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Writing Program Administration
Bishop, Wendy. Something Old, Something New: College Writing Teachers and Classroom Change. Carbondale: Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 1990.
Ethnographic study of five writing teachers' responses to a graduate seminar in basic writing pedagogy shows that each assimilated the recommended collaborative method in a different way, as a function of his or her developing identity. Writing program administrators and teacher trainers seeking to implement curricula with a diverse staff need to be aware of the factors that may lead to change and resistance.
Brown, Stuart C., and Theresa Enos, eds. The Writing Program Administrator's Resource: A Guide to Reflective Institutional Practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2002.
WPA work is increasingly specialized and professionalized. Thirty chapters address instituting change and instituting practice, including Douglas D. Hesse, "Politics and the WPA: Traveling Through and Past Realms of Expertise"; Gail Stygall, "Certifying the Knowledge of WPAs"; Edward M. White, "Teaching a Graduate Course in Writing Program Administration"; David E. Schwalm, "Writing Program Administration as Preparation for an Administrative Career"; Stuart C. Brown, "Applying Ethics: A Decision-Making Heuristic for Writing Program Administrators"; Eileen E. Schell, "Part-Time/Adjunct Issues: Working Toward Change"; Sharon Crowley, "How the Professional Lives of WPAs Would Change if FYC Were Elective"; Chris M. Anson, "Figuring It Out: Writing Programs in the Context of University Budgets"; Jeanne Gunner, "Collaborative Administration"; Daniel J. Royer and Roger Gilles, "Placement Issues"; Gregory R. Glau, "Hard Work and Hard Data: Using Statistics to Help Your Program"; Anne-Marie Hall, "Expanding the Community: A Comprehensive Look at Outreach and Articulation"; Ken S. McAllister and Cynthia L. Selfe, "Writing Program Administration and Instructional Computing"; Victoria Holmsten, "This Site Under Construction: Negotiating Space for WPA Work in the Community College"; Martha A. Townsend, "Writing Across the Curriculum"; Rebecca Jackson and Patricia Wojahn, "Issues in Writing Program Administration: A Select Annotated Bibliography."
Council of Writing Program Administrators. "Evaluating the Intellectual Work of Writing Administration." WPA: Writing Program Administration 22 (Fall/Winter 1998): 85–104.
This statement from the council, developed from a draft by Charles Schuster, aims to present a framework by which writing administration can be seen as scholarly work and therefore subject to the same kinds of evaluation as scholarship and teaching. This intellectual work falls into five categories. Program creation or reform is work based on disciplinary knowledge, theoretical as well as practical. Curricular design draws on the same knowledge base and includes the choice of emphases, selection of textbooks, criteria for evaluation, and so on. Faculty development calls on the administrator to develop and implement training programs that reflect disciplinary developments and programmatic goals, to communicate current research to staff, and to provide intellectual leadership in thinking about teaching writing. Program assessment requires the development of appropriate measures to evaluate goals, pedagogy, and overall effectiveness and therefore draws on knowledge of scoring, portfolio or other forms of assessment, and descriptive analysis. Program-related textual production includes traditional forms of scholarly production, but also such things as innovative model syllabi, funding proposals, statements of program or teaching philosophy, original workshop materials, evaluations of teaching, and resource materials. Evaluation in these categories must consider, of course, whether activities and materials reflect expertise and knowledge and whether they are innovative and effectively disseminated. Finally, peer evaluation—typically by an outside expert—is critical for fair evaluation.
Fox, Tom. Defending Access: A Critique of Standards in Higher Education. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann-Boynton/Cook, 1999.
Although efforts to improve access to higher education for under-represented groups, such as African Americans, have produced only very small changes, a strong backlash against them has arisen, emphasizing that improved access leads to lowered academic standards. This kind of anti-access argument has been made since the nineteenth century and becomes especially acute in discussions of basic writing. Fox describes programs that have successfully resisted standards-based anti-access pressure. He advocates for standards that define good writing by its abilities: to analyze and resist inequities based on prejudices against race, gender, social class, and sexual preference; to aim at diverse audiences; and to avoid oversimplifying complex issues. Such good writing can be encouraged in writing courses that highlight the classroom as a contact zone (see Pratt ), that encourage students to explore the history of literacy's uses for political resistance in the United States, and that reward efforts at intellectual critique of inequities.
