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Composition Forum 33, Spring 2016

From the Editors

Christian Weisser, Mary Jo Reiff, and Anis Bawarshi

As our readers will know, Composition Forum has produced four special-themed volumes in the last decade, focusing on location, transfer, veterans, and genre respectively. In fact, these special volumes have garnered high praise from our diverse readership, and they have been among the most widely read and referenced editions that the journal has produced in its thirty-three volume history. Consequently, we are pleased to announce an expansion in our editorial staff to accommodate the growing interest in special-themed volumes of Composition Forum. Professor Jody Shipka (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) joins our staff as Special Issues Editor, in which capacity she will identify topics for and oversee the creation of special issues addressing important trends in writing studies. Please join us in congratulating Jody; you can contact her at if you’d like to propose or guest edit a special issue in the future.

While CF 33 is not a “special-themed” volume, we believe there is a lot that is remarkable and noteworthy about it. This volume begins with An Advocate for Rhetoric and Writing at the University: An Interview with James Porter. In this interview, Porter talks about his professional career and what he sees as the contemporary challenges for the field of rhetoric and composition/writing studies. Throughout the exchange with interviewee Laurie Gries, Porter discusses his administrative concerns with the state of rhetoric in the field, the ongoing struggles with graduate education, the complexities of online writing instruction, and the potentials of programmatic collaboration. The interview concludes on a personal note about Porter’s scholarly trajectory, his collaborations, the fruits of his labor, and his advice for emergent scholars in the field. We are pleased to present this interview to our readers. If you’d like to propose or suggest an interview with a leading scholar in rhetoric and composition, contact our Interviews Editor.

The volume features seven articles addressing the intersections of theory and pedagogy in writing studies, and these articles cover a range of topics. In Toward a Technical Communication Made Whole: Disequilibrium, Creativity, and Postpedagogy, Marc C. Santos and Megan M. McIntyre address the challenging questions of postpedagogy, creativity and rhetorical awareness in an undergraduate professional writing major, while also touching upon the difficulties of assessment. Stephanie Vie and Brandy Dieterle’s Minding the Gap: Comics as Scaffolding for Critical Literacy Skills in the Classroom discusses an approach to first-year composition that argues for using comics, like Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, as an avenue for grappling with critical literacy. In the article Leveraging the Methodological Affordances of Facebook: Social Networking Strategies in Longitudinal Writing Research, Jenna Pack Sheffield and Amy C. Kimme Hea examine the ways in which social media—specifically Social Network Sites (SNSs)—may enhance writing scholars’ research methods and methodologies by helping to combat research participant attrition and build a community around a research project. In Identifying Components of Meta-Awareness about Composition: Toward a Theory and Methodology for Writing Studies, Crystal VanKooten draws on a case study of six students in two FYW courses that is informed by Gregory Schraw’s model of metacognition and Anthony Giddens’s theory of practical and discursive consciousness to outline four writing/rhetorical concepts within which meta-awareness about composition is observable. Daisy S. Miller’s The Pedagogy of Riffing: Cultivating Meta-Awareness and Citizenship through Metacommentary examines how satire and some earlier forms of metacommentary can help first-year composition students appreciate the mediated nature of contemporary current-events discourse, arguing that using forms of metacommentary, situated within a pedagogy of riffing, helps students to locate themselves in the larger discussion of politics and informed citizenship. In Writing and Desire: Synthesizing Rhetorical Theories of Genre and Lacanian Theories of the Unconscious, Ross Collin examines rhetorical theories of genre and Lacanian theories of the unconscious, ultimately arguing that educators at multiple levels should fight to open spaces in which students can discover more meaningful ways of engaging desires and working in genres. And Stephen E. Neaderhiser’s Hidden in Plain Sight: Occlusion in Pedagogical Genres concludes the articles section of this volume by arguing for an increased awareness and study of the occluded or “behind the scenes” contexts of pedagogical genres so that we may better understand how these genres facilitate the pedagogical activity and identities of teachers within academia.

The three program profiles in this volume also cover a range of topics and address the diverse sites of writing instruction. They include GTA Preparation as a Model for Cross-Tier Collaboration at North Carolina State University: A Program Profile by Casie Fedukovich and Megan Hall; Composition at Washington State University: Building a Multimodal Bricolage by
Patricia Ericsson, Leeann Downing Hunter, Tialitha Michelle Macklin, and Elizabeth Sue Edwards; and Equal Opportunity Programming and Optimistic Program Assessment: First-Year Writing Program Design and Assessment at John Jay College of Criminal Justice by Tim McCormack and Mark McBeth. If you’d like to propose a profile of your institution’s program, please send a query to our Program Profile editors.

Volume 33 includes two review essays and two reviews. The first review essay is Joshua Herron’s Writing Commons: A Model for the Creation, Usability, and Evaluation of OERs, an examination of Joe Moxley’s Writing Commons, which serves as a model of an Open Educational Resource in its careful consideration of the processes involved in producing accessible resources that meet user needs. The second review essay is Allison Hitt’s Rhetorical Identification Across Difference and Disability, which places Stephanie Kerschbaum’s Toward a New Rhetoric of Difference and Shannon Walters’s Rhetorical Touch: Disability, Identification, Haptics in a conversation about how we can more productively identify with and across difference. The section also includes a Review of Richard Haswell and Janis Haswell's Hospitality and Authoring: An Essay for the English Profession by Matthew M. Heard, and a Review of Elizabeth Vander Lei et al.'s Renovating Rhetoric in Christian Tradition, by Jeff Ringer. Please send review queries—not unsolicited manuscripts—to our Review editor.

Composition Forum also welcomes queries and nominations for retrospectives, which provide a space for authors of previously-published, groundbreaking articles or books to revisit and reflect on their earlier ideas and dialogue with others in the field about how their ideas have changed since publication. Please send Retrospective queries or nominations to the Retrospectives editor.

We will continue to use Composition Forum’s Weblog to share 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 Composition Forum and other news from the field of rhetoric and composition. Please send questions or comments about the Composition Forum website to

Return to Composition Forum 33 table of contents.