As with this year’s researchers, the mentors who supported them were chosen for their commitment to topics, methodologies, and modes of presentation that supported advocacy. Since language, its uses, its abuses, and its power structures are often at the heart of human interactions, our field and this group of mentors helped to frame language as central to justice. Comments by the participants made it clear that once again, the main reason for the success of this workshop is interaction with mentors who are generous, thoughtful, and deeply knowledgeable.
Matthew Davis, University of Massachusetts Boston
Methods: Qualitative research, Using Technology/Digital Humanities Methods
I’m interested in how we learn to write, how we teach others to read and write, how technology changes how we read and write, and how we use and transform what we know about reading and writing for new communicative situations. In more academic terms, that means I study composition theory and pedagogy, technology and multimodality, and writing transfer. At present, I'm a co-editor of an academic journal called Composition Studies, which means I also get to work with writers and find ways to improve on and publish their work!
Suzanne Delle, York College of PA
Methods: Public Advocacy and Social Justice, Qualitative research
Suzanne Delle, Associate Professor of Theatre at YCP, has partnered with a psychology colleague at St. Anselm College in NH to have theatre students write scripts based on their research to create games that help First Responders deal with PTSD. This research was presented at the 2022 College Education Association conference and 2021 Institute for Social Healing and the Mid-Atlantic Council on Family Relations. Performance skills can be used to expand ways to translate our writing and research to others.
Doug Downs, Montana State University
Methods: Qualitative Research, Mixed Methods, Resources for doing a lit review in writing studies, Discourse analysis
I research in two overall areas: 1) public conceptions of writing, research, and reading, in order to understand how such conceptions influence the way people learn and do those activities; and 2) ways of facilitating public deliberation (especially on science/tech subjects like sustainable energy) that help opposing discourses hear one another and negotiate shared understandings. I do my research by interviewing and surveying students, teachers, and members of whatever discourses I’m studying, and conducting discourse analysis on collections of texts (such as news media reports). I am increasingly interested in research that doesn't get published in academic journals but instead is written for the communities of people it's trying to help.
Laura Feibush, Penn State Harrisburg
Methods: Qualitative research, Mixed methods, Public Advocacy and Social Justice
I'm a professor of English (Rhetoric and Composition) at Penn State Harrisburg, where I teach first-year composition, writing studies, writing across media, and public and professional writing. In my research, I use qualitative methods such as questionnaires, filmed observations, and follow-interviews to capture listening behaviors in classrooms and tutorials. Why do we embody our listening the way we do? Whose listening behaviors are valued, and whose are marginalized? My work on listening and embodiment has been published in Praxis: A Writing Center Journal and Composition Forum.
Cantice Greene, Clayton State University
Methods: Public Advocacy or Social Justice, Qualitative research
I am a mid-late career English writing teacher-researcher with training in both ESL and rhetoric and composition. I have also worked on student success initiatives, primarily through teaching basic writing but also by teaching in a bridge program at my current institution. My research interests have varied over the years. In the past I have investigated ELLs' perceptions of the writers' studio, and in more recent years I have studied student attitudes toward engaging faith and secularism in writing programs and writing studies. I am also interested in investigating students' attitudes toward African-American English instructors. In my research, I have used both primary and secondary research methods that include designing and administering surveys and connecting those findings to theories in writing studies, women's studies, and Christian studies.
Alexis Hart, Allegheny College
Methods: Qualitative research, Archival research, Veterans and writing
I have focused much of my research in the last decade on how writing classes, writing centers, and writing practices in general impact student veterans’ transitions to higher education. My co-researcher, Roger Thompson, and I have administered surveys, conducted interviews, done archival research, collected samples of living veterans’ professional and academic writing, and read lots of other scholars’ research. Roger’s and my co-written book Writing Programs, Veterans Studies, and the Post-9/11 University: A Field Guide was published in 2020 and our work has appeared in other journals and edited collections. Along with other members of the CCCC’s Standing Group on Writing with Current, Former, and Future Members of the Military, I have participated in local outreach programs. In addition to my research on student veterans, I have published work on women in the military, ePortfolios, undergraduate research in writing, and writing centers. I am currently a participant in Elon’s Writing Beyond the University Research Seminar and am working with a team of international researchers to consider how undergraduate writers see recursivity in the various "spheres" of writing in which they engage (classroom/academic, co-curricular, self-motivated, work, internship, civic). Our team collected data through surveys, student mapping, and semi-structured interviews during which we specifically discussed samples of students' writing.
Ethna Lay, Hofstra University
Methods: Using Technology/Digital Humanities Methods, Quantitative research
I regularly include opportunities for students to work and compose in new media in my writing classes, so students have the opportunity to craft arguments about texts and ideas in digital formats. By inviting students to compose in new media, I recognize students' sense that composition is more visual than what has been traditionally believed by instructors. Inasmuch as writing operates as a cultural technique, those responsible for writing instruction must cope with the digital culture of contemporary students and their status as digital consumers and producers. So, perhaps notions about the academic essay or the composition should shift with the medium. This change warrants a careful investigation of the literacy practices of the other ways students read, write, and make meaning in digital spaces. The affordances of digital writing spaces invite such investigations. To this end, I have employed a variety of digital strategies and quantitative methods to investigate how students read and write together.
