New Co-Chairs and Board Members Elected

At the Consortium’s annual meeting last Wednesday, March 19, Drs. Rebecca Jackson and Eric Leake from Texas State University were elected as co-chairs for a three-year term, 2014-2017. They replace Drs. John Dunn and Derek Mueller who have served the Consortium as co-chairs since 2011.

Three new Executive Board members were elected at the meeting. Drs. Stephanie Vie, U Central Florida, and Susan Wolff Murphy, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, were elected to three year terms on the board. Dr. Nikki Caswell, East Carolina U, was elected for a two-year term, 2014-2016, and will fill the position vacated by Rebecca Jackson.

For additional details about the annual meeting, please refer to the meeting minutes, which are available online at http://www.mdcwss.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/2014-minutes.pdf.

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Standing Group Status and 2014 Elections

CCCC Officers notified the Master’s Degree Consortium of Writing Studies Specialists on August 19, 2013, that its application for Standing Group status (PDF) was approved.  Following the meeting in Las Vegas last March, Consortium Co-chairs John Dunn and Derek Mueller developed the Standing Group application over the summer, including with it evidence of a steady presence in the CCCC program over more than five years and a roster of institutions identified as having MA/MS programs related to writing. The Standing Group designation means the Consortium will continue to have its annual business meeting at CCCC and will be eligible to submit a special panel proposal to the program chair each year. Consortium board members must be NCTE members. The Consortium also must provide an annual report to the officers within 30 days of CCCC. Further information about CCCC Standing Groups is available online at http://www.ncte.org/cccc/sigs.

Looking ahead to next March’s meeting on Wednesday, March 19, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Indianapolis, Consortium members will be electing a new chair from the Executive Board for a three-year term. Members will also elect two new Executive Board members. If you are interested in serving a three-year term on the Executive Board, please send your name, institutional affiliation and appointment, email address, and a 50-word statement about your candidacy to Derek Mueller at derek.mueller@emich.edu no later than Monday, February 3, 2014.

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Report on the 2012 Survey of Programs

The “Report on the 2012 Survey of Programs” is available for download (2012surveyreport.pdf). This 36-page report presents an overview of the 2012 Survey of Programs along with a concise account of both qualitative and quantitative responses to the survey. Please direct questions about the report or the survey to Consortium Co-chairs, John S. Dunn, Jr. (jdunnjr@emich.edu) and Derek Mueller (derek.mueller@emich.edu).

Report on the 2012 Survey of Programs by derekmueller

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2012 Survey of Programs Concluded

The 2012 Survey of Program, which opened on March 5, closed in mid-late August with more than 90 responses.  We are currently in the process of smoothing the data set (i.e., combining split entries, removing empty or illegible entries, etc.).  We anticipate having a preliminary report available in mid-January 2013.

Dr. Derek N. Mueller
Co-chair of the Master’s Degree Consortium of Writing Studies Specialists
Assistant Professor of Written Communication, Eastern Michigan University

Dr. John S. Dunn, Jr.
Co-chair of the Master’s Degree Consortium of Writing Studies Specialists
Associate Professor of Written Communication, Eastern Michigan University

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2012 Survey of Programs is Open

Earlier today the Consortium opened its 2012 Survey of Programs and circulated an invitation to complete the survey to 196 program coordinators, directors, and administrators. The 28-question survey will remain open through Wednesday, August 15, 2012. Click here to learn more about the survey.

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Call for Proposals: MA Programs at Work

Call for proposals: MA Programs at Work (Proposal deadline: Sept. 30, 2011)

For those seeking a Ph.D., the Masters of Arts degree is a necessary stepping stone. Stand alone M.A. programs, often referred to as “terminal,” can suggest a premature endpoint or confer second-class status upon this form of advanced study.  Recently, scholars have begun to recognize the value of a degree which serves widely diverse audiences with equally diverse career goals, working within and beyond the academy.

