PWPA Winter Social

The PWPA’s annual Winter Social will be held on February 24, 2017 at JG Domestic, from 5 to 7 pm.  JG’s is a Jose Garces bar and restaurant conveniently located in the beautiful Philly landmark Cira Center adjacent to the 30th Street Train Station.  If you’re driving rather than taking public transportation, you can park in the Cira Center or nearby.  Cold platter catering will be provided by PWPA along with a cash bar.  See you there!

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PWPA Co-Hosts Philly Reception for MLA Writing Studies Presenters

Reviving a tradition from years past, this year’s PWPA co-hosted a well-attended reception at the Convention Center Marriott for folks in writing studies who were presenting at MLA in Philadelphia in January.  Snacks and a cash bar were provided, and the opportunity to make new friends and catch up with colleagues, local and national, made it a great time for all.  Co-Sponsors, along with PWPA, included Anne Gere, University of Michigan; Eli Goldblatt, Temple University; and Val Ross, University of Pennsylvania.

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PWPA Fall Conference & Meeting Features Norbert Elliot and Mark Benchley

The Fall PWPA Meeting was held on Friday, September 16, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.  It featured two outstanding presentations:  the first by Norbert Elliot, a leading writing assessment expert, who discussed the pressing topic of fairness, including the effects of cultural bias, in writing assessment.  Mark Benchley of the Exeter Grammar Project also presented on their large-scale review of literature on grammar and usage research, as well as their own research on and approach to grammar instruction in elementary schools in the UK.  After an engaging discussion, we bid a very fond farewell to our extraordinary co-chairs, Liz Vogel and Trish Egbert, who are stepping down after a very full term of service to PWPA.  
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Spring Meeting at West Chester U.

Dear Colleagues,

Please join us for the spring meeting at West Chester U. We are going to be discussing writing and labor issues. Please see the CFP below:

Philadelphia Writing Program Administrators and Labor Issues

PWPA April 15, 2016

West Chester University of PA


In writing programs across North America, individuals and groups of faculty, sometimes crossing ranks/status, are successfully working for equitable policies/conditions for part-time and limited term faculty. Throughout the PWPA-membership region, we are confident that many of us have made progress on these fronts; we are also confident that many of us still face difficult institutional and cultural barriers to reaching the goal of labor justice in our programs. This *strategy session* will identify and describe some of those efforts, towards two ends: (1) extracting principles and ideas for people to take up in their own settings; and (2) problematizing extant efforts in order to better understand the most pressing needs for continued work.

Therefore, we invite your participation in the session in either or both of these ways–

  1. Join a panel of participants who have made positive strides regarding labor conditions on your campus, or in your program, or elsewhere (disciplinary/professional associations; unions; grassroots organizations). We wouldn’t expect you to present at length on your accomplishments, but to be willing to lend your expertise to colleagues who can use it.
  2. Submit questions/scenarios from your local situation in advance so panelists can think about how to help.

Our overall goal for the session is to help participants:

  • Recognize the resources/privileges available to you;
  • Identify and access people who can make decisions regarding working conditions at our institutions;
  • Explore what actions are already underway on our campuses and in the region to improve conditions for contingent faculty;
  • Learn about actions by the New Faculty Majority (NFM), Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor (COCAL), and within disciplinary organizations, that could help us to prioritize or focus our work for the immediate future;
  • Understand alternative possibilities for solidarity when unions are legally restricted;
  • Draft/sketch initial plans for enacting contingent labor justice in your specific location/institution.

In order to volunteer for the panel or submit questions, contact Seth Kahn <> by Friday, April 1. We’ll look forward to hearing from you soon and seeing you all in April!

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Fall Meeting at University of Pennsylvania

Dear Colleagues,

We invite you to join us for this fall’s PWPA meeting on Friday, September 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.  Our focus will be on genre-based assignments.   We are also seeking proposals for brief presentations (10-15 minutes) on a genre-based assignment you have taught (see “Call for Proposals” below).  Please RSVP with lunch preference to


10:00-11:15:      Introduction and Genre-Based Assignment Presentations
11:15-12:15:      Luncheon Speaker:  Anis Bawarshi
12:30-1:00         Workshop/Breakout Groups
1:00-2:00:          Presentation of workshop findings and general discussion

2:00:                   PWPA Meeting


We’ll begin the session with a series of brief presentations that explore genre-based assignments taught by our presenters.  Anis Bawarshi will follow with a lunch talk, “Genre, Knowledge Transfer, and the Teaching of Writing: Challenges and Opportunities,” and afterward lead a workshop with breakout groups that will design genre-based assignments that facilitate transfer of knowledge. The goal for our program is that everyone will be able to produce something they can adapt or directly use in their own classrooms as well as share with others.  The program will be followed by a general meeting of PWPA; all members are encouraged to attend.

