On a blustery Fall day, the Philadelphia Writing Program Administrators held its first meeting of the academic year on October 1, 2010, at Cabrini College. Our generous hosts, Michelle Filling (co-chair of the PWPA Executive Committee) and Seth Frechie (chair of the English Department at Cabrini), gave us all a warm welcome and a delicious meal in the Mansion while we listened to presentations and engaged in fruitful dialogue on the meeting’s main topic: Writing Across the Curriculum.
Cabrini faculty from across the disciplines and members from across the region attended to hear Deirdre Pettipiece (West Chester University), Erec Smith (Ursinus College), and Karen Nulton and Rebecca Ingalls (Drexel University) present on issues that would not only support members of Cabrini’s faculty, who are currently engaging a social justice-based WAC initiative, but also all of us who think about and negotiate WAC issues daily on our campuses. Deirdre’s discussion inspired us to think more critically about the exigency of WAC and the necessity of relevant writing practices and writing technologies in students’ lives. Erec took us into the practical matters of grading and constructing writing-intensive assignments that faculty across the disciplines could apply in their courses. And Karen and Rebecca offered their experiences with creating a culture of writing at Drexel, and their advice on how to approach the challenges of collaborating across the disciplines. Discussion that followed ran the gamut from maintaining motivation in challenging times of programmatic change, to grading strategies for faculty who want to do more writing-intensive work in their classrooms.
The General Meeting, led by co-chairs Michelle Filling and Rebecca Ingalls, followed the presentations. Members discussed the recruitment of new members/institutions in the region, the upcoming winter PWPA meeting in February (jointly hosted by LaSalle University and the Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development), our plans for a third social gathering in the spring, and ideas for a PWPA-wide research project.
Thanks to all who attended, and a special thank you to our colleagues at Cabrini for your wonderful hospitality. This first meeting affirmed the growing strength and support of our PWPA network.