May 2020 Announcements

The Composition Program has the following announcements, upcoming events, and updates to share for May.

Composition Program Meeting – Wednesday, May 27
Following the English Department meeting on Friday (5/22) and in response to requests for a program-specific informational meeting, we’re inviting everyone who will be teaching Composition in Fall 2020, as well as those who are otherwise invested in the program and in working with first-year students, to a Zoom meeting this Wednesday, May 27, at 1 p.m. EDT. To join the meeting, visit [URL redacted from web version]. The meeting is optional. We will be updating attendees on our preparations for Fall 2020 and discussing questions and concerns.

Preparing for Fall 2020
Julie Mengert, Steve Oakey, and Derek Mueller are preparing online course materials for ENGL1105 and ENGL1106. Allowing for a wide variety of contingencies, we’re preparing for fall with a baseline (“blueprint”) Canvas shell that will support your teaching fully online, while also aspiring to synchronous and in-person sessions, if possible and only when appropriate. Determining future appropriateness takes patience, as this can only be gauged at a later date by instructors in consultation with students and with respect to university and college guidelines applicable at that time. Our leadership team is developing the baseline (“blueprint”) Canvas shell to relieve instructional faculty and GTAs from spending excessive personal time on preparations for fall under these atypical circumstances. We expect to have Canvas materials iterated/populated and in everyone’s hands no later than the end of July. We also expect additional information from university administration about fall campus activities and class formats by mid-June. In the meantime, please do not feel any need to begin your own preparations for online instruction in fall.

VT Daily Projects New First-year Students as Most Diverse, Second Largest Class
The May 21, 2020 edition of the Virginia Tech Daily reported that 6,675 first-year students are expected to enroll in classes this fall, noting that the group is the most diverse and second largest in the university’s history (read more).

Consider Joining Writing Across Virginia (WAVA) (It’s free!)

On Monday, May 4, 2020, Writing Across Virginia (WAVA) was formally, officially approved as an affiliate by the Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA) Executive Board. CWPA President Mark Blaauw-Hara announced the approval of the organization’s newest regional affiliate, which was supported unanimously by members of the executive board. WAVA supports the work of writing programs, instructors, administrators, and students in post-secondary institutions, undertaking initiatives designed to support these and other higher education stakeholders across the Commonwealth of Virginia. As an affiliate, we consider writing programs–and the interests of writing programs–broadly to include first-year writing, writing centers, undergraduate majors and minors, writing across the curriculum, writing in the disciplines, and graduate programs. For more information about WAVA or to be added to the organization’s membership roster and listserv, please contact Cheri Lemieux Spiegel ( and Kristi Murray Costello (

2020 Corridors Conference: Making Rhetorics – Proposal Deadline Extended
The (extended) proposal deadline for Corridors: The Blue Ridge Rhetoric and Writing Conference is coming up this Friday, May 29. Conference organizers have committed to a mixed, or, if necessary, fully online format for the free, one-day event. The 2020 conference will be held on Saturday, September 19, 2020. The theme is “Making Rhetorics.” The call for proposals is posted online at

Corridors: Blue Ridge will be held on Saturday, September 19, 2020. This year’s theme is “Making Rhetorics.”

Pathways Assessment for Summer 2020
We do not as of yet have clear, confirmed answer about the status of Pathway Assessment data collection this summer for the five sections of ENGL1105 and ENGL1106 on the timetable. We will update instructors assigned to these sections as soon as additional information is available. [Added to clarify: All Pathways assessment data collection has been suspended through Summer 2020; we expect it to resume in Fall 2020.]

August 2020 Composition Program Workshop and Community Day
The August Workshop for 2020-2021 will be held August 10-14, 2020. The program’s Community Day will be on Thursday, August 13, 2020. The format for Community Day is pending the university’s stance on campus activities and class formats in fall, which we expect to learn by early-mid June. Attendance and participation in the workshop is expected of all GTAs who will be teaching composition at Virginia Tech for the first time. Attendance and participation in the Community Day event is expected of all GTAs and encouraged for everyone else. A more detailed schedule for the day will circulate in the weeks leading up to Community Day, but please put it on your calendar (either 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. in Shanks 370/380; lunch provided; or, quite possibly, a shorter program convened entirely online).