Category Archives: Blogs

Use this category to share updates, make announcements, and ask general questions.

WAW Standing Group Meeting – Fri., 3/17

Please join us for the Writing about Writing Standing Group meeting at Cs!

WHEN: Friday @ 6:30-7:30

ROOM: C126
WHO: All are welcome, from newbies to experts

WHAT: Come exchange ideas about teaching, research, leading WAW programs, and other topics. And if you’ve attended any WAW-related panels at Cs so far, there will be time to share what you’ve learned. Afterwards, we’ll head to dinner at a nearby restaurant.

*More detailed agenda*

1. Updates on attendees’ WAW-related research and publishing projects

2. Small-group breakouts on topics the room will identify (e.g., teaching WAW to multilingual writers, WAW in STEM, What is WAW?, developing WAW-related research projects)

3. Elections of at-large members for Steering Committee
4. Discussion of ideas for developing our website

5. Attendees report on insights from WAW-related sessions at Cs

Hope to see you there!

-Andrea Olinger and Doug Downs, Co-Coordinators

Writing About Writing and Transfer Sessions at the 2017 CCCCs

I compiled a list of WAW sessions (Thurs-Sat.) at the CCCC’s and combined it with Kathleen Yancey’s Writing Across Contexts list of Transfer sessions. Please feel to check it out!


WAW Sessions


Thursday (3/16)


A.45 What Is Writing Studies Made of?

Tackling questions of structures and boundaries of the field: presenters explore disciplinary futures growing out of earlier alliances.

D 140

Speakers: Peter Campbell, University of Pittsburgh,

John Dunn, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti,

Cory Holding, University of Pittsburgh,

Bob Samuels, University of California, Santa Barbara, “Contingent Labor, Writing Studies, and Writing about Writing”


C.52 Content Conflict: An Argument for Alternative Approaches to “Writing about Writing”

An argument that supports the rhetorical dexterity of WAW but proposes alternative content that more fully considers the needs of students.

B 115


Erin Daugherty, University of Arkansas, “Writing Past Conflict, Writing for Your World”

Logan Hilliard, University of Arkansas, “Creatively Composing: Engaged Liberation in First-Year Composition”

Sam Morris, University of Arkansas, “Gladdening the Process: Voice, Social Identity, and Young Adult Literature”

Friday (3/17)    


I.49 Creating a Transferable Sense of a Writing Self: Findings from a Longitudinal Study of WAW

A longitudinal study of learning transfer from writing-about-writing courses shows transfer as a function of a writer’s sense of self.

F 151


Doug Downs, Montana State University, Bozeman, “Transfer or Transformation? Taking New Selves to New Sites of Writing”

Kim Hoover, University of Pittsburgh, “Kinds of Consciousness: Affect, Metacognition, and Cosmic Minds?” Miles Nolte, Montana State University, Bozeman, “Watch Out for That Exigence: What Military and Commercial Vessel Training Might Demonstrate about Facilitating Student Engagement in FYC”

Mark Schlenz, Montana State University, Bozeman, “Actualizing Selves in Universes of Discourse: Creativity, Identity, and Exigence in Metacognitive Transfer”


J.04 Qualitative Studies of Writing about Writing: Classrooms, Programs, and Trends

(WAW Sponsored Session)

Three qualitative studies of writing about writing focusing on an individual teacher, a program, and trends in US and Canadian pedagogy.

C 124


Rebecca Babcock, University of Texas Permian Basin, Odessa, “Conceptions of WAW: A Qualitative Study”

Cynthia Cochran, Illinois College, “Conceptions of WAW: A Qualitative Study”

Lena Harper, Brigham Young University, “Contextualizing Contrasting Perceptions of WAW Failure: A Case Study of a Stand-Alone WAWFYC Course”

Samuel Stinson, Ohio University, Athens, “Writing-about-Writing and Post-Departmental Support”

David Stock, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, “Contextualizing Contrasting Perceptions of WAW Failure: A Case Study of a StandAlone WAW-FYC Course”

Respondent: Doug Downs, Montana State University, Bozeman


K.10 Writing about Writing and Teaching for Transfer

Speakers consider the efficacy of Writing about Writing in multiple venues and genres.

A 103


Veronica Flanagan, University of California, Santa Cruz, “Teaching First-Year Composition in a College Core Course”

Joel Heng Hartse, Simon Fraser University, “Implementing a Writingabout-Writing Approach in a High-Stakes Foundational Writing Course”

Ariel Zepeda, California State University, San Bernardino, “Reimagining Transfer through Multimodal Re-mediation”


K.37 What’s New in WAW Is WA(M)W! Fostering Adaptive Transfer through Writing about Multilingual Writing

Invites consideration of Writing about Multilingual Writing as an innovative approach to language difference in transfer studies.

