Congratulations to the University of New Mexico for winning this year’s CBW Innovation Award!
Congratulations to the University of New Mexico for winning this year’s CBW Innovation Award!
Michael Hill, CBW Co-Chair, opened the business meeting by welcoming everyone! The open business meeting is focused on making sure that we get lots of input from our basic writing community!
1. WELCOME & INTRODUCTIONS
We had the opportunity to hear from colleagues around the country and hear some of the exciting research and scholarship faculty are working on!
Also in introductions, we heard about basic writing issues concerning faculty across the country such as placement, second language learners in basic writing, syllabi, etc. We discussed the importance of networking and the basic writing community coalition building.
2. MEMBER SURVEY:
Michael Hill and Lynn Reid, Co-Chairs, summarized the results of a member survey conducted by Marisa Klages-Bombich.
CBW Membership Survey Responses
(for a Word Version, click here: SURVEYCBW2015)
Institutions with participants in survey:
2 year schools: 28
4-year schools: 26
|Community College of Baltimore County|
|Helena College University of Montana|
|Bronx Community College, CUNY|
|Bishop State Community College|
|University of Wisconsin Madison|
|Kingsborough CC, CUNY|
|University of Wisconsin Colleges|
|Nassau Community College, Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, Lehman College|
|Shawnee State University|
|University of Massachusetts Amherst|
|Hawkeye Community College|
|North Shore Community College|
|Central Virginia Community College|
|Prairie State College|
|City College at MSUB|
|Arizona State University|
|LaGuardia CC (2)|
|College of Lake County|
|Southwestern Illinois College|
|College of Southern Idaho|
|Housatonic Community College|
|Heartland Community College (Normal IL)|
|Boise State University|
|Community College of Allegheny County|
|University of Colorado, Colorado Springs|
|Ivy Tech Central Indiana|
|West Chester University of PA|
|Texas Woman’s University|
|Bergen Community College|
|Bristol Community College, Quinsigamond Community College, Roger Williams University|
|The Art Institute of New York City|
|Ivy Tech Community College|
|Northeastern Illinois University|
|Frostburg State University|
|Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University|
|California Lutheran University|
|Bishop State Community College (2)|
|Metropolitan Community College, Omaha Nebraska|
|Green River College|
|Westchester Community College|
|Salina Area Technical College|
|University of Dubuque|
|Whatcom Community College|
|Joliet Junior College|
|Heartland Community College|
|Lake Michigan College|
|The City College of New York|
|Kingsborough Community College|
Titles of respondents:
Assistant Professor: 11
Associate Professor: 11
Part-time Faculty: 2
Graduate Teaching Assistant: 1
Senior Lead Instructor: 1
Developmental Program Coordinator: 1
WPA only: 2
WPA in addition to above title: 5
Do you consider yourself a member of CBW?
Nearly 63% of respondents consider themselves members of CBW.
(Yes: 34, No: 5, Don’t Know: 11, No answer: :2)
The Council on Basic Writing participates in or produces a number of different resources for its members and for the world of Basic Writing. Which of the following do you use?
A majority of respondents use a combination of CBW resources. Six respondents used only the listserv (3) or facebook (3). The other 52 repondents used some combination of all the tools:
How should people become members?
We offered three pathways to membership:
Nearly everyone believed that all three pathways to membership are acceptable and no one method was strides ahead of the other, most people voted for all three pathways.
What should the duties of membership include?
We asked what the duties of membership should include and offered the following options, respondents could choose more than one option:
Participation at C’s and on the listserv (n=47)
Voting on organization policy and board membership (n=37)
Voting on public policy and pedagogy statements (n=36)
Participation on CBW committees (n=30)
Commitment to regional action on Basic Writing issues (n=38)
Overwhelmingly, respondents found that participation at C’s and on the listserv should constitute member responsibilities.
However, a number of people also believed that voting on organization issues or public policy issues are also important, as is a commitment to regional basic writing issues. The lowest number of people selected participating in CBW committees.
Which of the following information would you be interested in?
We asked members what information they’d be interested in having related to CBW. (n=52)
Most people are interested in Official CBW literature and an Official Website.
On which of the following committees would you be interested in serving?
We asked people which committees they would be interested in serving on. People could select more than one committee. There is interest in serving on CBW committees, though the interest is not entirely robust.
Professional Development (29)
Affiliations and Outreach (18)
Social Media (17)
Elections to Executive Board/Steering Committee (6)
Executive Board/Steering Committee (16)
Policy Task Force (17)
Would you be willing to pay CBW membership dues to help the organization grow? If so what would be reasonable? (people could select more than one option)
The majority of respondents favor a sliding scale dues schedule; however, $15-$25.00 was the most popular dollar amount. If we consider the 24 respondents who consider themselves members and set a $20.00 membership fee, that would have given us an annual operating budget of $680.00.
