Carolinas Writing Program Administrators is delighted to announced that our 15th Annual Meeting in the Middle will take place from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, February 19, 2021. Please see the CFP below for more information. You can register by completing this Google Form. Registration is free; however, we encourage all attendees to support Carolinas WPA by renewing their membership to the organization ($20/year for full-time TT faculty and $10/year for other faculty and students). Follow this link to renew your membership. Visit the Carolinas WPA homepage to learn more about the organization.
Teaching, Writing, and Administrating in the time of Corona: Building and Maintaining Community in Remote Spaces
It is an obvious understatement to say that this past year has been tremendously difficult–heartbreaking, overwhelming, unpredictable, seemingly unending–and we’ve all been affected in different ways by events local and (inter)national alike. Trying to figure out how we can forge ahead as writing teachers, scholars, and administrators–if not maintain or reduce our expectations for what we’ve been able to achieve in the midst of everything that’s happened–might well seem like yet another insurmountable obstacle.
To work through these dilemmas, Carolinas WPA invites you to a virtual session of our annual Meeting in the Middle conference for a day of coming together to share resources and ideas, to strategize collaboratively, and to socialize with treasured friends, old and new alike. We want to learn: how have we worked and fought to sustain ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities throughout it all? How might we continue to do so?
Participants are not obligated to attend with any particular ideas or questions in mind to address, but we want to provide plenty of opportunity to work through some helpful and important issues that impact each of us, both in general and in this particular moment.
If you would like to have some time dedicated to presenting information about a project you’ve been working on or to discussing a particular question/issue you’d like feedback on, we can make sure that happens! Alternatively, if you just want to log in to say hello to friends you might not have had the chance to see or talk to for a year, that would be absolutely great, too!
Registration is completely free — we’ll send the Zoom info to registered participants as we get closer to the date of the event. Also, while registration is free, this could be an excellent opportunity for you to join or renew your membership in Carolinas WPA to help support the organization. Click here to renew your membership!
After some discussion, Collie, Kevin, and I have decided that it is best to go ahead and make a decision about Wildacres. We think that waiting until later is simply putting off the inevitable: The uncertainty of the virus makes it impossible to hold a face-to-face conference in September. We have decided to cancel Wildacres for 2020.
Even if we were able to gather, we fear that the demands on our members in the “next normal” of the fall semester, the instability of funding, and the very real danger for some of us to be in close quarters with others would make the retreat feel like too much of an obligation—or too much an occasion to feel real FOMO—for our members.
We will be in touch later in the summer about options for gathering virtually in the summer or fall—not so much to replace Wildacres, the magic of which is its in-person, off-grid, retreat nature—but to support one another as we make and implement tough decisions about our programs and communities.
Take good care—we’ll see each other as soon as it is possible!
Conference theme: Language, Translingualism, and Multilingualism
We are excited to send out this call for proposals to present at the Carolinas Writing Program Administrators’ fourteenth annual spring conference, “Meeting in the Middle,” to be held from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on February 14, 2020, at UNC Charlotte.
Our theme for the meeting is language, particularly translingualism and multilingualism, and how the complex systems of meaning we use to communicate inform our composing practices as well as the teaching thereof.
How do students employ their languages and literacies in different situations and environments? For that matter, how are we doing so? How can we recognize and discuss code-switching, code-meshing, and translanguaging as they relate across a variety of contexts? How can we help our students, and learn with them, about how to do so in more rhetorically effective fashions?
Jennifer Eidum from Elon University will present a morning workshop that presents key theories of translingualism and multilingualism as they play out in higher education, with particular focus on first-year writing classrooms. Then, we will shift from theory to practice, exploring specific linguistic & cultural challenges WPAs and writing faculty might encounter in writing spaces (including their own). With an emphasis on collaboration and community-building, participants will leave the workshop with resources, connections, and new ideas for recognizing (and building upon) the linguistic and cultural diversity in their writing programs.
Time will be provided for participants to begin planning activities and assignments for their courses and/or to sketch out structures for relevant language-focused faculty workshops or projects.
Proposal Deadline: Wednesday, January 29, 2020. We have a quick turnaround and presenters will be notified by Monday, February 3, in order to have as much time as possible to make travel arrangements.
You do not have to present to attend! We welcome you regardless! That said, those whose proposals are accepted will be listed on the formal agenda for the conference–which might help you advocate for travel funding. Proposals will also help us plan appropriate groups and design activities around members’ goals.
We encourage both individual and team proposals from people in the Carolinas who are working in any teaching or administrative positions related to writing. We also welcome creative interpretation, and deviation, from this year’s theme.
Three different presentation types reflect members’ interests:
Problem: Describe a teaching, program leadership, or research problem that you would like help thinking about with other attendees. 10-15 minutes includes feedback time.
Showcase: Share a teaching method or writing program leadership strategy that is working well at your site. Or present findings from a study you’re involved in that would interest writing teachers and WPAs. 10-15 minutes includes feedback time.
Other: You have an idea that doesn’t fit either category. Explain! You still have 10-15 minutes to present.
Proposals should include:
Name and contact information (email, phone, home institution) for each person associated with your proposal
Type of presentation (problem, showcase, other)
Title and brief description of your presentation for the conference agenda
The registration price of $40.00 includes lunch and the opportunity to bring a guest for free (who also gets lunch!). Parking options are limited near the building (see “Parking” below). Carpooling is encouraged!
When you “bring a guest for free,” you must register the guest when you register yourself.
