Writing Program Issues | ENG 514 | Spring 17 || Wednesdays: 7-9.45pm

dr. campbell || office: HH 351 || office hours: M,W 1-3pm & W 4.30-6pm || email:

Course Description

In this graduate seminar, we take up the highly specialized field of writing studies and in particular the field and its history along with the writing program and its administration. Recognizing that not all universities are the same (from research institutions to teaching institutions to community colleges), we’ll think of writing and the writing program broadly, considering not only the traditional writing program, but a variety of types of writing program issues,including research, pedagogy, theory, program building, developing intra-institutional relationships, and more. We will consider a broad range of questions, focusing on several which I believe are enduring, but working together to find other questions to consider:
• What are the implications of writing and composition theories for the classroom?
• What might a pedagogy based on these theories look like?
•Is Writing Program work different from other types of intellectual and service work undertaken in universities? How and why? What can the study of Writing Program history offer those asked to perform Writing Program work?
•Should WPAs focus on traditional roles such as mentoring graduate students, or reposition themselves as public intellectuals?
•What roles should assessment, research, and data-driven decision-making play in contemporary Writing Programs?
•What responsibilities do writing programs have for ensuring at-risk and/or under-represented students, staff, and faculty are treated fairly and respectfully, and supported successfully?
•How should writing programs, writing centers, English departments, and other institutional units be interconnected and/or organized?


25% participation in class discussion + presentations (expected with exuberance)
20% course blog writings
25% course assignments (book review, audio essay, deep reader, semester-long summaries)
30% final project/essay

Because this is a grad course, this breakdown should be considered a rough guide rather than a mathematical certainty. Talk with me if you have questions or concerns.


Tate, Gary, Amy Rupiper, and Kurt Schick. A Guide to Composition Pedagogies
A Rhetoric for Writing Program Administrators ed. by Rita Malenczyk
Jay Jordan’s Redesigning Composition for Multilingual Realities
Selections (TBA) from Byron Hawk’s A Counter-History of Composition and
Selections (TBA) from Thomas Rickert’s Acts of Enjoyment: Rhetoric, Zizek, and the Return of the Subject
Jody Shipka’s Toward a Composition Made Whole
Jonathan Alexander’s and Jacqueline Rhodes’s On Multimodality: New Media in Composition Studies
Linda Adler-Kassner’s The Activist WPA (pdf on myclasses)
Sid Dobrin’s Don’t Call it That.
Paul Lynch’s After Pedagogy: The Experience of Teaching


WPA-focused seminars often require graduate students to subscribe to the WPA-L, the email discussion list unofficially associated with the Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA). However, I recommend the reverse: do not subscribe to the list. The email volume is very high, and unfortunately the signal-to-noise ratio is not. Lately, there have been too many instances where conversations on the list devolved into flame wars, and I have too often seen new voices (e.g.graduate students) shouted down by long-time list members. When the immediate past president decides to unsubscribe, that suggests a serious problem. Your time is better spent searching the list archives, reading back issues of Writing Program Administration, or reading our course texts.


In a graduate course, we can get by with a very small amount of policy language.
1. Be kind and generous. Our classrooms and electronic spaces are places where everyone should feel welcome. Be generous in your responses to your colleagues, face to face and online.
2. Talk with me. I email, speak, write, web, tweet, Skype, Gmail chat, etc. and welcome conversations with you in all those forms.  I welcome office visits, too — with or without an appointment — and I’m eager to help you not only with this course but with anything related to your graduate work. Please note: I have special office hours for graduate students on Wednesday’s from 4.30-6.00 (right before our class).
3. Prepare. Read the texts carefully; I highly recommend you take notes (your gift to your
future self). Use the detailed schedule to focus your reading. Please bring all relevant texts to class on the days we are engaging them. Paper and electronic versions are equally welcome.
4. Engage. Participation is a requirement. Share your work early and often. If you miss a class, please discuss it with me in advance or as soon as possible thereafter.
5. Treats. Bring treats to share with the class.

Academic Honesty

If you plagiarize, you will fail this course, and a report will be made to the Chair of the English Department.

Disability Accommodations

If you have a disability that may affect your performance in this class, you may obtain adaptation recommendations from the Student Disability Support Services

Course Projects


I’m asking a lot of you in this course: critical engagement with readings and each other in person as well as online, plus a willingness to push your own research and scholarly self to a new place.

As a graduate-level course, this class depends on every student’s active participation—through in-class and online discussions of the assigned texts, as well as presentations, thoughtful responses to each other and thoughtful engagement with course projects. You are expected to complete the required reading/listening/viewing/writing/production assignments before coming to class. You are further expected to come to class with thoughtful and quality things to say about the assigned texts and your classmate’s comments.

Blog posts

Our course blog ( is a site for discussion outside of class. It is public, but you are welcome to use a pseudonym on it. Each week, by the MONDAY BEFORE CLASS, you will write a 300-500 word post wrestling with ideas relevant to the topics and readings in class that week. You are gifted two bi-weeks or free weeks (plus, the 3 weeks we do not meet) to catch-up and breathe, as needed. In total, I expect 10 thoughtful blogs (2 will be synthesis blogs and 8 will be original responses to readings and/or classmates). You cannot skip week 1 or 2, however. They are required blogs. Deep reader weeks you need only post your synthesis.

