Consortium CCCC’s Meeting 2015

On behalf of the Executive Committee of the Consortium of Doctoral Programs in Rhetoric and Composition, I invite you to attend our annual session and business meeting at the CCCCs:

Wednesday, March 18, 1:30-5:00 p.m., Convention Center, Tampa CC, Room 16, First Floor

We hope you will join us and share this invitation with faculty colleagues and graduate students; we also hope you will plan to send a representative from your program to attend.
This year’s Consortium meeting will feature a panel presentation and breakout session titled “Mapping the Profession.” The session is designed to foreground current trends and future trajectories in the rhetoric and composition job market. These include the increasing number of non-tenure track positions, current data about job market placement, the types of research being undertaken by graduate students, and the overall need to reconsider the ways we prepare future graduates for a broader range of academic and non-academic career paths. After a series of short presentations, the interactive dialogue will focus on key questions for ongoing data collection and assessment of the collective success in preparing graduates for the changing dynamics of the profession in the 21st-century. Below is information about our impressive lineup of speakers:

Speaker 1: Benjamin Miller, CUNY Graduate Center
Title: “Beyond Elevator Stories: Scaling Up Our Knowledge of Comp/Rhet Dissertations”

Abstract: This presentation will report on a study of roughly 2,700 doctoral dissertations (completed in 2001-2010) tagged by their authors as studying “language, rhetoric and composition,” in order to get a handle on graduate students’ uptake of methods and subjects in pursuing the PhD. Brief consideration will be given to overall method frequency; method correlations within individual dissertations; and the distribution of topics, as determined by an LDA topic modeling approach. Choosing a major research project like a dissertation involves a delicate balance between ambition and completion, between the obscure and the already known. Through this study, I hope to provide a better sense of what is common and rare in doctoral research in Composition/Rhetoric.

Bio: Benjamin Miller is a PhD candidate at the Graduate Center, CUNY, an Instructional Technology Fellow at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, and an editor of the Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy. He received a CCCC Chairs’ Memorial Scholarship in 2012, in part for his work on the Writing Studies Tree, a crowdsourced database of academic genealogies in composition, rhetoric, and related fields. Ben has taught writing at Columbia University and ‘Hunter College, CUNY. An article stemming from his dissertation research on dissertations was published in CCC in September 2014.

Speaker 2: Carrie Leverenz, Texas Christian University
Title: “Telling It Like It Is, But How Is It?: The Job Market for Rhet/Comp PhDs”

Abstract: In this presentation, I will report on the first year of a three-year survey of the job search experiences of Rhet/Comp PhD students. Published reports about the job market in English continue to offer dire warnings about the dearth of tenure-track positions, but few of those reports consider both the number of positions and the number of applicants in specific specializations. While Rhet/Comp job candidates continue to fare better than their peers in literary studies, we as a field rely primarily on anecdotal evidence or the experience of recent graduates when advising students about the job market. The purpose of this three-year study is to document the strength of the job market in Rhet/Comp and to describe whether and how it might be changing.

Bio: Carrie Leverenz is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Institute for Critical and Creative Expression at TCU, where she served as Director of Composition from 2000-2006 and as Director of the New Media Writing Studio from 2006-2010. Her research focuses on writing program administration and computers and writing, with special attention to cultural difference. With Amy Goodburn and Donna LeCourt, she co-edited Rewriting Success in Rhetoric and Composition Careers (Parlor Press, 2012). Most recently, she has published work investigating the relevance of research in design studies for the teaching of writing. Her next project involves reclaiming writing about teaching as a valid and valued means of knowledge-making in Rhetoric and Composition.

Speaker 3: Jim Ridolfo, University of Kentucky
Title: “Lessons from Rhetmap: Mapping the Rhetoric and Composition Job Market from 2012-2015”

Abstract: In this presentation, I discuss how rhetmap.org has developed over the last three years to include information about doctoral programs, the job market past and present, and other mapable field data. I will provide an overview of job market trends, rhetmap.org usage data, and point to future directions for field research. I argue that rhetmap.org as an engaged digital humanities project serves as a catalyst for enabling other kinds of work and reforms such as making the past and present job market more transparent to prospective doctoral students, and that this work can be taken even further by greater program-sourcing and visualization of rhetoric and composition doctoral data and placement information.

Bio: Jim Ridolfo (Ph.D 2009 in Rhetoric and Writing, Michigan State University) is Assistant Professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies at the University of Kentucky. His books include The Available Means of Persuasion: Mapping a Theory and Pedagogy of Multimodal Public Rhetoric (with David Sheridan and Anthony Michel, Parlor Press, 2012), Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities (co-edited with William Hart-Davidson, University of Chicago Press, 2014) and Digital Samaritans: Rhetorical Delivery and Engagement in the Digital Humanities (forthcoming from University of Michigan Press in 2015). Ridolfo is a recipient of a 2012 Middle East and North Africa Regional Research Fulbright, and is the recipient of the 2014 Richard Ohmann Award for Outstanding Article in College English.

In addition, the Consortium is sponsoring a roundtable session on Thursday, March 19, 3:15-4:30 p.m., Convention Center, Tampa CC, Room 11, First Floor (Session D.14): “Mapping the Future of Doctoral Programs in Rhetoric and Composition,” featuring Carrie Leverenz, Texas Christian University; Kelli Cargile-Cook, Texas Tech University; Jean Ferguson Carr, University of Pittsburgh; Mara Holt, Ohio University; Malea Powell, Michigan State University; and Shirley Rose, Arizona State University.

Thanks so much. We look forward to seeing you at these sessions.

Dr. Kristine Blair

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