The Activist WPA
5.5 x 8.5, 218 pages
LINDA ADLER-KASSNER is associate professor of English at Eastern Michigan University and director of EMU's First Year Writing Program, where she teaches first-year writing and graduate courses in composition pedagogy and research. Thanks to the work of the fantastic EMU FYWP staff, their program was awarded a CCCC Writing Program Certificate of Excellence in 2005-2006. With Susanmarie Harrington, Linda is co-author of Basic Writing as a Political Act: Public Stories about Writing and Literacy and co-editor of Questioning Authority: Stories Told in School. With Greg Glau, she is co-editor of The Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Basic Writing. Her research has also appeared in edited collections and journals, including Journal of Basic Writing, College Composition and Communication, WPA Journal, and College English. She is a former co-chair of the Conference on Basic Writing and 2009/10 President of the Council of Writing Program Administrators.
The Activist WPA
Changing Stories about Writing and Writers
In a time when writing teachers and administrators have been beset by powerful forces poised to change writing instruction and assessment in ways that reduce the scope and richness of the writing classroom, this book offers us much. It inspires WPAs to look in novel ways at their own situations; it provides practical solutions and applications for WPAs that can readily be adapted to local circumstances; AND it is well written, engaging to read. We emerge from it with what feels like a radical "rethinking" of WPA work, yet at the same time we feel we should have known this all along.
—The WPA 2010 Book Award Committee
What I most like and admire about this book is how Linda Adler-Kassner brings everything she is as a person--activist, scholar, teacher, pragmatist--to bear upon the work she does as a WPA. In doing so, she shows us how our programs can become places to enact the call of tikkun olam--to help mend the world through reframing the ways we talk about students, teachers, and writing.
—Joseph Harris, Duke University
One wonders if there is any academic field that doesn't suffer from the way it is portrayed by the media, by politicians, by pundits and other publics. How well scholars in a discipline articulate their own definition can influence not only issues of image but the very success of the discipline in serving students and its other constituencies. The Activist WPA is an effort to address this range of issues for the field of English composition in the aftermath of No Child Left Behind and the Spellings Commission.
Drawing on recent developments in framing theory and the resurgent traditions of progressive organizers, Linda Adler-Kassner calls upon composition teachers and administrators to develop strategic programs of collective action that do justice to composition's best principles. Adler-Kassner argues that the "story" of college composition can be changed only when writing scholars bring the wonders down, to articulate a theory framework that is pragmatic and intelligible to those outside the field--and then create messages that reference that framework. In The Activist WPA, she makes a case for developing a more integrated vision of outreach, English education, and writing program administration.
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