CFP: The 4th Annual North Carolina Symposium on Teaching Writing; February 10-12, 2012


Exploring the Employment Practices and Working Conditions that Affect Writing Instructors

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Wyoming Resolution and English Departments and writing programs continue to face challenging budget issues, there has been a recent groundswell of public discussion regarding contingent labor. The March 2011 issue of College English, for example, revisits the Wyoming Resolution and includes a statement from the NCTE College Section Working Group on the Status and Working Conditions of Contingent Faculty. Then in June 2011, the MLA Committee on Contingent Labor in the Profession issued its Professional Employment Practices for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Members: Recommendations and Evaluative Questions. And currently, Open Words is calling for papers for its “Special Issue on Contingent Labor and Educational Access.” In their article in the aforementioned issue of College English, Lisa Meloncon and Peter England discuss how the department can be a “non-place” for instructors who feel disconnected from that department. The North Carolina Symposium on Teaching Writing is interested in exploring the conditions under which writing instructors currently work as well as facilitating discussion about how instructors and departments can connect–or reconnect. Symposium organizers welcome proposals for panels and papers on a variety of topics; those addressing any of the above concerns will be given special consideration.

Related topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Who is teaching writing in post-secondary institutions? What contracts do they have, and what are the terms? What variety exists? What is the status quo?
  • How do contract specifications impact writing teachers and writing instruction? What place does/should tenure, extended contracts, or rolling contracts have in this discussion?
  • What conditions do graduate students teach in? How does this affect their teaching/studies?
  • What role do writing program administrators play in advocating for appropriate working conditions? How do the working conditions for administrators themselves impact the programs they work in?
  • How do material working conditions—offices, access to technology, institutional resources, support staff, etc.—affect writing teachers, writing instruction, and students?
  • How can teachers and administrators argue for appropriate class sizes and course loads?
  • How can writing programs support the professional development of teachers through writing/publishing opportunities, research, conference attendance and participation, etc.?
  • How do non-tenure track writing teachers serve their departments, colleges, and universities via committee involvement, etc.? How does this compare to their tenure track counterparts?
  • What role do writing programs have in the department and the university at-large in terms of degree requirements and graduation rates (i.e., what leverage do we have)?
  • What place could/should career advancement and opportunities for promotions and raises have in writing programs/English Departments?
  • What role do professional organizations, unions, faculty governance, student government, etc. play in advocating for better working conditions in writing programs?
  • What level of awareness do students (both undergraduate and graduate) and faculty have of working conditions in writing programs? In other departments?

Keynote Speaker: Douglas Hesse is Founding Director of the Writing Program at the University of Denver and Professor of English. A former Chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, a former President of the Council of Writing Program Administrators and editor of WPA: Writing Program Administration, Hesse previously taught at Illinois State University, where he directed the Honors Program, the Center for the Advancement of Teaching, the graduate program in English studies, and the writing program.  The DU Writing Program has received the prestigious CCCC Certificate of Excellence.

Specific Guidelines for Submission:

Individual paper proposals should be 200-300 words in length. Panel submissions should not total more than 1000 words. Panels will be 75 minutes in length, including Q&A. All sessions will be held in rooms with Internet access and projection capabilities. Please indicate any other technology requirements. We encourage participation from all faculty ranks, and we particularly encourage contingent faculty, K-12 faculty, TYC faculty, and graduate student participation.

The deadline for proposals has been extended to Friday, October 28th. Submit proposals as a Microsoft Word compatible attachment (.doc or .docx) or PDF to: Chris Tonelli ( PLEASE INCLUDE ALL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION—TITLE, NAME(S), AFFILIATION(S), AND EMAIL ADDRESS(ES)—IN THE EMAIL. THE ONLY IDENTIFYING INFORMATION IN THE PROPOSAL DOCUMENT ITSELF SHOULD BE THE TITLE.

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