Tenure and Promotion Portfolio

I've created an online portfolio of most of the work I've done the last several years for my tenure/promotion case. I have several revisions and additions already planned, but let me know if you have ideas for how to make it better.

Composition Colloquium

The Semester in Review

On Monday, a student in my Modern Composition Theory seminar requested an overview of what we'd done during the semester for the purposes of studying for the rhet-comp comprehensive exam. So I took an earlier handout I'd given them -- a list of the semester's readings in chronological order -- and grouped them roughly, which is what the student had asked me to do.

We used the Norton Book of Composition Studies in the class, and (as it's on the reading list for the PhD comp in rhetoric and composition) I intended it as a foundational text to sample the ideas in the field's history. The students are working on their own projects as well, which entail a lot of focused reading in their areas of interest.

So yeah, these are my headings I'm putting these readings under, and I know there are possible objections. I could have put Bartholomae in some other panel instead of the one I labeled "Current-Traditional Rhetoric: Defining It, Discrediting It," and we talked about that a little in class this afternoon, as well as other cases, like the Matsuda piece, which I guess could go in the computers and writing panel. Also, yes, I realize that there are differences among social process, social-epistemic, cultural studies, critical pedagogy, and post-process, and we talked about all of these distinctions today. Still, I was a little nostalgic for ComicLife, having not used it in a few months, so I decided to get a little creative with the handout, if you count using one of the program's templates as "creative."

The 2011 CCCC Intellectual Property Annual

The Conference on College Composition and Communication is going on right now, and this very afternoon is the CCCC Intellectual Property Caucus meeting. You should all go if you're in St. Louis for the conference; it starts at 2:00 this afternoon.

Every year, the Intellectual Property Committee publishes an Annual (PDF), and I encourage you to check out the 2011 issue. Here's the table of contents:

Introduction: Copyright and Intellectual Property in 2011
Clancy Ratliff

The Defeat of the Research Works Act and Its Implications
Mike Edwards

Open Access Initiatives
Annette Vee

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: What Golan v. Holder means for the Future of the Public Domain
Traci Zimmerman

“Sentence First—Verdict Afterwards”: The Protect IP and the Stop Online Piracy Acts
Kim D. Gainer

A Dark Day on the Internet Leads to a Sea Change in Copyright Policy
Laurie Cubbison

Occupy Trademark: Branding a Political Movement
Timothy R. Amidon

Costs of Care

Costs of Care has an annual essay contest in which they collect essays by medical professionals about how financial matters factor into the care they offer to their patients. These are the winners:

Doctors Cannot Be Expected to Be Financial Engineers

An Expensive Pain in the Neck (this one is by a patient)

Treating Heart Failure on a $100 Budget

Fashionably Late to the Sirc CCCarnival

I'm responding, past deadline, to Michael Faris's carnival prompt, in which he suggests that we read Geoffrey Sirc's "Resisting Entropy," a review essay published in College Composition and Communication's most recent issue.

Disclosure: I got my PhD at the University of Minnesota, and Geoff was on my dissertation committee. Knowing what I do of the institutional context here, I appreciate this article on a whole other level (not necessarily a higher level, to be sure). The U of M, for a very long time, offered first-year writing in three different departments: English, Rhetoric, and General College. I taught it in the rhetoric department: Rhetoric 1101 was the required course. English had their own course -- their graduate students taught a 1-1 load to our 2-1 in rhetoric -- and General College, a unit that mostly served underprepared students, had theirs. Geoff taught in General College for many years. "Pockets of expertise," the situation was called, until a c. 2005 "strategic positioning" plan, intended to make UMN one of the top three public research universities in the world, up there with UC Berkeley and the University of Michigan, was carried out by upper administration. When that happened, they did a lot of restructuring: consolidating some units, eliminating others. The General College was shut down, and a new unit, the Department of Writing Studies, was created. See this history by David Beard for more detail. Tenured professors had their lines transferred to other departments accordingly. Sirc is in the English department, not Writing Studies; my understanding is that he'd already made arrangements to have his line transferred to English prior to the formation of the new unit, so nothing personal. Still, my institutional memory informs my reading of parts like this on page 510:

You know what’s great? Henry James is great. You want to teach students how to be more conscious writers? Show them Henry James—what he wrote, how he wrote, what he thought about writing, his technologies of composition, and how they impacted his prose. “Writing studies,” you say? His is, indeed, writing worth studying. If you’re not going to teach a course exclusive of outside reading, why not use the most interesting reading there is? It’s long past time to revisit how and why literature became exiled from the composition classroom.

