Resources for Professional Development in Rhetoric and Composition
This page provides links to resources that can help you stay up-to-date on the latest ideas and conversations in the field of rhetoric and composition.
For resources on general faculty development (beyond rhet/comp), see the RVCC library's Faculty Development collection.
Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA): The CWPA has released the following statements of interest to instructors of rhetoric and composition:
Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing: "This Framework describes the rhetorical and twenty-first-century skills as well as habits of mind and experiences that are critical for college success. Based in current research in writing and writing pedagogy, the Framework was written and reviewed by two- and four-year college and high school writing faculty nationwide and is endorsed by the Council of Writing Program Administrators, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the National Writing Project."
WPA Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition: "This statement describes the common knowledge, skills, and attitudes sought by first-year composition programs in American postsecondary education. To some extent, we seek to regularize what can be expected to be taught in first-year composition; to this end the document is not merely a compilation or summary of what currently takes place. Rather, the following statement articulates what composition teachers nationwide have learned from practice, research, and theory. This document intentionally defines only 'outcomes,' or types of results, and not 'standards,' or precise levels of achievement. The setting of standards should be left to specific institutions or specific groups of institutions."
Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA Statement on Best Practices: "This statement responds to the growing educational concerns about plagiarism in four ways: by defining plagiarism; by suggesting some of the causes of plagiarism; by proposing a set of responsibilities (for students, teachers, and administrators) to address the problem of plagiarism; and by recommending a set of practices for teaching and learning that can significantly reduce the likelihood of plagiarism. The statement is intended to provide helpful suggestions and clarifications so that instructors, administrators, and students can work together more effectively in support of excellence in teaching and learning."
Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC): "Since 1949, the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) has been the world's largest professional organization for researching and teaching composition, from writing to new media. Welcome to our community. You'll find the field's leading resources and, more important, expert scholars and teachers eager for you to join us."
Committee on Best Practices for Online Writing Instruction (OWI): This CCCC committee has collected a wide variety of resources of interest to anyone teaching composition online and is developing a set of best practices for OWI. Keep checking their site for updates!
National Association for Developmental Education (NADE) (see also the site for the NJ chapter of NADE)
Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing: prepared by the Writing Study Group of the NCTE Executive Committee
New Jersey Writing Alliance (NJWA): The NJWA "provides opportunities for interested constituencies to improve student writing in our state by building bridges between secondary and college educators through networking, professional exchange, and advocacy. It focuses on the practical, pedagogical, and institutional issues that face us as we help students make the transition from writing in high school to writing in college."
For additional journals in rhetoric and composition, see the journal list maintained at the Council of Writing Program Adminstrators (CWPA) web site. Also be sure to check this comprehensive list at the WAC Clearinghouse at Colorado State University.
There are many, many books published in the field of Rhetoric and Composition, but here are a few good places to begin to get a sense of the field and its issues:
Miller, Susan, ed. The Norton Book of Composition Studies. W. W. Norton, 2009.
Sullivan, Patrick and Howard Tinberg, eds. What is "College-Level" Writing? Vol. 1, NCTE, 2006.
Sullivan, Patrick, Howard Tinberg and Sheridan Blau, eds. What is "College-Level" Writing? Vol. 2, NCTE, 2010.
Warnock, Scott. Teaching Writing Online: How and Why. NCTE, 2009.
CompPile: a searchable bibliography of past and current publications in post-secondary composition, rhetoric, technical writing, ESL, and discourse studies
CompFAQs: "CompFAQs is a wiki site, meant to be a space for collaborating on answers to questions we pose regularly as writing teachers and as administrators of writing programs. CompFAQs provides research-based answers to frequently asked questions; shares solutions to oft-appearing problems; enables the sharing of resources that address common needs. CompFAQs is not a single-authored site. It is a site that will grow and survive only if the composition community joins in the barn building" (CompFAQs History).
WPA-L: "WPA-L is an international e-mail discussion list intended primarily for individuals who are involved in writing program administration at universities, colleges, or community colleges. Faculty or students interested in program administration are welcome to join." Note: Traffic on this list can be heavy at times!
CBW-L: "CBW-L is a listserv focused on basic writing and related issues. We welcome anyone who wishes to participate in an ongoing discussion of basic writing as it is studied and practiced in its historically rich and varied contexts."
Research and reflections on assessment can be found in many of the resources listed above, but here are a few resources devoted specifically to this topic.
(A suggestion: To find lots of articles on writing assessment from a wide range of publications, a good place to start is CompPile. Use the keyword "assessment" in the "glossary term" field for your article search.)
Broad, Bob. What We Really Value: Beyond Rubrics in Teaching and Assessing Writing. Utah State University Press, 2003.
Elliot, Norbert and Les Perelman, eds. Writing Assessment in the 21st Century: Essays in Honor of Edward M. White. Hampton Press, 2012.
Huot, Brian and Peggy O'Neill, eds. Assessing Writing: A Critical Sourcebook, Bedford St. Martin's and NCTE, 2008.
O'Neill, Peggy, Cindy Moore and Brian Huot, eds. A Guide to College Writing Assessment. Utah State University Press, 2009.
Walvoord, Barbara. Assessing and Improving Student Writing in College: A Guide for Institutions, General Education, Departments and Classrooms. Jossey-Bass, 2014.
NCTE-WPA White Paper on Writing Assessment in College and Universities: A statement on best practices for writing assessment in postsecondary education developed jointly by the National Council of Teachers of English and the Council of Writing Program Administrators.
Assessment Gallery and Resources: Examples of writing assessments that reflect the values and principles outlined in the NCTE-WPA White Paper on Writing Assessment in Colleges and Universities.
Writing Assessment: A Position Statement: Prepared by the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) Committee on Assessment.
Updated 9/5/14 by SA