George, Diana, ed. Kitchen Cooks, Plate Twirlers, and Troubadors: Writing Program Administrators Tell Their Stories. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1999.
A collection of meaningful stories that offer a portrait of a profession. Sixteen essays include the following: Richard Miller, "Critique's the Easy Part: Choice and the Scale of Relative Oppression"; Doug Hesse, "The WPA as Father, Husband, Ex"; Mary Pinard, "Surviving the Honeymoon: Bliss and Anxiety in a WPA's First Year, or Appreciating the Plate Twirler's Art"; Alice M. Gillam, "Taking It Personally: Redefining the Role and Work of the WPA"; Ralph Walstrom, "Catching Our Tail: A Writing Center in Transition"; Johanna Atwood Brown, "The Peer Who Isn't a Peer: Authority and the Graduate Student Administrator"; Kathleen Yancey, "The Teaching Circle, the WPA, and the Work of Writing in the University"; Beth Daniell, "Establishing E-Mail in a First-Year Program"; Jeanette Harris (coda), "On Being an Accidental Administrator." Foreword by Patricia Bizzell.
Gunner, Jeanne. "Decentering the WPA." WPA: Writing Program Administration 18.1–2 (Fall/Winter 1994): 8–15.
Professionalizing the WPA position, as many resolutions have advised, often neglects the larger network that includes writing instructors and often assumes that tenure will secure professional status. The belief that a centralized WPA enhances professionalism, or that a program without a tenured director is in a weakened institutional position, is a delusion that excludes non-tenure-track faculty from the processes of curricular renewal or program development. Decentering the WPA allows for a collaborative structure that reconsiders a faculty's role in a writing program's direction. Faced with a series of acting directors and a crisis of faculty rights, the program at UCLA designed an administrative structure that de-emphasizes the director's position and allows the faculty to share program authority. A structure made up of committees and individually held positions Ñpositions that rotate and result from elections—and reviews of both individuals and the program contributes to a democratic model that gives all instructors a voice in program governance.
Hartzog, Carol P. Composition and the Academy: A Study of Writing Program Administration. New York: MLA, 1986.
A report on the results of a survey of forty-four writing programs at a variety of colleges and universities, as well as extensive descriptions of the programs at Chapel Hill, University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard. The survey data cover administrative structures, program design, staffing, and campus attitudes toward writing. No single model for success is apparent, but good programs seem to be aided to some degree by writing program alliances within the university, the pedagogical skill and scholarly visibility of the director and staff, and a campus commitment to liberal education. Includes extensive bibliography.
Hult, Christine, ed. Evaluating Teachers of Writing. Urbana, Ill.: NCTE, 1994.
Evaluating teachers, whether for development or judgment, is a complex and sensitive task for program administrators. Too often, formative evaluation (for improving teaching) and summative evaluation (for judging overall performance) are insufficiently distinguished by the instruments for gathering information and by our use of the information. The thirteen essays here address three main concerns. The first, theoretical and ideological issues, includes Hult's introduction; David Bleich, "Evaluating the Teaching of Writing: Questions of Ideology"; and Jesse Jones's overview of purposes, objects of evaluation, sources of information, and the process of evaluation. The second, evaluation methods, includes essays on peer review by Ellen Strenski; class observation by Anne Marie Flanagan; Peter Elbow, "Making Better Use of Student Evaluations of Teachers"; and Mark A. Baker and Joyce A. Kinkead, "Using Microteaching to Evaluate Teaching Assistants in a Writing Program." The third, evaluating specific faculty groups, includes David E. Schwalm, "Evaluating Adjunct Faculty"; Irwin Weiser, "Teaching Assistants as Collaborators in Their Preparation and Evaluation"; John Bean, "Evaluating Teachers in Writing-across-the-Curriculum Programs"; and Deborah Holdstein, "Evaluating Teachers in Computerized Classrooms."
Janangelo, Joseph, and Kristine Hansen. Resituating Writing: Constructing and Administering Writing Programs. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann-Boynton/Cook, 1995.
Writing program administration is a significant expression of academic scholarship, as the Portland Resolution strongly states . The eleven essays here extend and substantiate that claim through analysis of the history and current state of the main concerns facing the WPA. Essays include Hansen on part-time teachers; Lester Faigley and Susan Romano on technology; Elizabeth Nist and Helon Raines on two-year college programs; Ellen Strenski on recruitment and retraining; Molly Wingate on writing centers; Susan McLeod on WAC; Christine Hult on the scholarship of administration; and Edward White on program evaluation.
