Opening Keynote (Sunday, June 19, 6:00-7:00 PM)

Laura Gonzales, “Translating Writing Across Communities: Emerging Frameworks for Building Community- Accountable Writing Pedagogies through Multilingual Orientations”

What can multilingual communicators teach us about community engagement and writing beyond the University? Drawing on ethnographic research with multilingual communicators in transnational contexts, Gonzales will demonstrate how the work of multilingual communities, such as translating, collaborating, and advocating, can inform writing pedagogies focused on social justice. Since multilingual communities are in the practice of making information accessible to various audiences, multilingual frameworks for rhetorically navigating communication can be useful avenues for teaching community engagement and writing beyond the University. Through grounded examples and stories showcasing the power of multilingualism, Gonzales will argue that translation and multilingual communication are important sites of inquiry for engaged learning across fields.

Posters (Sunday, June 19, 7:30-8:30 PM)

Ryan Dippre, University of Maine; Lucie Dvorakova, University of Edinburgh; Alison Farrell, Maynooth University; Niamh Fortune, Maynooth University; Melissa Weresh, Drake University; and Nadya Yakovchuk, University of Surrey. “Writing Transitions Between Academic and Professional Settings”

Research on writing transfer shows that writing is contextually sensitive and embodied, and more complex than the deeply habituated actions to which it is often compared. The kinds of writing people see themselves doing, the audiences they imagine themselves writing for, and the strategies they enact to produce that writing are not pre-existing structures that writers can always employ when they move into a new setting.  Rather, they are constructed by the writer, emerging from their previous experiences, their dispositions, and their perceptions of both the immediate circumstances of the writing and the eventual circumstances in which such writing will be read.

In this poster presentation, we draw on data from across three different disciplines, in three higher education institutions, situated in three different countries, to try to understand how pre-placement students (117 in total) are making sense of the writing demands that they will face, and the connections between those sense-making acts and the kinds of writing they’ve done, as well as the writing instruction they’ve received. By utilizing contemporary research on transfer and threshold concepts in writing, we identify patterns of anticipation and development in these writers (Anson and Moore, 2016; Adler-Kassner and Wardle, 2015).  We use these patterns to try to better understand how these writers navigate the complex complementarities and contradictions of moving from one setting to another. We suggest implications for future, holistic approaches to support transfer from the university to the workplace.

Adler-Kassner, Linda, & Elizabeth Wardle (Eds). (2015). Naming what we know: Threshold concepts of writing studies. Louisville: University Press of Colorado/Utah State University Press.

Anson, Chris M., & Jessie L. Moore (Eds.). (2016). Critical Transitions: Writing and the Question of Transfer. The WAC Clearinghouse; University Press of Colorado.

Yvonne Earnshaw, University of Alabama at Birmingham. “Integrating Service Learning into a Fully Online Program”

Many instructors face the challenge of providing activities for their students to apply the theories and models to a realistic setting by combining academic coursework with real-world experience and service (Bringle & Hatcher, 2009). These authentic learning experiences enable students to work with a client (community partner), which includes having to provide deliverables, effectively communicate with a client to determine the client’s needs, work within constraints of the project, continually obtain feedback from a variety of stakeholders, and level the playing field for underserved students (Earnshaw, 2017).

One challenge for fully online programs is that the students are often working full-time, which is why they are taking online courses and need the flexibility. Often the students are also located outside of the university’s location. By incorporating eService learning experiences, students are able to connect with clients in different geographic areas as well (Waldner et al., 2012).

This poster will discuss a case in which service learning was integrating into a fully online instructional design and development program where students are learning about instructional theories and models and design and development processes, but they also need to learn how to apply these in an authentic environment.

Caroline J. Ketcham, Elon University. “Ableism in Academia: Looking at Equity and Inclusion from a Disability Lens”

Representation and leadership in all industries need to be more diverse and include more diverse perspectives, including neurodivergent and disabled voices. Institutions of higher education should be leading the way and yet somehow, we remain a gatekeeper as our ableist systems, structures, and policies. While many campuses are engaged in important work around race, gender, and socioeconomic status to improve pipelines and pathways to higher education, there is still little attention to accessibility for students with visible and invisible disabilities. Disability, overlooked in these conversations, is often an intersectional identity with significant impacts on access and success. While most institutions have a disability resources program to support students, the student needs far outweigh staff and resources. Additionally, the focus is on accommodations for individual students and not how our systems and structures should change to be more inclusive of these learners. Institutions do have resources to provide faculty development including supporting inclusive pedagogies and Universal Design of Learning practices, but these are not universally embraced in campus structures, systems, and ethos. This poster presentation will discuss ongoing work as a [program name redacted for review] focusing on systematic practices we can implement to improve accessibility and inclusion on our campuses. Specifically, I will highlight neurodiversity and ways we can structure pipelines and pathways to not only be more inclusive but strengthen opportunities and experiences of all students both in an out of the classroom. If institutions of higher education want to live up to the mission and call of education to improve social mobility and provide graduates the world needs, than we must dismantle ableism by building and implementing systems, structures, and policies that all students have the opportunity to thrive within.