Kim Peck, York College of Pennsylvania
Methods: Qualitative research methods, Discourse analysis, Using Technology/Digital Humanities methods
I am a writing center director. My research focuses on student, tutor, and instructor interaction in online environments like online writing classes or tutoring sessions. I use methods including interviewing and qualitative coding analysis as well as discourse analysis of interactions in class or tutoring sessions in my research.
Gwendolynne Reid, Oxford College of Emory University
Methods: Qualitative research methods, Mixed methods, Using Technology/Digital Humanities methods
Gwendolynne Reid is an assistant professor of English and directs the writing program at Oxford College of Emory University. Her research focuses on how disciplines, like scientific disciplines, use writing to produce and communicate new knowledge. Because genres and writing practices have changed in response to new media environments and communication technologies, her special focus is on digital writing in the disciplines. She most often employs rhetorical genre theory and qualitative methods like text-based ethnography in her work. Her research, for example, has examined how scientists use digital media to engage citizens and how this impacts their scientific writing. Most recently, she has examined citation practices in the medical journals JAMA and JNMA to examine how the history of racism in American medicine is reproduced in citational relationships and therefore in digital tools based on citation like impact factors and search results.
Michael Rifenburg, University of North Georgia
Methods: Qualitative research, Mixed methods, Case studies
I am fascinated by how people use writing to get work done. Over the past decade or so, I have had the chance to study how student-athletes use writing in their sport and how U.S. Army cadets use writing in their military training. I tend toward qualitative longitudinal studies, which allows me to talk with people about writing and to talk with them over an extended period of time--sometimes years! Through my fascination with writing and how writing works, I have had the chance to publish several books and deliver presentations across the U.S. and abroad.
Myra Salcedo, University of Texas Permian Basin
Methods: Feminisms, Veterans and Writing
My research "paintbrush" spreads a wide swath upon the canvas of academia. Thus, I have presented papers on everything from mitigating military stress via graphic novels (co-presenting a paper with a student Marine at Comic Con International 2019), gender disparities in the play "I Am My Own Wife," Chicana playwright Cherrie Moraga--gender and religion, Virginia Woolf and her echo of Victorian paintings (in contract for publication today), rhetoric, religion, and civil discourse and more. I find that research is significant in any area and that it is like engaging in a treasure hunt. I have participated in undergraduate research projects, stressing that students take the lead and see where the journey leads them.
Megan Schoettler, West Chester University
Methods: Qualitative research, Feminisms, Digital humanities, Public Advocacy or Social Justice, Ethnographic narrative
My research focuses on rhetorical strategies and literacy practices of intersectional feminist activists and advocates, with a focus on how they flip social and emotional scripts. I’m particularly interested in how advocates at a rape crisis center fight back against rape culture. My other research investigates how feminists use digital tools to make social media “work for” them, the development of college writers’ self-efficacies, and how to support international teaching assistants. I primarily use interviews to learn about the lives of my research participants, as well as ethnography (which includes observations, surveys, and textual analysis). I have published two book chapters and have a forthcoming article in Computers in Composition.
Kara Taczak, University of Denver
Methods: Qualitative research, Mixed methods,
I’m currently conducting a multi-institutional, transnational study seeking to understand how three forms of Work Integrated Learning — internships, teaching practicums, and capstone courses—affect diverse populations of undergraduate students’ recursive transfer of writing knowledge and practices. To figure this out, my research team designed a qualitative study and used interviews, surveys, and writing samples as data points, coded inductively (“ground-up” approach of coding where codes come directly from your data) and deductively (“top down” approach where you develop a codebook with your own set of codes) and then read the data looking for themes. From there we used something called triangulation to ensure viability of the data. We won a research grant to help us with the research, have published two articles and have an upcoming book chapter from this research (with another article out for review), have been accepted to present at three conferences, and have been asked to co-edit an international journal on this topic. And all of this has come from one year-long research study.
Jessi Thomsen, Western Kentucky University
Methods: Qualitative research, Archival research, Public Advocacy or Social Justice
Jessi Thomsen, PhD, is beginning her first year at Western Kentucky University as an Assistant Professor of Professional and Technical Writing. Her research has considered reflection as a practice in sustainability that affects our writing and our relationships with the world around us. She is developing her research in new directions, considering how reflection opens possibilities to affirm difference and to recognize the materiality of our engagements. Jessi has experience with archival methodologies, pedagogical studies, and interviewing/oral histories, and she is interested in the ways we can make our scholarly work public-facing, interactive, and accessible to a wide audience.