The big party is set for Friday April 27th, from 3 – 4:30 PM in the Atrium of Agricultural Hall. At the end of every year, WRAC throws a reception to celebrate the accomplishments of Professional Writing students, and especially to celebrate the graduating seniors. All students, faculty, community partners, friends, parents,and administrators are invited. There’s great food, Sparty will be there, and there will be videos of all the incredible accomplishments of PWers this past year. Thanks to Danielle DeVoss for once again designing a gorgeous invitation, which has been sent to PW community partners and friends.
This year’s AWP Annual Conference–the major gathering for creative writers–took place in Chicago, IL, from February 29 – March 3. This year was the largest ever, with 10,000 people in attendance. MSU’s CAL & R&W program was represented by faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students. A typical conference “features over 450 readings, lectures, panel discussions, and forums” and is one of the largest literary conferences in North America.
Professional Writing programs are growing so quickly that there are numerous learning opportunities for both students and professors. Dr. Laura Julier, Dr. Jon Ritz along with other faculty Stephanie Amada, and Kathryn Houghton, and undergraduate Catherine McCaffrey presented a panel at AWP called “The BA in Professional Writing: The Other Undergraduate Writing Degree.”
The panel sought to specifically address creative writers and teachers in creative writing MFA programs who are thinking about what kinds of professions their graduates might enter. They talked about professional writing programs as not all that different from creative writing programs, and teaching in professional writing programs as an easy transition for teachers from creative writing courses.
The editorial interns for Fourth Genre took part in the conference by staffing the table at the Bookfair to promote the journal, and to network with other writers, literary presses, and journals. Graduate students Ana Holguin and Katie Livingston, and undergraduates Ziev Beresh, Lauren Ebelt, Kim Tweedale, Christine Scales, Katie Conley, Cat McCaffrey, and Chelsea Beck all pitched in.
It’s quite bittersweet, but it’s time for WRAC to find a new communications management team. After working for the department for the past several months, we are finally ready to pass on the reigns, and to find some wonderful, fresh faces to occupy 299 Bessey. After all, why wouldn’t you want to work at a place that allows you spend your time making creepy videos like this?
In all seriousness, we’ve been very fortunate to work for WRAC, growing and maintaining the online community. We would like to thank everyone for their help and support in our efforts.
If you’re interested in being one of the WRAC Communications Management Interns for the fall of 2012, or simply want more information, contact Dr. Laura Julier (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Beth Keller (email@example.com).
*Graduate students interested in Beth’s position should stay tuned for more details about applying!
Every year, the R&W Graduate program invites potential PHD students to visit MSU, and holds a weekend event. This event gives the selection of students admitted to the Rhetoric & Writing graduate program an opportunity to visit MSU and build new relationships with faculty and students. This year’s recruits met with with current students and faculty, visited the local area, and partook in a social mixer in MSU’s Agricultural Hall’s Atrium. The recruitment weekend started on February 23rd and lasted until the 25th.
There was a pleasant mixture of laughter and serious conversation echoing in the atrium as the recruits mingled with faculty and “recruitment buddies.” Beth Keller (a recruitment buddy) said, “This year’s group of students are especially diverse in their research interests. I really look forward to working with them in the future.” From San Francisco State University to University of Toledo, some recruits traveled far to visit the campus and talk to their potential peers and professors. Along with their luggage, these candidates also bring their research interests; this year, they ranged from education of athletes to the rhetorics of protest.
Recruitment weekends have an important role in the decision process, and this mixer was another chance to demonstrate the R&W’s engaged community and welcoming atmosphere. Those are factors that may tip a recruit’s decision toward MSU. Recruits are expected to make their decisions by mid-semester. We hope to welcome many of them to the R&W graduate program.
When professor Cheryl Caesar asked her last semester’s WRA 140 (Women in America) and WRA1004 (Preparation for College Writing) students to create a project about masks, she wasn’t asking these first-year writing students simply to exercise their creativity: “It got students thinking about what masks really do–hide or reveal? Can they bring out something not always shown?” This exercise in critical-thinking is a highlight of one valuable skill taught from a first-year writing teacher’s toolset.
