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Composition Forum 17, Fall 2007

From the Editors

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Christian Weisser

As Volume 17 indicates, we continue to modify Composition Forum to meet the needs and desires of our readers. Our goal is to provide a space to examine, critique, and explore the many facets of pedagogical theory in rhetoric and composition.

The two essays in this volume use current events as points of departure in discussing writing instruction. Diann Baecker’s “Can You Hear Me Now, Ms. Monster?” employs the Virginia Tech shootings as a point of departure for how we acknowledge and discuss anger in writing classrooms. Baecker suggests that emphasizing the Greek concept of thumos (spiritedness or heart) can be productive approach to guiding students through their writing processes. In similar fashion, David Sherman’s “How Making Matters” begins with a student’s reflection on Hurricane Katrina to examine the role of multimedia (multiple modalities) for previously marginalized students. Sherman argues that working through processes of composing and responding across multiple modalities can enable previously marginalized students to gain a voice and be heard and seen in new ways. We encourage you to read and respond to these two insightful essays.

In response to the positive feedback we’ve received on our Program Profile section, we’ve added two profiles to this issue. Stephanie Kerschbaum and Jimmie Killingsworth’s Program Profile describes the development of the Undergraduate Program in Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture at Texas A&M University. The authors discuss the ways in which the study of rhetoric and the teaching and research interests of TAMU faculty combined in their program’s development, as well as the challenges they faced in assessing the program’s success. The second Program Profile, written by Marlene Clark, discusses the growth of the Core Humanities Program at the City College of New York’s Center for Worker Education. This profile addresses the history, theories, and politics shaping the program. The third Program Profile provides an overview of Melissa Vosen’s experiences teaching the Capstone Course in the University Studies Program at North Dakota State University. We hope to continue the development of this feature in Composition Forum, and we welcome queries to our Program Profile Editor Michelle Ballif through email at

This volume also features an expansion of the Book Review section. We include six reviews in this issue. This is the greatest number of reviews we’ve published in Composition Forum to date. We note this not merely to quantify or calculate, but to recognize the importance of new books to the development of rhetoric and composition. We hope to expand not only the number but also the scope of reviews in the future, and we encourage reviews of important textbooks, websites, and other texts. Review queries should be sent to Derek Owens through email at

Please see our submissions page for further information and submission guidelines for all of these features and sections. We hope you will visit this site often to view our progress; we will continue to add to our Archives section and have other plans underway for the structure and content of the journal. Please send any comments or suggestions about Composition Forum to Christian Weisser at Questions concerning the website should be directed to Bradley Dilger at

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