Book Cover of Rhetorics of Whiteness

Congratulations to Joyce Middleton!

Congratulations to Associate Professor Joyce Middleton, whose book Rhetorics of Whiteness: Postracial Hauntings in Popular Culture, Social Media, and Education (co-edited with Tammy M. Kennedy and Krista Ratcliffe) was published in December 2016 by Southern Illinois University Press. The essays in this book reveal how identifications with racialized whiteness continue to manifest themselves in American culture.
More about the book: http://www.siupress.com/books/978-0-8093-3546-6. Go English!
[Pictured: Book cover at left/top showing a rollercoaster and a blue sky; book cover at bottom/right showing a large skeleton leaning over smaller people.]

Caswell publishes *The Working Lives of New Writing Center Directors*

Congratulations to Dr. Nikki Caswell, whose book The Working Lives of New Writing Center Directors was just published by Utah State University Press!
 
The first book-length empirical investigation of writing center directors’ labor, The Working Lives of New Writing Center Directors presents a longitudinal qualitative study of the individual professional lives of nine new directors. The authors adopt a case study approach to examine the labor these directors performed and the varied motivations for their labor, as well as the labor they ignored, deferred, or sidelined temporarily, whether or not they wanted to. The nine directors discuss more than just their labor; they address their motivations, their sense of self, and their own thoughts about the work they do, facets of writing center director labor that other types of research or scholarship have up to now left invisible. The book strikes a new path in scholarship on writing center administration.
 
Further, the publisher liked this book so much that they did a special print run with a limited edition cover! The standard cover is left/top in the photo, and the limited edition cover is bottom/right.
Photo of Dr. Nicole Caswell

Writing Center Administration as/and Emotional Labor

Rebecca Jackson, Jackie Grutsch McKinney, and Nicole I. Caswell. “Writing Center Administration as/and Emotional Labor” Summer 2016. Composition Forum 34: http://compositionforum.com/issue/34/writing-center.php

Abstract: Scholars have offered research and theory about emotional labor and the feeling of emotion in rhetoric and composition, but we have little if any such research on writing center work specifically. Drawing on data from a year-long qualitative study of writing center directors’ labor, this article examines writing center directors’ emotional labor as valuable yet undervalued, fulfilling yet fraught. Emotional labor was work our participants had to do—and often wanted to do and enjoyed doing—in order to accomplish (smoothly, swiftly, or at all) the other tasks on their to-do lists. Emotional labor included tasks such as mentoring, advising, making small talk, putting on a friendly face, resolving conflicts, making connections, delegating and following up on progress, working in teams, disciplining or redirecting employees, gaining trust, and creating a positive workplace. Ultimately, participants suggest that emotional labor is difficult not because they must devote so much time to it, but because they have not been adequately prepared to expect and negotiate it.

From left to right: Tracy Morse, Will Banks, Wendy Sharer, Michelle Eble

ECU faculty publish book after finding success in improving writing program

Pictured from left to right: Tracy Morse, Will Banks, Wendy Sharer, Michelle Eble

Re-posted from http://blog.ecu.edu/sites/ecunow/blog/2016/05/10/ecu-faculty-publish-book-after-finding-success-in-improving-writing-program/

 

Members of East Carolina University’s English Department collaborated to publish a book they hope will help other higher education institutions harness the full potential of their writing programs.

After successfully utilizing the reaccreditation process to improve ECU’s writing program, faculty members Will Banks, Wendy Sharer, Tracy Morse and Michelle Eble co-edited, “Reclaiming Accountability: Improving Writing Programs through Accreditation and Large-Scale Assessments.” The book provides examples of how departments and writing programs have used accreditation to gain the kinds of benefits seen at ECU through similar initiatives around the country.

As part of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), required for accreditation, the authors focused their efforts on specific initiatives that would help broaden the reach of ECU’s writing program. “We saw reaccreditation as an opportunity to rethink our first-year writing program and our writing-intensive program so they worked together more effectively at helping students move from beginning college-level writing and thinking across their years at ECU,” said Banks, associate professor.

According to Sharer, director of the QEP, some of the changes seen in the program at ECU include:

  • Additional peer consultants to work with students and faculty in all disciplines in a larger, welcoming University Writing Center.
  • A revised Writing Foundations curriculum that includes a new, sophomore-level composition course designed to help students transition into writing in their major areas.
  • Writing mentors embedded in writing-intensive courses across the curriculum.
  • A website that brings together writing-related resources.

Additionally, the university provided resources to help faculty learn new information about writing and how to teach it in major courses.

As part of the updated curriculum, the class “Writing About the Disciplines” was added for second-year students to make it easier to transfer their skills to writing for their disciplines. “We are making the writing that students are doing explicitly relevant to the writing they will do in their majors or even careers,” said Eble, associate professor.

Their book brings together a series of critical cases that show how accreditation has been used in similar ways at other institutions to effect change on campus and across various academic programs. It illustrates how faculty can use accreditation to cultivate campus-wide discussions of writing to better meet local student learning needs.

–Jamie Smith

Photo of Dr. Nicole Caswell

A Glimpse into the Working Lives of New Writing Center Directors.

Caswell, Nicole, Jackie Grutsch McKinney and Rebecca Jackson. “A Glimpse into the Working Lives of New Writing Center Directors.” Forum. 18.1 (2014): A3-A8.

Abstract: This article offers a first glimpse into the researchers findings that new writing center directors engage in multiple kinds of labor, from the disciplinary and everyday to the emotional, and that the nature of this work complicates received notions of writing centers, writing center administration, and writing center work in general. In conversations they had with their participants over the year, it became apparent to them that participants’ everyday labor was quite varied — some directors tutored, taught, handled paychecks, developed schedules, and supervised other managers, while others did not. But their participants were more similar than dissimilar in the disciplinary and emotional labor they were engaged with. Almost all participants voiced a desire for more time to devote to disciplinary labo — whether to shore up their credentials or publish in the field — although they recognized that most of their time was spent with everyday concerns and emotional labor they likely had not anticipated.

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