Question #3: Fostering inclusion and diversity
Application question: CWPA pledges to “foster inclusion more generally; promote research into student diversities; promote policies that increase diversity in our membership and in the population of people who administer writing programs; and explicitly act against the structures that cause injustice today,” and WPA-GO is dedicated to supporting this mission. How will your selection to the WPA-GO Graduate Committee advance this goal?
Kendra L. Andrews
I have worked very hard to expose our PhD program to a diversity of cultures and thought through conferences, scholarship, and inclusivity. I have served as the voice of a diverse student body as the graduate student representative for the CRDM Program Committee where I am working to align our policies and working conditions with both Title IX and Accessibility policies.
Furthermore, my scholarship and research projects reflect my desire to include the voices of all cultures, people, and ideas. I think that this inclusive perspective is important to develop early since it will be paramount when in a WPA position. Especially in this current political climate, it is more important than ever before to show that we are not only welcoming but also serving all people, cultures, and ideas.
If chosen to become part of the WPA-GO Graduate Committee, I will strive to uphold the goals of inclusivity and diversity as laid out by the CWPA and supported by WPA-GO. I hope to serve as a surrogate voice for all the voices in our field and I hope to continue the important and progressive work that CWPA and WPA-GO is already doing. (back to the top)
As a first-generation college student and a former secondary teacher with experience in Title I schools, I understand the importance of supporting diversity and agree that CWPA and WPA-GO needs to have diverse representation so that graduate students and undergraduate students of all backgrounds and experiences can look at our organizations and see the field of Composition and WPA work as futures they might own. If asked to serve on the Graduate Committee, I will work to create an inclusive environment on any subcommittee that I would lead, utilize feminist methods of leadership that embrace community and co-constituency, and will continue to read and be shaped by a variety of scholarly voices from our field. (back to the top)
As a disability studies scholar, finding ways to increase access while fostering a strong learning environment is at the core of my research and my teaching practices. This commitment to access translates directly to my professional work as a Graduate WPA, where I work to ensure that the needs of GTAs with disabilities are seen, heard, and validated as legitimate and worthy of attention. My selection to the WPA-GO Graduate Committee would enable me to expand this critical awareness to a broader network of scholars and student administrators, which has the potential to benefit and enrich the professional experiences of GTAs on a national scale. (back to the top)
As a current graduate WPA and an aspiring WPA, I firmly support fostering greater inclusion (both in our membership and students) and acting against unjust policies and structures. If I were to become a WPA-GO Graduate Committee member, I would advance this mission by continuing many of the great initiatives the group has already begun. The Diversity and Outreach Committee does great work, and I would want to continue and support further growth of this group’s activities. However, explicitly acting against unjust structures is obviously not just the work of one committee; especially in this age of “alternative facts” and our charged political climate, this kind of work needs to be an essential part of all of WPA-GO’s many different activities. (back to the top)
As a former adjunct instructor at a community college, I know first-hand what it’s like to be a contingent faculty member at the oft-overlooked two-year college. We need more voices in CWPA, especially the voices of those who experience the grueling work as a contingent faculty member and two-year college WPA administrators. It’s a personal goal of mine to extend writing studies to as many places as possible, and two-year colleges need writing studies now more than ever with so many students attending two-year colleges for their composition credit hours. In this position, I will reach out to two-year universities to inspire them to create writing programs and have WPAs. Because I’ve taught in a community college and because of my work as a graduate WPA, I could help extend CWPA conversations beyond the four-year university. I will also like to add more graduate student voices to our conversations, both in order to shape effective policies and to motivate more scholarly work in writing program administration. Currently, as chair of the WPA-GO event planning committee for CWPA 2017, I’m developing strategies to encourage graduate students participate at the event. But these graduate students already know about WPA-GO. In order to add more graduate students to our number, I will reach out to other organizations, such as IWCA-GO, to coordinate ways to spread the word about graduate student involvement in our organizations. Working with other organizations opens up our dialogue in ways that both expand our horizons while unifying our field. (back to the top)
My scholarship examines reading in the composition classroom, often drawing upon concepts from disability studies. While we recognize–broadly speaking–literacy as a sociomaterial process and understand that literacy practices intersect with a range of identity markers, we rarely address reading as such in the classroom. In fact, many of the habituated ways in which reading enters our classrooms reflect ablest assumptions of how students interact with texts (from holding books to the ability to read dense lines of text without modification); however, when we begin to emphasize the materiality of textual practices–how the tools of literacy impact the meanings that are made with them–we necessarily begin to draw out intersections with social markers as well. For example, having students experiment with reading (or writing) texts in different font sizes helps them achieve a new awareness of how the physicality of the text promotes certain expectations of interaction with it. Moreover, having these conversations and encouraging students to investigate textual practices opens up space to draw out students who benefit from a more flexible approach to textual practices–or who already routinely change texts because of accommodations.
