Posted in CCCC 2012, What's New in Basic Writing, Who is Basic Writing?

Live from CCCC 2012: Roundtable on Basic Writing, 3.24.12

This year at CCCC, we tried an experiment to bring together conference attendees interested in Basic Writing and Basic Writing faculty from around the country who couldn’t attend CCCC in a live conference event.

The panel began asynchronously before CCCC on Facebook. There, each week, our moderators introduced the following topics:

Session Organizer and Moderator: Rochelle L. Rodrigo from Old Dominion University

Who are Basic Writers and Student Placement
Moderated by Debra Berry from College of Southern Nevada, Carla Maroudas from College of Southern Nevada, and Elaine M. Jolayemi from Glendale College

This discussion explored question such as: How do you get to know your students through the semester?
How do they get to know each other? What kinds of activities or assignments do you use to help students engage their lived experience with classroom curriculum? How does your institution handle placement?
Does your institution have issues with placement? What are they? How are you coping with them?
What courses does your institution offer, and how are students eligible for each step? How does your curriculum treat Basic Writers? Traditionally, such students have assumed to require instruction In Addition To that which is required of everyone, but current curricular currents seem to be shifting that emphasis; is In Addition To appropriate, or should such students instead be given instruction Different Than that which is effective for more traditional students?

Day-to-Day in the Life of Basic Writing Faculty and Students
Moderated by Kelly Keane from Bergen Community College

This discussion explored question such as: What are activities you use to build community within your Basic Writing Classes? Many instructors dread having to teach grammar, punctuation, and other surface feature related issues. What lessons and activities have worked well for you? What are you still struggling with?

Teaching with Technology
Moderated by Amy Edwards Patterson from Moraine Park Technical College and J. Elizabeth Clark from LaGuardia Community College, CUNY

This discussion explored question such as: How does technology become another facet of basic skills development in the 21st century? What are the key pieces of teaching with technology? Do these elements differ from teaching with technology in another kind of composition course?

Teacher Preparation and Professional Development
Moderated by Leigh Jonaitis from Bergen Community College and Marisa A. Klages from LaGuardia Community College, CUNY

This discussion explored question such as: What is the role of professional development for Basic Writing faculty? How do professional development practices in Basic Writing connect to professional development in other Composition and Rhetoric fields? How do we promote scholarship at the community college level, especially when faculty at the CC have such a heavy teaching load?

Academic Skills & Writing Centers
Moderated by Ilene Rubenstein, College of Desert

This discussion explored question such as: How will Skills/Writing Labs survive with reduced lab requirements and funding? Should they survive? How do we connect the pieces–tutors, faculty, administrators? Do any of you see any other concerns that will affect our basic skills writers and the help they receive in these academic skills/writing labs?

Then, at CCCC, we brought everyone together to continue the conversation synchronously (face-to-face and online) in a roundtable on Saturday, March 24, 2012.

The presentation began with a summary of the on-line conversation. Two groups, “Teaching With Technology” and “Professional Development” used Prezis to summarize. Other presenters summarized the conversations verbally.

We then moved to a rich and robust group conversation. The group discussed ideas for professional development, like creating a course or a series of workshops for faculty. We also discussed sharing syllabi and group norming.

Participants in both the on-line and the face-to-face discussion explored who basic writers are in our classes and how that differs from campus to campus. We also discussed how many levels each campus has for basic writing & where basic writing is on campus (developmental skills, combined with ESL, in an English department, etc.).

We also discussed grant writing as a strategy for getting additional funds for supplies and training for faculty.

People asked questions about designing effective basic writing curriculum, placement of students, and exit strategies. Participants shared ideas and examples from their own campuses.

We also discussed the challenges of using technology in the classroom when students don’t have access to technology.

  • Link to Teaching with Technology Prezi
  • Link to Professional Development Prezi
  • Link to the transcript of the on-line discussion during CCCC (this might be hard to follow but is a record of the on-line discussion happening during the face-to-face session. People who weren’t at CCCC posted comments/questions in chat and we responded.
  • Link to the CBW Facebook Page (This is open to anyone teaching/interested in the teaching of Basic Writing. Please join us for on-going discussions!)
  • We look forward to continuing these discussions on-line. We’ll be addressing the following topics, based on our discussions in St. Louis (Thanks to Amy Edwards Patterson for keeping careful nots on these!).

