Fall 2017 Minutes

November 3, 2017 – Keene State College (Keene, New Hampshire)


Attendance. Laurie Ann Britt-Smith, Chair; Kate Tirabassi, Vice-Chair; John Brereton, Emeritus, UMass, Boston; Tom Deans, University of Connecticut; Elizabeth Dolinger, Keene State College; Christiane Donahue, Dartmouth; Cinthia Gannett, Emerita, Fairfield University and BRAWN President; Travis Grandy, UMass Amherst; Chris Iverson, University of Connecticut; Jennifer Krichevsky, UMass Amherst; Kelin Loe, UMass Amherst; Ed Mueller, University of New Hampshire; Paul Pasquaretta, Quinnipiac University; Kristina Reardon, College of the Holy Cross; David Shawn, Boston University; Michelle Cox, Cornell University (via Skype).

Meeting came together at 12:30 – Participants did introductions, identifying the work they are currently doing and one or two important WAC issues of current interest on their campuses.

Association for Writing Across the Curriculum (AWAC). 1:00 – Michelle Cox joined us via Skype/cell phone to update the group on national WAC initiatives meant to help centralize WAC work under an umbrella organization. Over the past several months a working group, formed at iWAC and Cs, has met toward the goal of creating the organization – AWAC – The Association for Writing Across the Curriculum. The organization is very loose at the moment, but it is forming as an way to address some of the current challenges in the WAC community including: leadership pathways are unclear, as are resources for mentors and a clear definition of what role of a WAC mentor should be. There is no hub for activity in the discipline, just many discreet efforts that may or may not overlap.

AWAC is now a standing group at the Cs. Information about this new organization is on the WAC Clearinghouse site – They have a statement of mission, values, and activities. There is also a infographic that shows the relationships between AWAC and other WAC functions/activities and organizations.

Anyone interested in joining the working group can contact Michelle (, Jeff Galin (, and Dan Melzer (dlmelzer

Regional Work Discussion. 2:00 – Discussion turned to our regional work. We want to participate in national efforts, but also need to clarify how NEWACC is going to sustain itself. We have a mission statement on our website, but it is broad and more needs to be done to operationalize these ideals. We also discussed what we value. The answer was connection – a way to break out of the silos of our own campuses. What structural changes need to happen? What are some defined projects that will help us build more connection and share our resources?

  1. NEWACC as an organization:
  • Structure – Discussion of chair terms. Conclusion, they aren’t long enough to get any momentum. Kristina Reardon moved to have Laurie and Kate serve an additional year. Seconded by several people at once. Vote approved. Laurie and Kate agreed to serve two years as Chair/Vice-Chair.
  • Meetings – We will continue to meet at NEWCA and attempt to meet in the fall. Would people be willing to pay $10 to cover lunch and any supplies at fall meeting? Consensus was yes.
  • Website/listserv. Both are in need of updates. Laurie will contact Michael C. about website and request posting of minutes from last two meetings. Susan needs to be contacted about best methods for cleaning up and updating the listserv.
  • As both website and email list are not terribly flexible or used, a proposal was made to create a facebook page that will allow for more dynamic conversation. Kate has agreed to take this on with the help of Kelin Loe from UMass Amherst
  1. NEWACC – networking
  • Cinthia Gannet, president of BRAWN suggested looking for ways that NEWACC and other local groups like BRAWN overlap and where they do not. BRAWN works specifically with adjuncts in ways that NEWACC does not. They also run a summer institute that is funded and we could perhaps join with them to present a half-day workshop on WAC issues.
  • We need a comprehensive list of what the other local professional organizations are and what they do. This is important in a moment where funds are being cut for our programs.
  • Tom Deans suggested one day seminar/reading groups for adjuncts, grad students as a way to foster more scholarship and mentor future WAC leaders.
  • Would it be possible for the larger state schools to provide a list of WAC courses? Is WAC being regularly taught in any of our graduate programs?
  • Site visits and workshop exchanges were brought forward as strategies to combat resource cuts and to foster more connection between colleagues
  • As a first step, Laurie with the help of Travis Grandy will create an interactive site map to be housed on either the webpage or facebook page (both?) that will show were we all are and take inventory of our particular programs/offices/WAC-ish incarnations, our particular specialties – highlighting what we do well, list what kind of workshops we would like to host on our campuses, and what workshops we would be willing to provide. This would include grad students and those who have “retired” but are willing to continue to energize the conversation. As was stated, a healthy organization needs professionals of all stages in the career arc.

Meeting adjourned around 3:00.

Next meeting will be at NEWCA, March 24-25 hosted by Holy Cross.