If selected to WPA-GO GC, I’d bring attention to disability as something that affects not only the students we teach, but the teachers among us as well. Using WPA-GO’s digital presence, I’d encourage more inclusive social media practices and bring greater attention to issues of access and promoting it through a digital emphasis. (back to the top)
My selection to the WPA-Go graduate committee will further the mission of WPA-Go because I am already connected with a multifaceted and unique range of graduate students throughout the nation. These students are people with physical disabilities, neurodivergent, different races, ethnicities, genders, and come from universities that run the gamut from very small to R1 level. As a member of the WPA-Go graduate committee, I would continue to build these connections, as well as help the organization create connections at underserved universities like the one that I attend, as well as the universities in the same city which are never represented at CWPA conferences by either faculty or graduate students. I think that my experience in such an environment — one in which I was born and raised and came back to for my PhD — will allow me to foster relationships with people and institutions that are underserved and underrepresented by CWPA and WPA-GO. (back to the top)
I teach and research how communities, both large and small, are persuaded by all forms of mainstream communication–and how we can resist those mainstream messages that run counter to our ethical, moral, and logical values. I have a vast background in both social justice rhetoric as well as digital rhetoric, and combine the two to maximize the effect we can have, even as graduate students, to promote peace, change, and justice, as well as how we can encourage our own students to join the cause. However, such achievement and impactful change cannot happen at just an individual or small group level if we seek real, lasting success–we must reimagine the way we design our writing programs with the lasting impressions we can have on our students in mind. This need for diverse pedagogical strategies and inclusion requires WPAs and all those working in writing programs to rethink how we approach not just critical thinking and writing, but how we embody other forms of critical communication in our societies. If we are seeking change on our campuses, in our communities, in our nation, and even in our world, it must begin with a thought translated into practice. We are the ones who must think the thoughts that become our practices, and we must ensure we maintain our commitment to our ethical, moral, and logical values. (back to the top)
I am very focused on two-year colleges, which is both an underrepresented level in all things writing students AND a level for which many graduate students are not prepared to teach even though most will end up teaching at two-year colleges. (back to the top)
Shane A. Wood
My research focuses on fostering inclusion in our writing programs and writing classrooms by critically thinking and analyzing the effectiveness of what we do. How are our programs working to promote student diversity? How are our systems and structures creating an opportunity for inclusion of diverse populations? How is our pedagogy and our assessments aligning with our philosophies for inclusion? How are we confronting and addressing injustices? My interest aligns specifically with writing assessment and how, or in what ways, assessment works for and against certain identities. Ultimately, my pedagogy attempts to embrace all identities. Systems and structures contain ideologies that favor and privilege some identities over others. My research confronts those systems and paradigms and attempts to provide solutions or ways in which we can effectively build policies that help foster more fair practices. I will continue to do that work if selected for WPA-GO. I will strive to generate even more conversations about inclusion and discuss explicitly the ways our writing programs and writing classrooms are acting and being acted upon by various participants and identities. (back to the top)