Discord And Direction: The Postmodern Writing Program Administrator
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The argument of this collection is that the cultural and intellectual legacies of postmodernism impinge, significantly and daily, on the practice of the Writing Program Administrator. WPAs work in spaces where they must assume responsibility for a multifaceted program, a diverse curriculum, instructors with varying pedagogies and technological expertise—and where they must position their program in relation to a university with its own conflicted mission, and a state with its unpredictable views of accountability and assessment.
The collection further argues that postmodernism offers a useful lens through which to understand the work of WPAs and to examine the discordant cultural and institutional issues that shape their work. Each chapter tackles a problem local to its author’s writing program or experience as a WPA, and each responds to existing discord in creative ways that move toward rebuilding and redirection.
It is a given that accepting the role of WPA will land you squarely in the bind between modernism and postmodernism: while composition studies as a field arguably still reflects a modernist ethos, the WPA must grapple daily with postmodern habits of thought and ways of being. The effort to live in this role may or may not mean that a WPA will adopt a postmodern stance; it does mean, however, that being a WPA requires dealing with the postmodern.
composition studies centers in the academic galaxy, let alone the social, political, and economic universe in which that galaxy exists. They should not be surprised when matters of curriculum, policy, or assessment that strike them as self-evident do not strike others the same way” (2002, 299). C-E visits can help bring this level of awareness—and to some extent, a renewed sense of “power”—to campus writing programs and the myriad persons across faculty and administrative lines who might
center directors, student tutors; • barriers to other classes—not always barrier testing, but often restrictions like higher grade requirements for passing into “regular” composition, completion before upper standing, or simply expectations in general education classes of certain levels of competence at aspects of writing that might otherwise be irrelevant to the actual work of such classes; Developmental Administration 91 • relatively little concern that the system maximizes student
the courses that I have supervised and, it seems clear to me, not in the courses of the great majority of composition programs in the country, no matter how we WPAs may have finessed the whole requirement for consistency. In Texas Tech’s composition program, ICON, a grader who is not evaluating in terms of what the classroom instructor is teaching quickly comes to light, as does the classroom instructor who is not presenting the criteria that the pool of document instructors is basing their
writing advice” and trying to translate it into specific writing habits, or by catching up on fifteen years of lost reading in a fifteen-week course, would seem to make any writing instruction a hopeless business. But there is another way to “jump start” writing ability even in nineteen-year-olds that does not require a lot of memorization or reading (or at least the memorization of writing precepts and the reading of great essays, neither activity being suited to the temperament and patience of
regular lunch meetings to discuss issues and experiences that arise in their classes. Each year, we publish an anthology of selected student poems from each participating class; print editions of whole sets of poems from particular classes such as biology, horticulture, music, and psychology; award “certificates of achievement” and bookstore gift certificates to selected authors for merit; and publish selected poems on the Web (people.clemson.edu/~apyoung/focus_on_creativity.html). We print