Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Panel Got in CCCCs!

This is the earliest I've heard back from CCCC about proposals for the conference. I got in!!! I'm doing a panel with Bonnie, Latoya, Crystal, and Tiffany, two colleagues from MSU (also eligible for the Scholars for the Dream), and two from Georgia State. Our panel is titled, "We Be Theorizin’ Waves: SRTOL 35 Years Later." More details soon!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Edited Reader is done!!!

Our Tier I Writing Reader, A Reader for Writers is officially finished! Collin, Nancy, and I viewed a proof of the book and approved it. It will be out in late August! I'm so glad this process is done. Now time to work on the other gillion projects that WPAs and their RAs must finish, like finalizing the guidebook for instructors who teach Tier I Writing before August 17 orientation begins, the TA orientation schedule before orientation begins, other book proposals and chapters I'm working on with Nancy, my own writing and research, etc., etc.

BTW: our wonderful colleague (and successor to my RA duties this fall), Steve, created the group, "Writing Program Administration" in facebook. It's open to anyone interested in WPA work. Join!


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Tell This to Those Big Time Journals

Paul Matsuda posted this on his blog about handling permissions from authors to reprint articles:

A friend of mine--a rising star in rhetoric and composition--told me recently that he has received a request for permission to reprint his article, which is quite an honor. He was wondering if there were any issues he should be aware of.

Here is my response (with a few minor changes):

Congratulations on having your article reprinted.

The answer depends on who owns the copyrights. If you signed a copyright release when you had your article published with the journal, then this is a courtesy request. You can say no and I’m sure the editor would honor that, but I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to have your article reprinted. The original publisher has the final say in whether to grant permission (and charge a fee).

If you kept your copyrights (or more precisely, part of the copyrights) concerning the right to reprint (which is unusual in humanities journals), then it would be your decision alone (though I would also have the editor contact the publisher just to be safe).

Normally, reprint authors in our fields don’t get any royalty, but it wouldn't hurt to ask to have a copy of the book sent to you. If you wish to make any minor changes to the article (typos, copy editor’s edits you didn’t like), you can also ask about it at this point. I wouldn’t make any
major revisions at this point, though.
As Paul seems to suggests above, many authors don't keep the copyrights, and many journals in the humanities (especially the larger ones) often own the copyright. When Nancy, Collin, and I were editing the reader and needed permissions to reprint articles for our custom reader, we received a flat-out no from a very well-known organization in our field (rhet/comp) that owns several journals, even though our institution owns both JSTOR and MLA bibliography subscriptions where students can gain access to these articles for free. We asked our primis editor to ask the organization again, and they said no. This doesn't really make sense to because the organization could've made some decent change off the reprint, but I suspect their denial was more an issue of elitism: They didn't want knowledge from their journals being disseminated to undergraduates, let alone, first-year writers. The audience this organization has in mind is primarily teacher/scholars and maybe graduate students in the field.

For all of those who think first-year writers don't/can't/won't/couldn't understand the discourse of our field (rhet/comp) as it is represented by our field journals, let me just say this: Every reading I assign in my FYW course comes from things published in rhet/comp (journal articles, book chapters, essays, etc.), so they often DO get it, sometimes better than we (as rhet/comp) academics do. (I'm working on an empirical article, using student discourse in the field. I can't give too many details right now, but more on this later.) You'd be surprise how much FYW students do know, and, if we're supposed to be teaching writing, the readings we select should have clearer relationship between what students read and what we expect them to write. Using readings published in/on writing studies, I believe, is one way to bridge this relationship.

BTW, the reader is near complete (we'll read the proof copy early next week to OK), and nearly all the readings in the custom reader are things published in rhet/comp, sociolinguistics, or education. They all have some relationship to how writing is taught, done, or enacted in particular contexts, hence the title, A Reader for Writers.


