ERIC Number: ED455521
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Apr
The Case for Independent Writing Programs.
Meagher, Eileen M.
One educator with much experience as a teacher and director of composition at a state university believes that academia simply has to have independent writing programs. Her conviction rests on two issues: the nature of the curriculum and the professional/psychological well-being of writing/rhetoric faculty. The process movement in writing pedagogy of the 1970s began to set composition faculty apart from literature-trained faculty. Now, with the introduction of the Internet and the information economy, the gap has become an unbridgeable chasm. The purpose of literature departments is to prepare students to read and analyze a specialized kind of print text, then to compose similar kinds of specialty texts. The purpose of writing programs is to prepare students to understand hypertext, to master the rhetorical abilities to analyze it, and to develop the new and complex skills to create it. Literature faculty believe there are two kinds of literacy--print literacy and illiteracy. Writing faculty believe that just as print literacy came after millennia of oral literacy, hypertext literacy has recently emerged and is already supplanting print literacy in the important ways that the world does business. Literature faculty do not allow composition faculty the significance of their pedagogy and scholarship--writing teachers are needed in departments for "housekeeping" skills, but not for any substantive contribution. The successful director of composition, the successful teacher of writing, the successful writing program coordinator, the successful writing center director, all are forced to play a lethal psychological and professional game, to be themselves and not be themselves at the same time. A way must be found to let English departments know, to let deans know, to let provosts and academic vice presidents know that the future of students' literacy lies in a vision unencumbered and translated into independent writing programs. (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (51st, Minneapolis, MN, April 12-15, 2000).