    * Grants: Where are the grants for BW? What grants are available to help us become better BW teachers/scholars/grantees? How do you find these opportunities? The Hewlitt Packard grant also came up as a specific example.

    * Professional development: This was a popular topic! People asked about training, adjuncts, etc., and where they could receive training (for example, are there grants out there for Basic Writing Professional Development?). There was also an interest in seeing more information on the Mesa Community College course on teaching composition in a two-year college.

    * Belonging: Does Basic Writing belong in the English department or Dev Ed? What are the differences? Why?

    * Curriculum: Where to start? How do you go about developing a curriculum for BW? Tips and resources?

    * “Classroom and action research”: how do we capture what happens in our classrooms as theoreticians and practitioners?

    Please join us!

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    Posted in CCCC 2012, What's New in Basic Writing

    Basic Writing for a Transcultural Era

    William Lalicker started off the discussion with the ways we underserve basic writers by limiting what students have access to in their written discourses. Lalicker compared a basic writing approach to teaching, “Get it neat, practical, and readable” with selected titles from last year’s 2011 conference program. Why, Lalicker asks, do we allow ourselves the language of “Fuck Tradition!,” “Helping a NOOB PWN the Griefers,” and “Mo Rhetoric: Nomos, Nommo, Zapatismo, and the turn toward a Critical Transnational Rhetoric.”. Why do we allow ourselves this language but deny it to our basic writers in the name of “standard” English. Lalicker went on to highlight the rich voice and use of language in YA books like Sherman Alexie and Junot Diaz.

    How do we engage students in a trains lingual approach to teaching writing? Lalicker called on Alastair Pennycook’s 2007 work, “English is a translocal language, a language of fluidity and fixity that moves across, while becoming embedded in, the materiality of localities and social relations. English is bound up with transcultural flows, a language of imagined communities and refashioning identities” (6).

    He ended with a quote from Deborah Mutnick, “Basic writing courses enact the crucial, if not always exemplary role…in the unfinished democratization of American universities and colleges” (323).

    Kathryn Perry called for a reconception of how we evaluate student writing. Basing her theory on Mike Rose, she called for a practicality in assessing student writing, paying attention to a variety of issues that affect student writing.

    Perry focused on the material conditions of labor in composition. She wanted to apply what she knew pedagogically, but when balancing scholarship, practice, study, and teaching, she felt she didn’t have time to find out all of the stories she knew her students brought to the classroom, the very issues Mike Rose chronicles in his work. her teaching load leaves almost no room for reflection. So, she has little time to think about her classroom; like many others, the classroom becomes triage.

    She further compared annual review documents (from an anonymous university) for tenure track, term, and contingent faculty which reveal that only tenure track faculty are assumed to be conducting research.

    Her paper is a call for simplicity in returning to description and reflection on the class, focusing on the classroom itself. We need to change how we evaluate our students and do so in conjunction with the material realities of teaching.

    Yvonne Stephens addressed the reciprocal ethics of care. She opened by listing the issues she can’t prepare for in her classroom: the real life issues that affect our students such as health issues, family issues, and financial issues. Stephens addressed the “borderlands” of the classroom in addressing students’ personal concerns. What happens in that space of overlap and intersection?

    Stephens outlined the different roles faculty members play: mentor, confidante, teacher, coach, guide. How does this complicate teaching & research with students?

    Stephens outlined a heuristic for thinking about affective issues in teaching:

    1. Reflect on current practices
    This essentially creates a reservoir of practices and stories

    2. Be informed about institutional rules
    Additional knowledge and sensitivity helps us to make appropriate accommodations

    3. Be informed about students
    Be a good listener and observer of students in the classroom and one-on-one interactions

    4. Engage in dialogue

    This common sense, smart approach to knowing our students is really important to student success and meaningful teaching.