Andrew Hoogendyk Yim, Indiana University of Pennsylvania. “How Multilingual and Second Language (L2) Students’ Self-Sponsored and Everyday Practices Affect Their Writing Development Inside and Outside a First-Year Writing Academic Classroom”

Writing-related transfer research discusses students’ transfer experiences between academic and self-sponsored writing contexts and one example is Rosinski (2016) who finds that writers are not necessarily transferring writing knowledge between their self-sponsored and academic writing practices. However, there have not been as many studies looking at the self-sponsored writing practices in multilingual and L2 students in a university writing classroom setting. Instead, some scholars including James (2008, 2009, 2012, 2018a, 2018b) have looked at the transfer that might occur between college L2 writing classrooms. Furthermore, authors like Yi (2007, 2008) analyzed the effects that self-sponsored writing practices of high school Korean L2 students have on their experiences both within K-12 classrooms and vice versa. Since Yi and Hirvela (2010) highlight the positive influence that self-sponsored writing can have on a Generation 1.5 student in the classroom setting, there is a need to identify to what extent such practices can help L2 writers in college. Thus, in this poster presentation, I look to explore how ten L2 college multilingual writers’ self-sponsored writing practices affect how they might transfer writing knowledge and influence their writing development when taking a freshman composition course. I plan to utilize a mixed-methods approach where I will interview each student about their self-sponsored and academic writing experiences. In addition, I will analyze major themes emerging from their self-sponsored and academic writing samples like audience and rhetorical awareness, genre awareness, etc. to determine how their everyday writing affects their writing performance.

Sabrina L. Thurman and Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler, Elon University. “Adaptive, Affirming, and Resilient Approaches to Mentoring Undergraduate Research”

Participation in faculty-mentored undergraduate research (UR) is a high-impact practice that contributes significantly to students’ cumulative learning, engagement, and retention in higher education (Kuh & O’Donell, 2013; [Author] et al., 2018). Participation in faculty-mentored UR can support students’ personal and professional development, foster transferable skills, build resiliency and self-confidence, and clarify future career paths. These outcomes are achieved through high-quality mentoring relationships, which are learner-centered, intentional, sustained, and inherently developmental (Crisp et al., 2017; Johnson, 2016; Shanahan et al., 2015). They are also mutually respectful, dynamic, shifting over time to adapt to students’ emergent identities, knowledge, needs, and skills, as well as the varied social and cultural contexts in which mentoring occurs. Considering drastic changing contexts and collective traumas like the coronavirus pandemic and systemic inequalities, how can undergraduate research mentors respond adaptively to personal and professional uncertainties while considering students’ unique identities and project-related goals? In the current work, we synthesize critical mentoring theory and research to establish foundational principles of excellent UR mentoring and build upon this knowledge by exploring more sensitive, affirming, and learner-centered adaptations required in challenging and uncertain times. We discuss the associated benefits and limitations of different evidence-based mentoring models and practices, including instrumental, psychosocial, and relational approaches; and mentoring models that move beyond a one-to-one hierarchy and include developmental mentoring constellations, co-mentoring, scaffolded apprenticeships, and communities of practice (Ketcham et al., 2018; Ragins & Kram, 2007; [Author], 2021). Using a case study approach, we apply these models and practices to our disciplinary context of developmental psychology. When approached in adaptive ways to consider needs, values, feelings, and individuality, UR mentoring is mutually beneficial and can support and extend both students’ and mentors’ learning and development, especially during periods of increased and sustained stress and change.

A Sessions (Monday, June 20, 8:30-9:30 AM)

A1.a Paula Rosinski, Elon University. “Strategies for Designing Inclusive Writing Assignments” (8:30-9:00 AM)

Writing is one of the primary ways students engage course content and writing assignments that are designed for inclusivity and that invite students to bring their own unique life experiences to understanding that content can make learning more relevant and meaningful for more students. This speaker will walk participants through a series of strategies for making their existing or new writing assignments more inclusive.

A1.b Omar Ahmed Yacoub and Dana Lynn Driscoll, Indiana University of Pennsylvania. “Threshold Genres: A 10-year Exploration of a Medical Writer’s Development and Social Apprenticeship through the Patient SOAP Note” (9:00-9:30 AM)

While writing is a critical part of the medical profession, longitudinal studies exploring the social apprenticeship and genre knowledge development of medical practitioners are almost non-existent. In addition, scholars have sought to identify and teach threshold concepts at various stages of writing, yet much more work is needed to understand how threshold concepts are taught through the mastery of specific genres, especially in professional settings. In this article, we posit that certain genres are so central to professional writing development; they may constitute what we refer to as “threshold genres,” genres that embody multiple threshold concepts and serve as gateways into professional expertise. Without mastery of the threshold genre, an individual would not be able to progress. Thus, in order to frame the importance of a threshold genre, we turn to the role of both our specific genre—the SOAP note—and genre theory. Through interviews and writing samples, this article traces a 10-year journey of one writer’s engagement with the Patient SOAP note, following his experiences from the first year of his undergraduate education to the end of medical school. Drawing upon theories of social apprenticeship and the RIME framework (reporter, interpreter, mediator, educator) from the field of medicine, we offer an in-depth case study of our focal participant’s growing medical expertise as he masters the Patient SOAP note. Through this in-depth analysis, we argue that the SOAP note functions as a “threshold genre” to assist entry into the medical profession. We conclude by offering additional evidence about the role that key threshold genres play in the development of professional expertise and offer implications for genre theory.

A2. D. Alexis Hart, Allegheny College; Íde O’Sullivan, University of Limerick; Anna V. Knutson, Workday; Yogesh Sinha, University of Buraimi; Kathleen Yancey, Florida State University; and Ashley J. Holmes, Georgia State University. ”Map/Interview/Re-Map: Using Multiple Forms of Representation to Uncover Students Writing Lives Within and Beyond the University”

Working in the tradition of the discourse-based interview (Odell, Goswami, & Herrington), this talk describes a study relying on multiple forms of representation to uncover participants’ experience of writing within and beyond the university: an interview; written documents the interviewee shares; and pre- and post-interview maps created by each interviewee. The maps bookend the interview, allowing the interviewee to begin with a visual representation and to revise the map at the interview’s conclusion. While both maps function as visual thinking-aloud spaces, the initial map allows the student to identify where they write, while the final map allows them to revisit the initial representation as the interview concludes. This iterative method provides multiple benefits, including (1) the interviewer gains insight into students’ tacit writing knowledge, and (2) students gain insight into their experiences and themselves as writers.

