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CCCC 2006 in Review

An Overview

"Composition in the Center Spaces; Building Community, Culture, Coalitions," our 2006 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) was indeed a conference with many centers. Chicago is a center city in the United States, the program chair, Akua Duku Anokye centered African American awareness in our field, the Palmer House has repeatedly been a center for the CCCC, and Composition and Rhetoric are increasingly becoming a central aspect of higher education.

The confluence of centering was not always on target though. The access to the internet in sessions was not widespread or well done, the featured sessions did not ignite conversations in the ways they had in the past, and there has been a lot of discussion on WPA-L about SIG changes the Executive Board has made for next year's program. Essentially, it was decided that SIGs are too porous (my word) and that they should be focused on organizational business. I find that pretty funny because as an attendee of the Executive Board business meeting on Saturday morning, I saw much self-congratulation (though deserved) and felt pretty bored until the issue about tenure and holding our conference in states that attack tenure was discussed. Surprisingly, the issue of SIGs was not mentioned at the conference.

This conference review itself has been shifting its center. We began reviewing the CCCC for Academic.Writing in 2000, then shifted our reviewing process when Academic.Writing merged with LLAD to become Across the Disciplines in 2004, and soon we will find our next home in Kairos. Regardless of our shifting context, the reviewing process of the CCCC has been a successful way to criticize and remember what we said and did at the conference, as well as a way to welcome writers into the speaking mix. The six-year collection of reviews seems nascent, and I believe over time it will enable future scholars to look back at our field work to see our patterns and ideas more clearly than we perceive them now. I am also moving from the center of the review. Chris Dean has generously agreed to assume my leadership role and with the continued support of Jonathan Alexander, Randall McClure, Fred Siegel, and myself, we co-editors plan to keep the reviewing ball rolling next year in New York. We know our reviews can be improved with your input, and welcome comments on what we write as well as asking you to join our reviewing team. Finally, the real center of our review remains. Mike Palmquist not only founded the WAC Clearinghouse and Academic.Writing, he continues to provide us with vision, guidance, and the necessary technical support that makes our expression and your interaction possible.

As professionals, despite our egos, degrees, and general brilliance, we might find a common center in the value that we try to put our students and their learning lives at the center of our work. One of the most effective beginnings of a session (J12) did that with humor by showing a Youtube.com clip from The Daily Show about student communities on line. If you go to http://youtube.com/watch?v=Brv-TIb70b0&search=daily%20show you will enjoy the way our field is satirized, as well as begin to sense the overwhelming shift at the conference toward visual literacy and deeper understandings of both our human and online networks. Composition and Rhetoric is a field that is becoming more and more professionalized, and we hope the reviews that follow reflect a sense of advanced research and practiced insights that improve our teaching and learning lives. In the spirit of Buddy Holley, rave and read on!

— Will Hochman

CCCC ConventionFor more information on the CCCC 2006 conference,
visit the NCTE Web site at http://www.ncte.org/profdev/conv/cccc/.