For my purposes, a blog response is an informed reaction to the text where you participate in meaning-making with the author of the text. To write a response: Think about the pedagogical camp(s) in which the author grounds himself/herself. Use the articles as an impetus to explore your own pedagogical beliefs, keeping in mind the different camps outlined in A Guide to Composition Pedagogies. Where appropriate, you should include examples that might connect with your teaching (or learning) experiences. You can group the responses to readings together to discuss them all at once, or you can discuss each one individually—either way, be sure to touch on all of the readings assigned for class. At the conclusion to your blog, please provide one discussion-based theoretical or scholarly question, and one pedagogical question. I encourage you to pull in outside resources in these posts: links, videos, articles, etc. that are relevant.  A wrap-up reflection on your blogging is due online May 10th.You’re encouraged to read and comment on other students’ posts before coming to class.

Please note, there are a few cases where I have clearly prescribed what I’d like you to blog about (the week of Feb 1st and Feb 8th…there may be others).

Summary and Presentation of A Guide to Composition Pedagogies

This introductory project has three parts: 1.Summarize your assigned chapter from A Guide to Composition. This is not an evaluative summary or a rhetorical analysis of the book chapter; instead, you are condensing the chapter as a resource to your fellow classmates so they will know whether they need to review the chapter for their individual reflective papers. You should write the summary in complete sentences and in paragraph form. 2. After the summary, you should then provide summaries of two recent scholarly articles that extend the pedagogy or give a representation of this pedagogy, a rationale as to  why you selected them, and how they compare/contrast with the overview of the pedagogy in A Guide. 3. In a conclusion, please offer some sense of the pedagogy: where it fits in the field, its value, and how it is currently being used/understood.  Please include bibliographic information in the form of a Works Cited page. You will be required to present this work to your peers on Feb 8th (approximately 3-5 pages typed, double-spaced pages).

Semester-long summaries

For each of the assigned readings, you will need to provide a summary of the major arguments of the piece.  At the top of the summary, please list authors and titles of the readings. You will write these weekly in preparation for class discussion. However, these will be due at midterm and again at the final (via myclasses). This assignment is meant to help you collate the texts of our course and the field, prepare for exams, and make you an informed researcher and reader. Like the blogs, you are gifted two bi-weeks or free weeks on the summaries plus the 3 weeks we do not meet for class.

Midterm summaries due the week of March 15th (just get them in by Sunday) || Final summaries due May 19th.

Deep reader

We will read a lot in this course. We won’t get to all of it, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t accountable.  Each week, we will have two “deep readers” on the topic–students who have read the texts and thought about the ideas extra-carefully (each person will sign up for two weeks to be a “deep reader”). This person is someone who extends the ideas of the class to the texts and works to connect those ideas to current events or teaching or anything else you find useful. During the week that you are assigned to be a “deep reader,” you will: be extra present in class; connect the week’s readings to other themes that have developed in the course; extend the ideas from the readings into current events or academic trends; apply the ideas to our research and teaching practices; ask questions of your colleagues; and deepen the questions for further research and discussion.

As part of your deep reading role, you will, by the FRIDAY AFTER CLASS meets, synthesize the ideas from our online and in class  discussions. You are the local “expert” on the themes for that week. This role will begin the third week of class, and there will be two deep readers per week.

Book Review in the field of Rhetoric and Composition

Writing a book review is a great way to think deeply about the project and argument of a text, as well as to try out the publishing process. For your book review, you may choose a book referenced by one of the texts we’re reading in class, or you may choose an alternative text, but check with me first. You will write a standard review (I’ll provide models) and give a short presentation on the book to the class. Your presentation and review should address: the scholarly discourse in which the author is participating, the book’s contributions to that discourse, its main arguments and any issues/ideas you wish the book addressed but didn’t. I’ll collect your written reviews and share them on CourseWeb so that they serve as resources for you as you navigate your way through the course. 1500 word review, 5-8min presentation in class. Presentations will be staggered, 1-2 each week starting in April. You will sign up. If you’d like to publish this book review, keep in mind that the book needs to have come out in the last 2 years or so to be relevant.

Compose in audio

Interview two people about their experiences with writing and/or writing programs—-writing issues(!!)–at least one should not be a grad student. Record the audio of those interviews. With the audio you have collected, compose an audio essay. An audio essay should not be simply a reading of a written text; it should be multivocal, paced in a way to match our aural capabilities, and textured with various kinds of sounds as transitions between sections. At some point in your audio essay you should ask some generative questions about writing, pedagogies, and writing programs that were inspired by your interviews. 3 – 6 min. Must include audio from both interviews and sounds/music from other sources. Have fun!

