Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Wednesday at the C's

Yesterday was a good day at the 4C's. I learned a lot.

After breakfast with a friend, I wandered over to Moscone North. The walk is pleasant, especially given the nearly perfect weather for walking -- high 60's, slight breeze that occasionally gusts, sunny -- and enjoyable city to walk in.

Upon arrival, ATTW, pre-conference workshops, the Research Network Forum, the welcome booth for first time attenders, and the registration area were abuzz with colleagues greeting and meeting.

Paul Puccio, a friend from graduate school days at UMass, Amherst, organizes the welcome booth for first time conference attendees. It don't know how many people who stopped by the booth were first-timers, but given the hugs and animated discussions and smiles, it was welcoming. It says something about the nature of the C's that Cindy Selfe, a past Chair of the Convention, was sitting at the welcome table, handing out tips on making the most of the conference and welcoming people to it.

This is an important conference for composition instructors, not so much necessarily for the content of the sessions -- like any conference some are better than others and which ones those are will depend upon what expectations and knowledge you bring into the room with you when you attend -- but rather for the fact that you're in place with lots and lots of other people who are doing what you do. It's a great conference for graduate students to get started in the profession.

And that's part of what the Research Network Forum provides, a place for graduate students and adjuncts and full-time tenured or tenure tracked scholars to discuss their research projects and ideas. I was able to visit for a short while in the morning, and got a glimpse of future and important research projects:
  • John Walter -- outlined possibilities for publishing articles about and work from the Walter J. Ong archives, where John is currently working.
  • Risa Gorelick -- has an idea for writing about the history of the Research Network Forum, tracing back its origins, looking at past programs, speakers, and interviewing organizers and participants.
  • Janice Walker and Risa -- reviewed and discussed their plans and how to pull them off of a publishing a series based on research projects nurtured at the forum or on the scholarship of using networks of support to keep research projects going.
  • Donna Qualley -- described a research project that investigates how long-time teachers keep engaged in teaching, keep it alive and interesting and vital.
  • Bill (last name I couldn't read on his badge, I'll track him down and correct this omission) -- described a dissertation that looks back at student writing from the 60's and 70's.
Each person at this table -- and there were about 15 or so other tables doing similar work -- received feedback, questions, suggestions on their research ideas and projects. The value of those discussions works for the researcher, but also for those contributing ideas and thoughts.

The RNF is a wonderful event, and worth the trip to the conference. As Risa and Janice lead the way to helping get the research published, RNF will become even more important. If I had graduate students, this is one of the events I'd vigorously encourage them to attend.


Post a Comment

<< Home