Drawing on surveys (N=231) and interviews (N=24) with upper-division students at six institutions in three countries, the presenters sought to better understand students’ writing lives. Specifically, we explored what students learn about writing outside of the classroom, as well as about the kinds of recursivity they perceive among their experiences writing in non-academic and curricular contexts, with a view toward considering the implications for universities. We operationalized these varied contexts as spheres, categorized as academic, co-curricular, internship, workplace, civic, self-motivated, and other.

In this talk, we focus on our interviews, which included: (1) a mapping exercise in which students drew maps representing the spheres they compose in; (2) a series of interview questions focused on these spheres and relationships across them; and (3) a final mapping exercise wherein students re-visited their maps, revised them (or, infrequently, chose not to revise) and explained revisions. Representative samples of texts shared in advance, along with the maps themselves, served to stimulate discussion and elicit reflection. Through this three-part interview, students identified the spheres in which they compose within and beyond the university; relationships, or recursivities, they perceive between the spheres in which they compose; ways their understanding of writing has developed as a result of these experiences; and recommendations about how universities might better support writers.

The panel will explain this method, characterizing it as a kind of triangulation operating inside the frame of the interview. Through the students’ triangulated multiple representations, the interviewer learns about and from students’ tacit knowledge as it is made explicit through two modalities: visual and linguistic. Our study’s use of mapping thus builds on McNely and Teston’s observation that “visual methods can uncover tacit knowing and understanding among participants” (118). Our study suggests that over-relying on a single modality–such as the linguistic–when others can be tapped as well could cause researchers to miss significant parts of participants’ experiences. Moreover, as our findings suggest, students found that mapping helped them understand their writing and the relationships among their spheres of writing more fully. We argue for the value of engaging research participants in multiple modalities as a way of eliciting tacit knowledge and of triangulating data in the discourse-based interview.

Works Cited

McNely, Brian and Tateston, Chris. “Tactical and Strategic: Qualitative Approaches to the Digital Humanities.” Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities, edited by Jim Ridolfo and William Hart-Davidson, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015, pp. 111-126, doi:10.7208/9780226176727-009.

Odell, Lee, Dixie Goswami, and Anne Herrington. “The Discourse-Based Interview: A Procedure for Exploring the Tacit Knowledge of Writers in Nonacademic Settings.” Research on Writing: Principles and Methods, edited by Peter Mosenthal et al., Longman, 1983, pp. 221–36.

A3. Cara Lucia, Elon University; Shaina Dabbs, Elon University; Mimi Benjamin, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; and Mark Cryan, Elon University. “Why Living in a Sport Management Learning Community Matters”

This study explored a Living Learning Community (LLC), the Sport Management and Media (SMM) LLC at Elon University. The purpose of the study was to better understand the formal and informal structures of the SMM LLC using the Best Practice Model (BPM) which identifies critical foundational elements of living-learning communities (Inkelas et al., 2018), the influence of relationships students develop while living in the community (Lambert & Felten, 2021), and students’ personal assessment of their sense of competence (McFadden et al., 2013). Mixed methodology was used for this study (Creswell & Clark, 2017). Focus group and interview questions were created based off of the BPM (Inkelas et al., 2018) and literature on why relationships matter during the college experience (Lambert & Felten, 2021). Items from the Sense of Competence Scale –Revised (SCS-R) were used to measure a student’s personal assessment of their intellectual, physical and manual, and interpersonal skills (McFadden et al., 2013).

Learning communities are noted in the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) high-impact practices overview as an important avenue for students to be in community with students who share similar interests (Kuh, 2008). Educational practices in undergraduate education that are high impact increase students’ engagement, enhance their sense of belonging, and are noted for prompting deeper engaged learning (Benjamin et al., 2019; Kuh, 2008). Inkelas and Soldner (2011) define LLCs as those that “…typically group students together in a residence hall, offer a shared academic experience, and provide co-curricular learning activities for student engagement with peers” (Inkelas et al., 2018, p. 1).

Research around LLCs is prevalent within multiple contexts of academic disciplines and higher education settings (Inkelas et al., 2018; Benjamin et al., 2019; Benjamin et al., 2020). Less is known about the lived experiences within a sport management themed residential living learning environment. The SMM LLC study explored four cohorts of students who lived in the LLC. Prospective students applied to live in the SMM LLC early spring 2018 and were informed about acceptance before matriculating in fall 2018. Students selected were part of the first cohort of matriculating first-year students to live in the SMM LLC beginning fall 2018.  The SMM LLC offers a unique environment for Elon University students interested in exploring the study of sport. Through regular house activities such as dinners, industry excursions, discussions, common readings, interaction with faculty, peers, alumni, industry guest speakers and on- and off-campus events, SMM residents examine sport by exploring their relative interests and learning more about opportunities in the sport industry. The SMM LLC is affiliated with the department of Sport Management housed in the School of Communications at Elon University.

Panelists will share initial findings from the study and share practical application recommendations. Participants attending the presentation will be able to:

  1. Describe why relationships matter for students living on a residential campus in a living learning community.
  2. Identify strategies for how to create a blend of informal and formal structures to address critical elements of living learning communities.
  3. Apply initial findings from the study to modify an institution’s academic and social environment to enhance the development of college students’ sense of competence (intellectual, social, and wellbeing).

