WAC/WID Program Administration at Rural, Regional, and/or Satellite Institutions

Guest editors: Jessie Blackburn, The University of Pittsburgh, Bradford, and Heidi Skurat Harris, Eastern Oregon University

Rural, regional, and/or satellite college and university campuses face shrinking budgets alongside increasing demands to educate and prepare students for twenty-first century technologies and workplaces. In these environments, rural WAC or WID program administrators are asked to provide multimodal professional and program development, encourage instructional technology use, redesign and modernize curriculum, and redefine assessment strategies in blended and online courses throughout the disciplines. Yet little research examines twenty-first century WAC or WID work at rural, regional, and/or satellite institutions where technology access, budget limitations, first-generation learners and teachers, and contingent faculty development are often constrained by institutional settings or community/regional pressures. Scholarship focused on the work of rural WAC/WID programs in the twenty-first century is especially important in light of the Obama administration's recent appropriation of $182 million in federal stimulus money to expand high-speed Internet networks in underprivileged rural communities in Appalachia, New England, Alaska, Arizona, and other remote areas of the country that are often considered at risk as a result of the "digital divide" or "participation gap."

In an effort to fill this scholarly void as well as support rural and remote WPAs charged with digitizing their WAC or WID curricula, this special issue of Across the Disciplines will be anchored around three pivotal questions: (1) What unique material and/or philosophical constraints do rural WAC/WID programs face in the twenty-first century? (2) What are the processes through which rural WAC/WID program administrators secure adequate program resources and provide professional development for faculty across the disciplines? (3) How can writing program administrators and college and university faculty leverage multimodal composition to help provide rural institutions, students, faculty, and the communities around them new and unique opportunities for literacy development across and beyond the curriculum? In particular, this issue will focus on the role of the rural WPA charged with the professional development of faculty and/or the digitization of curricula in writing across the curriculum programs.

The guest editors invite proposals for articles that highlight innovative ideas from a variety of rural WAC/WID faculty; practical, qualitative experience from rural WPAs in the digital era; and case studies of successful and not so successful WPAs and faculty who have attempted to increase literacy—particularly techno-literacy—in their classrooms, across the disciplines, and in their communities. While we especially invite proposals that engage new literacies in rural WAC/WID programs, we also invite proposals that seek to explore rural WAC programs in general at branch, regional, or satellite institutions or writing centers. We invite proposals that explore the following:

  • Critical ethnographies of rural WAC/WID program administration processes (e.g., professional development of faculty across the disciplines, redirection of resources from 'main' campuses to 'branch' campuses, collaboration among satellite campuses, rural literacy outreach in support of a regional mission, etc.).
  • Theory-based pieces that investigate the specialized discourses, missions, politics, and contexts of rural and regional institutions as they impact the development of WAC/WID programs.
  • Narratives of rural or regional writing centers that are charged with supporting and/or implementing WAC initiatives on their campuses.
  • Case studies of current practice in rural institutions that have struggled with implementing new media technologies into their curricula across departments or institutions.
  • Research articles exploring faculty/program responses to increased online or blended course offerings or to expanded technology in seated or on-campus WAC/WID classrooms.
  • Research into best practices for building professional development opportunities with new media and enhanced technologies in both seated and online modalities across the curriculum at rural, regional, or satellite campuses.
  • Models of how WPAs and faculty at rural universities can leverage technology to reach out to their communities and enhance current literacy efforts beyond the disciplines (possibly through the National Writing Project or other community- and service-learning opportunities for students).

We welcome proposals focused on these and other questions related to rural WPA work in WAC/WID programs. We also welcome collaborations among WAC scholars, community literacy administrators, and faculty from fields "outside of" (yet incorporating) composition.

Deadline for Proposals: November 31, 2012

Notification of Acceptance: January 2013

Manuscripts Due: May 1, 2013

Publication: Spring 2014

Proposal Format:Please submit a one-page proposal explaining your topic, the research and theoretical base on which you will draw, and your plans for the structure of your article. Proposals and manuscripts should follow the general guidelines for submissions to Across the Disciplines. Send your proposal electronically (in MS Word format) to guest editors Jessie Blackburn at jbb35@pitt.edu, Heidi Skurat Harris at hharris@eou.edu, and the editor of ATD, Michael Pemberton (michaelp@georgiasouthern.edu). Please be sure to include your full contact information.