Other comments-see below.
Any other comments, questions or suggestions/and or concerns regarding the CBW?
Since most of the people that would benefit from a more active CBW are probably NOT tenure-track faculty, charging for membership at this time seems inappropriate. Once we build a more visible and more participatory organization that works THROUGHOUT THE YEAR on Basic Writing issues, then paid membership could be reconsidered.
Indeed, participation seems more crucial than “membership.” Building committees and other opportunities for participation could be crucial for helping to create the main issue that CBW has now: participation outside of CCCC. Committees that stay active throughout the year would help to increase CBW visibility. Membership– especially PAID membership– with not much to offer in return other than CCCC-related pursuits — would not have as much impact.
Please plug BWe more. I intend to check it out but forget. Including TOC in an email instead of attachment is recommended because then I see why I need to leave email-land right now and check out X article.
P.S. I’d also like to help with the pedagogy statement that was started at CCCCs, and, um, while I’m suggesting things…what are the possibilities the CBW workshop could be a half day instead of the marathon 9 to 5 session? I sort of get burned out 2 days into CCCCs when I start it with such a lengthy day right after traveling and then try to hit the SIGs and otherwise do all the things. This might just be me though.
I might consider serving on a committee, but it would depend on the time commitment involved as my role on campus and my system-wide committee work leaves me with limited time for meaningful work serving my professional organizations.
The survey was created from the desire to learn more about how CBW could serve the Basic Writing Community. This survey was released on March 21, 2015, shortly after CCCC 2015. It was open for over 1 month and the link was posted in multiple online venues. We received 54 responses. Forty-eight responses were NOT from current executive board membership. Most questions had 52-53 respondents.
3. Discussion of the Survey:
There was general agreement that the survey was very useful! This is a summary of the group discussion in response to the member survey:
How do we adapt to changing notions of basic writers? How do we support them? How do we support the work of supporting those students?
How many people do we have in the CBW?
Susan Naomi Bernstein raised the issue that categorizing students as “basic writers” essentializes the students.
How might we identify the populations that we serve? How might we identify the work we are doing in the world? The work our students are doing?
We need to make sure that people know what resources are out there (and to provide a central place for those resources–like an expanded resource share). Because of language: “basic” writers, “developmental” writing, “remedial” writing, etc. it’s hard to know where to start.
It would also be helpful to have a library of resource and position statements (e.g. course caps, budgets, etc.).
How do we talk about our work so that other people can find it without being reductive? (again, how do we talk about our work)?
We need keywords in Basic Writing (and something like an Amazon recommendation: if you like this… you’ll like this…).
We need more ways for people to participate actively and feel an important part of the CBW. We would like to create opportunities for people to consider themselves members of CBW by doing.
We also discussed ideas for next year’s workshop.
4. What is the work of CBW when we are not at CCCC?
How might we think about committee work and the work of CCCC?
We recently lost funding for our travel award. This was one way that we were able to help participants.
We discussed ways to support the scholarship of graduate students; contingent faculty, etc.
Should we find ways to connect to NADE? How do we participate in NADE discussions about basic writing? A connection point might be some of the larger politics around developmental education.
Also, we need to continue the TYCA connections. These were useful to promote the work of CBW and a gathering of figuring out who is interested & who wants to be connected to this work. If we are strategic about it, it’s a starting point to build panels together and to take concerns and translate them into action in a particular geographic area.
Also, we discussed how we are defining ourselves and how we represent ourselves in our outreach.
There was a discussion about funding and how to get funding (to be continued).
We discussed several new possible committees to continue the work of CBW outside of CCCC:
We’ll continue this discussion in the SIG tonight at 6:30 p.m. Looking forward to seeing you all there!
Many thanks to everyone who attended!
We look forward to seeing you at the other CBW events at CCCC this week!
Our last session is brought to us by the Houston-based Writers in the Schools (WITS) program. The WITS approach engages teachers and students in shared writing experiences while providing an embedded learning community. WITS partners professional writers with schools, prisons, juvenile detention centers, and other groups for one-hour workshops each week, which are safe spaces for writing as activist practice.
This workshop was very participatory, which is why this blog is short. Among other things, we focused on the power of image and did an activity that illustrated how even small alterations can change the meaning of an image. These types of activities are powerful pedagogy, in and outside the classroom.
