CFP: Composing Ourselves

Composing Ourselves [UPDATE]

Lillie Craton and C. Renee Love / Lander University
contact email: or
CFP, edited collection
Composing Ourselves: Writing Pathways to Student Success
(Deadline Oct. 15, 2011)

Dr. Lillian Craton and Dr. Renee Love
contact email: or

We invite submissions for a proposed collection that explores how English coursework—particularly college freshman composition—might lead to students’ personal and professional development. This development may grow from the familiar activities of writing instructors: mentoring and advising students, cultivating their civic engagement, or coaching them in the arts of communication, negotiation, and self-presentation.

Given the intensity of student-teacher interaction within composition studies, writing instructors have a unique opportunity to guide first-year college students towards life skills like managing time, coping with stress, and building productive peer relationships. We are positioned to cultivate the mindsets and behaviors that lead students to success throughout their college educations and professional careers. On the other hand, we must balance our desire to help students grow as individuals with the goals of our discipline and the ethical limitations of our outreach. This collection calls for pedagogical strategies designed to enhance students’ writing skills while also promoting students’ success outside the academy.

How might the composition course provide value for students in terms of professional, personal, and confidence development? How can writing teachers help students hone strategies that promote success across the disciplines and beyond the academy? We invite discussion about the opportunities and risks that come from viewing writing instruction as a form of mentoring that has broad applications for student success.

Proposals for both research-based essays and reflective essays are welcome. Essays that extend the topic to college preparatory high school coursework, writing-intensive literature coursework, writing centers, and writing across the curriculum will also be considered. For those interested in submitting a proposal for this collection, please send 500-word abstracts for consideration to or by October 15, 2011.

This collection hopes to open discussion of the intersections between writing instruction and the development of skills that lead students to long-term success. We welcome proposals on all related topics, particularly those that respond to one or more of these questions:

• How do mentoring and promoting students’ professional development fit within the framework of writing instruction, and what role should “life coaching” play in our classrooms? What can and can’t we teach our students?

• What role should writing instructors play in identifying and responding to students in personal or academic crisis? What ethical or legal principles govern these responses?

• Can attention to students’ personal and professional development help writing faculty articulate the value of their work in a time of shrinking university budgets?

• What specific assignments or classroom activities promote good writing while developing other skills for success? For instance:
o What does plagiarism prevention teach students about professional ethics?
o Do technology-driven writing assignments build important skills?
o Should social media play a role in writing instruction?
o How do deadlines and attendance policies shape professionalism?
o Which activities best prepare students for workplace collaboration?
o Does draft conferencing prepare students to learn from criticism?
o Can the study of rhetoric promote civic engagement?
o Do certain writing topics encourage self-evaluation, confidence, and growth?
o Can writing classes better prepare students for particular careers? (For example, do research projects teach students about information management? Can peer editing create better teachers?)

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