B 115


Lindsey Ives, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Katherine Silvester, Indiana University, Bloomington

Emily Simnitt, University of Oregon


FSIG.11 Writing about Writing Development Standing Group Meeting

The WAW Standing Group’s meeting conducts the group’s business and lets members socialize and coordinate efforts in WAW pedagogy and research.

C 126

Chair: Doug Downs, Montana State University, Bozeman

Speaker: Andrea Olinger, University of Louisville

Saturday (3/18)


L.27 Genre and Transfer

Presenters focus on graduate teaching assistant (GTA) training and understanding diverse genre approaches to teaching.

A 104


Melissa Bugdal, University of Connecticut, Storrs, “The Rhetorical Situation and Transfer of Writing Knowledge from Basic Writing to Writing in the Disciplines”

Katherine Fredlund, University of Memphis, “Writing about Writing Courses and the Graduate Teaching Assistant: Cultivating Disciplinary Understanding in a Diverse English Department”

Edrees Nawabi, Washington State University, “I Know You Are but What Am I? Engaging and Developing Students’ Sense of ‘Good Humor’”

Kristen Nielsen, Boston University, “Beyond the Essay, Beyond Montaigne: Reenvisioning Writing Conventions and Assignments”

2a. Transfer Sessions (From K. Yancey’s Writing Across Contexts blog)

Thursday (3/16)

A.14  Passion Cultivates Long-Term Transfer 

How does passion transfer to long-term literate habits? A theoretical explanation grounded on empirical research.



Barbara George, Kent State University

Melody Gustafson, Kent State University

Uma Krishnan, Kent State University

A.17 Tracing Transfer: Examining Teaching for Transfer in Three Curricular Sites

This panel presents the preliminary findings of a multi-institutional, multisite research project: the Transfer of Transfer Project.

C 123


Matt Davis, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Liane Robertson, William Paterson University

Joyce R. Walker, Illinois State University, Normal

Respondent: Kathleen Blake Yancey, Florida State University

B.16 Transitions and Transfers in Technical and Professional Communities

Explorations of transfer and transitioning into the workplace.



Brian Fitzpatrick, George Mason University, “Didn’t Get the Memo: Refining Professional Writing Transfer Strategies through the Study of Authentic Writing Spaces”

Jessica McCaughey, The George Washington University, “Didn’t Get the Memo: Refining Professional Writing Transfer Strategies through the Study of Authentic Writing Spaces”

CP Moreau, Carnegie Mellon University, “From College to the Cubicle: A Multiple-Voiced Inquiry into the Literate Practices of Recent College Graduates Entering the Professional Workplace”

Lisa Sperber, University of California, Davis, “Using Threshold Concepts in Writing in the Sciences and Health Sciences”

C.15 What Transfers? Developing Research Instruments to Assess Whether Comparative Genre Analysis Helps Students Transfer Rhetorical Knowledge across Contexts

Evaluating survey instruments designed to assess whether students are prepared to transfer rhetorical knowledge from FYC to future academic work.



Ana Cooke, Carnegie Mellon University, “‘Troubling’ Comparative Genre Analysis”

Danielle Wetzel, Carnegie Mellon University, “Do Students Perceive Comparative Genre Analysis as a Transferable Method?”Laura Wilder, University at Albany, SUNY, “Describing the Signposts That Signal Positive Transfer”

Joanna Wolfe, Carnegie Mellon University, “Does Comparative Genre Analysis Prepare Students to Analyze Unfamiliar Writing Prompts?”

E.30 Students as “Agents of Integration” and Social Change: Cultivating Transfer between the Classroom and Community 

Through studies of students’ co- and extracurricular community engagement, we explore ways to support transfer beyond classroom contexts.

Portland Ballroom 258


Sarah Hart Micke, University of Denver, “Students Teaching Writing: Cultivating Transfer in a Community Literacy Organization”

Megan Kelly, University of Denver, “Lessons from the ‘Campaign Toolbox’: What We Can Learn about Composition from Student Activist Organizations”

Heather Martin, University of Denver, “Self-Directed Service in the Composition Classroom: Opportunities for Agency and Transfer”

TSIG.11 Teaching for Transfer (TFT) SIG 

In this Special Interest Group session, we’ll introduce TFT quickly before breaking into small sessions addressing several issues, including misconceptions about TFT; TFT in FYC; TFT in upper-level writing courses; and specific adaptations to the TFT curriculum. In addition, we’ll forecast other opportunities to learn about TFT.


SpeakerKathleen Blake Yancey, Florida State University

Friday (3/17)

F.33 Teaching for Transfer beyond First-Year Composition: Professional and Business Writing

Presenters consider using teaching for transfer beyond first-year writing.



