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2014 September College English, v77.1

Non-Member Price: $12.50

NCTE Member Price: $4.25

Level(s): College

ISBN/ISSN: 0010-0994


College English
Volume 77, Number 1, September 2014

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From the Editor
Kelly Ritter

The Composition Specialist as Flexible Expert: Identity and Labor in the History of Composition
Annie S. Mendenhall
Abstract: This history explores the early growth of composition faculty between 1960 and 1990, arguing that composition has historically functioned as a site of flexible expertise. As archives of the Modern Language Association’s Job Information List attest, early job advertisements for composition “specialists” defined the work of composition in terms antithetical to specialization, expecting a compositionist to perform a variety of administrative work and to teach comfortably in multiple areas. The flexible identity of the field’s faculty aided its growth during a period when tenure-track faculty waned; composition thrived because faculty could serve multiple institutional roles. This essay calls readers to investigate the ways that composition’s flexibility has impacted and continues to impact the field’s identity and labor structures.

What Is the Value of the GED?
Betsy Bowen and Kathryn Nantz
Abstract: Drawing on interviews, participant observation, and census and economic data, this article examines the value of the GED for students at a community-based urban literacy center. After exploring assumptions about literacy implicit in the GED writing test, the article assesses the economic and noneconomic impacts of the GED, a test taken by over 700,000 adults in 2012. Because the students at this literacy center differ significantly from the national pool of GED test takers—being all women, older, and largely immigrants—the study provides information about the value of the GED for those who are particularly disadvantaged in seeking this credential.

Symposium: Off Track and On: Valuing the Intellectual Work of Non-Tenure-Track Faculty
Christine Cucciarre, Michael McCamley, and Joseph Harris
Abstract: This symposium offers three perspectives on how permanent non-tenure track faculty are positioned to effect change in English departments and writing programs, as well as some of the obstacles they face in doing so.

Review: “English Only” and Multilingualism in Composition Studies: Policy, Philosophy, and Practice
Dana R. Ferris
Abstract: Ferris looks at three books—Cross-Language Relations in Composition; Shaping Language Policy in the U.S.: The Role of Composition Studies; and Writing in the Devil’s Tongue: A History of English Composition in China—as they address the question of adherence to a monolingual or “standard” set of language and writing norms in composition, and consider how the answer to this question impacts our teaching.

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