July 2020 Announcements

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

Preparing the Composition Program for Fall 2020 – Canvas Blueprint Update
The program leadership team is nearly finished preparing online course materials for ENGL1105 and ENGL1106. We anticipate Canvas blueprint materials to be iterated into all sections on or shortly after next Thursday, July 23. As we noted last month, allowing for a wide variety of contingencies, we’re preparing for fall with baseline (“blueprint”) Canvas shells that will support your teaching fully online, while also aspiring to synchronous sessions, if possible and only when appropriate. All sections of composition are listed the same way in the timetable, appearing as “synchronous, online,” with the notes field showing, “Synchronous sessions held at teacher’s discretion.” We’ve developed 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 have also created an instructor guide within Canvas and a “Big Decisions At The Outset” Guide designed to provide orientation and guidance.

Composition Program Meeting – Thursday, July 30
As we continue to prepare for the fall semester, after the Canvas blueprint materials are shared into course shells on the 23rd, we are inviting everyone to a program-wide meeting on Thursday, July 30, at 11 a.m. EDT (via Zoom [link redacted from online announcements posting]) to discuss together the materials we’ve circulated and specific questions looking ahead to teaching writing this fall. The meeting is optional.

August 2020 Composition Program Workshop and Community Day
The August Workshop for 2020-2021 will be held August 10-14, 2020, entirely online via Zoom. We are opening many of the workshop sessions to the entire program, since many of us will be preparing at a comparable pace and carrying common questions. Attendance and participation in the week-long August 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. Dr. Jonathan Alexander, Chancellor’s Professor of English, Informatics, Education, and Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of California-Irvine, will spend Thursday, August 13th with us as the program-wide Community Day presenter and teaching workshop leader. We are continuing work on the detailed schedule; in the meantime, the abbreviated schedule is available online at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xbIFY9kHnEwqeb2qD-LScNCgY3ZnmfE4ObiHK-Opsqo/edit?usp=sharing.

2020-2021 Composition Program Textbook – Understanding Rhetoric VT Custom Edition
The Composition Program textbook for 2020-2021 has gone digital. Links to the VitalSource platform where the volume is hosted along with access codes were sent to all instructors and GTAs on July 2. Additional information about pricing (48 USD) and more is on HokiesWrite at http://www.hokieswrite.com/textbook/.

2020 Corridors Conference: Making Rhetorics
The organizing team for the 2020 Corridors Conference is working on the conference program, which we hope to circulate by early-mid August. This fall’s event will be fully online, with sessions happening via Zoom. Jody Shipka of U Maryland-Baltimore County will be the featured plenary speaker, and Jason Luther of Rowan University will lead a featured workshop on zines. The free, one-day conference will be held on Saturday, September 19, 2020. For more information, visit http://corridors.hokieswrite.com/.

COVID-19 Pandemic Joint Statement and Virginia Tech Resources for Fall Teaching
In late June, the Conference on College Composition (CCCC) and Council of Writing Program Administrators released a joint statement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes advisory stances on writing instruction during the public health crisis. Additional Virginia Tech-specific resources in support of teaching and learning in writing-intensive classes are taking shape through the efforts of many of our department colleagues at “Preparing for Teaching and Learning in Fall 2020.”

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 (cheri.lemieux@gmail.com) and Kristi Murray Costello (kcostell@odu.edu).