Jann Harris, University of Nevada, Reno, “Remixing the Old and the New: Cultivating the TFT Metaphor”

Patricia Jenkins, University of Alaska Anchorage, “Applying TFT to an Upper-Division Professional Writing Course: Broadening the Curricular Reach”

Cynthia Johnson, Miami University, “Broadening the Transfer Landscape: Cultivating Transfer-Focused Writing Curricula beyond Composition Programs”

Nicole Varty, Wayne State University, “Flexible Writing in Literate Ecologies: A Longitudinal Study of Student Writing Knowledge Transfer into, during, and after First-Year Writing”

F.51 Cultivating Transfer with the Teaching-for-Transfer Writing Curriculum: A National Multi-Institutional Study

This panel shares findings from a two-year and four-year college multiinstitutional study on the efficacy of the Teaching for Transfer curriculum.


Speakers: Sonja Andrus, University of Cincinnati/Blue Ash College, OH

Sharon Mitchler, Centralia College

Tonya Ritola, University of California Santa Cruz

Kara Taczak, University of Denver

Howard Tinberg, Bristol Community College

G.39 Cultivating Knowledge to Foster Program Development: Utilizing Data from a Five-Year Study of a Large Advanced Writing Program

The panel discusses a survey of more than 8,500 students in advanced writing courses, looking at issues of transfer, diversity, and WPA awareness.


Friday, 9:30–10:45 a.m.

Speakers: Dana Ferris, University of California, Davis

Hogan Hayes, California State University, Sacramento

Sean McDonnell, University of California, Davis

H.13 Change Agents in the Workplace: How MA Graduates Transfer Rhetorical Knowledge into Action

We will show how our MA alumni use the transfer of rhetorical and pedagogical knowledge as change agents in their workplaces.


Chair: Nancy Mack, Wright State University

Speakers: Melissa Faulkner, Cedarville University, “One MA Alum’s Experiences in University and Community Contexts”

Nancy Mack, Wright State University, “What Our MA Alumni Use Every Day: Transfer of Curricular Values”

David Seitz, Wright State University, “The Transfer of Rhetorical Knowledge to Create Workplace Change”

H.32 Sharing Threshold Concepts as the Foundation for Integrated Curricula, Collaborative Assessment, and Learning Transfer across Library-Writing Partnerships

IRB-approved study exploring co-teaching of shared threshold concepts for long-term transfer across writing programs and library sessions.


Speakers: Cooper Day, Texas State University

Brittney Johnson, St. Edward’s University

Moriah McCracken, St. Edward’s University

I.49 Creating a Transferable Sense of a Writing Self: Findings from a Longitudinal Study of WAW

A longitudinal study of learning transfer from writing-about-writing courses shows transfer as a function of a writer’s sense of self.


Chair: Doug Downs, Montana State University, Bozeman

Speakers: Doug Downs, Montana State University, Bozeman, “Transfer or Transformation? Taking New Selves to New Sites of Writing”

Kim Hoover, University of Pittsburgh, “Kinds of Consciousness: Affect, Metacognition, and Cosmic Minds?”

Miles Nolte, Montana State University, Bozeman, “Watch Out for That Exigence: What Military and Commercial Vessel Training Might Demonstrate about Facilitating Student Engagement in FYC”

Mark Schlenz, Montana State University, Bozeman, “Actualizing Selves in Universes of Discourse: Creativity, Identity, and Exigence in Metacognitive Transfer”

J.12 Transfer, Habits of Mind, and Threshold Concepts: Trends Redefining the Fields

Participants describe lines of inquiry that are becoming increasingly important to understanding student writing for the purposes of pedagogical, programmatic, and institutional accountability.


Chair: Kelsie Hope Walker, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Speakers: Christopher Blankenship, Salt Lake Community College, “The Frame and the Foil: Integrating Threshold Concepts and Outcomes Assessment in First-Year Composition”

Meghan Dykema, Florida State University, “Communicating Disciplinary Knowledge through Accreditation-Based Writing and Learning Initiatives”

J.24 Cultivating (Meta)Transfer: Changing Individual, Programmatic, and Institutional Dispositions through a Revisioning of Stretch

Revisiting stretch with reflections on instructor and institutional dispositions, text analysis, and autoethnographic case studies.


Chair: Lisa Tremain, Humboldt State University, “Theoretical Implications of Meta-Transfer”

Speakers: Marianne Ahokas, Humboldt State University, “Disposition: It’s Not Just for Students Anymore”

Sarah Ben-Zvi, Humboldt State University, “In the Process of Transformation: Planning Our Future Research and Practice”

Kerry Marsden, Humboldt State University, “Institutional Dispositions: When the Deficit Model Is Transferred to Stretch”

Erin Sullivan, Humboldt State University, “Harnessing Constraint: How Disappointment and Frustration Fueled Our Reflection and Desire for Transformation”

K.10 Writing about Writing and Teaching for Transfer

Speakers consider the efficacy of Writing about Writing in multiple venues and genres.