Anis Bawarshi is Professor of English and outgoing Director of the Expository Writing Program at the University of Washington. He also serves as series co-editor for Reference Guides to Rhetoric and Composition with Parlor Press and Program Profiles Editor for the journal Composition Forum, as well as on the editorial board of the journal College Composition and Communication. His publications include Genre: A Historical, Theoretical, and Pedagogical Introduction; Genre and the Invention of the Writer; Scenes of Writing: Strategies for Composing with Genres; A Closer Look: A Writer’s Reader; and articles and book chapters on genre, uptake, invention, and knowledge transfer in composition.  His current work is focused on knowledge transfer in composition as well as genre uptake and materiality. His co-edited book Ecologies of Writing Programs: Profiles of Writing Programs in Context is forthcoming with Parlor Press.  He is currently co-editing a book that examines genre and the performance of publics.

Anis’s presentation will describe recent developments in genre scholarship and teaching, examine key findings in knowledge transfer research, and explore how genres can be used to cultivate transferable writing skills.  Over the past 25 years, scholarship in genre studies has contributed a great deal to our understanding of how genres mediate social activities, providing insight into how systems of related genres coordinate ways of knowing and doing within recurring situations.  From this scholarship has emerged a view of genres as both social (typified, recognizable, and consequential ways of organizing texts, activities, and social reality) and cognitive phenomena (involved in how we recognize, encounter, and make sense of situations). Pedagogical approaches built on this scholarship have helped us reveal the social actions genres perform and demystify what might be called the “grammar” of genres in ways that allow students to learn genres more critically and effectively. More recently, genre scholars have begun to focus less on genre acquisition and more on genre awareness–helping students learn how to learn genres and how to take up their genre knowledge in new contexts.  Such a metacognitive understanding of genres can facilitate students’ transfer-ability of writing skills and knowledge in ways that align with research in writing knowledge transfer.

Call for Proposals

We hope that you will consider presenting at this session.  We’re looking for proposals for relatively brief presentations (10-15 minutes) focused on a genre-based assignment that you have taught, including its design, goals, implementation, intended and actual outcomes, strengths and weaknesses. Your presentation will provide ideas and possibly a template for breakout groups in the afternoon session.  Whether your genre assignment proved to be a glorious success or a dismal failure, please consider sharing!  All will help to ground our understanding of genre theory in action.  Please send your proposal (informal is fine!) to Val Ross:

Directions & Other Information will be provided upon receipt of your RSVP. 

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Val Ross, University of Pennsylvania

Katie Gindlesparger, Philadelphia University/ PWPA Co-Chair

Liz Vogel, Arcadia University/ PWPA Co-Chair

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Spring 2014 meeting at Immaculata University

“The Purposeful Writer: Links between High School and College Composition”

Please mark your calendars for the spring PWPA meeting on Friday, April 11, 2014, from 10AM-3PM, at Immaculata University

As of 2017, Pennsylvania public school students must pass the state-required Keystone Exams in order to graduate from high school. Given this environment of high stakes standardized testing, PWPA would like to initiate a discussion between high school and college composition teachers. This spring’s meeting will feature a discussion panel consisting of high school teachers and college composition faculty.

To contextualize this discussion panel, we imagine breakout groups featuring conversation starters identifying the pedagogical values and practices we share and those we don’t (and why!). Some questions you might consider are:


What values for assessment do we share, including rubric elements? 

What happens in an AP class? How are the AP classes structured?
What support is available for struggling writers?  For strong writers?
How are college teachers’ expectations for student performance met?
What do we do to help students increase their rhetorical effectiveness?
How do administrative structures like dual enrollment help and/or hinder our teaching?


We are hoping those of you who have English Education majors might be willing to volunteer your expertise for either the panel discussion or for the breakout groups. If you know a high school teacher who might be interested in participating, please let us know!


Please email Justin Everett at if you are interested in participating in either the panel or the breakout groups.

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Fall 2014 CFP

Happy fall, PWPAers! We hope you are settling into the semester and that you’re ready for a new academic year of PWPA events. We’re certainly ready for you. Please mark your calendars for the fall PWPA meeting, hosted this October 25, 2013, at Philadelphia University. We are looking forward to your proposals for this meeting!

 In a recent issue of Writing Program Administration, Paul Kei Matsuda calls on WPAs to create more explicit policies surrounding second language students in composition classrooms, as well as increase the professionalization surrounding second language writing. This call comes at a prescient time for many of us, as our campuses experience a rapid increase in the number of international students, often as a way to globalize the curriculum and raise tuition funds in a down economy. As these students with varying experience with English and American cultural practices show up in our composition classrooms, how can WPAs create and re-envision policies, procedures, and curricula that challenge boundaries and stigma? As WPAs, how do we create a culture of inclusion, rather than one of policing? How do the current theoretical conversations about ESL influence our teaching and administrative practice?

We invite your proposals for traditional presentations, roundtables, and workshops.

Additionally, you may consider presenting policies and procedures surrounding second language writing at your institution including

  • Placement: issues of standardized testing, directed self placement, essay scoring
  • Faculty development to support ESL students: organization of support (e.g. in or out of shared governance structure, use of incentives, teaching circles), ideas for workshops
  • WAC and WID structures and courses: guidelines, course policies
  • Program and course assessment: portfolio review, rater preparation
  • Relationships with other campus units (admissions, advising, student life)

Please submit proposals to with the subject heading “Fall 2013 Meeting Proposal.” We look forward to hearing from you!


Katie Gindlesparger and Justin Everett, co-chairs


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