CWS Fall 2021 Recap

CWS had a busy semester this fall! Here are some updates and announcements about what CWS folks were up to this 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, CWS PhD candidate Logan Middleton presented a Graduate Research Forum (GRF) talk based on his dissertation research, titled “Rule Bending as Literacy: College-in-Prison Educators and the (Circum)Navigation of State Power.”

You can access recordings of past GRF events here.


CWS Brownbags:

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


Writing Across the Curriculum:

WAC Multimodal Pedagogy Seminar

This past summer, in July 2021, CWS hosted a WAC Multimodal Pedagogy Seminar for the first time. Across two weeks, instructors interested in incorporating multimodal practices and assignments into their courses came together virtually to discuss assignment design and assessment, and workshopped multimodal assignment sequences.


WAC Workshop on Alternative Assessment & Ungrading

In October of this semester, CWS offered a one-day workshop focused on the history of grading and its impacts on writing instruction. Participants workshopped course materials and discussed alternative assessment methods such as contract grading, self-assessment, and collaborative rubric development. The workshop covered links between assessment and inequity, as well as how assessment shapes writing across the curriculum.


WAC TA Seminar

CWS hosted our Fall 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 January 2022, again online. For more information, contact 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 Megan Mericle, Rebecca Avgoustopoulos, and Yvaine Neyhard. WAES’ work over the past semester includes the following:

  • The WAES team continues to research the impacts of Engineering 598 WTG, a graduate course aimed at writing and writing pedagogy in STEM that was first taught in Spring 2021 and will be taught again in Spring 2022 by John Gallagher.
  • Members of the WAES team—Paul Prior, Bruce Kovanen, Niki Turnipseed and Megan Mericle— presented research this past summer at the International Writing Across the Curriculum Conference (IWAC).
  • The WAES team developed surveys aimed at assessing the impacts of mentoring and workshops on faculty and students, as well as a survey investigating writing in student organizations in Physics.


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.

We want to thank outgoing WAM instructor Carrie James. Current WAM instructors Finola McMahon and Dustin Bacon will continue teaching the course in the Spring and will be joined by new instructor Yvaine Neyhard and returning instructor Bri Lafond.

If you’re interested in teaching WAM in the future, we want to hear from you! Please contact 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 Megan Mericle (



CHAT Chat, or Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) Chat, continued to meet regularly throughout the fall semester, discussing works by Ann Shiver-McNair and Shirin Vossoughi, along with selections from Maker Literacies and Maker Identities in the Digital Age. A group of participants have continued co-writing a manuscript on perezhivanie. CHAT Chat will continue to meet during the spring; if you are interested in joining the reading group, please contact Bruce Kovanen (


Social Justice Praxis Working Group

This semester, the Social Justice Praxis Working Group discussed approaching social justice concerns in administrative roles, in conjunction with the CWS brownbag on Social Justice Adminstration. SJP discussed works by Jay Dolmage, Roderick Ferguson, and Charles Hale, along with The Rhetoric of Participation. The group also had focused discussions on syllabus language; disability, accommodation, and accessible pedagogy; and assessing participation.


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




CWS Administrative Team Update

Finally, we are pleased to announce that Finola McMahon will be joining the CWS administrative team as an Assistant Director (AD) in Spring 2022. Finola is a PhD student in English, and we look forward to the contributions they will make in the position. That means Bri Lafond, who has served as AD for four semesters, will be cycling out of this role. Peter Mortensen will continue as Director and John Gallagher will continue as Associate Director.


If you have comments or suggestions for programming, please let 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!