Final Essay/Project

A paper of 4000 words or an equivalent digital project. We’ll talk about projects in class on April 12th and a proposal for your project is due April 26th. Your project should pull from course readings as well as outside readings, and it should further our understanding of the interplay between writing, writing programs, and pedagogies (and the world). Your project proposal (1000-1500 words) will include: an overview of your concept; the significance of your project; an understanding of the scholarly conversations in which you’re participating; a description of your methodology; a rationale for your topic choice; a discussion of the connection of your work to your own development; a plan for your work. You are not required to submit your course project for publication, but you should research journals in your field and target a specific journal to give yourself an audience outside of our classroom.


from A Guide to Composition Pedagogies all the way to a complete disruption of pedagogy itself with Paul Lynch’s new book, After Pedagogy, we cover everything we can about writing, its programs, pedagogies, and fraught past, present, and future. 

There is more reading here than we can attend to in class. This problem will be partially remedied by the expertise contributed by our deep readers, and by designating some of these readings as optional.This syllabus, like life itself, is subject to change.

Feb 1: Introduction, history, groundwork

Fulkerson, “Composition at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century” [myclasses]
Fulkerson, “Four Philosophies” [myclasses]
Berlin, “Contemporary Composition” [myclasses]
“Critical Introduction” from Relations, Locations, Positions [myclasses]
Blog after class (very prescriptive), due by Fridayish :
Assign chapters

Feb 8th: History + groundwork cont.

Tate, Rupiper and Schick, A Guide to Composition Pedagogies.
Presentations of Chapter Summaries
Blog after class: Snapshot of your chapter (100 words or equivalent). Be memorable.

Treats: Kasey

Feb 15th: A Rhetoric (and overview) for Writing Programs

A Rhetoric for Writing Program Administrators ed. by Rita Malenczyk
Deep reader(s):Nick, Lindsey, Miranda

Treats: Dylan

Feb 22nd: Issues for Writing + Writing Programs || Responding + Plagiarism

Sommers, “Responding” (JSTOR:  CCC 33.2 , May 1982, pp. 148-56),
Sommers, Rutz, and Tinberg, “Re-visions: Nancy Sommers’s ‘Responding to Student Writing.’” (JSTOR  CCC 58 (2006): 246-66.)
Fife and O’Neill “Moving beyond the Written Comment: Narrowing the Gap between Response Practice and Research (JSTOR CCC 53.2 (2001): 300 -320 )
Moore Howard, “Ethics of Plagiarism;” (pdf or hard copy)
Mamatas, “The Term Paper Artist;” (pdf or hard copy)
Brown et al., “Taking on Turnitin”(pdf or hard copy
Moore Howard, “Sexuality” (pdf or hard copy from Norton book of comp studies 1205)
Deep reader(s): Jane + Lindsey

Treats: Josh

March 1: Issues for Writing + Writing Programs cont. || Identity

Royster: “When the First Voice You Hear Is Not Your Own” (pdf)
Overview of Rose “Lives on the Boundary”(pdf)
Introduction to editing audio. Discuss Audio assignment.
Deep reader(s): Kendra and Nick

Treats: Lauren
*Bring in a list of potential books to review for the Book Review assignment. Look at Book Reviews and peruse list of needed reviews.

March 8th: Revisions || Theory, Writing Programs, and the Field of Composition

Introduction, Ch. 1, Ch. 2, Ch. 6 & Afterword of Byron Hawk’s A Counter-History of Composition and
“Prospective,””On Belatedness and the Return of the Subject,” Ch. 6 and “Retrospective” of  Thomas Rickert’s Acts of Enjoyment: Rhetoric, Zizek, and the Return of the Subject
Skype with Byron and Thomas
Deep reader: Rachel, Adam, Jane

Treats: Kendra

March 15th: No Class || Professor at CCCC’s

*** Turn in Midterm summaries by Sunday, March 19th***

March 22nd: No class || Spring Break

March 29th: No class || Professor at College English Association Conference (CEA)
[[Book review due to myclasses]]

April 5th: Revisions || Writing Programs and Multilingualism

Jay Jordan’s Redesigning Composition for Multilingual Realities
Deep reader(s): Dylan and Lauren
DUE: Audio essay (play draft in class)

Treats: Adam

April 12th: Revisions || Writing Programs and Multimodality

Jody Shipka’s Toward a Composition Made Whole
Skype with Jody Shipka
Deep reader(s): Josh + Miranda

Treats: Rachel

April 19th: Revisions || Writing Programs and Multimodality cont.

Jonathan Alexander’s and Jacqueline Rhodes’s On Multimodality: New Media in Composition Studies
Deep reader(s): Nick + Adam
DUE: Optional revisions on Audio Essay + written reflection [to myclasses]

Treats: Miranda

April 26th: Writing Programs + Activism

Linda Adler-Kassner’s The Activist WPA (pdf on myclasses)
Deep reader(s): Lauren + Kasey
DUE: Final project proposal due in class

Treats: Lindsey

May 3rd: Writing Programs + Meta-reflection

Sid Dobrin’s Don’t Call it That.
Deep reader(s): Kendra, Rachel, Nick

Treats: Jane

May 10th: Writing Programs implode || Angst, the Posthuman, and Postpedagogy OH MY!

Paul Lynch’s After Pedagogy: The Experience of Teaching
Deep reader(s): Josh, Dylan, Kasey
DUE: Blog post wrap-up

Treats: Nick

May 19th: Final project due