Friday, July 25, 2008

The Rejection Letter I Wish I Could Send

I found this post in the Chronicle of Higher Ed. It talks about all the things professors doing job searches wish they could say in their rejection letters to applicants. Not sure if it's too mean and sarcastic, or if it's useful. Something worth taking a look at when going on the job market though. Thoughts?

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Article Reject Notice (Um, No, not mine) posted a story about the New York Times choosing to reject John McCain's op ed piece on the war in Iraq, even though they previously accepted Barack Obama's. Regardless of your political views, this is one story at least many academics can relate to, since at some point in most of our careers we've had an article rejected from journals.

I'm less interested in the idea that McCain's piece was rejected (although I did chuckle briefly), and more interested in the reviewer's reason for the rejection. Although I haven't done that much writing for publication yet, I've seen a couple of rejection letters for articles. Some had probably cause to reject, some not, and some rejections were just excuses not to publish--rejections that could have easily fit the revise and resubmit category. The review from The Times does give McCain the option to revise and resubmit even though they intitally chose to reject it.

I don't intend to equate this process used by The Times with the way the process works in the academy, as there are clear differences. For one, McCain's piece was not blind reviewed, and one could speculate whether or not this may have had something to do with the rejection. But what's more interesting is the reviewer's response. I think this would be a good example to use in graduate courses (maybe research methods courses, or introductory courses to the professionalization of a particular discipline if they exist?) to open up a conversation about the challenges with publishing and reader responses. I also think this might work in an undergraduate courses, where teachers can use the reviewer's response to teach the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of peer review responses.

Just something to think about.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Still Daddy's Little Girl

Thursday I sent an email to a bunch of friends, family, and colleagues telling them that I launched a blog. Once my Dad took a look at it, he replied saying this:
It's very, very good. Do not be disappointed if you don't get comments for a while. Some blogs don't get any, but it does not mean that it is not being read. One of my favorite Ministry blogs is run by a professor at University of Pennsylvania (elite) and never gets comments but is an outstanding blog. Keep at it though, I think that you've got a good thing going.
That made me feel good. :-) I wasn't expecting a whole lot of comments at first, but at least a couple. This does give me hope though. It's always good to have a parent who knows when to encourage and cheer lead. Yay!

PS: A couple hours after yesterday's post, I heard from my primis editor. She said she now has everything she needs and things will be ready by the time TAs arrive for orientation. W00t!


Friday, July 18, 2008

Textbook Reader Problems Over? (At least for Now??)

I think this is a new record! I haven't heard from my primis editor in over 24 hours requesting additional info so that the readings can go to the compositor for print. We (Collin, Nancy and I) overnighted her two additional texts to go to the compositor. Normally people get worried when they don't hear from people in a while; in our case, we're crossing our fingers so that we DON'T hear from her in a while. Not hearing from her implies that the process is going smoothly. My fingers are still crossed (for now)...


Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Pedagogical Imperative

I ran across this from Culture Cat. Basically, she sums up research projects, dissertations, and manuscripts that require authors to add a pedagogical imperative (particularly for RhetComp scholars), that addresses the pedagogical implications for the project, regardless of whether or not the project is readily applicable to pedagogy.

Chapter 1 of my dissertation, "Teacher-Research Don't Die: Pedagogical and Methodological Implications for Those Wishing to do Afracentric Work," argues that there is a decline in empirical teacher-research studies journal articles and book length projects in rhetoric and composition (with some statistical work counting teacher-research projects). I argue that this decline can be attributed to 1) Institutional pressures to publish more *rigorous* empirical and theory-driven scholarship, and 2) disciplinary pressures (in RhetComp) to meet these institutional demands. I also argue that this has affected Afracentric empirical teacher and classroom-research work.

The point I'm getting at in summarizing this chapter of my dis is that although there may be questions to add a pedagogical imperative to manuscripts, we're still seeing some trends to push the focus away from pedagogical research. Could it be that the pedagogical imperative sections could be more applicable if we did more pedagogical empirical research? Thoughts?


