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Composition Forum 42, Fall 2019

From the Editors: Volume 42

The field of “Writing Studies” began with a simple question: how can we improve the learning experience and outcomes of student writers? While the pedagogical focus of the Writing Studies was originally centered on college writers, particularly those in introductory writing courses, it has expanded far beyond that today. This volume of Composition Forum addresses writing pedagogy and theory as implemented in first-year writing courses, advanced courses, and graduate-level instruction. It offers perspectives from the United States, Canada, and across the globe. The interview, articles, program profile, and reviews in Volume 42 all contribute to our understanding of the diverse spaces and settings in which writing is situated.

The volume begins with an interview with scholar and author Diana George, professor emerita at both Virginia Tech and Michigan Technological University. In Being a Part of the Conversation: Reflections from Diana George, interviewer Libby Anthony discusses various administrative and scholarly topics, including Diana’s late in her career to revitalize a first year writing program and writing center at a different university. We are thrilled to share this important and engaging interview with our readers. If you’d like to propose or suggest an interview with a leading scholar in rhetoric and composition, contact our Interviews Editor Brian Bailie.

The volume features six articles that engage the intersections of theory and pedagogy in writing studies. ‘Transfer Talk’ in Talk about Writing in Progress: Two Propositions about Transfer of Learning by Rebecca S. Nowacek, Bridget Bodee, Julia E. Douglas, Will Fitzsimmons, Katherine A. Hausladen, Megan Knowles, and Molly Nugent tracks the emergence of the concept of “transfer talk”—a concept distinct from transfer of learning—and teases out the implications of transfer talk for theories of transfer of learning. Vivian Y. Kao’s Building Structure and Thinking Design in First-Year Composition provides an account of the author’s experiment asking first-year students at a STEM university to represent academic essay structure as three-dimensional models built out of unconventional materials, such as cardboard, foam, felt, and glue. In Writing the Boundaries: Boundary-Work in First-Year Composition Dylan Medina presents an approach to researching transfer and learning that focuses on the situated, moment-to-moment interactions that occur when students learn, when their dispositions form, and when they experience transfer. Writing Instruction and Measures of Quality of Education in Canadian Universities: Trends and Best Practices by Laura Reave examines the ways in which 28 top-rated Canadian universities are using required and elective courses to focus on developing student writing skills. In Service before Self: Military Leadership and Definitions of Service for Composition Studies, Laura J. Davies revisits the relationships among gender, service, and composition pedagogy through a qualitative study of active-duty military officers who teach first-year writing at the United States Air Force Academy, one of the five major U.S. national military service academies. And Meghan Brewer’s ‘The Text is the Thing’: Graduate Students in Literature and Cultural Conceptions of Literacy argues that understanding graduate instructors’ prior beliefs about literacy has the potential to make practica instructors more sympathetic to the complex identity-based and ideological negotiations new graduate instructors must undertake in their first year of teaching while also pointing to ways to facilitate this work. If you have questions or comments about the articles in this volume, or wish to propose an article, contact Managing Editor Greg Giberson.

This volume offers two program profiles addressing the intersection between writing theory and pedagogy. Activity Theory as Tool for WAC Program Development: Organizing First-Year Writing and Writing-Enriched Curriculum Systems by Crystal N. Fodrey, Meg Mikovits, Chris Hassay, and Erica Yozell discusses how an application of activity theory has facilitated a collaborative and context-responsive (re)development of the First-Year Writing, Writing Fellows, and Writing-Enriched Curriculum programs at Moravian College. And Collaborative Tactics in a Globally Focused Cocurricular Writing Program by Jacquelyn Hoermann-Elliott, Sarah Ruffing Robbins, Whitney Lew James, and Meagan Gacke Reed asserts that writing-oriented learning activities within Texas Christian University’s (TCU) GlobalEX program were productively positioned to enable students to engage with other cultures and hone skills for becoming intercultural navigators. If you’d like to propose a profile of your institution’s program, please send a query to our program profile editors Ashley Holmes and Faith Kurtyka.

The Reviews section includes a Review of Barbara Bird, Doug Downs, I. Moriah McCracken, and Jan Reiman’s Next Steps: New Directions for/in Writing about Writing by Christopher Iverson; A Review of Casey Boyle’s Rhetoric as a Posthuman Practice by Madison Jones; A Review of J. Michael Rifenburg’s The Embodied Playbook: Writing Practices of Student-Athletes by S. Andrew Stowe, and a Review of Cheryl Glenn and Roxanne Mountford’s Rhetoric and Writing Studies in the New Century: Historiography, Pedagogy, and Politics by Anne Turner. Please send review queries—not unsolicited manuscripts—to our review editor Sean Morey.

Along with the new content in this volume, we are also thrilled to announce a new editor on the staff of Composition Forum. Shane Wood (University of Southern Mississippi) joins the editorial staff as our first Communications Editor. Shane will not only help to raise Composition Forum’s profile through social media integration, but will also help us to cultivate scholarship that examines and critiques emerging social platforms of communication. Please follow us on Twitter @Comp_Forum.

We will continue to use Composition Forum’s Weblog to 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 Composition Forum and other news from the field of rhetoric and composition. Please send questions or comments about the Composition Forum website to Website Editor Kevin Brock at General inquiries about the journal can be sent to Editor Christian R. Weisser.

Return to Composition Forum 42 table of contents.