March 2021 Announcements

The Composition Program has the following announcements to share for March.

Composition Program Handbook
After several months of development and revision, version 1.0 of the Composition Program Handbook is ready to share. This 59-page open access resource guide was prepared for everyone who teaches composition at Virginia Tech. It anticipates and attempts to address frequently asked questions, and while its sections are generally applicable across the entire program, some sections are tailored specifically for Graduate Teaching Assistants. The handbook will be updated semiannually, heeding changes in department, college, and university policies and responding to input from all whose work at the university includes first-year writing. The program is grateful to Maggie Fernandes and Lauren Wallace, both of whom made invaluable contributions to the assembling and refining the handbook over the past two years, as well as to members of the Composition Committee who offered thoughtful, timely revision suggestions in January and February.

Teaching Portfolio Award
This Friday, March 12, marks the deadline for the 2021 Composition Teaching Portfolio Award, an annual award designed to encourage the development and collection of exemplary teaching materials from teaching faculty and GTAs. Up to four $400 awards will be made this year. Submissions may be focused on either ENGL1105 or ENGL1106. The full description of the award is available online at

Spring Colloquium
On Friday, February 26, the Composition Program and University Writing Center welcomed Dr. Janine Morris and Dr. Kelly Concannon from Nova Southeastern University for our Spring Colloquium. Morris and Concannon lead a workshop titled, “Mindfulness, Self-Care, and Fostering Well-Being in the Writing Center and Classroom,” which was based on their ongoing research in NSU’s Center for Writing & Communication. If you did not attend the event but would like to have access to the recording, please contact composition -AT-

VT-UVA Writing Program Dialogues
Following a successful event in January, the Virginia Tech-University of Virginia Writing Program Dialogues will continue this semester with two more get-togethers on Friday, March 19, from 3-4 p.m., and on Friday, April 16, from 3-4 p.m. via Zoom. The dialogues are flexibly organized around emerging topics and interests. Program directors Victor Luftig (UVa) and Derek Mueller (VT) have created a Google Doc for collecting possible focuses for each dialogue (link shared internally, via email); please contribute a suggestion, if there is something you would like to discuss. The sessions are meant to foster connection, to share ideas, and to build upon the teaching expertise in our respective programs. The events are open for everyone to attend; request the Zoom link by emailing composition -AT- Personal invitations will be sent to GTAs and instructors closer to March 19, along with the Zoom link.

Pathways Assessment – Mini-Grant, Workshop, and Data Collection in Spring 2021
Pathways Assessment has resumed data collection for Spring 2021; every section of ENGL1105 and ENGL1106 must complete the process and turn in assessment data. The overview of the process is up to date at On behalf of the entire program, Julie Mengert and Derek Mueller submitted a proposal for a Pathways mini-grant this spring, which was awarded for $6,700, to provide everyone teaching first-year writing with a $100 stipend in May. To receive the stipend, you must complete the Pathways assessment process and submit data for your section(s) no later than Wednesday, May 12, 2021. This deadline allows us to compile data from the 155 sections of first-year writing and to submit one report for the entire program (we must submit program-wide data the next day to honor the terms of the mini-grant). To offer a refresher on how the Pathways assessment process works for first-year writing classes, we will also hold an open workshop on Monday, March 22, from 12:15-1:10 p.m. via Zoom. Personal invitations will be sent to GTAs and instructors closer to the day of the event. Please remember that you can submit Pathways assessment data before the deadline (e.g., at the time you read and assign grades to the collection of writing). The focal assessment artifact will continue as it has in the past—the rhetorical analysis project in ENGL1105 and the sustained research project in ENGL1106.

Spring 2021 Program Calendar
The events detailed above are also listed on the Spring 2021 Composition Program calendar at

Record of Speakers & Colloquia
In an effort to improve visibility and historical record-keeping related to the Composition Program at Virginia Tech, we have added to a page for Colloquia & Speaker Series at The record reflects all available information thanks to assistance from Holly Coombs who gathered presenter records dating back to 2007. If you have details about any event not already listed, we would appreciate hearing from you with that information at composition -AT-

Submissions/Nominations for Distinguished Writing from ENGL1105 & ENGL1106
The Composition Program is continuing to collect and publish distinguished writing from ENGL1105 & ENGL1106. Submissions are published as part of the document gallery at We appreciate the effort being made by so many of you already to encourage first-year students to submit their writing. For more information about the nomination process, visit the instructor guide module in the Canvas blueprint for ENGL1105 or ENGL1106.

Continue to let us on the program leadership team know if you have any questions we can help with.