Chair: Kenlea Pebbles, Michigan State University

Speakers: Veronica Flanagan, University of California, Santa Cruz, “Teaching First-Year Composition in a College Core Course”

Joel Heng Hartse, Simon Fraser University, “Implementing a Writingabout-Writing Approach in a High-Stakes Foundational Writing Course”

Ariel Zepeda, California State University, San Bernardino, “Reimagining Transfer through Multimodal Re-mediation”

K.14 Transfer’s Evolution: Changing Our Terms, Interrogating Our Methodologies for Studying Transfer

A roundtable discussion about the changing terms for naming and methodologies for researching transfer.

Portland Ballroom 258

Chair: Michael-John DePalma, Baylor University, Waco, Texas

Speakers: Anis Bawarshi, University of Washington, Seattle

Dan Fraizer, Springfield College, MA

Kali Mobley, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Mary Jo Reiff, University of Kansas, Lawrence

Jeffrey Ringer, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Alisa Russell, University of Kansas, Lawrence

K.17 Emergent Transfer in Action: Researching Transfer of Learning in Writing Centers

This panel will engage attendees in extended conversation to analyze potential moments of transfer in writing center consultations.


Speakers: R. Mark Hall, University of Central Florida

Bradley Hughes, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Rebecca Nowacek, Marquette University

Saturday (3/18)

L.27 Genre and Transfer

Presenters focus on graduate teaching assistant (GTA) training and understanding diverse genre approaches to teaching.


Chair: Denisha Harris, California State University, San Bernardino

Speakers: Melissa Bugdal, University of Connecticut, Storrs, “The Rhetorical Situation and Transfer of Writing Knowledge from Basic Writing to Writing in the Disciplines”

Katherine Fredlund, University of Memphis, “Writing about Writing Courses and the Graduate Teaching Assistant: Cultivating Disciplinary Understanding in a Diverse English Department”

Edrees Nawabi, Washington State University, “I Know You Are but What Am I? Engaging and Developing Students’ Sense of ‘Good Humor’”

Kristen Nielsen, Boston University, “Beyond the Essay, Beyond Montaigne: Reenvisioning Writing Conventions and Assignments”

Cultivating Change across Student Contexts: Transfer across Secondary and Postsecondary Composition Classrooms

This panel approaches long-term transfer skills across several levels of composition: early and late secondary, first year, and program-wide.


Chair: Brandon Abdon, The Advanced Placement Program, “Necessity of Transfer across Contexts”

Saturday, 10:45 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Speakers: Sheila Carter-Tod, Virginia Tech, “Weaving University Writing Program Outcomes into High School Writing Curricula”

Martha Davis, Norwalk High School, “The High School Side of a High School and College Collaboration”

John Golden, Portland Public Schools, “Alignment of Composition and Analysis Skills from High School to Higher Ed”

John Marshall, Riverpoint Academy, “Collaborating with ‘Beyond High School’ Stakeholders for Transfer of Composition Skills”

Mary Trachsel, University of Iowa, “The College Side of a High School and College Collaboration”

L.43 Bridging the Gap: Cultivating the Capacity to Create Transfer between High School Writing and FYW

This roundtable of high school and college teachers answers the question: how can we bridge the gap between high school and college writing?

Portland Ballroom 254

Speakers: Brianna Cline, Lake City High School

Caroline Hall, University of Idaho

Kirsten Pomerantz, Lake City High School

Gwen Reed, Lake City High School

Krystal Wu, Catlin Gabel, Portland, OR

Roundtable Leader: Barbara Kirchmeier, University of Idaho, Moscow

M.33 Video Pedagogy and Teaching for Transfer across Media

This panel investigates the role of video composition in teaching for transfer across assignments in first-year writing.


Speakers: Angela Berkley, University of Michigan, “Cultivating Real Audiences: From Viewers to Readers”

Catherine Jostock, Oakland University, “Research into Meaning: Primary Research in Video Composition and Its Relation to Problem Solving, Organization, and Self-Awareness”

Lauren Rinke, Oakland University, “Visual Analysis and Investigation: Cementing Rhetorical Appeals and ‘Real Life’ through Video Composing”

Crystal VanKooten, Oakland University, “Using Interviews and Observations to Look for Transfer across Media”table of high school and college teachers answers the question:

Come to a WAW Workshop at CCCC: Rethinking Technical, Professional, and STEM Writing Pedagogy through Writing about Writing

This year at the Conference on College Composition and Communication, one of the Wednesday afternoon workshops will focus on supporting instructors of professional, technical and STEM writing in redeveloping an existing course through the lens of writing about writing (WAW). Instructors from all institutional types are welcome, but instructors from 2-year colleges, including technical colleges and trade schools, are especially encouraged to attend.