See: Harvey Kail and John Trimbur, "The Politics of Peer Tutoring" .
Myers-Breslin, Linda, ed. Administrative Problem-Solving for Writing Programs and Writing Centers: Scenarios in Effective Program Management. Urbana, Ill.: NCTE, 1999.
Each of the nineteen chapters in three sections (Selection and Training, Program Development, and Professional Issues) presents real-world situations about different aspects of administration; the cases place readers into administrative situations. Chapters include Richard Bullock, "In Pursuit of Competence: Preparing New Graduate Teaching Assistants for the Classroom"; Allene Cooper, et al., "What Happens When Discourse Communities Collide? Portfolio Assessment and Non-Tenure-Track Faculty"; Howard Tinberg, "Examining Our Assumptions as Gatekeepers: A Two-Year College Perspective"; Louise Wetherbee Phelps, "Mobilizing Human Resources to (Re)Form a Writing Program"; Joan A. Mullin, "Writing Across the Curriculum"; Linda S. Houston, "Budgeting and Politics: Keeping the Writing Center Alive"; Deborah H. Holdstein, "From Virtual to Reality: Thinking about Technology and the Composition Program"; Linda Myers-Breslin, "Running a Large Writing Program"; Barry M. Maid, "How WPAs Can Learn to Use Power to Their Own Advantage"; Dave Healy, "Managing the Writing Center/Classroom Relationship"; Lisa Gerrard, "The WPA, the Composition Instructor, and Scholarship."
Raines, Helon Howell. "Teaching Writing in the Two-Year College." WPA: Writing Program Administration 12 (Winter 1988): 29–37.
A survey of 230 two-year colleges shows that most of their English departments concentrate on teaching writing rather than literature. Writing courses are not in separate programs, there are few program administrators, and course planning is often done by committee, with individual teachers retaining much classroom autonomy. Writing courses often concentrate on basic skills, academic discourse, and technical or business writing. Most teachers have five courses per semester, three of them in composition, and see themselves primarily as teachers, not researchers. Their lack of familiarity with current professional discourse can make them feel excluded, but university-level writing program administrators would do well to bring them into collaborative projects to draw on their rich stores of pedagogical knowledge.
Rose, Shirley K. and Irwin Weiser, eds. The Writing Program Administrator as Researcher: Inquiry in Action and Reflection. Portsmouth, N.H.: Boynton/Cook, 1999.
WPAs' work as researchers deserves a greater understanding, and both new and experienced WPAs need to learn to identify opportunities for doing significant intellectual work in the context of their programs. Fourteen chapters follow an introduction by the editors; they include Muriel Harris, "Diverse Research Methodologies at Work for Diverse Audiences: Shaping the Writing Center to the Institution"; Betty Bamberg, "Conflicts Between Teaching and Assessing Writing: Using Program-Based Research to Resolve Pedagogical and Ethical Dilemmas"; Mark Schaub, "The Contributions of Sociolinguistic Profiling and Constituents' Expectations to Writing Program Evaluation"; Sarah Liggett, "After the Practicum: Assessing Teacher Preparation Programs"; Irwin Weiser, "Local Research and Curriculum Development: Using Surveys to Learn about Writing Assignments in the Disciplines"; Ruth M. Mirtz, "WPAs as Historians: Discovering a First-Year Writing Program by Researching Its Past"; Tim Peeples, " 'Seeing' the WPA With/Through Postmodern Mapping"; Louise Wetherbee Phelps, "Telling a Writing Program Its Own Story: A Tenth-Anniversary Speech."
Roy, Alice. "ESL Concerns for Writing Program Administrators: Problems and Policies." WPA: Writing Program Administration 11 (Spring 1988): 17–26.
ESL students may be foreign students planning to return home after college, recent immigrants, or bilingual native students. Current theories of second-language acquisition are similar to current theories of composition for native English speakers, namely, that ESL students need practice in writing to make meaning and to develop strategies for construing meaning rather than grammar drill or audiolingual work. Linguists tend not to be the best writing teachers for ESL students because they are likely to use a grammar-based approach. Specialists in ESL are better because they bring knowledge of cultural diversity and contrastive rhetoric, but often their training has concentrated on oral communication. ESL students may be best served by composition specialists familiar with college-level reading and writing. Mainstreaming ESL students instead of offering a separate ESL course may offer students more sophisticated instruction and oral practice while benefiting native English speakers by providing cultural diversity. Schools should provide support programs for mainstreamed ESL students rather than track them into courses where English competency may not be needed.