    Posted in CBW 2012, CCCC 2012, What's New in Basic Writing

    Live Discussion about Basic Writing, T-2 hours and 22 minutes

    Reminder: today’s live presentation event! Conference in from wherever you are!

    The event begins at 12:30 CDT.

    Have you been enjoying the discussion, be sure to continue hanging out with us LIVE at CCCCs. The roundtable “There’s Nothing Basic about Basic Writing” will be TODAY!

    Saturday, March 24, 2012, from 12:30-1:45pm (CDT). If you are at CCCCs, please join us in the Renaissance Hotel, Landmark Ballroom, Salon 2, Lobby Level. If you are not making it to CCCCs this year, join us online here:

    We will be using Adobe Connect. Test your computer to make sure you can join us by going here:

    Posted in CBW 2012, CBW Exec Board, CCCC, CCCC 2012, Sense of the House Motion

    CBW Sense of the House Resolution, 2012

    If you were at this year’s CCCC, or if you followed along virtually, you know that the role of basic writing was greatly increased in the program. This trend continues with the 2013 Call for Papers. The CBW Executive Board wanted to publicly thank Chris Anson and Howard Tinberg, so we introduced this sense of the house resolution this morning. It passed unanimously.

    Sense of the House Resolution Thanking Chris Anson and Howard Tinberg

    WHEREAS Chris Anson raised the visibility of Basic Writing through a featured session and prominent references in the program and documents of CCCC 2012; and

    WHEREAS Chris Anson has supported Basic Writing as a field, Basic Writing faculty as vital practitioners, and Basic Writers as students deserving of our strongest scholarly and teaching support; and

    WHEREAS Howard Tinberg is continuing this vital work of recognizing Basic Writing’s place in the field of Composition with the 2013 CCCC conference theme and call for papers; and

    WHEREAS Howard Tinberg has restored Basic Writing as a conference strand; and

    WHEREAS this support of Basic Writing has furthered the pursuit of social justice, inclusive education, and educational excellence vital to the highest principles of Composition;

    BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the CCCC, the Council on Basic Writing, and the entire Basic Writing community recognize and laud Chris Anson’s and Howard Tinberg’s vision, leadership, and pursuit of social justice in higher education.


    The Executive Board of the Council on Basic Writing (CBW): Hannah Ashley, J. Elizabeth Clark, William B. Lalicker, Marisa A. Klages, Steven Joseph Lamos, Deborah Mutnick, Gregory Glau, Peter Adams, Sarah Kirk, Rebecca Mlynarczyk, Alan Meyers, Shannon Carter, Susan Naomi Bernstein

    Posted in CCCC 2012

    Annual Business Meeting and Town Meeting

    The CCCC annual business meeting started off early this morning.

    Malea Powell mentioned that the executive committee is examining several interesting new measures such as fully funding the research initiative and the possibility of electronic voting. CCCC continues to lose membership, but at a lower rate than other years, at about 4%.

    Chris Anson announced that the twitter and blog feeds were “kind” to the conference. As well they should have been! Kudos to Malea Powell and Chris Anson and all for a great 2012 conference.

    Kent Williamson announced that CCCC has a growth in spending. He specifically focused on the organization’s commitment to investing in technology at the conference for $80,000 this year; $83,000 for next year. $32,000 in support for contingent faculty for this year and $33,000 for next year (supports about 100 people).

    The meeting then moved to a town meeting with discussions on CCCC Leadership Opportunities, CCCC and Diversity Issues, Increasing CCCC Membership and Open Feedback.

    I sat at the “Open Feedback” table. Issues raised at the table included: having CCCC create more sessions/focus on attacks on higher education, issues of nimbleness in addressing addressing issues that come up in a timely way (e.g. Intellectual property), ways of educating members about how to get issues/ideas up through the official channels (responding to state/national legislation & public commentary comes up quickly and the structures of CCCC and NCTE is too difficult), support structures and resources are not always clear, representing issues of basic writing in CCCC and NCTE structure & issues, focus on how budget cuts affect contingent faculty, cuts in developmental programs, test scores limiting access to higher education, state mandates don’t recognize disciplinary knowledge.

