic writing teachers and anyone who is concerned about access to higher education. This meeting will focus on the reciprocal interactions of pedagogy and policy. Participants are encouraged to bring assignment ideas and teaching strategies as material for sharing and as a starting point for conversations regarding how Basic Writing instructors can use pedagogy to affirm, shape, and explore policy.

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New CBW Twitter Account

The CBW has a new Twitter account. We will be using this account to make announcements, publicize events, share BW news, and to make occasional statements in support of BW. Please follow us: @4cCBW.

If you’re going to be at CCCC this year and if you Tweet about any BW discussions, please include @4cCBW in your tweet.

We look forward to connecting with you.




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The Journal of Basic Writing at Forty: Risk, Affect, and Materiality in the Shaping of a Field, the 2015 CBW Featured CCCC Session

If you’re attending CCCC, please be sure to attend the session H.07, “The Journal of Basic Writing at Forty: Risk, Affect, and Materiality in the Shaping of a Field” with Hope Parisi, Steve Lamos, Susan Naomi Bernstein and Cheryl Smith. The Council on Basic Writing is proudly sponsoring this panel as a panel that represents our mission, our scholarship, and our pedagogy. And this session promises to be a great one with four leaders in the field of Basic Writing scholarship all discussing the import of Basic Writing Scholarship. Please click on this link to read the abstracts. The panel takes place on Friday between 11-12:15 in Room 1 of the Tampa Convention Center.

This is the first year that CCCC is using panels sponsored by standing groups. As one of the longest standing groups, the CBW would like to encourage CCCC to continue allowing groups to sponsor panels as a way of impacting the conference program. So, to help us do that, we would like to have a great turnout at this panel to show CCCC the strength of our community. I look forward to seeing you there.

Posted in CBW 2015, Uncategorized

Presenting the CBW Pre-Conference Workshop, 2015

Risky Relationships in Placement, Teaching and the Professional Organization
Council on Basic Writing Pre-Conference Workshop 2015

For our 2015 preconvention workshop, the Council on Basic Writing answers CCCCs’ thematic call to rethink BW practice and policy and to share stories of various efforts at trying something new. What happens, for example, when we reach outside of BW and composition scholarship to help inform the design of writing programs that strive to be more democratic and respectful of language diversity? How can BW faculty better utilize campus and community resources, as well as resources from unexpected and surprising places to help balance their lives outside of school with the often demanding challenges of being mentor and teacher to students with equally complex lives? In what ways can we rethink writing placement methods in order to increase access to multilingual and other culturally and racially diverse students? These questions will guide the CBW workshop as we examine the risks and rewards of BW relationships in writing placement, in student and instructor lives, and in our professional organizations.

9:00 a.m. Welcome
CBW Co-Chairs:
Sugie Goen-Salter, San Francisco State University
Michael D. Hill, Henry Ford College

9:15-10:15 a.m.
The 2014 Innovation Award for Teaching of Basic Writing
Session Chair: Sugie Goen-Salter, San Francisco State University

Presenters: Candace Zepeda, Our Lady of the Lake University; Mike Lueker, Our Lady of the Lake University; Thomas McBryde, Our Lady of the Lake University; David Hale, Our Lady of the Lake University

Almost 40 years ago, when Mina Shaughnessy introduced Errors and Expectations, she challenged instructors to look beyond the errors of students’ work by studying their linguistic (and cultural) identity. Nearly four decades later, Gregory Shafer questions what we have learned from Shaughnessy and if instructors (and even writing programs) “respect the linguistic competence that students possess.” Shafer proposes that if the goal of current basic writing scholarship is to “foster a writing that is democratic, that expands literacies to authentic contexts and cultivates a truly creative spirit, a paradigm shift is clearly in order and must begin with the way we see dialects and language diversity and the way we handle them in the placement process.” The paradigm shift Shafer suggests is a rather ambitious vision, but offers a vibrant description of the QUEST First-Year Writing Program at Our Lady of the Lake University. QUEST is an innovative curriculum that offers a democratic, hospitable and progressive writing curriculum that responds to the needs of our student population. OLLU is a Hispanic Serving Institution that serves a considerable amount of first-generation, Latin@ and low-income students with more than 86% historically placing into developmental courses. The QUEST model is a product of risk-taking, grounding our theoretical and pedagogical design using scholarship from outside basic writing and composition studies. As recipients for the 2014 Inny Award, our panel invites an interactive workshop with audience members where we will cover areas related to program and theoretical design, pedagogical practices, assessment measures, and faculty support. Audience members will be encouraged to participate in discussion and with workshop activities.

