Skip to content

Composition Forum 20, Summer 2009

From the Editors

Bookmark and Share

Christian Weisser and Michelle Ballif

We have several exciting changes to announce with Volume 20 of Composition Forum. Most notably, we have three new editors joining our staff. After five years of service, Derek Owens will step down from his position as Review Editor to devote more time to directing the Institute for Writing Studies at St. John’s University. On behalf of the editors, contributors, and readers of Composition Forum—thanks for all of your hard work, Derek. During his tenure as Review Editor, Derek was able to increase the scope and quality of our published reviews, and we are thrilled to welcome two new editors who will continue that progress. Jeanne Rose and Lori Salem join us as incoming Review Editors, and their combined efforts and experience promise to extend Derek’s good work. This volume features three reviews focusing on new books by Byron Hawk, Stanley Fish, and Steven Mailloux. Comments about our reviews, as well as review queries, should be sent to

We also have a new section beginning with this volume, and a new editor to manage that section. Jacqueline Rhodes joins us as Interviews Editor, and readers can look forward to an interview with a prominent scholar in the field of rhetoric and composition in each of our future volumes. The scholarly interview is an important genre in our field. While the academic essay remains the predominant genre for scholarship, interviews can give insight and clarification on how and why theories and pedagogies develop. It is fitting that our first interview is with Gary A. Olson, since he helped to establish that genre as an important method of academic inquiry in rhetoric and composition. Under his editorship in 1989, JAC began publishing interviews with prominent scholars. Twenty years later, Jacqueline will help us carry on that tradition here at Composition Forum. Questions about our interviews or suggestions for future interviewees should be sent to

While we welcome these new editors, our other editors have been busy, too. We offer two compelling Program Profiles in Volume 20. The first is entitled “Self-Assessment as Programmatic Center: The First Year Writing Program and Its Assessment at California State University, Fresno,” and it argues that a culture of self-assessment is necessary to develop a writing program in meaningful ways. The second profile is entitled “The Activist WPA in Action: A Profile of the First-Year Writing Program at Eastern Michigan University,” and it highlights Linda Adler-Kassner’s development of an “open systems” curriculum at EMU and her use of assessment for program visibility and continuous program improvement. Program Profile queries should be addressed to

Each of our three articles focuses upon a different dimension of the academic work of writing specialists. The lead article addresses the challenges facing WPAs as students come to the university with increasingly “consumerist” mentalities. Leah Schweitzer’s “Accommodating the Consumer-Student” offers directed self-placement as a useful strategy for negotiating these challenges. Weaving together six narratives, “A Changing Profession Changing a Discipline: Junior Faculty and the Undergraduate Major” explores the complexities of developing an undergraduate writing major. The authors ultimately suggest that those currently working in undergraduate writing programs have an obligation to share their expertise with others. The final essay in Volume 20, Staci Maree Perryman-Clark’s “Black Female Intellectuals in the Academy: Inventing the Rhetoric and Composition Special Topics Course,” points out that special topics courses can facilitate new approaches to graduate education in rhetoric and composition. Manuscripts should be submitted electronically to

Many readers have written positive comments about the abstracts that now accompany each article, but it is worth mentioning their purpose again. The abstracts provide an overview of the article and are designed to make the content of Composition Forum more accessible to our readers. We are in the process of creating abstracts for previously published articles as well; be sure to check past volumes of Composition Forum as these abstracts become available. We also continue to add posts to our weblog to disseminate news about the journal more quickly. Please send questions or comments about the Composition Forum website to

Bookmark and Share

Return to Composition Forum 20 table of contents.