Consortium Bylaws, updated Fall 2015.

History of the Consortium of Doctoral Programs in Rhetoric and Composition

The Case for Rhetoric and Composition as an Emerging Field – submitted to NRC Assessment of Research Doctorate Program
Appendices – submitted to NRC Assessment of Research Doctorate Programs

The Consortium of Doctoral Programs in Rhetoric and Composition began in 1993, a little over a decade after the earliest doctoral programs in Rhetoric and Composition began in the late nineteen-seventies and early nineteen-eighties. Prior to that time at the national Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), a group of scholars convened to plan for a consortium. At these meetings they confirmed the need for a consortium and appointed Janice Lauer as coordinator. Letters of invitation were extended to all programs identifying themselves as offering doctoral degrees in Rhetoric and Composition in a survey published in Rhetoric Review. Those responding to the invitation were asked to designate a representative from each affiliating program. Fifty-six programs registered to be part of the Consortium and designated their representatives. The first meeting of the Consortium was held at the next CCCC meeting in Nashville as well as a workshop on doctoral education in this discipline.

At the first official meeting in 1994, at the CCCC in Nashville, the participants articulated the identity and purposes of the Consortium as a research-oriented coalition of doctoral programs in Rhetoric and Composition, whose purposes were to:

  • facilitate the exchange of research by faculty and graduate students through online posting of dissertations and faculty research projects, including historical, theoretical, interpretive, and empirical studies
  • provide mutual support of each other’s programs in terms of ideas, needs, and problem areas
    • developing graduate curricula, faculty resources, and library holdings
    • dealing with course and dissertation loads, promotion, and tenure
    • admitting and supporting graduate students, both financially and academically
    • guiding students in job placement
    • building relationships within English departments and with other disciplines
  • create a listserv to enable online exchange among members of the Consortium and a Home Page
  • establish Rhetoric and Composition categories in the Dissertation Abstracts International and to work for inclusion of the discipline of Rhetoric and Composition in academic societies

Since then, the Consortium has met annually at the CCCC. Through working subcommittees, the Consortium has developed a listserv (CONSORTIUM hosted by Bowling Green State University) and a website. It has obtained a category “Rhetoric and Composition” in the Dissertation Abstracts International (0681). It has also promoted regional networking among doctoral programs in Rhetoric and Composition, drawing together (sometimes annually) faculty and graduate students to share research and network, for example, the meeting of Midwest Universities (Ohio State University, Purdue University, University of Illinois at Urbana, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois State University, Ball State University, Miami University of Ohio, the University of Louisville, and Carnegie Mellon University). The Consortium has also offered workshops for program directors and sponsored research sessions at conventions. In addition, it has conducted surveys of examination practices; course requirements and descriptions; hiring practices for Rhetoric and Composition faculty; and graduate placement. It is currently working toward exchanging courses (on line), and faculty and graduate students among programs, especially to enrich smaller programs. It is also creating an archive of documents that have been used to develop and argue for the initiation of new Rhetoric and Composition Programs and a list of faculty willing to advise others starting programs. Another of our current efforts is to articulate criteria to guide program review.


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