Yeah, so this response probably won't bring anything new to Sirc's argument; if you're looking for a dazzling critique, it's not happening here. OK, here are some other things that jumped out at me as I read:

"classroom practice based in the fantastic possibilities of form and content", p. 513

"interrogating all the forms and tools at their disposal," p. 515

"Choosing content from the entire cultural heritage of writing," p. 516

Like Kenneth Burke said in The Philosophy of Literary Form, "use all there is to use." Burke was talking about criticism, not writing classes, but both Burke and Sirc (via Hawk) are dealing with Coleridge, interestingly enough.

I like this resourceful approach to teaching writing (and everything else too) -- not closing off any category of texts. And in the longer quotation above, he's right about literature's place in the writing classroom! He's RIGHT. It makes me mopey about the situation writing program administrators face: the reality that not everyone thinks about composition pedagogy with the passion and seriousness that Sirc does, the warnings that if composition cedes any territory to literature, then first-year writing classes will become literature survey courses using essay exams, or worse, author-title-significance quotation-based short-answer exams. The dreaded slippery slope. I want to reject that argument, of course, but at the same time, it's true that some who teach FYW don't have quite the work ethic that one might like. Small wonder when we take working conditions into account, but I could see something like the slope happening. Besides, in the wrong hands, writing-about-literature classes can embody the same "bland, sanitized pedagogy" as the one "teaching clear, correct, citation-based essay form to students, using a literarily thin corpus of nonfiction readings as prompts" (511). Not that Sirc is putting literature out there as a silver bullet, certainly, but I've never understood the arguments for taking it out of writing classes entirely.

One of the highlights of the whole piece for me is on page 517: "Let me add, in sad disbelief, that some of the contributors to this volume actually have their undergraduate students read composition scholarship. Oh, my people, my people!" No comment.

Throughout the essay, I thought about the need for WAC as I read. It was nice to see Sirc acknowledge that at the end (518):

Until other departments are willing to take ownership for teaching students to do the writing in their field (either in first-year seminars or writing-intensive [WI] courses), it seems composition programs will remain a compromised, scapegoated service unit, having to fulfill their required, impossible mission by addressing presumed goals of academic writing, having students perfect the re-representation of thinly voiced, unimaginative prose, written in response to middlebrow nonfiction essays, in courses inflected more by politics than poetics, ideology rather than desire.

Sigh. By the way, I forgot to mention that earlier in the essay, Sirc addresses the conviction on the part of some writing teachers to try to awaken in their students a sense of civic engagement. For a long time, I accepted this responsibility at part of FYW. But really, why shouldn't it be everyone's responsibility? I still revere Lazere, but I don't buy this aspect of curriculum design anymore.

CCCC-IP Position Statement on Plagiarism Detection Services

Well hello! How shameful that I haven't posted since July. This is just a quick link to the CCCC Intellectual Property Caucus's position statement on plagiarism detection services. It doesn't seem to be online anymore, and I've been asked to provide it, so I'm uploading my copy as an attachment to this post.

Facebook (or Foursquare) Check-in as Rhetorical Act

I just got an iPhone about a month ago, and I've been taking advantage of the check-in feature from time to time. I can't help but notice where people are when they choose to hit the check-in button, though. The laundromat? McDonald's? Walmart? The Exxon station? The free clinic? Not so much. Check-ins are all part of the crafting of the person we want to show people. Why else do we do it? To let others know where we are in case they're also there? We would have seen them already anyway. To let people know where we are if they're nearby?* They probably wouldn't actually come to that place to see us, for fear of seeming stalkerish (I wouldn't take it that way).

I'm as guilty as anyone of checking in at certain places: the gym, the public library, the science museum, the farmers' market, church. These places tell people what -- that I care about being a good mom, that I care about health and intellectual enrichment. One of my FB friends has great check-ins: Big Lots, Long John Silver's. Oh well. I suppose I ought to just not check in at all, but it's kind of fun; the novelty hasn't worn off yet. I think I'll try checking in from a place I go today that's not so obnoxiously in line with my perception of my idealized self.

* Although I have to say, when I go to Florence, AL soon to see my family and friends, this will be exactly why I check in; I want to bump into as many people as possible.

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