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  • From the Director: Welcome and Good News

    As we begin the 2014-2015 academic year, we have many exciting announcements to share with the CWS community. First, we have an engaging line up of visiting and residential speakers for our Colloquium and Brown Bag series. In Fall 2014, we look forward to visits by Sandra Jamieson of Drew University, whose visit is co-sponsored by the Undergraduate Rhetoric Program and who will present at the Colloquium on September 29th. We also look forward to a visit from Christine Tardy of the University of Arizona, who is scheduled to give a talk at the Colloquium on October 23rd. In Spring 2014, our scheduled Colloquium speakers are Scott Wible of the University of Maryland, and Marcelle Haddix of Syracuse University.

    Brown bag sessions in Fall 2014 will be on teaching in our WAM (Writing Across Media) program (September 17), as well as talks by two new English faculty and Core and Affiliate CWS faculty, respectively: Visiting Assistant Professor John Gallagher (October 1) and Assistant Professor Eric Pritchard (November 12). We round out our semester of brown bag events with a talk by Postdoctoral Fellow in Writing and New Learning Ecologies Anna Smith (October 15). All our brown bags are Wednesdays from 12-1 PM in English Building Room 228; bring your lunch and join us for some great conversations!

    We also want to celebrate the new faculty positions of three Writing Studies students who completed their PhD work in Spring 2014. These are Sonia Kline (Assistant Professor of Elementary Education at Illinois State University), Ligia Mihut (Lecturer at Barry University), and Andrea Olinger (Assistant Professor of English at the University of Louisville). Please join me in congratulating these graduates on their new positions!

    In other good news, two CWS graduate students were honored in May 2014 at the Rhetoric Society of America annual conference in San Antonio for their scholarly work: Katie Irwin (Gerard A. Hauser Award for “From Mob Violence to Violence against Women: Lynching Appropriation and the Case of PUMA”) and Pamela Saunders (Gerard A. Hauser Award for “Disabling Counterpublics: Examining Competing Discourses of Autism Advocacy in the Public Sphere”). Our new colleague Eric Pritchard was also honored with the first CCCC Lavender Award for LGBT scholarship, based on his “For Colored Kids Who Committed Suicide, Our Outrage Isn't Enough: Queer Youth of Color, Bullying, and the Discursive Limits of Identity and Safety” which appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of Harvard Educational Review. Last but certainly not least, our colleague Catherine Prendergast was honored with a prestigious Guggenheim fellowship for her project, Writer, Painter, Banker, Thief: The American Arts Colony in the Public Account.

    In still more good news, we have four new English department graduate students who have joined our ranks in the CWS program, and our Writing Studies concentration. These are M.A. students Alison Kranek, Maria Carvajal Regidor, and Paul Beilstein, and Ph.D. student Evin Groundwater. We happily welcome these four to our CWS community!

    Finally, as I assume the position of interim director of CWS for this year, I want to thank outgoing CWS director Paul Prior (who is now on sabbatical—best wishes, Paul!) for his kind support and guidance in helping me make the transition to this position, as well as my other CWS colleagues—particularly staff member Amy Rumsey, who has also provided me with infinitely patient assistance. Leading both CWS and the Undergraduate Rhetoric Program will be a formidable challenge, but one I welcome, as I hope this temporary union will allow us to create an even greater culture of writing at UIUC from the first year through graduate levels. 

  • Gesa E. Kirsch CWS Graduate Student Symposium

    The Center for Writing Studies conference planning committee invites proposals for the 5th Annual Gesa E. Kirsch CWS Graduate Student Symposium, April 25, 2014, from 8:30 am-4:30 pm. Graduate students from all departments are welcome to present on topics of interest within writing, literacy, discourse, rhetoric, education, and communication. The symposium is a supportive conference where graduate students can present and receive feedback from a small, interested group of peers and faculty.

    We encourage a range of presentation types, from traditional papers to multimodal, performative, reflective, or experimental projects.  Please send a title and short abstract (100-200 words) to Kaia Simon ( by April 4, 2014. Specify your preference for either a 10- or 20-minute presentation.

    Additionally, one session of the Symposium will provide an opportunity for small-group workshops. This workshop session is designed to be a writing group experience for graduate students to get feedback on written work, including seminar papers and/or upcoming conference papers. To participate, contact Kaia Simon ( by April 4, 2014.

    Breakfast and lunch will be provided.


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