This session focuses on contact points between the mission(s) of BW programs, the institution, and teaching practice, highlighting the diverse needs and talents of students enrolled in basic writing courses. The chair is Barbara Gleason, and speakers are Andrew Lucchesi (CUNY Grad Center), Hope Parisi (Kingsborough CC), and Christie Toth (Utah).
Andrew Lucchesi, “Experiments in Disabling the Basic Writing Classroom” (access talk at www.tinyurl.com/cbw-disability). Central question: How can a disability studies approach enable me to support students in the writing classroom? Focusing on two types of disabilities: learning disabilities (dyslexia and information processing impairments) and psychosocial disabilities: psychiatric impairments, such as depression or anxiety; development impairments, such as ADD; and social processing impairments, such as ASD.
Disability is an asset in the classroom, and a disability studies approach improves our pedagogy and pushes us to be more inclusive in the writing classroom. Lucchesi argues it’s the disparity of strengths that characterize learning disabilities, and he sees the BW classroom as an exciting place to build on written, aural, and spoken modes of composing. Lucchesi shows various adaptive tools and argues these tools can work for all students.
Speaker Two is Hope Parisi: “Writing Through the Academic Looking Glass: A Basic Writing and Support Services Tutorial Model for Multiple Repeaters.”At Kingsborough Community College, an exit exam must be passed for students to move into first-year writing courses, and some students repeatedly fail the exam. Her central question is whether a place still exists for “repeaters” in remedial structures, beyond a college’s or program’s default structures. How long will this place exist, and will it eventually result in remedial exits? At what cost? In other words, are we thinking about the students who don’t progress, students in whom a lot was invested?
Parisi identifies part of the problem as the “silo effect” of separable service units within a college/university, each addressing distinct needs. The tutorial model developed at KCC is an academic-driven model modeled on the work of Kathleen Manning et al. This model tailors support to students’ actual academic challenges found within the classroom. The tutorial offers a range of support services–counseling; advising, and occasional topic workshops, largely through TRIO–as well as “third space” comfort and social belonging via the studio model. This third space is important, because it is where the classroom experience can be safely re-processed and navigated.
The final speaker is Christie Toth from the University of Utah; her talk is entitled “‘Assimilation’ in Basic Writing: Learning from Tribal College Faculty and Students.” Her presentation focuses on the vexed issue of assimilation in basic writing instruction, specifically in the context of Native American student writers and tribal colleges. She performed an ethnographic case study at Dine’ College, which serves the Navajo Nation.
Tribal colleges face many challenges and are a complex site for research and teaching. Toth’s takeaways from her research: culture is important, but being focused only on the dangers of cultural assimilation removes us from the importance of teaching academic literacies as a means of challenging colonialism. Toth emphasizes Lyons’s concept of rhetorical sovereignty and that teaching academic literacy can be an example of rhetorical sovereignty; she also draws on Heath’s critical language awareness. Toth asks us to interrogate settler ideologies in the context of academic language and examine the role of writing in both perpetuating and resisting settler colonialism. She has found recent conversations in translingualism very helpful in understanding these dynamics. At the same time, we must teach students about language variation as rhetorical choices.
The CBW Workshop keynote presentation is being given jointly by Deborah Mutnick of Long Island University and Shannon Carter of Texas A&M Commerce. These two scholars’ work is well-known in basic writing circles, and both have given much to CBW as an organization.
The theme of this joint keynote is the relationship between surface realities and underlying social structures and the implications for the teaching and learning of writing. Guiding questions: How do we foster critical consciousness in the classroom? How do we foster students’ sense of agency? How can teachers help students overcome obstacles to learning?
They will return to two case studies in their previously published work–“Joe” in Mutnick’s Writing in an Alien World and “Eric” in Carter’s The Way Literacy Lives. Mutnick begins with a discussion of the work of Luis Villacanas de Castro, author of Critical Pedagogy and Marx, Vgotsky, and Freire.
So how do we foster students’ sense of agency? Carter gives us her big reveal: “Eric” is her brother. Eric had diverse, significant, and complex literacy practices outside of school, but those literacies were not able to be deployed in school. Eric didn’t see these literacies as literacy, either–the “real” writing was done in school. What he did outside of school wasn’t writing, in his view. Carter argues that school-based literacies have become so entrenched that only they are seen as literacy, while a wide range of literacy practices used outside of school are dismissed and ignored as not literacy. What Carter wants for Eric and all students is rhetorical dexterity: the ability to read, compose, and negotiate across linguistic codes. Mutnick then briefly discusses”Joe Baxter” from her book. Joe inspired the title of her book when he wrote a paper that asked, “Blacks in Science Fiction: Why Are We Invisible in an Alien World?”
