What is CCCC?
The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) supports and promotes the teaching and study of college composition and communication. CCCC is one of four conferences of the National Council of Teachers of English, which promotes access, power, agency, and affiliation for all invested in literacy, pre-K through graduate school.1
Organizational Structure of CCCC
CCCC is governed by its Constitution and Bylaws. It is through the groups and roles specified in these documents that the work of the organization takes place. Leadership of the organization is charged to the CCCC Executive Committee (EC). The EC consists of 25 voting members (who are themselves elected by CCCC members) and five ex officio members who sit on the EC by virtue of their offices. These include, for instance, the editor of College Composition and Communication, CCCC’s journal, and the chair of the Two-Year College English Association (an NCTE association and close ally of CCCC). These ex officio members provide necessary information about the operations of the organization to the larger leadership body.
The CCCC EC is led by six officers (included in the count above): five elected and one who sits on the Officers’ Committee by virtue of their office. These officers include the Chair, Associate Chair, Assistant Chair, Past Chair, Secretary, and the Executive Secretary-Treasurer (non-elected), who form an Officers’ Committee as specified by the Constitution. Along with the EC, the officers have responsibility for policymaking, fiduciary matters, and organizational decision-making.
Also charged with undertaking projects is a series of Special Committees. These are appointed by the EC. They have a set of discrete tasks around a common interest defined by the Executive Committee to achieve purposes associated with the organization (for example, updating or revising a position statement). Organizationally, the other entities included in the structure of CCCC are membership-driven entities such as Special Interest Groups and Standing Groups, which emerge from the body of the organization. These groups are defined on this webpage and can request formal status within the organization in order to pursue goals, projects, or tasks around an area of common interest.
Organizational Structures within CCCC
Article IV of the CCCC Constitution names four kinds of committees within CCCC: the Executive Committee, Nominating Committee, Officers’ Committee, and Special Committees. The first three committees (Executive, Nominating, and Officers’) consist of elected and ex-officio members, so are necessarily limited in membership. The fourth, Special Committees, covers a range of topics and has more open membership.
- Executive Committee: comprised of 20 elected plus a number of ex-officio members, the EC is CCCC’s policymaking body.
- Nominating Committee: comprised of seven elected members, the NC identifies and encourages a diverse group of potential candidates to run for leadership positions within the organization.
- Officers’ Committee: the officers of the EC make up the OC, which is charged with carrying out the business of the EC.
- Special Committees: At any given time, CCCC will have a number of special committees, each appointed by the CCCC Chair. While certain committees are ongoing because their charge renews itself each year (e.g., Newcomers’ Orientation Committee and Awards Committees), most are chartered for three years and have specific deliverables. (The EC may renew the charter if provided with evidence that the organization would benefit from doing so.) A list of current Special Committees, along with information on how to join a committee, can be found on the CCCC Committee webpage.
Task forces are convened, charged, and appointed by the CCCC Executive Committee with the Officers’ Committee taking responsibility for charging the group. A Task Force tends to have a short activity span (typically no more than one year) around a very focused goal or outcome.
Member Groups: Special Interest Groups and Standing Groups
Committee membership is relatively limited because committees have specific and focused charges that are defined by the Executive Committee via the Chair. CCCC members who seek to define more ongoing work that is driven by member interests can participate in Member Groups of two types: Special Interest Groups (SIGs) or Standing Groups (SGs).
Currently, the more than fifty Special Interest Groups (SIGs) meet at the CCCC Annual Convention in the spring. They are relatively informal and provide an opportunity for people with common professional interests to meet and talk. Longstanding SIGs can apply to become a Standing Group, resulting in a more formal relationship with CCCC. While SIGs are not accountable to the organization with specific deliverables, Standing Groups are required to submit an annual report of activities and membership.
Who Does What in the Groups?
- Committees are convened by the CCCC Executive Committee, with charges determined by the EC or Officers’ Committee. All committee members (including the chair) are named/appointed rather than elected. The exceptions to this description are the Nominating Committee, the Officers’ Committee, and the Executive Committee.
- Task Forces are convened by the Executive Committee, with charges determined by the EC or Officers’ Committee. The chair is named or appointed rather than elected, as is the membership.
- Standing Groups are membership-driven groups focused around a common interest. They may start as SIGs and apply for Standing Group status. Chairs or co-chairs are elected from the membership rather than appointed. They have organizational status as an ongoing group, presuming they provide necessary annual updates to the CCCC leadership and abide by their bylaws.
- Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are groups assembled by members with a common interest that meet annually at the Convention. SIGs can apply for Standing Group status–recognition by the organization for longstanding activity.
How do I get involved?
- Committees: Because committee membership is named by the Officers/EC, members interested in committee involvement should contact the CCCC liaison, Kristen Suchor, and/or respond to the biennial survey circulated to members, which seeks to solicit interest.
- Task Forces: If there is an area of special expertise that a member wants to contribute to the organization, s/he can contact the Officers’ Committee to indicate a willingness to serve on a committee or task force should a task/goal falling under that member’s area of specialization be necessary.
- Standing Groups: Standing Groups are open to all members. Any member is invited to attend the standing group meeting at the annual convention.
- Special Interest Groups: SIGs are open to all members. Any member is invited to attend the special interest group meeting at the annual convention. SIGs and Standing Groups determine their own leadership opportunities and can be great ways to connect to other leadership positions within CCCC.
- Position Statements: CCCC Position Statements—formal statements approved by the CCCC Executive Committee—have a long history in the organization, with Students’ Right to Their Own Language dating back to 1974. Position statements cover a range of ethical and professional issues. More detailed information can be found at the following sites:
- Resolutions: Members of CCCC are encouraged to propose and/or support resolutions in order to “facilitate our collective efforts” on issues “that bear on the teaching of writing and communication.” While some resolutions are intended to make a statement, others are meant to spur action. The Resolutions Committee compiles resolutions and then puts them to a vote by the membership at the business meeting on Saturday morning at CCCC.
1The other three conferences are the Conference on English Education (CEE), Conference on English Leadership (CEL), and the Whole Language Umbrella. NCTE also has affiliates (NCTE regional affiliates and TYCA regional affiliates) and assemblies.