Monday, April 5, 2010

preparing for 2011 SIG


I'm sorry I didn't warn you that I'd be missing in action for the first two weeks after Louisville. However, I'm back now and ready to get our SIG proposal set for next year.  Proposals are due May 7th, but my goal is to have ours ready by the end of April. 

Apparently, SIG proposals will work a little differently this year. I've copied below the message from the CCCC proposal system re SIG proposals. Unlike in previous years, we do not need to have the names of speakers and their presentations for the SIG. Instead, we should just work out what the focus of our meeting will be and how we want to use our time.

At this year's dinner, we discussed a number of possibilities and seemed to settle on using the SIG to imagine our ideal reader for adult writing students.  I propose that we use the blog over the next couple of weeks, until April 21st, to discuss the following questions/options:

  1. Do we want to stick with this topic of what we would want in a reader for adult students?
  2. At my school, I asked all of the writing teachers to say what is the one piece of writing they can not do without. We then created a listing of our "indispensable essays" (see them here Would we like to do a similar project as a group?
  3. Once we had those indispensable essays, I got all of these essays added to our library's electronic reserve system for the writing classes, and we stopped using the reader some teacher has used. This leads to the question of whether we really would want to a text-based reader or if we might create a website where we shared readings and assignment ideas. 
  4. If we were to think of this reader in terms of themes or types of writing rather than specific readings, what would it need to cover? 
  5. How we might "re-think" the idea of a reader to best meet the needs of our adult students? I'm thinking here of their needs in terms of time and money as well as content that would be useful for them. For example, I'd love to have something for my students that shows how to move between business and academic writing. I'm also thinking of something like Graff and Birkenstein's They Say/I Say with its demystifying approach which our adult students love.
I'd love it if we could spend next year's SIG editing something we've developed over the year. I'm looking forward to your ideas.

I've posted all of this as well as Babara's pictures on our blog, at   You should be able to read and post comments to this blog. If you cannot, please email me at

Finally, if those of you who had handouts for this year's SIG send them to me, I can add them to the Teaching Adults wiki on compfaqs.



special interest group information

Dear Colleagues,
Making space and time available to special interest groups (SIGs) has long been a priority to CCCC program chairs ( CCCC has never presumed to control the substance of the one-hour SIG business meetings. On the contrary, the program chair simply allocates available meeting times and places, listing them in the program, and leaving it to the organizers/conveners to use the occasion as they wish. (Please note, however, that many people have complained about those SIGs that are only panel presentations.) Accordingly, the CCCC officers have decided to list the following in the 2011 convention program, under "Meetings of Special Interest Groups": the title of each accepted SIG, the name of the SIGs organizer(s) or facilitators. The program will not list speakers (they have not been peer reviewed and too often represent multiple speaking roles), titles of talks, or other details about the meeting.
How the SIG organizers decide to use the occasion is left entirely up to them. In addition, SIGs are encouraged to take advantage of various listservs (and any other fruitful channels) to publicize information about their meeting: what they are planning to do, who's going to be there, and so on.
The important thing is this: get your SIG accepted!
Malea Powell
Michigan State University
2011 Program Chair


  1. I love the idea of collaborating on this during the year in advance of the SIG--I wonder how that would fit with a proposal? I also think the idea of having some apparatus with the reader will appeal to adult students, and address the problem I encounter with many of the textbooks, which is that they do not seem to encourage writing in genres that are relevant to our students.

  2. I figure I'll just see what we come up with between now and the 21st, and then draft a SIG proposal based upon that. -- Michelle

  3. I have been thinking about the proposal and the reader, and about themes that are usually omitted from conventional readers because they are not relevant to young people. A few ideas for themes I have considered are The Sandwich Generation (caught between aging parents and growing children) and Career Changes--especially since many of our students return to school in part because they are ready to make a life change, either because they have to or because they wish to do so. I am sure there are a number of good readings we could find on these themes. My first tendency was to just brainstorm about relevant readings I love to read or teach, but then I started thinking more in terms of units, as well . . .

  4. Both of these topics would resonate with our students, particularly career changing and the changing nature of work. Another topic that gets a lot of traction with our students is education. Many of our students dropped out in the first place because they did not easily fit in traditional classrooms, but they tend to internalize their education challenges. Readings, like those by Mike Rose, that help them think about the limitations of their prior schooling can be freeing and also help them take charge of their own learning as well as that of their children (or grandchildren).