CWS Spring 2021 Semester Wrap-up


CWS Spring 2021 Recap

CWS had another busy virtual semester this spring! Here’s an overview of what all we got up to this past semester.


Graduate Research Forum Talks:

CWS graduate students are required to deliver GRF talks, longer-form talks based upon dissertation research, as a means of fulfilling their writing studies graduate concentrations. This semester, two CWS PhD candidates presented their Graduate Research Forum (GRF) talks based on their dissertation research:

You can access a recording of Allison and Paul’s talks here, and you can access recordings of past GRF events here.


CWS Brownbags:

We conducted three virtual brownbag events this semester. Our topics included:


Cheryl Geisler Workshop:

On March 11th, Dr. Cheryl Geisler presented a virtual interactive workshop for the CWS community entitled “Coding Language Reliably.” Student and faculty participants had the opportunity to learn about effective coding methods, to practice coding sample data, and to utilize different features of Excel to support research in writing.


2021 Gesa E. Kirsch Graduate Symposium:

The 11th Annual (and first ever virtual) Gesa E. Kirsch Symposium took place from April 21st through April 23rd featuring keynote speaker and CWS alum Eileen Lagman. Graduate presenters shared their work in panels on “Education and Writing” and “Multimodal Composing,” and our graduating doctoral students reflected on their time in the program. Much thanks go to the graduate planning committee, Finola McMahon and Logan Middleton, for their hard work in putting this event together. 


Writing Across the Curriculum:

CWS hosted our Spring Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) TA Seminar in a virtual format. This event included asynchronous WAC videos for participants to view and engage with independently as well as synchronous, online sessions throughout the day for participants to discuss and work through ideas about writing and teaching. Our next WAC seminar will take place in August 2021, again online. For more information, contact Bri Lafond ( or Megan Mericle (

The Center is also continuing its Writing in the Disciplines work with the College of Engineering’s Writing Across Engineering and Science (WAES) initiative thanks to the ongoing efforts of Paul Prior and John Gallagher as well as CWS graduate students Bruce Kovanen, Niki Turnipseed, Ryan Ware, and Megan Mericle. The WAES team was also awarded support by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant No. 2013443 for the research project Advancing Adaptation of Writing Pedagogies for Undergraduate STEM Education Through Transdisciplinary Action Research, which focuses on integrating and studying writing pedagogy in STEM courses across the university. WAE’s work over the past year includes the following:

  • The WAES team developed, taught, and researched the impacts of Engineering 598 WTG, a graduate course aimed at writing and writing pedagogy in STEM.
  • The WAES team is slated to present research this summer at the International Writing Across the Curriculum Conference (IWAC).


Writing Across Media:

Writing Across Media (WAM) staff meetings this semester focused on continuing to think through the dynamics of teaching WAM virtually as well as discussing ways to effectively archive multimodal course materials both for future research and for future WAM instructors. One highlight of the staff meetings this semester was an opportunity to hear from past WAM instructors. Current WAM instructors and the CWS admin team met with alums Hannah Bellwoar, Patrick Berry, Amber Buck, Alexandra Cavallaro, and Jon Stone to discuss their approaches to WAM, how they framed WAM on the job market, and how they have drawn from their WAM experiences in their new teaching and administrative contexts.

We want to thank outgoing WAM instructors Bruce Kovanen and Lesley Owens. Current WAM instructors Andy Bowman and Finola McMahon will continue teaching the course in the Fall and will be joined by returning instructor Carrie James.

If you’re interested in teaching WAM in the future, we want to hear from you! Please contact Bri Lafond ( or Megan Mericle ( for more information.


Reading/Working Groups:

CWS reading and working groups continued to meet virtually this semester. These ongoing affinity groups continue to be cherished spaces for critical engagement with theory and practice among colleagues. If you’d like to be involved in any of CWS’s working groups, or if you’d like more information, feel free to contact Bri Lafond ( or Megan Mericle (



CHAT Chat, or Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) Chat, continued to meet regularly throughout the spring semester, discussing a special issue on the language and the self, recent publications in the journal Theory and Psychology, and the work of Brazilian scholar Lívia Mathias Simão. A group of participants have continued co-writing a manuscript on perezhivanie and gave a brownbag presentation on the manuscript and the collaborative labor of its authorship. CHAT Chat will continue to meet during the summer months; if you are interested in joining the reading group, please contact Bruce Kovanen (


Social Justice Praxis Working Group

The Social Justice Praxis Working Group spent the semester taking advantage of online presentation and webinar opportunities afforded by the shift toward Zoom-based programming. Members of the group attended various events and then reported back to the group for discussion. Some speakers that members got to virtually see this semester included Asao Inoue at Texas A&M, Wonderful Faison at GSOLE, and Sara Ahmed at UIUC’s Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. The group also had focused discussions on the topics of contract grading and ethical writing program administration.


Data Workshop Group

The Data Workshop Group serves as a way for post-coursework grads to share data excerpts and methodological instruments from their dissertation research. These meetings provide a supportive, low-stakes environment for grads to work through—and provide feedback on—each other’s research-in-progress. 



Graduate Students

  • Allison Kranek and María Carvajal Regidor's co-authored article, "It's Crowded in Here: 'Present Others' in Advanced Graduate Writers’ Sessions," was published in Praxis
  • Niki Turnipseed (English PhD candidate) guest edited a special issue of Literacy in Composition Studies, “Against Autonomous Literacies: Extending the Work of Brian V. Street,” with Antonio Byrd (University of Missouri- Kansas City), and Jordan Hayes (University of Pittsburgh).
  • Andy Bowman successfully passed his special fields exam.
  • Paul Beilstein successfully defended his dissertation, Basic Writing without Basic Writers.
  • María Carvajal Regidor successfully defended her dissertation, I'll Find a Way to Make My Voice Heard: Latinx Students' Transformational Literacies. Starting this fall, she will be Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition and Writing Center Co-Director at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
  • Allison Kranek successfully defended her dissertation, From Dorm Room to Classroom: Writing Center and Writing Program Partnerships with Residence Halls
  • Niki Turnipseed successfully defended her dissertation, Supporting Liberatory Literate Praxis Across Disciplines and Institutions. Starting this July, she will be Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream at the University of Toronto Mississauga. 
  • Autumn West successfully defended her dissertation, Storytelling as an Epistemic Framework for Composers of Social Justice Education. Starting this fall, she will be Assistant Professor in the Writing Program at Illinois State University.





If you have comments or suggestions for programming, please let Bri Lafond ( or Megan Mericle ( know. In the meantime, be sure to keep an eye out for announcements on our social media pages (Facebook and Twitter), website, and our listservs.


Thanks for reading and being a part of our community!