See: Robert C. Small, Jr., and Joseph E. Strzepek, A Casebook for English Teachers: Dilemmas and Decisions .
Tinberg, Howard B. Border Talk: Writing and Knowing in the Two-Year College. Urbana, Ill.: NCTE, 1997.
Tinberg chronicles a summer workshop comprising a writing lab assistant and nine community college professors who had also worked in the lab. Their disciplines included business, dental hygiene, English, ESL, history, mathematics, nursing, and psychology. Their task was to revise a college policy statement on criteria for good writing so that it reflected disciplinary perspectives. In the process, they addressed issues of professional expertise, the nature of knowledge, student and faculty historical consciousness, and cross-disciplinary methods of assessing and responding to writing. They became "border crossers" who had to abandon narrow disciplinary perspectives, to become comfortable with professional discourse that blurred genres, and to recognize and use their own experiences of education and social-class identity in their community college teaching.
See: Trimbur, John. "The Problem of Freshman English (Only): Towards Programs of Study in Writing." 
Ward, Irene and William J. Carpenter, eds. The Allyn & Bacon Sourcebook for Writing Program Administrators. NY: Addison Wesley, 2002.
Twenty-three essays in five parts, covering teacher training, curriculum design, program assessment, administrative techniques, and professional issues. Includes nine historical documents related to program administration. The eleven essays written specifically for this book are Jeanne Gunner, "Professional Advancement of the WPA: Rhetoric and Politics in Tenure and Promotion"; Doug Hesse, "Understanding Larger Discourses in Higher Education: Practical Advice for WPAs"; Brian A. Huot and Ellen E. Schendel, "A Working Methodology of Assessment for Writing Program Administrators"; Barry M. Maid, "Working Outside of English"; David Schwalm, "The Writing Program (Administrator) in Context: Where Am I, and Can I Still Behave Like a Faculty Member?"; David Smit, "Curriculum Design for First-Year Programs"; Todd Taylor, "Ten Commandments for Computers and Composition"; Martha Townsend, "Writing Across the Curriculum"; Irene Ward and Merry Perry, "A Selection of Strategies for Training Teaching Assistants"; William J. Carpenter, "Professional Development for Writing Program Staff."
White, Edward M. Developing Successful College Writing Programs. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1989.
Writing program directors seeking to design or redesign a program can plan for organic development by taking a comprehensive view of the many separate activities that constitute a good program. Ten concise chapters examine the campus climate for writing programs (the roles of the English department, the writing program administrator, and the administration), research on existing programs, prevalent teaching methods, course designs, assessment issues and practices, instructor evaluation, administration (setting policies on placement and credit for remedial courses, setting up ESL and writing-across-the-curriculum programs), training and support of faculty, and evaluation of the program.
Witte, Stephen P., and Lester Faigley. Evaluating College Writing Programs. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 1983.
Two models dominate writing program evaluation. The qualitative "expert-opinion approach," used by teams from the Council of Writing Program Administrators, confuses description with evaluation. Moreover, team members sometimes differ greatly in the quality of their "expert" credentials and use disparate evaluation methods. The quantitative approach, used in many pre- and post-test studies (four of which are analyzed here), rests on faulty assumptions about the writing process, does not assess either a program's goals or its administrative structure, and tends to produce data with only local applicability. An adequate theory of program evaluation would allow for both qualitative and quantitative measures in assessing a program's cultural and social context, institutional context, administrative structure, curriculum, and pedagogy. See also Faigley et al. .
WPA Board of Consultant Evaluators. "Writing Program Evaluation: An Outline for Self-Study." WPA: Writing Program Administration 4 (Winter 1980): 23–28.
A list of seventy-six questions based on the guidelines for WPA Consultant Evaluators covers curriculum (subdivided into courses and goals, syllabus, methods, testing, grading), program administration (institutional and program structure, the writing program adminis-trator's job description), faculty development (current conditions, support), and support services (organization, personnel, administration).