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Composition Forum 22, Summer 2010

From the Editors

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Christian Weisser and Michelle Ballif

This volume of Composition Forum begins with Still Sophistic After All These Years: An Interview with Susan Jarratt. In the interview, Jarratt discusses the ways in which her work brings together subjects including classical rhetoric, contemporary feminism, and writing studies. Along the way, she describes the ways in which these subjects have shaped her own personal and professional life, offering insights about the paths that we as “academic rhetoricians” might take to become more effective teachers, scholars, and administrators. Jarratt points out, among other things, that classical Greco-Roman rhetors are still highly relevant, and that we can learn from them the value of “being ambassadorial, trying to find the openings and use them in the highly constrained ways that we have open to us.” We hope that you find this, our third published interview, to be useful and thought-provoking. Questions about our interviews or suggestions for future interviewees should be sent to

The two featured articles in Volume 22 address developments in first-year composition pedagogy. Carra Leah Hood’s Ways of Research: The Status of the Traditional Research Paper Assignment in First-year Writing/Composition Courses describes a survey she conducted to learn whether the traditional research paper remained as common an assignment in first-year writing courses in 2009 as it had been in the past. Hood’s results portray a dramatic shift away from the traditional research paper, and she discusses some of the problems and possibilities created by this shift. Similarly, Jennifer S. Wilson’s Engaging Second Language Writers in Freshman Composition: A Critical Approach discusses a move away from “the traditional” in first-year writing courses, offering a unique approach to critical literacy as a means to enhance the experiences of emerging second language writers. Wilson illustrates how a critical approach can be useful for multilingual and multicultural writers and how such an approach might be implemented in the classroom. The editors at Composition Forum welcome articles that focus upon the intersections of composition theory and pedagogy. Manuscripts should be submitted electronically to

CF 22 offers two program profiles, both focusing upon undergraduate writing programs. In Standardizing English 101 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale: Reflections on the Promise of Improved GTA Preparation and More Effective Writing Instruction, Ronda Leathers Ditherly details the recent transition to a standardized English 101 curriculum at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC). The profile describes the theoretical, political, and practical underpinnings of that move, concluding with a discussion of the perceived benefits of standardizing English 101 at that university and at others. Lori Ostergaard and Greg A. Giberson’s Unifying Program Goals: Developing and Implementing a Writing and Rhetoric Major at Oakland University provides an analysis of the various influences upon that program’s development. The profile offers a wealth of insights into the development of a writing major—an important topic in writing studies today. Program Profile queries should be addressed to

Along with the interview, articles, and program profiles, Volume 22 also features five reviews of new texts of interest to writing scholars and teachers. Comments about our reviews, as well as review queries, should be sent to

Though we mentioned it in our last From The Editors column, we believe it’s worth repeating—all of our recent articles (and an increasing number of older articles) are now listed on the social bookmarking site Delicious. By clicking on tags often used in the journal, you can now quickly see all recent Composition Forum articles for subjects which interest you. As we enter information about back issues into Delicious, we are creating abstracts for previously published articles, too. We welcome your feedback about any of these features.

Finally, we will continue to use our weblog to disseminate news about the journal more quickly. Add our feed to your newsreader to keep up with publications and other news. Please send questions or comments about the Composition Forum website to

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Return to Composition Forum 22 table of contents.