B Sessions (Monday, June 20, 9:45-10:45 AM)

B1.a Charles McMartin, University of Arizona. “Professional Belonging and Engaged Pedagogy in Community Writing Programs” (9:45-10:15)

In the face of an increasing sense of isolation and burnout among educators during the pandemic (Chronicle Survey 2020), this individual presentation demonstrates how Wildcat Writers, a community writing program in Tucson, Arizona, has provided a sense of professional belonging for high school and college educators. Over the past seventeen years, both in theory and in practice, the community that Wildcat Writers has built between teachers and students from Title I Tucson high schools and University of Arizona writing classrooms has created a space for educators to critically reflect on their lived experiences across educational contexts, theorize the systemic problems facing educators, and provide hope for collective liberation (hooks 2014). The presentation first acknowledges the contemporary (Blumner 2016) and historic (Ostergaard & Wood 2015) significance of cross cutting coalitions between universities and local high schools during the rise of neoliberal education (Baltodano 2012), and the devastating effects of the pandemic (Ellis 2021). It then questions how community writing programs like Wildcat Writers can create an administrative infrastructure that embodies Penrose’s (2012) three criteria for professional belonging: expertise, autonomy, community (110). There is incredible potential for community writing programs to create a refuge from the transactional demands of the university and remind us of the transformational potentials of cross-cutting coalitions. This presentation asks how we might enact the core values of engaged pedagogy at each administrative domain in community writing programs–i.e. our concern with our colleagues’ and students’ holistic wellbeing, self actualization, liberation and critical consciousness (hooks 2014). In the first domain of relationships between college and high school instructors, this presentation provides strategies for encouraging educators to develop an institutional expertise of secondary and university classrooms that informs their writing pedagogy and creates an opportunity to autonomously collaborate on projects that adapt various curricular demands to varying educational contexts. In the second domain of relationships, this presentation asks how mentors and administrators might build professional communities of belonging through community building events, board meetings, and temperature checks between mentors and partnerships.

B1.b Devon Almond, Wilkes University. “Engaged Learning Through an Ecological Curriculum for Lifework” (10:15-10:45)

This presentation introduces an ecological curriculum that aspires to unfold the potential of the whole self, over the whole of life, in relationship with self, community, and nature. Drawing on timeless philosophical research and cross-cultural educational practice related to vocational discernment (e.g., Parker Palmer, John Dewey, H.D. Thoreau, R.W. Emerson, Martha Beck, Joseph Campbell, Martin Seligman, David Whyte, Bill Plotkin), this curriculum supports my personal vision, in which students are becoming more fully who they uniquely already are to mend a specific ache in the everyday world.

A method for realizing this aspiration, post-graduation, involves guiding students into the valley of vocation to listen in a different voice—a receptive, contextual voice that is rooted in a still, small calm (adapted from Thomas Merton) and relationship, care, and responsibility (adapted from Carol Gilligan). In addition to describing this U-shaped curricular framework (adapted from Otto Scharmer), I discuss various educational ecologies related to place in life, purpose in education, and genuinely meaningful work intended to catalyze the more beautiful world we know is possible (Charles Eisenstein).

Lastly, I offer a practical example of applying the ecological framework for lifework with highly diverse undergraduate students and AmeriCorps members in a study-abroad context. Specifically, I describe my experiences as a former study-abroad director responsible for learning communities in a rural Native Hawaiian community in which students engaged in service learning with sustainability and indigenous cultural practitioners. By integrating this learning with Hawaiian cultural traditions (e.g., wayfinding, kuleana), meditation practices, and other contemplative pedagogies, students were offered rich possibilities to reflect into the transformative possibilities of their life’s work (adapted from Jack Mezirow).

B2. Travis Maynard, Julia Bleakney, Li Li, Heather Lindenman, Jessie Moore, and Paula Rosinski, Elon University. “Understanding Alumni Writing Experiences in the United States”

Alumni research within writing studies remains an emergent phenomenon, with a small number of scholars describing 1) the writing lives of alumni via the contexts, genres, and technological environments in which they compose (Cosgrove 2010; Weiser and Grobman 2012; Blythe et al. 2014) and 2) how undergraduate experiences like work in the writing center (Hughes et al. 2010) and undergraduate majors (Maynard, forthcoming) influence those writing lives. This presentation synthesizes these two approaches to alumni research, reading across four separate studies to identify alumni writing practices and the undergraduate experiences that prepared them for writing beyond the university.

We begin by reviewing prior alumni scholarship in the field and the individual alumni studies from which our presentation draws; we then discuss three cross-cutting themes that emerged in our analysis: trends in the genres students write in college and alumni write in the workplace; positive and negative undergraduate writing experiences; and gaps in alumni preparation. We close by offering recommendations for faculty and administrators designing undergraduate writing experiences that can better prepare students for the writing beyond the university data suggest they will face following graduation.

We present alumni writing data from a national survey of recent college graduates and three institutional studies – two at Elon University in North Carolina and one at Florida State University. In the national survey – even though graduates felt generally prepared for work-related writing after college – participants did not feel as well prepared to adapt their writing strategies for unfamiliar genres and audiences. The three institutional studies explore how institutional efforts like campus-wide writing initiatives, writing majors, and other campus writing experiences prepare students for writing they’ll encounter as alumni.

The first cross-cutting theme in the four studies indicates alumni’s increasing use of digital and multimedia genres regardless of their profession. Second, the studies find writing-related majors, minors, and writing-intensive courses most contributed to alumni’s development as writers, including coursework in advanced writing, rhetoric and visual rhetoric, and creative writing workshops. Third, the studies also show students need more preparation in genre writing, audience adaptation, writing concisely, visual composing, and writing technologies.

