Carolinas WPA Highlighted on Inside Higher Ed

by Jordan Stanley

Last month, the Carolinas WPA conference was featured in an article written by Jon Warner for Inside Higher Ed. Not only is the feature on the website a testament to Carolinas WPA’s growing impact on higher education discussions, but Warner’s commentary on his own keynote address also speaks to the meaningful value of the conference.

Warner’s address was entitled Who Are We? What Do We Do? How Do We Do It?: The Laborers and Labor of the Composition Classroom.This includes the three themes he uses to encapsulate his experience at the conference. Beyond his academic takeaways, Warner’s deepest impression was that of professional uplift, provided to him through relating to the 35 other writing administrators on matters of “overworked and underpaid” contingency.

In his article, Warner describes the bounty of lessons that he drew from his peers. Warner writes that the first institutionalized problem is who writing program administrators are. As represented at the conference, many – if not a majority of – first-year writing faculty are women, and because of this, those courses are under sourced and consigned as what Warner calls “women’s work.”

These courses are further devalued, then, because what writing program administrators teach is unknown to colleagues outside of the discipline. Warner writes that although communication skills are claimed to be valued, institutions can view composition classes as a “logistical” precursor rather than an academic building block. This relegated importance consequently determines how writing program administrators work: overcompensating and self-sacrificing, despite lacking resources, to best serve their students.

Warner’s full article “Overworked and Underpaid: The Labor and Laborers of the Writing Classroom” may be read here, on the Inside Higher Ed website.


Jordan Stanley is a junior at Elon University with majors in Professional Writing and Rhetoric and Creative Writing, as well as a minor in Communications. She also works for the Elon Writing Center and as a Writing Fellow.