In the past, attendees had the option to purchase event parking passes as part of conference registration. Unfortunately, event parking is currently unavailable, although there are several pay-to-park options nearby. From the UNC Charlotte Center City website:
“Due to construction and other activity surrounding UNC Charlotte Center City, parking is extremely limited. The parking lots adjacent to Center City (422 E. 9th Street and 319 E. 9th Street) are currently reserved for faculty, staff and students with a University-issued parking permit. Please encourage visitors to prepare and plan for their visit to Center City, including consideration of carpooling and ride services.”
“Visitor parking for events is currently not available. There are a number of pay-to-park options within walking distance of Center City. Seventh Street Parking Deck is a short walk through First Ward Park. Visitors can pay to park by the hour. Additional pay-to-park options can be found on the Preferred Parking website. The closest of these is 422 E 9th Street on the corner of 9th and Brevard Street. Other nearby lots are at 8th & College, 9th & College, and 9th & Tryon. There are metered spaces on Brevard and 8th Street to pay during the day. These meters are free after 6pm weekdays and all day on weekends.”
15th Annual Fall Carolinas Writing Program Administrators Conference September 16-18, 2019
Proposal deadline: 11:59 p.m., Monday, August 26, 2019 Registration deadline: 11:59 p.m., Friday, September 6, 2019
Cost: $210 for students and NTT faculty; $220 for TT faculty. The cost covers two nights’ lodging and five meals at the retreat center.
Theme:Holding Space: Trauma, Community, and Care in Writing Programs
Today I write on behalf of the Carolinas Writing Program Administrators to extend sympathy, strength, comfort, and compassion to all of you. You have built and led this organization. You have hosted us in your space. We have shared ideas and strategies, meaningful glances and laughter and tears, meals and M&Ms, coffee, wine, and good beer, mountain sunrises and city sunsets. In so many ways, your campus is our campus; your students, our students; and thus, your heartbreak, pain, trauma, and healing—ours, too. We are holding space for you as long as you need it.
Carolinas WPA President Paula Patch wrote and published these words on May 1, 2019, hours after a gunman shot and killed two UNC Charlotte students in a classroom on campus. At Wildacres this year, we continue to make good on our promise to our UNC Charlotte colleagues and to all our colleagues in writing spaces in North and South Carolina. We hope you will join us in the space of healing through learning and sharing.
Conference Schedule and Format. The conference begins at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 16, and concludes at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 18. Jan Rieman’s Monday evening plenary session on will be followed by a full day Tuesday of workshops and presentations for and by writing teachers and program administrators. Non-tenure track members and attendees are invited to gather to talk shop and make connections during the NTT Network portion of the retreat. Paula Patch will convene that group. Unscripted time will be available, too, on the beautiful mountaintop of Wildacres Retreat, with a closing session Wednesday morning. All meals are provided. Wildacres Retreat is a low-tech, informal setting conducive to relaxing, collaborating, and learning with friends and colleagues across the Carolinas. We welcome teams or solo participants from across our region.
Monday Evening Speaker and Tuesday Workshop Leader:Jan Rieman, UNC Charlotte
“Developing Trauma-Informed Practices in Writing Programs: Addressing the Impact of Trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on Students, Teachers, and Programs”
By the time they reach college, 66 to 85 percent of youth report lifetime traumatic event exposure, with many reporting multiple exposures (Read, Ouimette, White, Colder, & Farrow, 2011; Smyth, Hockemeyer, Heron, Wonderlich, & Pennebaker, 2008). College students are particularly vulnerable to experiencing a new potentially traumatizing event (PTE); and as many as 50 percent of college students are exposed to a PTE in the first year of college (Galatzer-Levy et al., 2012). In addition, data show that nearly ⅔ of U.S. adults have Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Given the high rates of students who have experienced traumatic event exposure or ACEs, writing programs need to reexamine their institutional roles in order to better address the impact of trauma and ACEs on our students, our institutions, and on ourselves. Trauma in postsecondary learners can manifest in a number of ways: difficulty focusing, attending, retaining, and recalling; tendency to miss a lot of classes; challenges with emotional regulation; fear of taking risks; anxiety about deadlines, exams, group work, or public speaking; anger, helplessness, or dissociation when stressed; withdrawal and isolation (Hoch et al., 2015). Researcher Bruce Perry notes that students dealing with the aftereffects of trauma and ACEs often struggle to process new information when they are triggered or stressed. “The major challenge,” he writes, “is to furnish the structure, predictability, and sense of safety that can help [these students] begin to feel safe enough to learn.”
Despite the challenges and limitations we face as non-mental health professionals, having a trauma-informed framework can help rhetoric and composition teachers and WPAs be better prepared to not only recognize how trauma, ACEs and other adversities impact learning, but to develop policies and procedures to more holistically support learning in the midst of the realities of our students’ lives.
Call for Proposals
We encourage individual or team proposals from people in the Carolinas who are working in any teaching, research, or administrative positions related to writing. We welcome proposals related to this year’s theme of “Holding space: Trauma, community, and care in writing programs.” Two different conversation-style presentation types will facilitate conversations around this theme:
How We Help: Share a teaching method or writing program leadership strategy that is working well at your site. Or present findings from a study you’re involved in that would interest writing teachers and WPAs. 20 minutes includes feedback time.
Help We Need: Describe a teaching, program leadership, or research problem or story that you would like help thinking about with other attendees. 20 minutes includes feedback time.
Proposals must include:
Names and contact information (email, phone, home institution) for each person associated with your proposal
Type of presentation (How We Help, Help We Need)
A title and 200-word (more or less) description for the program
You are entirely welcome to attend without presenting, but those whose proposals are accepted will be listed on the formal agenda. This may help you advocate for travel funding. Proposals also help us plan appropriate groups and design activities around members’ goals.
The registration deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, September 6, and no refunds will be guaranteed after that time. To register, please visit the conference page.