We suggest that current and future students would benefit from curriculum designs including more genres, audience adaptation, metacognitive reflection on writing processes, connections between in- and out-of-class writing experiences, and media/composing technologies – especially those engaging visual design. Further, we suggest that college students would benefit from more opportunities to practice multiple genres in co-curricular experiences, including writing for campus clubs/organizations, internships, and on-campus jobs such as writing center consulting.

In addition, program directors and other university administrators can facilitate these efforts to support writer’s development beyond the university by making writing a college-wide commitment. University administrators should look to – or hire for – writing studies expertise both to support professional development for writing across the university efforts and to increase the availability of writing courses, minors, and majors taught by writing experts.

B3. Maria T. Gallardo-Williams and Diane D. Chapman, North Carolina State University. “Supporting SoTL at the Institutional Level: Turning Teaching into Writing Beyond the University”

The presentation and publication of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) papers are expected outcomes for teaching faculty in most higher education institutions. Most faculty members don’t have prior training in this area and struggle to excel in this task. Faculty leaders developed an online faculty development program to provide insight into SoTL research through the delivery of an online institute designed to connect faculty with resources and experts. This presentation will highlight the design and operation of the institute and its perceived outcomes from the perspective of the organizers as well as faculty participants, with a focus on written outcomes and publication in peer-reviewed journals.

B4. Jessica Merricks, Elon University. “Empowering a STEM-Literate Citizenry Through Inclusive Writing Opportunities” (Workshop)

In this exploratory workshop, we will examine best practices in writing pedagogy that foster metacognitive growth and content mastery in diverse science learners. Dr. Jessica Merricks will share insights from STEM education literature as well as her own classroom experiences using writing in both formative and summative contexts. We will explore several examples of writing activities that are designed to help students engage authentically with STEM content and articulate their understanding in new and creative ways. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to reflect and discuss ways in which they might design more meaningful and inclusive writing assignments within their STEM-specific disciplines.

C Sessions (Monday, June 20, 11:00 AM – 12:00 noon)

C1.a Danielle L. Lake, Wen Guo, and Mason Connoly, Elon University. “Decolonizing Teaching and Learning through Design Thinking Pedagogies: Opportunities and Challenges” (11:00-11:30)

Over the past two decades, design thinking (DT) has been lauded as a high-impact practice supporting engaged learning. Assessment of its value, however, has been mixed. Many pedagogical practices are still bounded by hegemonic forces of colonialism, techno-scientific, capitalist commitments and narrow disciplinary frameworks.

This session responds to the critical need to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion practices in higher education through summarizing findings from a mixed methods study focused on how DT is implemented across higher education teaching and learning practices. Building on past research and current DT practices, the session shares findings from across institutions of higher education, examining the potential and challenges of DT-infused pedagogies for decolonizing teaching and learning in higher education.

The study investigated practices, outcomes, values, and challenges of teaching and learning DT via a mix-method approach. Survey and follow-up interviews with faculty and students across 22 diverse courses in four higher education institutions highlight the value of DT pedagogies for supporting active listening and encouraging the exploration of perspectives beyond one’s own. Analysis of outcomes suggests that DT pedagogies can contribute to more diverse and inclusive teaching and learning practices and lead to critical changes in students’ mindsets (including emergent thinking, action-oriented empathy, and decolonized perceptions of power).

In contrast, analysis of findings also highlight challenges that deter faculty from decolonizing their DT pedagogical practices. Findings, for instance, revealed that prototyping and experimentation, while essential for supporting transformational learning, are the least understood and practiced DT methods.

Synthesizing the empirical data, we construct a three-space mental model (Brenner et al., 2016) that illustrates how the courses are navigated by faculty’s distinct perceptions of DT. We suggest this model can operate as a valuable heuristic for faculty committed to incorporating DT to support diverse, equitable, and inclusive teaching and learning practices.

C1.b Janet Bean, University of Akron. “Who’s Afraid of Reflective Writing?” (11:30-12:00)

Reflective writing is used extensively in higher education to promote learning. Not surprisingly, it is also used as a tool to assess learning.  Many fields assess student learning through reflective writing assignments, including medical and health care, education, science, and, in the US, general education programs. With the increasing use of reflective writing for high-stakes assessment, criticism has followed. Scholars have raised concerns about validity and viability of assessing reflective capability (Moriz, T, et al 2015). Some fear that outcome-focused reflective assignments may create “reflective zombies”—students “who display all the outer traits of reflection, without having actually reflected” (de la Croix and Veen 2018, p. 394). Is reflection worthwhile if it is “manufactured” or “faked” for assessment? (Hobbs 2007). If students are “performing a reflective self” (Ross 2014), does that mean that reflection is not authentic? And if we problematicize the concept authenticity, what does that mean for our use of reflection to assess student learning?

There is a palatable sense of unease in these scholarly discussions of reflective writing, one that matches the emotions I have seen in faculty asked to incorporate reflective writing into their classes. What is reflection, exactly? Can it even be graded? Does it have real value? This unease can be particularly strong when reflection is not an individual faculty choice but a program-level requirement.

This speaker will discuss the challenges of scaling up reflective writing in capstone courses at a large state university. This initiative was driven by general education learning outcomes that require reflection about ethics and society within major capstones. This session will explore how faculty and students have responded to a curricular shift toward reflection, using emotion as a lens to better understand the strange and uneasy power of reflective writing.

