by Pamela B. Childers
Arthur P. Young of Clemson University received the coveted CCCC Exemplar Award in Chicago on Thursday, March 21, 2002, at the General Session of the annual Conference on College Composition and Communication. Cynthia Lewiecki-Wilson, Chair of the Exemplar Award Committee, presented the award, describing Art as "an exemplary model of the scholar, teacher, and administrator in composition studies."
Those of us involved in Writing Across the Curriculum know the impact of Art's work on the teaching of writing and scholarship in composition as well as literature, technology and communication. Lewiecki-Wilson told the large audience, "As a national and international pioneer in Writing Across the Curriculum, Art translated our discipline's knowledge into programmatic practices that placed the teaching of writing at the center of the mission of higher education." In the presentation speech, she also mentioned Art's "strong impact not only on programs and knowledge, but also on persons." The 2002 CCCC Exemplar Award is given to Art Young because he "has provided an example of exceptional achievement in our profession," Lewiecki-Wilson concluded, with "his personal excellence, vision, and national leadership."
Nominated with supporting letters from educators around the world, Art received a standing ovation from CCCC members. Former chairs of CCCC, leaders in the field of composition study, other Exemplar Award recipients, professional colleagues, and collaborators wrote letters of support. One supporter observed, Art's "work has served as a powerful bridge between the fields of composition and literature." Another wrote, "Always delving into new paradigms, testing them in his own classroom, and critiquing their effectiveness in collaboration with other educators, Art models effective classroom research and academic scholarship." Again and again letters speak of how Art Young "seems most content to see the rest of us flourish and prosper with his help" and describe him as an "ideal practitioner who works behind the scenes with humor and sensitivity."
In his acceptance speech, Art spoke of his 30 years of attending CCCC meetings. He said, "Its members have nurtured me and have been my primary collegial and intellectual community." He has written more than 30 articles and book chapters, served as series editor for numerous books on writing instruction, and co-authored or co-edited at least 8 books. Colleagues described his work; "Art's genius in working with people is connected to his idea of scholarship as a collaborative and communal activity." Another commented, "What makes his work so valuable is that he is both practical and visionary, providing models for program development and ideas for teaching that are linked to broader goals for liberal arts learning and to needs to re-envision WAC."
Many professionals involved in WAC do not know that Art was "the first to intuit the need to provide a national forum for practitioners of WAC from across the curriculum to share their experiences with colleagues." By sharing that vision, he persuaded others to establish the first National Conference in 1993. As we all know, the conferences have continued to be a means of sharing WAC scholarship and practice. His awards for his work with WAC include the Palmetto Award, South Carolina's highest award for public service; and The Outstanding Civilian Service Medal from the Department of the Army for his work at the U.S. Military Academy.
What makes Art Young unique are his leadership skills and strong personal character. Many speak of his leadership skills working with colleagues at Michigan Tech and Clemson, as "the same ones he used successfully as a member of CCCCs Executive Committee, the NCTE College Section Steering Committee, numerous other committees and in advancing such programs as the National Writing Project and serving as a WAC consultant to several hundred educational institutions." One supporter noted "his deeds and his generosity of spirit," while another commented on his "generous character-he is a warm, thoughtful, caring, and honest person with a wonderful sense of humor."
In his speech Art explained how he began his teaching of composition envisioning himself as "a change agent working within the system to make a difference in 'education as usual.'" And Art Young continues to do just that through his work with ECAC and teaching students to write poetry in all disciplines "not writing across the curriculum, nor writing in the discipline, but writing against the curriculum. Downright subversive to 'education as usual.'" We all look forward to many more years of new scholarship, support, and humor from Arthur P. Young, change agent, who continues to feel the "excitement of working with colleagues from across the nation [at CCCC that] renews my commitment to return to my own campus and make a difference." Isn't that what we all want to do? Congratulations to our WAC colleague and friend, Art Young.
Publication Information: Childers, Pamela B. (2002). Announcement: Art Young Honored with CCCC Exemplar Award Academic.Writing, https://wac.colostate.edu/aw/observations/young_announcement.htm
Publication Date: May 7, 2002