Instructors need not have any prior experience with the writing-about-writing approach to teaching writing. The workshop will provide support for identifying the aspects of a WAW approach that are relevant to the participant’s institutional context and course curriculum and create a generative environment for reimagining assignments, assignment sequences, lesson plans or the whole curriculum.

We wanted to circulate this information as early as possible in the hopes that a cohort of instructors from your institution might be able to attend together.

Below you will find a sketch of the workshop schedule. Please feel free to contact Sarah Read (sread :at: with any further questions about the workshop. We hope to see you in Portland this March!

Title of Session: Rethinking Technical, Professional and STEM Writing Pedagogy through
Writing About Writing

Short Description: Workshop participants will reimagine and innovate courses in STEM and
Professional Writing through the lens of Writing About Writing

Workshop at a Glance:

1:30 Introduction and Overview
1:45 Identifying Core Tenets of WAW
2:30 Acknowledging Local Situations for WAW: The Strong-Weak Continuum
3:15 Break
3:30 Profiling Courses: What Can WAW Look Like in STEM and PW Courses? Breakout Sessions.
4:00 Reimagining Courses: Working Groups
5:00 Showcasing Innovations

Writing-About-Writing in the Student-Centered Composition Research Classroom

This blog post provides observations from an expository writing and research class I recently taught using a WAW approach. In the class, I asked my students to read series of composition articles organized by topic, to help students acclimate to a shared research environment. These topics included the use of grading contracts in composition research, peer review in composition classrooms and in professional writing situations, and articles providing historical context for the field of composition.

The general theme of these articles was an application to classroom writing activities and writing pedagogy. WAW approaches to teaching composition allow students a wide opportunity to gain familiarity with elements of composition theory and to gain further experience and practice using WAW threshold concepts in classroom discourse. But students learning in WAW classrooms achieve even more when they take responsibility, not only to learn content, but in teaching their fellow students.

When teaching composition I attempt to help students claim power by co-teaching the WAW curriculum with them. In doing this I attempt to invoke principles of critical pedagogy, following the principles Shor suggests in When Students Have Power. Shor explores the benefits and pitfalls of designing courses with students taking a more direct role in decision-making that affects the class (e.g. meeting times, class assignments). I attempt to do this by dividing the class into workgroups—usually five groups of four students—and then assign specific days and articles for each group to cover.

Although they are still subject to instructor power in the classroom, students co-operating in teaching WAW articles have liberty to select whichever methods they would like to help present on their assigned readings for the week. I provide students examples of what previous classes have done for activities (e.g. handouts outlining the reading, lists of generative discussion questions). I then ask students to lead discussion using their own activities. Having used this approach during the past several years of teaching WAW, I have three observations:

1. Students who are responsible for teaching articles make significant reflection on those articles during low-stakes, informal writing assigned for those articles.

2. Students who are responsible for teaching articles also specifically refer back to earlier threshold concepts they taught while engaged in later classroom discussions covering new threshold concepts. Cooperating in work groups provides students the opportunity to develop what James Gee calls affinity groups, which foster an environment to discuss threshold concepts.

3. Students have an easier time identifying with composition theory as a result of teaching the content with their peers. Although this could be considered a graduate student effect, undergraduate students also show signs of showing greater identification with a WAW curriculum when they are not only positioned as composition researchers but as co-instructors. Pedagogically, I’m concerned not just that students identify with metacognitive concepts but that they are able to transfer this knowledge to other rhetorical situations for their own purposes.

Student Feedback and Response

I invited students to voluntarily provide feedback throughout the course and at the end of the semester by means of an informal survey. In this space I will focus on one aspect of feedback students provided: the difficulty in students making links between the WAW articles and formal course writing assignments. As is the case in many classes, students in this sectioned noted how they felt they had to read too many articles. While I had taken care to limit the total readings to what seemed manageable to me, I do intend to revise the reading list to reduce the total number of readings required with their feedback in view.

Nonetheless, perhaps the most important thing I learned in making this attempt to teach this course as a WAW course is to more closely integrate concepts from the reading into the required formal writing assignments. As a WAW approach, inviting students to use the writing concepts they have been reading about in their writing means giving them an opportunity to do just that in writing. That is because education, especially in a WAW classroom, is somewhat reducible to what transfers to other rhetorical situations and contexts. In this class, I submit, the general skills required to access research scholarship (rhetorical assessment of authorship and situation, summary, synthesis, reflection, analysis) are all skills tied into gaining access to other sites’ discourses.

With regard to the student-centric group work, students acknowledged in their feedback that they seemed to get along quite well with their peers. Additionally, each article that they read provided an excess of content for students to wallow in. I had required students to write informal writing assignments for each of the readings, but this time I missed a vital opportunity to have students connect their wallowing to formal writing assignments. That would have potentially allowed students to make more connections among the articles, the other formal writing they were doing, and the specific research goals I was asking them to achieve.