C2. Michael-John DePalma, Baylor University; Michelle Eady, University of Wollongong, Australia; Kara Taczak, University of Denver; and Ina Alexandra Machura, Siegen University, Germany. “Connecting Work-Integrated Learning and Writing Transfer: Possibilities and Promise for Writing Studies”

Scholarship on writing transfer has emerged as one of our field’s central lines of inquiry (Moore). A rich body of empirical work offers insight into the factors impacting students’ ability to transfer: writers’ dispositions (Driscoll and Wells) and students’ prior knowledge (Robertson et al.). This scholarship contributes understandings about the ways the Teaching for Transfer (TFT) curriculum (Yancey et al.) and intentional reflection (Taczak; Yancey) can facilitate students’ transfer of writing knowledge and practices. By “writing transfer,” we mean “writers’ conscious or intuitive processes of applying or reshaping learned writing knowledge and practices in order to negotiate new and potentially unfamiliar writing situations” (DePalma and Ringer).

An exigent strand of empirical inquiry that has yet to be explored through the lens of transfer is the ways work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences affect writers’ transfer of writing knowledge and practices. We adopt Stephen Billett’s definition of WIL as “the process whereby students come to learn through experiences in educational and practice settings and reconcile and integrate the contributions of those experiences to develop the understandings, procedures and dispositions, including the criticality and reflexivity, required for effective professional practice” (2). Workplace learning activities have particular attributes that must be met in order to be classified as WIL experiences (Dean et al.). These include activities that are purposefully designed, informed by design principles, draw on industry expertise, foster opportunities for reflection and engaged feedback, and shape and support students’ career goals. Examples of WIL experiences are internships, service-learning projects, capstone courses, (teaching) practicums, and workplace simulations.

To date, the majority of research on writing transfer has been conducted in the US, whereas the WIL framework is employed in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Given the lack of scholarship that works at the intersection of writing transfer and WIL research—two areas of research that aim to foster transformational undergraduate education in order to equip students to thrive in future professional contexts—there is a need for scholarship in writing studies that examines the generative possibilities of putting these areas of scholarship in conversation.

Our presentation explores four specific ways that rhetoric and writing studies can benefit from intentional engagement with WIL scholarship: (1) redesigning writing internship pedagogies to align with WIL learning and curriculum theories and practices; (2) revisiting threshold concepts of writing by accounting for knowledge, theories, and practices that are central to epistemological participation in a variety of professional writing careers; (3) reconsidering notions of vocation to emphasize the ways writers’ personal epistemologies and social trajectories interact with the purposes, aims, and values of academic and workplace contexts; and (4) reconceptualizing writing major curricula in relation to the conceptual knowledge, procedural knowledge, and dispositions of expert writers in a range of professional contexts. We argue that intentional engagement with WIL can enrich work on writing transfer and the field of rhetoric and writing studies as a whole.

Speaker 1 will familiarize the audience with WIL as a conceptual framework and pedagogical approach. Speakers 2, 3 and 4 will share ways that future engagement with WIL can enrich rhetoric and writing studies scholarship and pedagogy generally and transfer research specifically.

C3. Aaron Trocki, Elon University. “Multimodal Writing as Engaged Learning in STEM” (Workshop)

Have you ever considered or tried engaging students through various modes of writing? In this workshop, we’ll examine how to design multimodal writing assignments using video, infographics, podcasts, and letters to enhance student learning in a first-year STEM course. I’ll share example multimodal writing assignments, student writing samples, and feedback from students on how these assignments impacted their learning in an Applied Calculus course. Participants will have time to brainstorm and discuss how they might adapt and design multimodal writing assignments in their specific disciplines.

D Sessions (Monday, June 20, 1:00-2:00 PM)

D1. Peter G. Fields, University of South Florida. “Student-Athletes’ Connection to Writing Knowledge Transfer”

Though writing beyond the university has often focused on internships, post-graduation employment, and extracurricular activities to better-understand writing knowledge transfer, student-athletes (SAs) have been overlooked in scholarship. With my dual experience as a former Division-I football SA and Rhetoric/Composition PhD student working as a First-Year Composition Program Assistant, I feel there is much to learn about writing knowledge transfer if attention is brought to the dynamic learning process SAs engage with in athletic sites of learning. Through film sessions that prompt critical reflection, iterative practices that require application of rhetorical concepts, and the recursive act of receiving feedback at multiple stages, I suggest SAs demonstrate a unique ability to transfer rhetorical knowledge across settings.

Examining the work done by Yancey et. al (2014) shows that drawing upon and challenging prior knowledge is a vital step in overcoming critical transitions. Similarly, Baird & Dilger (2017) suggest that ownership and responsibility for one’s learning directly influences the potential for transfer, which speaks to Robertson, Taczak, and Yancey’s (2012) work on how developing a “writerly identity” can be either generative or disruptive. To that, Sommers & Saltz (2004) as well as Reiff & Bawarshi (2011) propose that adopting the role of novice can encourage students to cross boundaries. If writing knowledge transfer research begins focusing on SA experiences in athletic sites of learning, scholars will find SAs demonstrate these generative dispositions that facilitate the transfer of rhetorical knowledge.

As evident in the scholarship, transfer does happen. However, more work needs to be done on understanding why it happens for some students, but not others. Theorizing a research approach that will investigate the particular learning contexts of SAs can present research questions that explore potential connections between athletic sites of learning, academic sites of learning, and the impact of bodily-learning on writing knowledge transfer.


Baird, Neil, and Bradley Dilger. (2017). How Students Perceive Transitions: Dispositions and Transfer in Internships. College Composition and Communication 68, no. 4: 684-712.

Reiff, M. and A. Bawarshi. (2011). Tracing discursive resources: How students use prior genre knowledge to negotiate new writing contexts in first-year composition. Written Communication, 28(3), 312-337.