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Language always finds a hypocrite to indict

I just came across this on Wasn't Jackson one of the main supporters of burying the N word? Should the govt. regulate language use? Thoughts??

Monday, July 14, 2008

Readers/Edited Collections are Hard Work

I've been working frantically to get the First-Year Writing (FYW) Reader done before the new TAs come in August. I've really enjoyed doing this work with Nancy and Collin, but the process hasn't gone as smoothly as anticipated. Basically, anyone who does a textbook reader with a publisher has to select the readings/essays/articles/whatever they want to go in that reader etc. The publisher of that reader has to get permissions ( with the help of a primis editor) for the readings you select to be published in the reader. (For those less familiar with how primis works, this is slightly different from coursepacks because the permissions (to reprint texts) process isn't done exclusively through the campus bookstore and/or university; instead, it is done with a book publishing company, in our case McGraw-Hill).

A few weeks back Nancy, Collin, and I sent the final bibliography of all the readings we want to appear in the Reader, thinking we had finally finished with the Reader business; however, a few issues with our primis editor arose:

1) McGraw-Hill still needed hard copies of select readings they didn't have access to in their permissions database. When Collin, Nancy, and I finalized our bibliography, we included readings that TAs ( from last year) requested to go in the Reader--readings we didn't necessarily have in our libraries ourselves and readings McGraw-Hill didn't have access to. This meant we had to find colleagues who had these readings, scan them, and send them to the Primis editor. Thanks to Dánielle, we were able find many of these readings and send them quite quickly to the primis editor, which was EXTREMELY helpful due to pressing deadlines. Dánielle is FABULOUS and has one of the best libraries in her office I've ever seen :-). A huge shout-out to her!

2) We couldn't always locate the original sources for some of the readings. The original sources for some of the texts we wanted to include were either out of print or difficult to find. For one particular source we couldn't remember who we lent the book too, which came from an edited reader. The reader was updated to a new edition, with the older edition being out of print. Eventually we found the older edition on and purchased it. The only problem is that we're still waiting for the book to be delivered, therefore causing more delays with the production of the reader. We'll get it soon (I hope).

3) Locating original sources that include images are difficult to find. A few of our selections include images that we also need permission to include. In many cases, though, the readings with the images appear in edited collections or other reprinted texts. Again, this meant that we had to locate the original sources, and then the images from the original sources. Once again, Dánielle helped us track down many of these sources and images, since most of them focus on visual rhetoric and technology. GoogleScholar helped us too!

4) Works cited pages that appear at the end of books can pose challenges when using partial chapters for readers. For a few selections we decided to include one chapter or two from single-authored larger books. Our primis editor contacted us and requested the works cited pages for the chapters we wanted to include. The only problem was that the works cited pages appearing at the end of books were works cited pages for the entire book, and not individual chapters. Trying to locate only those sources cited in particular chapters may not only be daunting, but also risky (especially this late in the game), increasing the likelihood of error. Therefore, we sent the works cited pages for the entire books to the editor.

I'm not intending to complain here, quite contrary. I really think that doing this type of intellectual work has been a learning experience for me, similar to what editors do when they do edited collections. In many ways selecting, editing, and sequencing the texts that appear in the Reader pose more difficulties than drafting a chapter to be included in an edited collection because you're responsible for everything that appears in the book and not just your own piece. Doing this type of work is a tremendous responsibility and you get to really see the entire process of how a book gets created. Doing this works was really fun, and gives me something to add to my vita, not too bad for a grad student, huh?

I really love the Reader we've edited (more details coming soon) because it works well with all of the themed courses we teach in FYW. I'm teaching an Afracentric (race and ethnicity) FYW course this fall and can even use several of the texts from the Reader. Other people using technology, gender, or class-based themes can also use several of the readings in the Reader. So it works well across sections and themes! Yay! I love ways that promote diversity in curriculum design!

Prof PC