Academic journal article College Composition and Communication

The Indianapolis Resolution: Responding to Twenty-First-Century Exigencies/Political Economies of Composition Labor

Academic journal article College Composition and Communication

The Indianapolis Resolution: Responding to Twenty-First-Century Exigencies/Political Economies of Composition Labor

Article excerpt

Indianapolis Resolution

WHEREAS, most post-secondary teachers with primary responsibility for teaching writing are contingent, as are increasing numbers of Writing Program Administrators and Writing Center Directors;

WHEREAS, a caste system has emerged in the discipline in which the salaries and working conditions of most post-secondary teachers with primary responsibility for teaching writing remain (and have remained so since the Wyoming Resolution in 1987) fundamentally unfair as judged by any reasonable professional standards (e.g., unfair in excessive teaching loads; unreasonably large class sizes; salary inequities; lack of benefits and professional status; barriers to professional status; and barriers to professional advancement);

WHEREAS, the November 2013 revision of the Statement of Principles and Standards for the Post-Secondary Teaching of Writing failed to address labor substantively, removing all specific recommendations for class size and workload, and locating ambiguous references to working conditions at the end of the statement; and while we acknowledge that the March 2015 revision includes specific workload recommendations but does not change working conditions' location on the Statement's priority list;

WHEREAS the disciplinary status of composition/rhetoric/writing studies has solidified since 1987, resulting in the proliferation of independent writing programs, graduate programs, departments, and all the accouterments of disciplinarity including journals, conferences, and CIP Codes;

WHEREAS a long history of position statements and exhortations from CCCC, WPA, MLA, ADE, NCTE have not provided mechanisms that compel specific, concrete, demonstrable changes in working conditions;

WHEREAS, we contend that inquiry into the effects of insecure labor provides important data about teaching and learning;

WHEREAS, labor-focused research has the potential to improve both working conditions and teaching practices;

WHEREAS, currently, there exists a dearth of support for creation, publication, and dissemination of research into labor and its effects on teaching;

WHEREAS, in the spirit of both fulfilling the vision first announced in the 1987 Wyoming Resolution and preparing future writing studies professionals to be labor-responsible colleagues, advocates, and administrators, we call for reform and sustained action at the levels of institutional compliance, disciplinary pedagogy, and scholarly research.

THEREFORE, be it resolved that:

A.At the level of institutional compliance,

1. We call upon disciplinary and professional organizations such as NCTE/CCCC, ADE, MLA, RSA, and CWPA to consolidate and publicize the numerous extant professional standards documents on one user-friendly, accessible website; and where appropriate to revise or update those standards.

2. We call upon these professional organizations to contribute at least one board-level member to an interorganizational labor board.

3. We call upon this board to develop a seal of approval that would be issued to departments/programs that fulfill current disciplinary standards for reasonable and equitable working conditions.

4. We call upon this board to hear grievances from faculty who believe their departments/programs have violated the current standards as clearly outlined through the action of provision A.1.

5. We call upon this interorganizational labor board to establish and publicize clear protocols for investigating those grievances.

6. We call upon this board to establish a process for announcing the results to the grievants and to the accused in such a way that would first allow non-compliant departments/programs to work internally to remedy the situation before results are made public.

7. We further call upon this board to establish a process for making public a program/department's failure to remedy a violation of professional standards (A.l) for working conditions. …

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