Question #1: Mission of WPA-GO
Kendra L. Andrews
As described a bit in my bio, I am very passionate about WPA studies and hope to work in a WPA role when I graduate. For this reason, I created my New WPA website (http://kandre17.wix.com/new-wpas) as a resource that connects veteran WPAs with those who are new to the field. I included advice from current WPAs, forums for discussion, and questions to ask when one becomes a new WPA.
With this resource, I hope to “support graduate student WPA preparation and strengthen connections between graduate students and professional WPAs” by offering a space for these groups to come together and join in a conversation together. I would like to continue adding to this site and make it a hub for mentorship, networking, and gaining/sharing knowledge about the WPA professional field.
Furthermore, my work with Dr. Chris Anson in his WPA class as well as our research on peer review has positioned me to support, shadow, and work with a great WPA who has served the field and the CWPA for many years. (back to the top)
As an assistant to the WPA, I currently work to support the professional development of GTAs on my own campus. Together (with my WPA and co-assistant), we develop orientation programs, events that support technology use and development, and work to maintain and grow our existing digital and on-campus presence within the graduate program. We work to support GTAs of diverse backgrounds and experiences as they enter our program, find their foothold in compositional theory and practice, and work towards success as teachers and students. In return, I am made a more reflective classroom teacher, and ecologically, the department grows closer through the community we share. Additionally, I minor in Digital Multimodality and have experience presenting at digital poster sessions, building websites and blogs, utilizing an academic and teacherly social media presence, and designing and producing visual texts. I feel I could use these skills to support WPA-GO events. (back to the top)
My research and experience as a Graduate WPA allows me to examine the ways in which professional development opportunities, networking events, and mentoring with scholar-professionals can be flexible and accessible to all WPA-GO members. This emphasis ultimately benefits all WPA-GO members, regardless of disability (or lack thereof), and meets the organization’s commitment to diverse and inclusive practices. (back to the top)
WPA-GO’s most important functions are to support graduate students interested in WPA work and to facilitate the connections between graduate students and professional WPAs; I believe that my experience as a TA of six years, a graduate communication consultant, and as a graduate WPA, combined with my research interests, will help me to advance the organization’s mission. Much of my research centers around how new teaching assistants develop as instructors of composition, convincing me of how crucial professional development opportunities are. As an aspiring WPA, I am excited to be engaged in this kind of crucial work within WPA-GO. In addition, my work as a graduate WPA has already allowed me to begin this work, and I am looking forward to the opportunities to help graduate students outside of my institutions to develop professional contacts and mentoring relationships. (back to the top)
Presently, I’m a graduate writing program administrator at my university, and in this role, I have honed my skill at encouraging my colleagues to participate in faculty professional development workshops. I advocate that we have as many GTAs as possible present at GTA orientation so that our GTAs might see themselves as experts in the classroom. I also host curriculum meetings at the beginning of each semester, in which I invite faculty members to share their best practices with the department. By encouraging faculty participation in professional development, I create a sense of unity in our department. I’m also an advocate for networking, which is evidenced by my present leadership role in WPA-GO: Co-Chair for the WPA-GO event at CWPA 2017. In this role, I’m experiencing the joy of networking with graduate students across the nation, and I am planning on an event that will boost the joy of networking. (back to the top)
Earning my M.Ed and working in Residence Life prior to pursuing my doctorate taught me to value intentional professional and personal development. As a doctoral student, I’ve used this knowledge and experience to seek out mentors and to carefully cultivate professional-personal relationships. Because of this experience and my understanding of theories of student identity development, I approach professionalization as a constant, self-reflective practice; I prioritize having immediate, short-term, and long-term goals that reframe the work of a graduate student–whether in classes or dissertating–in terms of what they are learning from these experiences and constant reflection on how these experiences contribute to their attainment of future goals. Because our identities are always in negotiation, I advocate consistent, mindful reflection and connecting this reflection towards future goals. WPA-GO, with its emphasis on mentoring and professional development, shares these values. (back to the top)
I can help advance the mission of WPA-Go by calling on my experience in working with diverse student populations, advocating for the needs of graduate students in my department, utilizing what I learned about graduate student needs writ large through my writing center work, and deploying an antiracist perspective to WPA-Go initiatives. Further, I would like to help advance WPA-Go’s mission by including my knowledge and research regarding disability so that WPA-Go can expand to meet the diverse and important needs of graduate students with disabilities. (back to the top)
I have served in multiple administrative roles during my time in graduate school. Each of these opportunities has taught me how to bring groups of individuals together to accomplish a larger goal, even as these individuals branch off into their own interest groups to accomplish additional goals. I am committed to social justice and enacting the ethical behaviors and beliefs we so often speak of in WPA circles, and which I have consistently strived to practice in my own administrative and teaching roles. My research and teaching are so heavily focused on what it means to be part of a community–even if that community is a counter-community fighting injustice and mainstream ideals. My background and experiences have prepared me to work with others to accomplish the wide variety of needs and desires that motivate us all to continue improving both WPA and WPA-GO. (back to the top)
As someone who is committed to two-year colleges and understands that most graduate students will end up teaching at these colleges, I would assist other members of WPA-GO in understanding the unique nature of these schools and the students who attend them. (back to the top)
Shane A. Wood
My philosophy for teaching relies heavily on the great work and companionship of previous mentors and current colleagues, individuals in composition who have helped shaped me, my interests, and my knowledge as both a teacher and student. I owe a great deal of gratitude to those mentors and the professional development that has come from those relationships. Ultimately, I want to extend my thanks and provide opportunities for scholars and graduate students to connect and cultivate relationships. WPA-GO provides the space and the means to do that. I want to see more people from diverse backgrounds, from different institutions and with different experiences to come together and share their expertise. (back to the top)