We seek contributions for an edited collection entitled, MA Programs at Work, which examines the contemporary state of the M.A. in English and imagines its future. Scholars might address the following questions (among others): How are generalist M.A. programs meeting the needs of the local communities they serve? How does the rise of the M.A. in Writing Studies reflect the changing face of English Studies? In what ways can an M.A. in English prepare middle and secondary school instructors to teach literature and writing? How do state and institutional exigencies affect the mission and curricula of M.A. programs?

Interested contributors should send a 500-word proposal to Margaret M. Strain (margaret.strain@notes.udayton.edu) and Rebecca Potter (rebecca.potter@notes.udayton.edu) by September 30, 2011.

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Roster-building Initiative

The Master’s Degree Consortium of Writing Studies Specialists needs your help. This summer we are in the process of assembling a comprehensive index of MA and MS programs associated with rhetoric, composition, writing studies, and technical and professional writing.  In late June and early July, a small team of volunteers began the first phase of this roster-building initiative by searching 632 web sites for evidence of MA or MS degrees associated with these fields. We found 180 programs with identifiable reference to the fields listed above, by way of emphases, concentrations, options, tracks, certificates, specializations, or spokes.

We realize, however, that our initial look-ups may be incomplete, which is why we are asking for your assistance. Through the end of this month, we invite you to check the roster-in-progress, add to it, and correct contact information for the programs already listed.  If a program is missing, please add it. If the wrong person or email address is listed, please change it. Or, if you prefer, email suggestions for changes to derek.mueller@emich.edu. In the fall of 2011, building from this comprehensive roster of programs, the consortium will be conducting a survey of these institutions that will inform a number of projects related to visibility, mapping, comparative studies, and outreach. We hope you are willing to contribute in some small way to this second phase (amending the roster) by August 31, 2011. You can help by spending just a few minutes following further instructions posted in Google Docs.

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Article on the MA in Writing Studies in the Dec. 2010 (62.2) issue of CCC

See Peter Vandenberg and Jennifer Clary-Lemon’s article, “Advancing by Degree: Placing the MA in Writing Studies,” in the December 2010 (62.2) issue of College Composition and Communication.

Abstract
Master’s programs have been absent from writing studies’ scholarship on graduate education, primarily because they are not sites of disciplinary research. The MA, however, should be valued in writing studies for its demographic and curricular diversity, its responsiveness to local conditions, and its intra- and interdisciplinary flexibility.

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Are Your MA Graduates Being Properly Counted?

You may not have given it much thought, but even if your program is focused on writing and rhetoric, your students are most likely being counted in Higher Ed statistical categories as students of literature.

Thanks to a great deal of hard work over several years by Louise Phelps (Syracuse University) and her taskforce, the Department of Education has finally officially recognized "Rhetoric and Composition/Writing Studies" as a classification code in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). What this means, in short, is that if you arrange with your registrar to change the Classification of Instructional Programs code or CIP code, your graduates will be identified in rhetoric and composition or writing studies in government statistics.

Phelps has pointed out how crucial these data are in underscoring the legitimacy of the field and its graduate programs with administrators and funding agencies. When administrators at your institution survey graduation data, or when you need such data for program review, your graduates will not be lost among those with literature or creative writing degrees. And Rhet/Comp scholars attempting to establish new programs will now be able to point to these new, specific CIP codes to verify for colleagues, deans, and curriculum committees that rhetoric and composition/writing studies is more than a local invention.

How to Make Your Students Count
Contact the head of your institution’s student records office or registrar. Ask him or her to put you in touch with your institution’s IPEDS "keyholder" (the DOE’s official on-campus designate), or more informally, the person who reports graduation data to the government. Explain that you’re aware that as of July 1, 2009, the CIP codes have been revised, and that you want to make sure your students are accurately counted. Provide him or her with a link to the code that most accurately represents your program:

23.13) Rhetoric and Composition/Writing Studies.

It is in the institution’s best interest to have accurate data. Those who have followed this route so far have received thanks for keeping the reporting data current. Consider sharing your success stories with the Consortium listserv.

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Have News to Share?

If you have a "news" item related to the interests of the Master’s Degree Consortium of Writing Studies Specialists that you would like to see posted at this site, please contact Derek Mueller.

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