Robertson, Liane, Kara Taczak, and Kathleen Blake Yancey. (2012). Notes toward A Theory of Prior Knowledge and Its Role in College Composers’ Transfer of Knowledge and Practice. Composition Forum 26.

Sommers, N., & Laura Saltz. (2004). The Novice as Expert: Writing the Freshman Year. College Composition and Communication, 56(1), 124-149.Yancey, Kathleen Blake, Kara Taczak, and Liane Robertson. (2014). Writing across Contexts: Transfer, Composition, and Sites of Writing. Logan: Utah State University Press

D2. Amy Allocco, Jessie L. Moore, and Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler, Elon University. “Mentoring in Context: The Potential of a Constellation Model”

Although mentoring is sometimes conceptualized as a one-to-one hierarchical relationship, mentoring relationships function within a broader set of relationships known as a mentoring constellation. In a relationship-rich educational environment, the number and nature of specific relationships within mentoring constellations vary across individuals, time, and contexts, with different mentors and peer-mentors offering varied forms of support and expertise (Crisp et al., 2017; Felten & Lambert, 2020; Johnson, 2016). Mentoring practices are characterized as instrumental, focusing on professional development and skill-building; psychosocial, involving personal and emotional support; and relational, emphasizing interpersonal, reciprocal mentoring relationships (Kram & Ragins, 2007).

We conducted a multi-method study to examine faculty, staff, and students’ perceptions of their mentoring relationships within a constellation model. In a comprehensive survey, most first- and fourth-year students identified at least one mentor and over 50% identified two or more mentors representing a range of roles, including faculty, peers, staff, family members, alumni, and community partners. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 60 undergraduates and 50 faculty and staff mentors regarding their mentoring relationships across contexts (e.g., student employment, undergraduate research). Focused on mentoring of high-impact practices, analyses of the surveys and interviews yielded three primary themes, including: 1) scaffolded, developmental programming and a diverse set of mentors in an interconnected constellation positively impacts students’ and mentors’ experiences; 2) skilled mentoring requires a dynamic, individualized balance of instrumental, psychosocial and reciprocal mentoring practices, taking into account unique aspects of students’ identities and projects; and 3) gaps exist in the campus ecosystem, especially for students with minoritized identities and students who are not in cohorted programs. Case studies of multi-year, experientially rich, and academically rigorous programs highlight the potential of collaborative, interconnected, globally oriented mentoring constellations to support students’ personal and professional development.

D3. Morgan Gresham, University of South Florida St. Petersburg. “Meet The Principles: AAEEBL’s Task Force on Digital Ethics in ePortfolios” (Workshop)

For two years, a task force created by the Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL) has investigated digital ethics and ePortfolios. Responding to increasing calls for digital ethics in ePortfolios to be recognized and addressed as central to ePortfolio pedagogy and practice, AAEEBL developed a multi-year focus in this area. The 2019 AAEEBL Annual Meeting expanded this discussion by incorporating broader digital ethics topics, such as data privacy, accessibility, and digital identity. During this meeting, a Digital
Ethics Forum promoted collaborative discussion regarding the wide range of challenges, questions, and available resources on this topic. This Forum highlighted the need for a more formal resource for practitioners to reference when engaging with ePortfolios, including students, faculty, staff, administrators, and industry professionals.

Since 2019, AAEEBL propelled these conversations forward with two initiatives: 1) a partnership with ePortfolios Australia and ePortfolio Ireland and 2) a partnership with Auburn University to create the Task Force. A diverse group of scholars and practitioners, Task Force members included administrators, faculty, and industry professionals from three countries (the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand). Over two years, members worked to conceptualize, draft, and publish a document to guide a variety of practitioners through digital ethics considerations in ePortfolio development.The work resulted in thirteen principles promoting ethical ePortfolio
practices to educators, staff, students, and platform providers. Published in a digital format on Scalar, the principles are now in version 2. Given that a primary intention of the principles is to serve as a vehicle for recursive, reflective practice—a kind of window and mirror to prompt the dynamic process of reflection while stakeholders are in the process of composing ePortfolios that are contextually situated–members of the Task Force are currently engaged in sharing the principles widely with engaged learning practitioners that are deeply invested in digital practices.

ePortfolios are constantly evolving with the advancement of digital technologies and the socio-cultural laws and conventions that govern digital spaces. The principles are designed not only to evoke individualized reflection by the stakeholder but also to encourage reflection writ large for practitioners across higher education. With this mission in mind, we propose the following workshop for CEL participants to meet and hack the existing principles to help the Task Force continue to refine and revise these principles.

In this workshop, task force members will briefly introduce the history and the evolution of the Principles and invite participants to hack the principles–what’s working, what’s not, what’s missing? How can we use these existing scenarios to generate new areas of research and practice with ePortfolios?

E Sessions (Monday, June 20, 2:15-3:15 PM)

E1. Jennifer Kaye Reid, Marquette University; Dana Lynn Driscoll, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Andrea Rosso Efthymiou, Hofstra University; Heather Lindenman, Elon University; and Matthew Pavesich, Johns Hopkins University. “Writing for Life: How Adults Use Self-Sponsored Writing to Establish Identity and to Preserve Memory”

Based on survey (713) and interview (27) data, our study provides a panoramic view of the functions of self-sponsored writing for US adults from a range of ages and backgrounds. This presentation focuses on how individuals use voluntary writing in their everyday lives to establish identity, to advocate, and to set the terms of engagement.

Research on writing in our field’s journals and conferences has historically been tethered to the academy and workforce. Even research on writing outside the academy, which opens up a broader view, often defines itself in relation to the writing individuals compose for school or work (Brandt 2015, Cleary 2013, Lindenman and Rosinski 2020, Shepherd 2018). Scholarship by Roozen (2008, 2012) and Prior and Shipka (2003) shows the myriad ways individuals’ self-sponsored or elective writing informs and is informed by the writing they compose for academic and professional purposes.

