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Composition Forum 23, Spring 2011

From the Editors

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Christian Weisser and Michelle Ballif

Knowledge sharing, access to information, and the dissemination of scholarship are essential to the work of our field—from our scholarly publications, to our listserv conversations, to our casual and formal conversations at professional conferences. As an online journal, we are particularly mindful of the circulation of scholarly material in the digital world—and we are especially pleased when work that was first published in this journal is remediated in other forums and venues. Please join us in recognizing two recent articles from Composition Forum that will be reprinted in scholarly book collections.

Helen Foster’s “Kairos and Stasis Revisited: Heuristics for the Critical Composition Classroom” (CF 14.2, 2005) will be published in Margaret M. Strain’s Principles and Practices: Discourses for the Vertical Curriculum (Hampton, 2011). Foster’s essay, which draws upon classical rhetoric to envision a more critically-informed composition classroom, is worth a read, either here in Composition Forum or in the forthcoming collection. We also wish to congratulate Amy Patrick Mossman, whose “Sustaining Writing Theory,” originally published in CF 21, has been selected for inclusion in Best Writing from Independent Composition and Rhetoric Journals: 2010. The collection will be published by Parlor Press. Editors Steve Parks, Linda Adler-Kassner, Brian Bailie, and Collette Caton hope to have the book in hand by this year’s CCCC.

Along with the news of these reprints, this volume of Composition Forum offers a wealth of new material. Our featured interview is with Malea Powell, the 2011 Conference on College Composition and Communication chair. In the interview, she reflects upon the conference’s theme of inclusion and connectedness as a means to extend the field of rhetoric and composition in new ways. As part of this theme, Malea Powell discusses her own personal and professional history and the ways in which they’ve contributed to her scholarly work. This is the fourth interview to appear in Composition Forum—following interviews with Gary A. Olson, Cindy Selfe, and Susan Jarratt—and we welcome readers’ input on these interviews as well as suggestions for future interviewees. Comments can be sent to

The new essays in Volume 23 focus on three different, yet vitally important components of professional work in writing studies. Danika Brown’s “Stop Me If You’ve Heard This: Dialectical Negations and Program Development Discourses” describes the creation of a graduate program in rhetoric and composition. The article examines the contradictions inherent in program development and other institutional work, arguing for a “dialectical ambivalence” that enables academics to recognize the realities of power structures without being incapacitated by them. Bonnie D. Devet’s “Redefining the Writing Center with Ecocomposition” suggests that writing centers are like organisms, and as such, they are best understood as complex, dynamic, and organic sites of discourse. The article argues that writing centers “can enact special roles on their campuses” when viewed through the lens of ecocomposition. The final essay in Volume 23 provides a bibliographic summary of nearly a decade of research and scholarship presented at one of our field’s primary scholarly gatherings. Compiled by Rebecca Babcock, Thomas Ferrel, and Moira Ozias, “The Summer Institute for Writing Center Directors and Professionals: A Narrative Bibliography” includes detailed entries from the summer program as well as descriptions of how each scholarly work presented at the institute emerged and developed. The editors at Composition Forum welcome articles that focus upon the intersections of composition theory and pedagogy. M; manuscripts should be submitted electronically using our online submission system (see below). We welcome questions at

CF 23 offers two new program profiles. The first reflects upon Indiana’s mandate to eliminate “remedial” writing instruction at four-year universities. In “The Kairotic Moment: Pragmatic Revision of Basic Writing Instuction at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne,” authors Sara Webb-Sunderhaus and Stevens Amidon describe the ways in which their programs adapted to the legislation, suggesting that careful curricular changes have led to improved satisfaction and retention rates for many students. The second program profile focuses upon the redesign of Longwood University’s undergraduate program in Rhetoric and Professional Writing. In “Rekindling Longwood University’s Rhetoric and Professional Writing Concentration and Minor, 2007-2010,” Kathleen Welch describes the curricular and administrative obstacles she overcame in creating, staffing, and advertising a new concentration and minor. The profile emphasizes the important role of rhetoric in the program, and it is a valuable contribution to the recent body of scholarship devoted to the undergraduate writing major. Program Profiles can be submitted electronically, using our online submisson and review system. Queries about profiles should be addressed to

This issue also presents three reviews, all of which situate the work of writing courses and writing programs in larger institutional and educational contexts. Andrea Deacon reviews Kristine Hansen and Christine R. Farris’s College Credit for Writing in High School: The “Taking Care of” Business, a 2010 collection that examines “the world of early college credit.” Gerri McNenny’s review of Peggy O’Neill, Cindy Moore, and Brian Huot’s 2009 Guide to College Writing Assessment suggests that the guide serves as a resource WPAs “would surely want to consult in those inevitable moments of need.” Finally, Jessica Restaino’s review of To Teach: The Journey, in Comics by William Ayers and Ryan Alexander-Tanner represents Composition Forum’s ongoing commitment to expanding the “book reviews” genre by examining a comic book that writing teachers can all feel justified in reading. Comments about our reviews, as well as review queries, should be sent to

With the release of this issue, we are adopting new software for the journal. We will be using Open Journal Systems, a very popular web application which provides web-based management of submissions, peer review, and delivery of the journal. Moving to OJS will help us handle submissions more efficiently, since it provides tracking of the process from start to finish, and manages files via the web, rather than through email attachments. We will also be able to ensure archives of Composition Forum are indexed more effectively. Given the move to OJS, we have updated our submissions page to reflect a few changes in the submission process. We will use our weblog to provide updates or answer questions which come up more than once for our readers, authors, or reviewers. Please send along your feedback about OJS at any time.

Our weblog will also help us disseminate news and updates about the journal more quickly. We encourage readers to contribute timely and pertinent information to the blog. Add our feed to your newsreader to receive alerts about new volumes of CF and other news from the field of rhetoric and composition. Please send questions or comments about the Composition Forum website to

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Return to Composition Forum 23 table of contents.