As part of this exploration into the designs and purposes of masks, Caesar and her students visited the MSU Museum exhibit titled “Mask: Secrets and Revelations,” and were treated to curator Dr. Julie Avery as a speaker. Students then analyzed masks as cultural artifacts and created works that exemplified how artifacts reveal information about the cultural context in which they are produced. Some students went on to create their own masks, seen above, which examined subjects such as femininity, patriotism, nature, beauty, and the continents. Other students created webpages and videos; one student, Jennifer Carr, took a different approach and created a children’s book titled “Mia’s Mask.” In many cases, the projects explored comparisons such as beautiful versus ugly, global unity versus nationalism, or the inside view versus the outside view.
Jian Ren, now a Marketing major sophomore, says that the experience of taking Caesar’s FYW class last year has prepared her for her classes this semester and improved her language skills. She described creating the mask in first-year writing as a process of “capturing a main idea” using various writing techniques and then expressing that idea through this mask. First-year writing classes are designed to scaffold projects in such a way that writing skills and language skills build upon each other, creating a background that prepared for writing in subsequent college courses and beyond.
The works of Caesar’s students will be showcased sometime later semester on MSU’s Museum website. The “Mask: Secrets and Revelations” exhibit is currently available online here.
The Professional Writing program will be offering online classes throughout the 2012 summer. Students can enroll here, and for more information, contact your academic adviser or the course instructors. Summer enrollment has already begun, and courses are filling quickly. Sign up for a section today.
WRA 308 Invention in Writing
7/2/2012 – 8/16/2012
Instructor: Dànielle Nicole DeVoss
Quick overview: The focus of this course is the seven habits of highly creative human beings. While students don’t need any specific technological expertise for the class, they will use a variety of media formats to produce and share work. They’ll create short videos, web pages, slideshows, and more. Ultimately, students will walk away with a “mental toolbox full of creative, innovative ideas to apply in different communication situations.”
WRA 320 Technical Writing
7/2/2012 – 8/16/2012
Instructor: Stuart Blythe
Quick overview: This class will focus on effective writing in the workplace. Students will explore technical, scientific, and electronic-mediated writing as well as complete informational design, usability testing, and team writing. The course will also include analyzing audience and organizational needs.
WRA 355 Writing for Publication
5/24/2012 – 7/30/2012
Instructors: Stephanie Amada, Kathryn Houghton
Quick overview: Students interested in learning more about the world of freelance writing should definitely think about taking this course, as it is only offered in the summer. More specifically, students will learn how to research publications, how to pitch pieces, and how to write under deadline. Also, please note that students will have deadlines each week, so they will need internet access and be online several times a week to interact with classmates.
WRA 453 Grant and Proposal Writing
5/24/2012 – 7/30/2012
Instructors: Joyce Meier, Dean Rehberger
Quick overview: Students particularly interested in working in non-profit organizations should consider taking this course, as they will learn to research and write grants and proposals for corporations, nonprofits, businesses, and governmental agencies.
For a complete listing of summer courses offered by WRAC, see schedule of courses.
Associate professor Ellen Cushman was recently named co-editor of Research in the Teaching of English (RTE) along with Mary Juzwik, associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education.
Dr. Cushman sat down with us for a few minutes to discuss their new position. For more information about RTE, visit their website.
A list of current MSU students, faculty, and Rhetoric & Writing Program alumni presenting at this year’s ATTW.
User, Design, and Production: What Counts?
- Lee Sherlock: Theorycrafting as Techne: How to Engineer and Document What You Do for Fun
Crossing Cultural Boundaries in Social Networking Media
- Elizabeth Keller: Traversing Workplace Boundaries: The Visibilization and Globalization of Work through New Media Objects and Spaces
Ambient Data, Mobile Learning, & Kairos: Technical Communication Researchers Making Direct Interventions in Public Health
- William Hart-Davidson: Creating Feedback Loops to Increase Situational Awareness & Influence Public Health Outcomes
- Mike McLeod: Robot Writers: Building Bots to Listen for Ambient Writing Behavior and Assemble New Texts
- Donnie Johnson Sackey: Visualizing Data, Encouraging Change: Technical Interventions in Food Purchasing Decisions
Instilling Good Habits of Cultural Interrogation
- Stuart Blythe: Seeing Cultures in Context
- Jennifer Sano-Franchini: How Time Informs the Way We Read Cultures: Temporal Logics of East Asian Blepharoplasty in Online Video
- Matt Cox: Cultural Awareness in the Workplace: Whose Responsibility Is it Anyway?
Localizing the Global Through User-Centered Design
- Chelsea Moats (poster)