The purpose of this conference was to learn about various ways to work with diverse students in diverse environments. CCCC strives to “promote new ideas and fresh voices among faculty, graduate students, non-tenure track faculty and administrators at two- and four-year institutions.” They examine “the intersection of diversity,” and how important it can be in the context of writing, according to the conference site.
The conference on UC Clermont’s campus began with workshops. Dr. Kathi Yancey facilitated “Crossing Over: Helping Students Move from Academic to Professional Writers” and Dr. Scott Warnock facilitated “Bringing Your Best Self to the Online Writing Classroom,” and “Diversity in the Online Environment.” During the following two days, there were panels, information/discussion sessions, demonstrations, and TED-style talks. In addition, Friday afternoon and Saturday morning had plenary sessions presented by Dr. Kathi Yancey and Dr. Amanda Hayes.
One of the key speakers at the event, Dr. Yancey, is the Kellogg W. Hunt Professor of English and Distinguished Research Professor and has “consulted with and given workshops at over 125 institutions in the US and on four continents, and she has authored, edited, or co-edited 13 scholarly books.” UC Clermont was indeed proud and honored to have her participation in our conference.
Dr. Yancey gave her keynote speech on diversity, and how it correlates with social inclusion. Finances, career, social standing, and majors can create significant diversity within a college environment, and many students worry about comparing themselves to others; many students at UCC are in fact first-generation college students. “Think about what we know about diversity and first generation college students … diversity is always there,” said by Dr. Yancey. In writing studies, diversity is a common topic, whether it concern different genders, ethnicity, sexual orientation, background, etc. Including multiple excerpts from students and other sources, Dr. Yancey allowed her presentation to reflect on her audience, as many were professors. What students do in classes, how they complete assignments, and how they learn contributes to their identities, according to Dr. Yancey. In addition, she gave multiple strategies for social inclusion: For example, asking students about what they are thinking and what they can do can lead to students participating in class more, or even leading it.
Dr. Yancey also led an interactive workshop that was designed to give multiple approaches to helping students transition from writing school papers to professional work. When “crossing over,” the transition can be difficult. As a result, Dr. Yancey held this workshop to touch on the topic and elaborate on how and what teachers can do to aid their students.
Dr. Scott Warnock, is an associate professor of English and is the Director of the University Writing Program at Drexel University and the Vice President of the Global Society of Online Literacy Educators. Some goals of Dr. Warnock’s workshop were to “consider what diversity means … share with other teachers [their]experiences… [and]develop/expand a ‘pedagogy of access and diversity.’” For years, Dr. Warnock has been teaching others about online instruction and believes that “accessibility and diversity… they go hand in hand in so many different ways.”
We are able to do so much more with classroom spaces now, whether in person or online compared to a few years ago. Online instruction is growing with the advancement in technology as well. However, there are challenges in online instruction. There can be an increased time to build a course, and there are accessibility issues as well. All of this can lead to more opportunities, but it can also create a heavy work load for both students and instructors. Still, students often have the chance to be anonymous in class chatrooms and be comfortable as themselves.
Over the course of three days, this conference truly provided the opportunity for people from all over the country to learn and share their experiences with “digital writing, multimedia writing, working with diverse students, and writing across the curriculum,“ and how diverse these modalities can really be.
You can read more about the 2017 CCCC Summer Conference on UC Clermont’s website by following this link.