10:30-11:30 a.m.
The Risks and Rewards of Complex Lives: Balancing Basic Writing with Instructor and Student Lives
Roundtable Chair: Marisa Klages-Bombich, LaGuardia Community College

Participants: Candace Epps-Robertson, Michigan State University; Marcia Buell, Northeastern Illinois University; Dawn Lombardi, The University of Akron; Annie Del Principe, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY; Elaine M. Jolayemi, Ivy Tech Indianapolis; Daniel Cleary, Lorain County Community College; Jason Evans, Prairie State College; Kerry Lane, Joliet Junior College; Marcea Sible, Hawkeye Community College

Teaching is hard work, and unlike careers that get to stay in the office, teaching often comes home with us- not only in the form of grading and class preparation but also in the way that the often complex lives of our basic writing students find their ways into our own narratives as instructors. Figuring out how to balance our roles as teachers and mentors (available to students for guidance and assistance), our scholarly selves (with responsibilities for publishing and institutional service) and our lives as caretakers (parents, elders, our own illnesses) is ultimately complex and requires careful navigation. These problems seems particularly relevant in the field of composition and rhetoric, where grading essays often takes significantly longer than grading multiple choice exams, and where one-to-one conferences on student papers often elicits discussions about issues in students’ personal and academic lives. This roundtable will focus on helping faculty think through the challenges on balancing their lives, and student lives while teaching Basic Writing. We will have a number of co-leaders facilitate discussions on various issues in our classrooms and lives including: Utilizing Resources on Campus and in the Community, Finding Mentors and Support in Unexpected Places, and Learning from Our Students.

11:30-12:30 p.m.
Best Practices in Placement and Pedagogy: Progressive Policy Statements by the BW Community
Presenter: William Lalicker, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Basic writing still, in too many sites, enacts a system of gatekeeping, where risk is in difference and reward resides in the normative. Placement policies broadcast institutional values: how we sort students may express old prejudices, or may transform our institutions into progressive communities of learners. Moreover, placement presages pedagogy. In the capstone segment of our workshop, the facilitator will first invite all workshop participants to contribute to the creation of a policy statement that establishes principles for placement policies that can respect difference, can recognize the generative intersections of culture and voice and identity, and can honor the strengths of developing student writers by inviting them into the academic conversation. Then this segment will invite participants to apply these progressive placement principles, using these values to create a statement of best pedagogical practices in basic writing. The result will be two policy statements, drafted by the workshop that will integrate basic writing placement and pedagogy, scaffolding more humanistic, pluralistic, and welcoming basic writing programs for all developing student writers.

12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch

Afternoon Joint Session with CBW and TYCA

1:30-2:30 p.m.
Writing Placement that Risks the Academy: Rethinking Ways of Access and the Reward of First-Year Writing
Keynote Address: Asao Inoue, University of Washington, Tacoma

This keynote will discuss ways to rethink writing placement methods, procedures, validation, and outcomes in order to address the increasingly diverse students entering first-year writing programs. Most placement systems are designed with the assumption that the placement decision must come from a measurement of student writing ability, coming perhaps from a test score, a timed writing exam decision, or even a directed self-placement that asks students to perform writing tasks or self-assessments of some sort. This keynote address will question two assumptions that work in all these placement models: (1) the nature of the writing construct against which readers or raters measure student performances (e.g. as a white construct, as a transactive rhetorical construct); and (2) the nature of the kinds of judgments needed to make a placement (e.g. judgments of cognitive dimensions of writing that seem to be associated with writing “quality” or success in first-year writing courses). This keynote will ask the question: How do we increase access to multilingual and other culturally and racially diverse students in our writing programs? The larger purpose of this discussion, beyond rethinking writing placement, is to suggest a rethinking of the nature of the academic discourse(s) we expect in the academy.

2:30-3:30 p.m.
Situated Placement: The Rewards of Developing Placement Processes

Participants: Heidi Estrem, Boise State University, Dawn Shepherd, Boise State University; Leigh Jonaitis, Bergen Community College

This afternoon roundtable discussion will focus on placement. Our roundtable discussants represent a range of institutions (doctoral institution, regional campus, and two-year colleges), and all speakers have developed new placement processes at their institutions. The first group of speakers will describe how a new course matching process at their doctoral institution mediates students’ understandings of college writing courses prior to enrollment and encourages student self-efficacy while also increasing retention across all first-year writing courses. The second speaker will share how her regional campus used a state mandate to eliminate “remedial” education as leverage to develop a new basic writing curriculum and a guided self-placement process that led to better outcomes and increased satisfaction for instructors and students. The final speaker will discuss the challenges of placement at a two-year college and how her program has used its placement process to respond to student needs.

3:45-5:00 p.m.
The Rewards of Collaboration Between TYCA and CBW
Session Chairs: Michael D. Hill, Henry Ford College and Suzanne Labadie, Oakland Community College

Roundtable discussants will facilitate collaboration between CBW and TYCA attendees around research in our field. The goal of this session of the workshop will be to determine the key areas of crossover in our organizations where research needs exist, and to develop professional communities of instructors to support, produce, and participate in work in these particular areas. Attendees will be actively engaged in this session through conversation, brainstorming, and planning future collaborative work around key topics, such as placement, retention, acceleration, critical thinking, rigor, and changing expectations in college-level writing.
And don’t forget to join us for the CBW SIG on Thursday night to congratulate Boise State’s PLUS: ‪Projecting Learning, Understanding Success‬, winner of the 2015 Innovations in Basic Writing Award. Our SIG is located in Marriott, Grand Ballroom C, Level Two from 6:30-7:30 pm.‬‬