A perennial issue, peer review and feedback, made its presence known in discussions with students throughout the semester. Students commented to me that group presentations allowed the class to discuss WAW threshold concepts from the readings together, to better understand them. I find it likely that asking students both to write individually and to present as groups, to discuss threshold concepts, both made the process somewhat tedious but also effective. At the end of the class, the entire class looked for patterns in the survey responses they had voluntarily filled out. Several students at that time observed that though they had not always enjoyed the workload, they had gained knowledge about writing throughout the semester’s reading and writing assignments.

Samuel Stinson, a PhD student, is a teaching assistant at Ohio University.

Call for proposals: WAW Sponsored Panel for CCCC 2017

2017 cccc logo

Cultivating Capacity, Creating Change

2017 Conference on College Composition and Communication
March 15-18, 2017
Portland, Oregon

The Writing About Writing (WAW) Standing Group and the WAW Steering Committee invite proposals for the 2017 WAW Sponsored Panel. The sponsored panel is guaranteed to be accepted to the CCCC program when the Standing Group submits it, and we are reaching out to the WAW community to identify potential presenters.

What is an Open Review?

This year, we will use an open review process to select participants for the WAW Featured Session. The chair of the WAW Sponsored Panel Committee will collect the proposals, remove all identifying information, and upload the content of the proposals to an institutional survey system.

From Tuesday, May 3 through Friday, May 6, members of the WAW community (reached via the WAWN-listserv and the WAW Network) will read the anonymous submissions and select their top proposals for the Sponsored Panel. Selected participants, and panelists not selected, will be notified of inclusion in the Sponsored Panel by Saturday, May 7, 2016, so that they will still have time to submit their proposal to CCCC on their own by the May 9 deadline.

Why use an Open Review?

We believe the open-access will bring more members into the WAW community; this open process will also help us cultivate next year’s vision for the Standing Group.

What kind of proposal fits the WAW Sponsored Panel’s goals?

We are interested in interactive panels as well as individual proposals. We are interested in proposals that help us extend the practice and impact of WAW pedagogy or research, particularly proposals authored and co-authored by new and emerging scholars in WAW. We are also hoping to include panels reporting on ongoing research into WAW programs and courses.

How will selected proposals be submitted to CCCC?

Sponsored Panels will be submitted by the WAW Sponsored Panel Committee through the regular CCCC proposal system, which is why we are asking for the same information as the online program proposal system.

To be considered for the WAW Sponsored Panel, proposals must be received before 11:59 pm on Sunday, May 1, 2016. Please send your proposal in the body of an email to Moriah McCracken at

To be considered for the Sponsored Panel, please follow 4Cs guidelines when writing your proposal. In ~2,000 characters, briefly describe the focus and purpose of your WAW presentation. Remember to include the following information in your email:

  • Name:
  • Institution:
  • Institution Type (high school, 2-yr, 4-yr, HSI, HBCU, etc):
  • Home Address, including City, State, Zip:
  • Phone & Email:

Please also indicate

  • “NEW” if you will be a first-time speaker/ presenter;
  • “ROLE” if you are willing to chair a session other than the one proposed;
  • “DREAM” if you are a first-time presenter eligible for a Scholars for the Dream Travel Award;
  • “GS” if you are a full-time graduate student;
  • “UGS” if you are an undergrad student.

Note “LCD” or “INTERNET” if that technology will be essential to your presentation.

If you have questions and/or concerns, feel free to email I. Moriah McCracken at

New to Writing about Writing (WAW Standing Group Newcomers Breakout)

Newcomers to the WAW standing group meeting at 4C’s 16 met separately to chat about some Writing about Writing concepts and pedagogical strategies.

We were a diverse group of seven, six from across the United States and one from Japan (that’s me!), and varying in our experiences with and expertise in Writing about Writing. I participated in the meeting as a newcomer in its truest sense, wanting to find out more about WAW while discovering that the basic principles of WAW resonated deeply with my beliefs and practices. Below are the notes from the meeting, and I invite everyone to use the comments space to make better meaning out of how I captured the discussion and to point out things that I might have missed.

We began by discussing how TFT (Teaching for Transfer) relates to WAW. Some of us were concerned that some scholars saw teaching for transfer and writing about writing as “mutually excusive”. Here are some points raised by the group in response:

  • Teaching how to learn to write for writing tasks beyond first year and advanced writing courses is one of the basic goals of WAW.
  • It may be useful to consider WAW as inductive and TFT as deductive learning. Inductive learning takes place within WAW approach because students learn how to write by engaging with content that deals explicitly with the “how to write” subject matter. But, once students internalise this “how to”, they can teach themselves how to write for any particular writing situation by reading primary texts in a given genre and discovering deductively the strategies specific to that context of writing.
  • Understanding the metaphors in Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life is an example of how inductive learning takes place.

