English Department Welcomes CCCC for Summer 2017
The English Department is hosting the Conference of College Composition and Communication (CCCC) in the summer of 2017. It will take place on campus and is open to teachers and scholars interested in the field of rhetoric and composition.
The theme of the summer regional conference is “Making Spaces for Diverse Writing Practice.” The conference will create spaces where people from different disciplines, professional backgrounds, and perspectives can collaborate. “We want this to be an accessible event where people feel welcome no matter what stage of their careers they’re in,” says co-chair of the summer conference and Assistant Professor, Dr. Ryan Skinnell. “This would be a great first conference for someone to attend.”
The CCCC is the largest and oldest organization for writing and rhetoric teachers in the nation. CCCC is involved in international and local politics to shape writing and literacy education in United States, and is dedicated to creating spaces for scholars and teachers to discuss how to serve students enrolled in composition classes.
“Although CCCC may not be a household name, the organization and its members are deeply involved in the world we live, work, and study in,” Dr. Skinnell explains. “The fact that they have chosen SJSU as a site for the regional conference is a great honor.”
Started in 1949, CCCC has held annual conferences every year since. The conferences include workshops, panel sessions, keynote speeches, committee retreats, and more. Although CCCC’s focus has been college composition, it has widened to include a variety of topics. Panels range from teaching basic writing to the history of rhetoric to French theoretical insights into the nature of writing ontologies to the unique and vital position of historically black colleges and universities in the United States education system. “In other words, it’s an incredibly diverse set of interests and concerns, which is part of what makes it such a rich experience,” says Dr. Skinnell.
In addition to these annual conferences, 2017 marks the first year CCCC will add summer regional conferences. For Dr. Skinnell and other faculty, this makes SJSU “both part of a long tradition and at the cutting edge of innovations for writing teachers and teaching of writing.” The conference at SJSU will replicate some of the activities that take place in their annual conferences. There will be full-day writing retreats, concurrent panels, and a series of half-day workshops. While the regional retreat will have fewer participants compared to the annual conference, the goal is “to generate a lot of the same intellectual energy and interpersonal engagement.”
Undergraduate and graduate students can benefit greatly from participating either as volunteers or attendees. Through the CCCC conference, students can gain “opportunities to engage with top-notch researchers, demonstrate their skills and talents, add useful experience to their CVs/resumes, work closely with their professors in non-classroom activities, and connect more meaningfully to SJSU in general.” The conference will give students the opportunity “to see an aspect of academic work that they rarely get to see,” says Dr. Skinnell, “and we hope people who haven’t had the chance to attend CCCC in the past will find a reason to attend now that it’s in our very own backyard.”