Discord and Direction: The Postmodern Writing Program Administrator

  • writing program administration, writing program, Pedagogy, technology

Edited by Sharon James McGee and Carolyn Handa

CoverPostmodernism's central moves include questioning hierarchy, valuing paratactic associations, and rejecting grand narratives, and the work of a Writing Program Administrator, most days, includes those moves as well. The argument of this collection is that the cultural and intellectual legacies of postmodernism impinge, significantly and daily, on the practice of the Writing Program Administrator. WPAs work in spaces where they must assume responsibility for a multifaceted program, a diverse curriculum, instructors with varying pedagogies and technological expertise—and where they must position their program in relation to a university with its own conflicted mission, and a state with its unpredictable views of accountability and assessment. The collection further argues that postmodernism offers a useful lens through which to understand the work of WPAs and to examine the discordant cultural and institutional issues that shape their work. Each chapter tackles a problem local to its author's writing program or experience as a WPA, and each responds to existing discord in creative ways that move toward rebuilding and redirection. It is a given that accepting the role of WPA will land you squarely in the bind between modernism and postmodernism: while composition studies as a field arguably still reflects a modernist ethos, the WPA must grapple daily with postmodern habits of thought and ways of being. The effort to live in this role may or may not mean that a WPA will adopt a postmodern stance; it does mean, however, that being a WPA requires dealing with the postmodern.

Table of Contents

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Front Matter

Introduction: Postmodernity and Writing Programs, Sharon James McGee and Carolyn Handa

Chapter 1. Where Discord Meets Direction: The Role of Consultant-Evaluation in Writing Program Administration, Deborah H. Holdstein

Chapter 2. Cold Pastoral: The Moral Order of an Idealized Form, Jeanne Gunner

Chapter 3. Beyond Accommodation: Individual and Collective in a Large Writing Program, Christy Desmet

Chapter 4. Overcoming Disappointment: Constructing Writing Program Identity through Postmodern Mapping, Sharon James McGee

Chapter 5. The Road to Mainstreaming: One Program’s Successful but Cautionary Tale, Anthony Edgington, Marcy Tucker, Karen Ware, and Brian Huot

Chapter 6. Developmental Administration: A Pragmatic Theory of Evolution in Basic Writing, Keith Rhodes

Chapter 7. Information Technology as Other: Reflections on a Useful Problem, Mike Palmquist

Chapter 8. Computers, Innovation, and Resistance in First-Year Composition Programs, Fred Kemp

Chapter 9. Minimum Qualifications: Who Should Teach First-Year Writing? Richard E. Miller and Michael J. Cripps

Chapter 10. The Place of Assessment and Reflection in Writing Program Administration, Susanmarie Harrington

Chapter 11. New Designs for Communication Across the Curriculum, Andrew Billings, Teddi Fishman, Morgan Gresham, Angie Justice, Michael Neal, Barbara Ramirez, Summer Smith Taylor, Melissa Tidwell Powell, Donna Winchell, Kathleen Blake Yancey, and Art Young

Chapter 12. Mirror, Mirror on the Web: Visual Depiction, Identity, and the Writing Program, Carolyn Handa





Publication Information: McGee, Sharon James, & Carolyn, Handa (Eds.) (2005). Discord and Direction: The Postmodern Writing Program Administrator. Utah State University Press.

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