Our study intervenes in the scholarship by taking as its exclusive focus the everyday writing that people compose: the self-sponsored, or non-obligatory, words that people write for their lives. In so doing, we take seriously the CFP’s imploration that we “no longer be exclusive about what writing belongs and which writings belong in our classrooms” and scholarship. Our research project focuses on the writing that adults in the United States report composing for their own purposes. Through analysis of 713 survey responses and 27 interviews (collected in 2019-20, pre-Covid), our study provides a panoramic view of the functions of self-sponsored writing and rhetorical activity for adults, ages 18-75+, from a range of cultural, geographical, and professional backgrounds.

In this presentation, we focus our attention on three functions of writing our study revealed that speak to writing for social justice. Specifically, we present study participants’ use of writing to establish identity, to advocate, and to set the terms of engagement. Much like Alexander and Jarrett (2014) show that students practiced activism independently of their school-sponsored educations, we show that the adults in our study use the writing they compose in their own time to urge social change.

Our panel will open with a participatory introduction into our methods, including an abbreviated reenactment of our survey and interview process. The panel will then focus on the three functions noted above (writing to establish identity, to advocate, and to set the terms of engagement) and share examples of study participants whose writing manifested these functions.

The presentation will close with significant time for discussion and questions. What happens to our field’s understanding of writing when we radically expand our scope to include, as a baseline, adults’ self-sponsored and non-obligatory writing? In what ways do the boundaries built into the terms “self-sponsored” and “everyday” writing compel us to contest our field’s terminology and approaches to categorizing the writing people compose? Our discussion will provide space for participants to share their own experiences with self-sponsored writing as well.

E2. Stephen C. Ehrmann. “Large-scale Student Engagement in Learning? It All Depends”

Institutional facts of life can either encourage or discourage large-scaled engaged learning. Four regional public universities have demonstrated how to create a more nurturing context for engaged learning. Those institutions are Georgia State, Governors State, University of Central Florida, and University of Central Oklahoma.

For example, they each slowly expanded their constellations of educational innovations, cultural changes, realigned infrastructure, and policies. Each element may reinforce others; constellations are more than the sum of their parts. Constellation elements come in three umbrella categories:

  1. Complementary educational strategies that reinforce engaged learning, e.g., guided pathways that can systematically improve student engagement, e.g., a spine of High-Impact Practices; pedagogies that help students become increasingly motivated to do the hard work of self-development.
  2. Elements of organizational infrastructure and culture, such as enough flexible learning spaces; realigned reward systems;
  3. Realigned interactions with the institution’s wider world, such as searching for new staff and faculty who already have a track record illustrating their commitment to improving learning quality and equitable access.

Enough people at each institution also began to think of engaged learning as a means for the institution to pursue its missions of providing quality learning and equitable access while making more productive, fulfilling use of available money and time – the institution’s and the student’s. (NSSE research suggests that there is only a weak link between budgets/student and engaged learning.)

This talk begins by outlining how such a constellation can work. Then as each kind of constellation element is described in more detail, the audience will be invited to assess the their own institutions’ constellations. Toward the close, the audience will be invited to identify one feasible initiative that could materially improve their institutions’ capacity to support engaged learning at scale.

E3. Sarah Eliza Stanlick and Courtney Brooke Kurlanska, Worcester Polytechnic Institute. “Engaging and Empowering Students as Co-Creators of Knowledge with Open Educational Resources (OERs)”

In Spring 2021, a team was selected by AAC&U from WPI through a competitive national process to attend the Open Educational Resources (OERs) year-long institute. The team, comprised of academic staff and faculty with experience and investment in OERs, are working together to create a comprehensive university-wide strategy for the adoption, curation, sharing, and creation of resources. Through this institute – and with hopes for continuation in future – we support the adoption, adaptation, and creation of Open Educational Resources (OERs) that provide a more inclusive, accessible, and representative learning environment.

The conference theme “Cross-Cutting Questions about Engaged Learning” resonated with our team, as the work that we have done spans disciplines but centers student engagement in the creation of knowledge through open pedagogy and open educational resources. We seek to engage students in the writing of their own scholarly story – developing self-concept as a knowledge creator and scholarly colleague. This is particularly important for traditionally underrepresented students, as we know that textbooks center certain narratives of white male cisgender individuals as the central historical figures at the expense of other important contributors to the field. In our data collection thus far, we have learned that BIPOC and female-identified students report not seeing themselves represented in course materials and were emphatic about the potential for students to rise to the occasion and be colleagues and partners in creating educational materials.

In this presentation, we will share lessons learned from the year working in a community of co-inquiry to explore and expand the capacity for WPI, a unique project-based STEM institution, to embrace OERs. We will share data, student stories, instructor reflections, and plans for our future work to provide an example for how other intuitions might engage their learners in knowledge creation in pursuit of epistemic justice and student thriving.

Closing Keynote (Monday, June 20, 3:30-4:30 PM)

Isis Artze-Vega and Oscar Miranda Tapia, “Latinx Perspectives on Relationship Rich Education”

Oscar and Isis (two of the co-authors of Your Relationship-Rich Education: A Student Guide to Making Meaningful Connections in College) will discuss the centrality of relationships to education, and in particular, how relationships shape the educational experiences of students who identify as Latinx. They will invite participants to take an identity conscious approach to their engaged learning practices and research, share the voices of Latinx students regarding their relationship-rich educational experiences, and create space for participants to practice applying a Latinx and relationship-rich lens to their engaged learning efforts.