A position statement is a document that asserts the official position of an organization (in this case, CCCC) on a particular issue or set of issues. The position statement is itself a genre. However, effective position statements should make possible the creation of other genres intended for other audiences through their clear and cogent presentation of position, relevant evidence and/or data, and implications.
CCCC position statements should address issues associated with writing or literacy activities (including instruction, instructors, research, use, or other activities). These statements should be written with clear and explicit purposes and audiences in mind. They should synthesize positions or stances that reflect research/research-based best practices, and outline implications of this work for action.
Position Statement Guidelines
Position statements should:
- Be no longer than 4 pages (excluding appendices)
- Include an executive summary
- Clearly identify the purpose(s) of and audience(s) for the statement
- Include a clear statement of no more than 1–3 sentences of the goal or thesis of the statement
- Outline research-based actions associated with the position and implications
- Use language that is direct and accessible to an educated audience
Position statements may:
- Outline the exigency for the statement as part of the purpose
- Position the point(s) advanced in the statement as an alternative to the exigency
- Include a synthesis of research with citations or references to additional information
- Use concise, descriptive headings to help organize the statement
Position statements should avoid:
- Buried leads—putting the primary argument of the position statements deep in the document
- Becoming articles—documents that include levels of exploration of subjects appropriate for a group of researchers rather than other audiences (unless appropriate for the audience)
- Include resolutions or advocate for CCCC action outside of the established resolution process.
How Position Statements Come About
The genesis of CCCC position statements can come from a resolution or sense-of-the-house motion passed at an Annual Business Meeting; from a strategic governance motion; from a committee or task force; or from the CCCC Executive Committee or officers. (See /cccc/resources/positions/creation.) Position statements cannot, however, be generated by or from an individual.
The Executive Committee and/or Officers will authorize a group of people to create position statements. The authorization will include a charge, broad parameters for the statement (i.e., the broad issue/s it should address), and a timeline for submission of a draft statement. Statements will then be reviewed by a working group of the Executive Committee. Comments will be returned to the primary author/chair of the authoring task force by the CCCC liaison. Each statement will also have an Executive Committee liaison, who will work with the task force to coordinate recommended revisions and guide the statement through the EC approval process. Once the Executive Committee approves the statement, it will be posted on the CCCC web site.
Frameworks Institute materials on framing messages about education (P–16):
All education: http://www.frameworksinstitute.org/issues-education.html
Higher ed: http://www.frameworksinstitute.org/higher-education.html
SPIN Works! (Strategic Press Information Network guide to writing, frame changing, op-ed pieces, and more): http://spinacademy.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/SPIN-Works.pdf
The Op Ed Project (Resources on writing and pitching op eds): http://www.theopedproject.org/