ERIC Number: ED422565
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr-3
Rhetorics, Poetics, and Cuentos: Critical Composition Practice in a Multidisciplinary Department of English.
Lalicker, William B.
The department of English at West Chester University, Pennsylvania provides a laboratory for examining the situation of composition in a department that has documented its dedication to a unified study of English based on attention to reading and writing. The department adopted a "Statement of Coherence" that signals a dialectic: the fact that the department needed such a statement suggests a centrifugal tendency, but the fact that the department made such a statement suggests a willingness to achieve wholeness. The traditional literary faculty continue to command resources that significantly exceed what the compositionists can muster for the tasks of teaching students and enhancing that teaching through research and new hiring. But the real answer to the question of whether multidisciplinarity recognizes composition as an equal participant in the mission of the department comes in "cuentos": in stories, in the day-to-day events of the department and in the way those events are reframed as they are retold. One such story comes from the department's "Outcomes Assessment Retreat." The groups established to draft each subdiscipline's outcomes mirrored the implicit hierarchy of the department, and the attempt to produce mission-reflecting outcomes revealed the ongoing dialectic between the centrifugal and cohering tendencies of the department. Two cliches provide an adequate peroration: talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words. Appended are the English Department's Statement of Coherence and Mission statement, and the Composition Group's Outcomes for the General Education Composition Program. (RS)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A