We also shared some instructional strategies, prompted by questions from the group:

  • How would you teach technical writing through WAW?

–>Gather work by technical writers and build a discourse community.

  • How would you facilitate the learning of style as opposed to structure?

–>Prompt students to identify what the text is accomplishing and what moves are being made. For example, after reading a text, students identify a certain number of stylistic moves and give each one a name of their choosing.

–>Gather student writing corpus responding to a simple writing prompt (e.g. writing an email to professor regarding an anticipated absence) and analyze various stylistic moves.

–>Facilitate “reading like a writer” by providing guidance around reading primarily for style.

Elevator Pitches (WAW Standing Group Breakout)

During the WAW standing group meeting at 4Cs16, our breakout group discussed the potential coordinations and disjunctions across interest groups in transfer (e.g. WAW, TFT, threshold concepts) and made some first steps in what might become an “elevator pitch” for talking about WAW.

Here are the notes from our breakout group:

Goal: Write an “elevator pitch” for the uninitiated to WAW.

Questions we discussed:

  • In thinking about creating an elevator pitch, what do we need to acknowledge (implicitly or explicitly) and how does that change across audiences?
  • How do we convey what we know to be true about WAW?

Possible audiences for the elevator pitch:

  • Administrators
  • Colleagues in our departments
  • Colleagues outside of our departments
  • Colleagues who teach writing
  • The broader public

Possible pitches:

  • WAW is a pedagogical approach that positions writing as a subject of study, emphasizes metacognition, which we know to be important for transfer. (This pitch seems directed to ourselves/ writing instructors)
  • WAW helps students develop metacognition about writing and about themselves as writers. This type of reflective practice helps them to write more successfully in future contexts. (This pitch might speak to broader audiences, including , but is still incomplete.)

Feel free to add your ideas regarding an elevator pitch for WAW in the comments, and let us know which audience you imagine your pitch speaks to.

Writing about Business Writing: An Ethnography Assignment


Marianna Hendricks
The University of Texas at El Paso

Since 2010, I have experimented with integrating a WAW approach in my first-year writing courses. In 2012, I grew these efforts to include more business writing, both within first-year writing and in a dedicated course on workplace writing.

One way this has been successful is in the assignment below, the Workplace Writing Ethnography, which I developed alongside several colleagues at UTEP. This project stems from the commonly-assigned literacy narrative, or auto-ethnography, and extends the task of ethnography into exploring genres and conventions of a students’ target (or current) workplace. This is especially important for students who intend to enter a new career after college, as the project emphasizes analysis of the ways novices enter and integrate into a discourse community.


Workplace Writing Ethnography


The Workplace Writing Ethnography is different from the auto-ethnography. Rather than examine multiple writing practices for an individual (you), this assignment allows you to explore how written communication is structured within a single workplace. Ultimately, your objective is to: 1) get a sense of what genres are common within your chosen workplace, 2) profile conventions and “document cycling” practices (Paradis, Dobrin, and Miller, 1985) that are considered normal there, and 3) document (or propose) ways that novices could enter the written communication practices effectively and efficiently.

You will choose a workplace that you are either already in, or a workplace you would like to join in the future, perhaps as part of your career goals.

This assignment stems from class discussion of John Swales’ (1990) article “The Concept of Discourse Community,” where he gives six defining characteristics of discourse communities:

  1. A discourse community has a broadly agreed set of common public goals.
  2. A discourse community has mechanisms of intercommunication among its members.
  3. A discourse community uses its participatory mechanisms primarily to provide information and feedback.
  4. A discourse community utilizes and hence possesses one or more genres in the communicative furtherance of its aims.
  5. In addition to owning genres, a discourse community has acquired some specific lexis.
  6. A discourse community has a threshold level of members with a suitable degree of relevant content and discoursal expertise. (pp. 471-473)

Gathering Data

You will explore the six elements of discourse communities as they relate to the written communication within a particular workplace. When selecting your community, consider the guidelines listed below:

Locate a business or organization that is related to your future career aspirations. If you wish to study your current workplace, work with an upper-level supervisor to research beyond your current role.

  1. Contact an upper-level supervisor of this business or organization. Briefly explain your project, ask permission to observe people on-the-job for at least 3 hours, and set up an interview with the supervisor following your observation.
  2. Observe members of the community during a shared activity, and take detailed notes of how they interact (what are they doing? what kinds of things do they say? what do they write? how do you know who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’?).
  3. Request an interview with at least one lower-level employee in the organization.
  4. Collect artifacts and writing produced in the community. Consider requesting examples of emails, memos, business letters, web materials, brochures, mission statements, grant proposals, or procedures.

Record and/or take detailed notes during interviews with the supervisor and lower-level employee (we will develop research questions as a class beforehand).

