Well, here I am again drawing attention to our field of study in the
news. Those of you on the WPA listserv may have seen these announced
* *What Is a Composition and Rhetoric Doctorate?* by Scott
Jaschik. April 4, 2008. /Inside Higher Ed
/http://insidehighered.com/news/2008/04/04/cccc Data show
stability in number of programs and enrollments, but continued
shifts in what programs are called, reflecting tensions within the
field over its role and whether it is a single field.
Results came in from [Stuart C. Brown's research on] 67
programs, the vast majority of those that exist, and they enroll
about 1,200 students in all --- suggesting that the number of
programs and total doctoral enrollments in them is relatively
stable. At the same time, there are signs of changes in the
field, he said.
Some composition and rhetoric programs are parts of English
departments and others are free standing. But names now include
"rhetoric in professional communications," "Ph.D. in English
with professional writing in new media," "English composition
and rhetoric," and many programs that have added "new media" or
"digital" to their names. The proliferation of names, he said,
is a challenge in terms of the field establishing more
visibility in the graduate education world.
* *What is Rhet/Comp For? * by Mark Bauerlein. April 5, 2008.
Brainstorm: Lives of the Mind. in The Chronicle Review.
/Chronicle of Higher Education/.
A little less talk about racism, sexuality, and injustice, and a
little more about productivity and workplaces, would serve the
field well. If leaders in the discipline worked with a few
capitalists and politicians, positioning writing programs in a
crucial position in the productive economy, writing programs
might receive more of the resources they in fact deserve.
These two seem to be in response to CCCC this week, and writing as a
topic in the US media.
Hmmm. There's something in the air about writing and rhetoric
nowadays. I wonder if some public discourse will be spurred this year
by the Rhetoric Society of America conference in Seattle in late May
(I'll be there), by Inkshed, and by CATTW, and CSSR conferences and
I'll be speaking at RSA and CSSR this year, and catching some CATTW
sessions. Sorry I can't make it to Inkshed -- it looks like there will
be a LOT to talk about!
Tania S. Smith
Faculty of Communication & Culture
University of Calgary
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