A Showcase of Research and Expertise: Composition Faculty's Conference Presentations in Fall 2019

by Emily R C Staudt

ITL Conference | Photo courtesy of Stearns Center

Throughout the Fall semester, Mason’s Composition faculty have been busy—not only in their classrooms and on campus, but also presenting at conferences and showcasing their scholarship beyond Mason.  Their research included presentations on peer tutoring, Writing Centers, faculty development, community engaged ENGH 101 courses, and WAC.  These presentations showcase the pedagogical expertise as well as the dedication to professionalization and growth of Mason’s Composition faculty. 

Stearn’s Center’s ITL 2019 was focused on “Teaching the Whole Student,” and keynote speaker Lisa Nunn offered tips to Mason faculty for teaching first-year and first-generation college students.  The conference once again offered Mason faculty a chance to connect across disciplinary boundaries and share practical teaching tips for university instruction. 

Emily Staudt and Kathryn Meeks present at ITL 2019

Numerous Composition faculty presented at the day-long conference: Courtney Adams Wooten co-lead a workshop on the Mason Core, “Considering the mason core: a collaborative visioning workshop.” James Savage and Esther Namubiru shared their presentation titled, “Using self-questioning to engage students' problem-solving skills for academic, social, and emotional challenges.”  

Shantay Robinson gave a lightning talk and poster presentation about her paper “Creating higher order assignments in art-writing intensive courses” which was published in Teaching Artist Journal.  Kathryn Meeks and Emily Staudt presented “Engagement practices of Mason Composition faculty as perceived by their students” in a lightning talk and poster session as well.  Tom Polk and Kelly Purtell also presented during the poster session—their poster was titled “Teaching Writing Intensive courses.”

Jenny Goransson presents at NCPTW/IWCA 2019

In October, Jenny Goransson traveled to Columbus for the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing/International Writing Centers Association Conference, this year focused on the theme “The Art of it All.”  She presented "Peer (tutor) in with caution: what happens when a writing center becomes something new?" and co-presented “Understanding Backgrounds and Breaking Barriers” with former student Eunice Kang.

Also in October, several Composition instructions presented at The Conference on Community Writing, a bi-annual conference for scholars across the disciplines and those outside of universities doing community writing work.  Courtney Adams Wooten, Jennifer Messier, Kathryn Meeks, Lisa Lister, and Jessica Matthews discussed how to integrate public pedagogies into a writing program (like Mason’s “Community Engaged” ENGH 101 courses) in their panel, "Administrative morphing and programmatic public pedagogies: opportunities and challenges.”  Michelle LaFrance participated as Writer-in-Residence and presented with her fellow writers at the close of the conference. The next bi-annual conference will be held in Washington, D.C. in 2021.

Think Tanks at CCW 2019 | Photo courtesy of Community Writing Conference

“DIY feminist activism” was the theme of Feminism and Rhetoric 2019 conference in Harrisonburg this November.  Conference presentations centered on that theme included diverse voices in independent projects.  Jessica McCaughey presented “Infant feeding in the margins: tactical technical communication in online exclusive breast pumping forums.”  Shantay Robinson presented “Perpetuating counternarratives to societal norms through the digital sphere” in another session.  During a panel on “Reclaiming the village witch: feminist rhetorics of anger, unlikability, and public service,” Michelle LaFrance gave a presentation titled “A witch that can’t hex, can’t heal: the double nature of women’s power.” And Courtney Adams Wooten presented “Pussyhats, gender neutral bathrooms, and childless-by-choice women: feminist activism as intervention in gendered happiness scripts” in another session.

Also in November, Anna Habib and Laurie Miller traveled to Arizona State University to present their paper, “Enhancing international l2 students’ receptive and productive skills in english academic writing: an explicit method for integrating language and composition goals in a first-year writing course” at the Symposium on Second Language Writing.  Their paper discussed a curriculum developed for international L2 (IL2) student writers in FYC courses at a large state university.

Screen Shot of Black Talk, Back Talk Panel | Photo courtesy of Prizm Art Fair

Shantay Robinson participated in a panel at the Prizm Art Fair titled, "Black talk back talk: capacities of criticism" with other art writers. The Prizm Art Fair is held in Miami, FL and was held during Miami Art Week in early December.  With her fellow panelists, Robinson discussed the value of discourse and critique within the Black visual arts community.

Mason’s Composition program includes many talented scholars and instructors, and the wealth of their diverse presentations last Fall is inspiring!  We look forward to seeing their future endeavors.