    The CCCC executive committee is working on a strategic plan to specifically address the nimbleness of the organization.

    Karen Lunsford suggested a standing legislation committee that monitors and tracks federal legislation. Our table really liked this idea specifically because much of the legislation is happening state by state and we could look for patterns that are developing.

    Our table also discussed the best ways to reach people. Our table endorsed the ideas of multiple platforms for easy access (same information cross-posted). We discussed the fact that the NCTE inbox is difficult to read & that few people access Connected Community. Instead, the traffic is on listservs, blogs, Google +, Twitter, and Facebook.

    We were happy to hear about the move to update position statements regularly with updated research. Our table concurred that access to updated research on issues (like class size, assessment, etc.) is critical.

    The group ended by talking about membership fees. We need a better structure for raising funds and making CCCC accessible to contingent faculty and others.

    We then turned to the resolutions:

    Two official resolutions of thanks and appreciation to Chris Anson, the 2012 program chair, and Vincent Casaregola and the Local Arrangements Committee, both passed by acclamation.

    Resolution 3 to establish a Contingent Faculty Travel Fund funded by voluntary member contributions in consultation with the Labor Caucus and the Committee on Part-Time, Adjunct, and Contingent Labor carried (I think it was unanimous).

    Following up on a sense of the house motion form last year, the group approved a motion to condemn the representations of American Indians and other racial and other ethnic groups or their names, cultures, and traditions as sports symbols, mascots, and team names. This was approved.

    A resolution that “CCCC-sponsored journals will provide authors a non-exclusive right to place pre- and/or post-publication drafts of their published scholarly articles on the Internet; and

    Will advocate for open-access publishing opportunities for other publishing venues…”

    After discussion about the role of publication, open access, the scholarly community, the peer review process, this resolution was referred to the Executive Council for further discussion and consideration.

    A proposal on plagiarism detection services was postponed until a later meeting.

    There were two state of the house motions:

    First: from the Status of Women in the Profession:

    “We support women’s right to participate in public and policy discourse about their reproductive self-determination; and women should be free from being bullied, silenced, and shamed when advocating for themselves and others. We oppose the hostile rhetoric that has characterized the recent discourse about women’s reproductive lives.

    This motion carried.

    Second: the CBW Sense of the House motion thanking Chris Anson & Howard Tinbergen (see separate post). This motion passed (with a second from Kathleen Yancey! Yay!)

    The Annual Business Meeting was a robust & exciting opportunity for discussion. The town hall meeting was excellent and provided a great forum for discussing issues important to higher ed, the field, and the organization. However, I was disappointed that more people didn’t attend. I hope that more people will put this on their agendas!

    Posted in CCCC 2012, What's New in Basic Writing

    Join Us at CCCC Tomorrow, No Matter Where You Are! LIVE Teleconference.

    Reminder: tomorrow’s live presentation event! Conference in from wherever you are!

    Have you been enjoying the discussion, be sure to continue hanging out with us LIVE at CCCCs. The roundtable “There’s Nothing Basic about Basic Writing” will be on Saturday, March 24, 2012, from 12:30-1:45pm (CDT). If you are at CCCCs, please join us in the Renaissance Hotel, Landmark Ballroom, Salon 2, Lobby Level. If you are not making it to CCCCs this year, join us online here:

    We will be using Adobe Connect. Test your computer to make sure you can join us by going here:

    Posted in CCCC 2012

    Mike Rose, Exemplar Award

    Mike Rose
    Winner of the 2012 Exemplar Award

    Mike Rose offered these words of advice to us as a community (paraphrased):

    1. Develop what jazz musicians call “big ears”
    Read: read outside of the discipline, read and experiment with different kinds of inquiry
    2. Connect your academic work to the world outside of the academy
    Listen to the news and think about what touches you. Take your work out into the world.
    3. Seek the public sphere
    Seek the widest audience possible. Frame a career and a writing style that has a public reach. And, write about the classroom.

    The full remarks will appear in CCC.