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Area Clusters

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The clusters below are used to help organize the review of proposals and create the program. To ensure fairness and equal representation, proposals are generally accepted in proportion to numbers received in the clusters. Selecting a particular cluster neither advantages nor disadvantages your proposal. Sometimes a single proposal might fit into two or three areas, or a proposal might not fit well into any area. However, if you do not choose a category, your proposal will not be reviewed and therefore will not be accepted for the program. Please consider these categories as a heuristic, and understand that in making a selection, you emphasize the primary focus of and the best reviewing audience for your proposal.

1. First-Year Writing

  • FYW curricula
  • Pedagogical approaches to FYW
  • Theories of learning to write, writing, and writers
  • Institutional contexts
  • Assessing, evaluating, and responding to students’ writing
  • Peer review and collaboration
  • Online first-year writing instruction
  • Learning to teach FYW
  • Transfer theory, writing about writing, and threshold concepts in writing studies
  • Professional development for FYW teachers

2. College Writing and Reading

  • Basic writing curricula and pedagogies
  • Teaching nondegree credit courses online
  • Developmental writing, reading, and learning support programs
  • Teaching and supporting structurally disadvantaged students
  • Public policies and politics of remediation
  • Collaboration with secondary/K–12 writing programs and instructors
  • Methods and measures of placing students in writing, reading, and support courses
  • Dual credit/concurrent enrollment courses, programs, students, and training
  • Reform mandates facing two-year colleges and other access institutions
  • Integrated reading and writing courses and curriculum
  • Evidence-based reading instruction
  • The role of reading in writing courses
  • Writing about reading
  • Critical reading strategies
  • Designing curriculum to support critical reading
  • Preparing instructors for teaching reading
  • Relationships between reading and writing

3. Institutions: Labor Issues, Professional Lives, and Survival

  • Labor activism and advocacy
  • Contingency studies
  • Ethical writing program labor practices
  • The state and status of labor in the field of writing studies
  • Institutional case studies
  • Teaching about labor issues
  • The labor of online writing instruction and equity for instructors
  • Organization and operations of educational institutions
  • Working conditions for contingent faculty and graduate assistants
  • Teacher support, mentoring, and professional development

4. Writing Programs

  • Assessment of writing programs
  • Evaluation of instruction
  • Writing program administration at a range of institutional contexts (research-intensive, comprehensive, private liberal arts, two-year colleges, tribal colleges, minority-serving institutions)
  • Independent writing programs
  • Undergraduate writing curricula and pedagogies
  • Graduate curricula and pedagogies
  • Teaching and mentoring graduate students
  • Supporting writing instructors across the range of position types (GTA, contingent, tenure-line faculty, lecturers/fixed-term instructors)
  • Professional development support for teachers of undergraduate and graduate students
  • Administration of FYW programs of upper division or vertical writing programs
  • Administration of writing majors
  • Administration of writing centers and learning centers
  • Community literacy and lifelong learning programs

5. Writing Centers (including Writing and Speaking Centers)

  • Writing/speaking center administration
  • Writing/speaking center pedagogy
  • Undergraduate tutor education
  • Graduate tutor education
  • Graduate student administration/administrators
  • Writing/speaking center theory
  • Writing/speaking center assessment
  • International writing center collaborations
  • International/transnational writing/speaking center theory and practice
  • antiracism, anti-oppression writing/speaking center praxis
  • Intra- and interinstitutional collaborations

6. Community, Civic, and Public Contexts of Writing

  • Community literacy practices, programs, and outreach
  • Civic engagement and deliberation
  • Public advocacy and policy work
  • Adult education
  • Prison literacy and literacy instruction
  • Community-based teaching and learning
  • Teaching and learning in nonacademic contexts
  • Theories of public engagement and civic life
  • Social justice and activism
  • Service-learning programs and courses
  • Civic engagement pedagogy in writing courses
  • Developing writing-focused internships

7. Approaches to Teaching and Learning

  • Faculty development
  • Professional development
  • Theories of learning
  • Writing pedagogy and education
  • Instructional design

8. Inclusion and Access

  • Students, diversity, and access
  • Teaching and learning practices that support access, retention, and degree completion
  • Access to college-credit course work
  • Gatekeeping courses
  • Access to the profession
  • Accessibility for students, instructors, scholars
  • Barriers to college participation
  • Barriers to participation in the profession
  • Writing studies work informed by disability studies

9. Histories of Rhetoric

  • Engaging students in historical reading, writing, and research
  • Disciplinary and professional histories
  • Histories of rhetoric
  • Histories of curriculum, instruction, and pedagogy
  • History of writing instruction
  • Histories of education
  • Histories of composing and composition
  • Histories of literacy theories and practices
  • Cultural histories of teaching and learning
  • Oral histories and traditions
  • Histories of alternative sites of, and approaches to, education
  • Historiography and theories of history

10. Creative Writing and Publishing

  • Nonfiction, fiction, poetry, drama, screenwriting, and songwriting
  • Audiovisual writing and digital genres
  • Life writing, memoir, autobiography
  • Other alternative forms of writing
  • Creative writing pedagogy
  • Publishing
  • Relationships between creative writing and academic writing
  • Creative writing in the first-year writing curriculum

11. Information Literacy and Technology

  • Supporting students’ information literacy skills
  • Designing courses around information literacy
  • Online writing instruction
  • Collaborations with libraries and librarians
  • Teaching and learning in digital and online spaces
  • Using technology to support learning
  • Electronic publishing tools and practices
  • Media studies
  • Intellectual property
  • Theories of technology and digital cultures
  • Narratives of culture and technology

12. Language, Literacy, and Culture

  • L2 writers and readers
  • Second language writing pedagogies
  • Disciplinary collaborations between writing studies and TESOL
  • Translingual and multilingual practices and pedagogies
  • Transnational and multilingual student needs and interests
  • Language policies
  • World Englishes
  • Literacy as a cultural practice
  • Diverse literacies (workplace, community, etc.)
  • Literacy research, narratives, and theories

13. Professional and Technical Writing

  • Pedagogical approaches to professional and technical writing
  • Writing in the professions: business, science, health, public policy, etc.
  • Information design and architecture
  • Usability and user-experience design
  • Workplace studies
  • Intercultural and culturally competent communication
  • Theories of technical and professional writing

14. Theory and Research Methodologies

  • Theoretical frameworks associated with feminism, intersectionalism, queer theory, disability studies and crip theory, labor and class studies, decolonization, etc.
  • Critical race theory
  • Counterstory, critical narrative inquiry, critical rhetoric
  • Methodology and research design
  • Quantitative and qualitative methods (big data, historical, narrative, grounded, ethnographic, etc.)
  • Pedagogical approaches to instruction in methods and methodologies
  • Applications and ethics of research
  • Institutional Review Board processes and practices

15. Antiracism and Social Justice

  • Linguistic justice
  • Rhetorics of race and racism
  • Antiracist writing assessment
  • Racial justice
  • Racial healing
  • Raciolinguistics
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • #blacklivesmatter
  • Antiracist pedagogy
  • Radical and liberatory pedagogies
  • Activism and organizing


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