How can teachers help students overcome obstacles to learning? We can practice Freirean conscientizacao or “critical consciousness.” We can engage in egalitarian, democratic dialogue, not because we want to be “nice” to students or even “democratic,” but because students needs democratic dialogue in order to grow intellectually. We as teachers needs to create the culture for students to transition into active intellectuals.
We must also engage in participatory action research. Rhetorical dexterity combined with participatory action research may help students engage with the phenomenal forms that impact their lives. We must create contexts through dialogue and participatory research in which students can take their own daily lives as the object of their reflection process.
This session is devoted to poster presentations by graduate students, who are showcasing their research-in-progress.
The first poster presentation is by Erika Johnson of Texas Woman’s University. Her project is entitled “The ‘Problem’ of Pronouns: ‘I,’ ‘You,’ and ‘We’ All Argue.” Erika contends that instead of seeing students’ pronoun usage as evidence of error, we should see this usage as arguments and strategies by which students are attempting to write themselves into various arguments and texts.
Our second poster presentation is by Justin King Rademaekers from West Chester University, focusing on WCU’s placement system. Their writing program has tried to combine elements of self-directed placement and accelerated learning programs (ALP).
The final poster presentation is from Leonara Anyango-Kivuva of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her work focuses on English Language Learners (ELLs), and she begins by stressing that while BW and ELL scholars don’t often interact, she feels very comfortable in this room, listening to conversations that touch on issues she deals with every day. There is more overlap in our scholarship that we sometimes acknowledge.
Her presentation is titled “Writing Journeys, Writing Selves,” and discusses the writing of Burundian refugees. This subject is the focus of her dissertation research, which she recently defended (congratulations!).
This year’s winner of CBW’s award for innovation (known as the INNY) is the writing program at Boise State University. Heidi Estrem, Dawn Shepherd, and Karen Uehling are presenting how they changed Boise State’s placement system.
Heidi begins by asking the audience to identify potential questions or issues we have about program policy or institutional process at our home institutions. She then continued by describing the limitations of Boise State’s then-current placement program, which was mandated by the state; every public institution in Idaho had to use the same system. This was a problem, for reasons that are obvious to any writing instructor–different student populations, different needs.
What Boise State did: created consensus and commitment by writing a whitepaper; found their allies by canvassing/meeting with stakeholders at each campus in Idaho; kept an open mind and developed a specific target and deliverables; created pilot projects and pushed for evidence-based placement; and kept the momentum going.
Karen Uehling is now discussing how the basic writing course structure changed at Boise State. The new model is called English 101 PLUS. (101+?)
The Idaho State Board of Education adopted “Complete College Idaho,” a corporate model. The Boise State WPAs were never able to get their stretch course to be credit-bearing, which was a huge source of frustration since this program was very successful. When the process of change the course curriculum began, it was difficult, as the stretch program worked well and instructors loved the course.
How Boise State revised its program: Reviewed “Complete College Idaho” options and selected the ALP approach. Planned new course with current stretch instructors and piloted a new course. Found allies and wrote a grant proposal for course and faculty development, not only for Boise State, but also the College of Western Idaho, Boise State’s sister community college.
New course ran in Fall 2013. They now have a for-credit English 101+ course and a three-hour English 101 course. This process gave the writing instructors a voice and input into the changes in the writing program.Karen wraps up by saying,”We are teaching the students, we care about them, we SHOULD have a voice in what we’re doing.”
Dawn Shepherd is now discussing the curricular change, which was prompted by general education reform at Boise State; new university learning outcomes; and research in the field on threshold concepts and writing transfer. Those affected by the curriculum change include students, FYW instructors, a second-year course (UF 200) that is writing intensive; and the instructors of the Communication in the Disciplines course, offered by every department on campus. Quotes Chuck Paine: “If you don’t get buy in, don’t do it.”
What Boise State did: used a quilting metaphor that honored a feminist conception of collaborative work; developed a “survey that helped make connections between local values, current pedagogies, and new research in the field; slowed the process down to allow for processing, which included coffee talks; instructors were given $5 Starbucks gift cards so they could meet in dyads and talk over the changes; and writing groups were formed. During 2016-17, the curriculum will continue to be developed through experimentation and pilot projects.
The discussion then returns to the audience’s institutional context. The audience is identifying their stakeholders and choosing one to identify values, attitudes, and assumptions. The audience is asked, when you return to your institution, what is one action you can take? The audience then does a write-pair-share activity.
For more information, the Boise State writing program has compiled resources on Google Drive at https://goo.gl/y0SJka.