Analyzing Data

After completing your observation and interviews, review your notes and the artifacts you have collected. As you read and re-read, try to answer as many of the following questions as possible:

  • What are the shared goals of this community? Why does the group exist and what does it do?
  • What mechanisms do members use to communicate? What are the purposes of these mechanisms?
  • Which of these mechanisms are considered genres? Which are primarily written?
  • Who are the normal audiences for these genres? What do they usually want to know? What do they expect to see?
  • What are some conventions for written communication in these genres? Is there a certain tone, specialized language, or standard way of saving or sharing information?
  • What kinds of “document cycling” take place in this community? Who provides feedback, and how often? When is a document considered final? How does it get there?
  • Who has expertise? Who are the newcomers? How do newcomers learn appropriate language, genres, knowledge?

Connect your findings with at least two of our readings. Consider whether your research seems to line up with what we read and discussed, or if your findings call some ideas into question.

Presenting Data

You will present your findings within a 5- to 7-page article, using a format commonly used to share qualitative research in academic journals. This article should be double-spaced, using a 12-point font in Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri, and one-inch margins. Please include all of the following sections:

  • A title page, including a title, your name, class time, and contact information.
  • Introduction, providing an overview of your workplace and research questions.
  • Literature Review, using course readings and any other relevant sources to support the way you structured your inquiry, data collection methods, analysis, or findings.
  • Methods, providing details of how you collected and analyzed data, in a way that another researcher could reasonably replicate.
  • Discussion, making connections between what you found and what it might mean, especially to a novice entering the workplace or someone looking to improve current practices.

The final version of your article should follow APA format, including a title page with running head, in-text and reference page citations, page numbers, and first-level section headings.

Drafting and Peer Review

All students will have multiple opportunities to share working drafts of their article with peers and the instructor for feedback. Please come to class on peer review days with as much work completed as possible, and be ready to provide meaningful comments on “global” issues such as appropriate focus, helpful structure, clear descriptions, and sufficient detail. Students who wish to receive additional feedback may make an appointment with the instructor during office hours and visit the University Writing Center to meet with a tutor; however, do not come expecting an editing session.

CFP: First Conference for Rhetoric & Writing Studies Undergrad Programs

Call for Proposals

First Conference on Rhetoric and Writing Studies Undergraduate Programs

October 13-14, 2016

Camino Real Hotel

El Paso, Texas

Sixteen years into a new century, we can say that undergraduate programs in Rhetoric and Writing Studies (RWS) are a diverse and exciting landscape in which, to borrow Sandra Jamieson’s words, we can discern “a snapshot of where the field of writing studies is today” and “where it is going and what it might become” (vii).

Sponsored by the Association for Rhetoric and Writing Studies Undergraduate Programs, this conference will provide a space for scholarship, conversation, and collaboration related to all facets of undergraduate programs in RWS. As such, we invite proposals on any issue related to RWS undergraduate programs, whether existing, planned, or aspirational.

Proposed topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Defining Undergraduate Programs: Rhetoric? Writing Studies? Rhetoric &/or Writing Studies?
  • Curriculum of Undergraduate Programs in RWS
  • Teaching, Learning, and Pedagogy in Undergraduate RWS Programs
  • Institutional Locations of Undergraduate RWS Programs
  • Institutional Politics and Undergraduate RWS Programs
  • Undergraduate RWS Program Administration
  • Histories of Undergraduate RWS Programs
  • Student Recruitment, Mentoring, and Retention
  • Undergraduate Research: Mentoring, Presentation, and Publication
  • Education, Hiring, and Mentoring of Undergraduate RWS Faculty
  • Funding, Grants, and Resources for Undergraduate RWS Programs
  • Partnerships between RWS Programs and Publics, Government, Workplace, Nonprofits, etc.
  • Technology and Digital Studies in Undergraduate RWS Programs


The conference welcomes individual proposals as well as proposals for panels, roundtables, and posters.

Conference sessions will be concurrent, lasting 90 minutes per session. Individual proposals will be grouped into conference sessions by topic. Presenters may propose panels of 3 to 4 presenters, roundtables of 5 or more presenters, and poster presentations.

Faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students may submit proposals.


  • Presenters should submit an abstract (500 words or less) of the proposed presentation no later than May 15, 2016.
  • Presenters will be notified of the status of their proposal by July 30, 2016.


Proposals may be submitted by email to Please identify status as faculty, graduate student, or undergraduate student.


Information about conference registration, hotel accommodations, and El Paso attractions will be posted to the Association website at

Questions can be sent to Helen Foster at or Angela Petit at

Work Cited

Jamieson, Sandra. Foreword. Writing Majors: Eighteen Program Profiles. Ed. Greg Giberson, Jim Nugent, and Lori Ostergaard. Logan, Utah State UP, 2015. vii-ix. Print.

Association for Rhetoric and Writing Studies Undergraduate Programs