Summer Seminar 2017

Annual Dartmouth Summer Seminar for

Composition Research

Offered by Dartmouth College’s Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, in collaboration with the Council of Writing Program Administrators.

Data-driven Inquiry: Process, Methods, Results

July 30-August 11, 2017

The seminar filled big holes in my education—holes that I didn’t know were there.”

Summer Seminar 2017 Presentation Schedule

All events held in Haldeman 41.

Thursday, August 10th

  • 9:15 AM Melissa Perry, "Collaborative Practices in the Learning Community Classroom"                                   
  • 9:45 AM Kirsten Higgins, "Minding the Gaps: ALP and Autoethnography as Equity Work"                                    
  • 10:15 AM Kendra Andrews, "Searching for Strategies: Analyzing Peer Review Comments in Upper-Level STEM Courses"                                          

10:45 AM    BREAK      

  • 11:00 AM    Lilly Campbell, "Exploring Student Nurse Hand-Off's: Genre Use, Gesture, and Content"
  • 11:30 AM    Thomas Sura, "Mapping Source Use Pedagogy                                        
  • 12:00 PM    Peggy Lindsey, "The Language of Peer Review: A Search for Threshold Keywords (???) "                                     

    12:30 PM    LUNCH                                            

  • 1:45 PM Heather Lindenman, "Community Engagement and Theories of Writing: Concepts, Strategies, and Rhetorical Uses"                                       
  • 2:15 PM Rebecca Lorimer Leonard & Deirdre Vinyard. "'I can write in two languages, so I guess multilingual?':  Writers’ perceptions of  language labels"                                        
  • 3:00 PM Kathryn Valentine, "Creating Space for Listening: The Turns Writing Fellows Take"                                        

    3:15 PM        BREAK                                            

  • 3:45 PM Amy Hodges & Mysti Rudd, "Towards an Ecological Model of Teaching First Year Writing in a Transnational Context"                                        
  • 4:30 PM Dominique Zino, "Communities of Practice at a Two-Year College: Crafting an Institutional Ethnography"                                    
  • 5:00 PM Ji Young Kim, "DFW Ain’ Just an Airport in Texas: Standard Departures from Writing Program Assessments at Historically Black Colleges and Universities"

Friday, August 11th

  • 9:15 AM    Sara Heaser, "'Limitations of "Self-Assessment' for Basic and First-Year Writers"                                       
  • 9:45 AM    Lisa K. Hawkins, "Factors that Influence Preservice Teachers' Assessments of Child Writing: What Matters and Why?"                                        
  • 10:15 AM    Ken Liss & Sarah Madsen Hardy, "'New Possibilities and Mind-boggling Questions': Research Dispositions in the Writing Classroom"                                        

    11:00 AM    BREAK                                            

  • 11:15 AM    Inas Mahfouz, "Did anyone ever…? Reader Engagement in First Year writing: A Cross Cultural Study"                                        
  • 11:45 AM    Meredith McCarroll, "Orienteering the Curriculum: Writing and Rhetoric at Bowdoin College"                                        

    12:15 PM    LUNCH                                            

  • 1:45 PM    Beverley Joseph, Clover McKenzie & Harold McDermott, "Repositioning the Academic Literacy programme in a Tertiary Institution in Jamaica"                                        
  • 2:30 PM    Erin Wais-Hennen, "Writing in the Human Services: A WAC Approach"                                         

    3:00 PM    BREAK                                            

  • 3:15 PM    Elisabeth Miller, "Literacy after Aphasia: A Study"                                        
  • 3:45 PM    Mariana Grohowski, "Writing Military Experience: Women and the Global War on Terror"    


What kind of research do we focus on?

Research is broadly—and provisionally—defined here as systematic or replicable inquiry in response to a research question that can generate interpretable data, inquiry that is grounded in previous research and designed to extend existing knowledge and, through scholarly publication or other public contribution, to be extended itself.

Who should attend?

We welcome new and seasoned writing researchers, teachers, and writing program administrators from all types of institutions, including universities, two-year/four-year colleges, writing centers, writing research laboratories, technical schools, or centers for teaching excellence, around the globe. Participants may be experienced researchers looking to expand their repertoire of methods, or new researchers; we encourage research teams to apply. Acceptance is competitive.

The program is designed to support members of the field of higher education writing research who would like to engage in data-driven research but have not had the opportunity to develop their expertise in understanding, choosing, and using particular research methods, effecting quantitative and qualitative analysis, carrying out critical analysis with (and of) statistics and statistical software, and preparing for publication of this kind of research. It is also valuable for faculty with experience doing this work but looking for some input into a particular project they wanted to workshop, and teachers of writing and leaders of writing initiatives trained in different research traditions who are interested in exchanging ideas, in a collegial and productive setting, about research methods used in contexts around the world. We appreciate the dialogue created by international and interdisciplinary participation.

Who will the session leaders be?

Charles Bazerman, Chris Anson, Cheryl Geisler, Neal Lerner, Joanna Wolfe, Jason Swarts, Christiane Donahue, and more. Additional faculty will be announced as we determine project-specific issues.

The specific program will be tailored to the research projects defined by applicants. The program’s key on-site features will include:







• Overview: major theories and research methods, formulation

of feasible research questions, gaps in writing’s current research landscape, definition of research and its relationship to assessment.

• Workshop: situating individual projects within these paradigms and drafting literature reviews.

• Overview: data treatment and analysis, focused on coding options, systematic treatment approaches. Introduction to a rigorous coding approach.

• Practice session: data analysis in small groups.

• Workshop: developing preliminary coding schemes for participants’ data.

• Discussion: participants’ data collection, questions they can ask of the data, what that shows about what else they need to know, and how to obtain it.

• Overview: understanding and using parametric and non-parametric statistics; key software options and uses.

• Workshop, statistical analysis: what do we really need to know?

• Discussion: case study, critiquing existing empirical work.

• Overview: strategies for addressing challenges to research in specific institutional contexts; case study.

• Workshop: individual plans for completing participant projects.


• Discussion: issues in ethical research; case study.

• Workshop: publication, conference presentations.

•Presentation of participants’ projects; feedback from national scholars including John Brereton, Cinthia Gannett, Neal Lerner, Mya Poe


When does the program work begin?

In the February-July 2017 period, we will form a cohort, distribute readings, share information about projects, and offer preliminary guidance from team leaders on IRB contact and data collection as needed. In April we host a virtual seminar to share projects and discuss preparation. Peer review and consultations with team members are ongoing throughout the seminar, from an initial meeting to a final presentation of projects.

What will participants gain?

Key takeaways include:

• a deeper understanding of data-driven research

• a set of practical and methodological tools for implementation

• a sense of a project’s place and value in the writing studies landscape

• improved ability to ask questions and interpret data

Participants will leave the summer seminar with a concrete plan for completing the project they bring to the program, as well as an ongoing support network, including the program cohort and the team members (see previous participants’ testimony, below).


Program fee (includes all materials, access to the library and Internet while at Dartmouth)

$1,500 (partial scholarships funded by CWPA and CCCC available to community college, HCBU, and TCU participants)

Housing* for the full seminar term (single rooms in comfortable dormitories)

$780 approximate (includes a $100 credit towards meals in College facilities)

We offer a $100 discount on the fee for 2017 CWPA or EATAW conference attendees.

The housing/meal plan is optional, though strongly recommended: participants have noted that being onsite really enables the fullest participation. The housing cost is an estimate based on 2016. Dartmouth has not yet released actual fee structures for 2017.

Application Information

For More Information: Please write to Christiane Donahue

Deadline for applications: December 15, 2016.

Notification of acceptance: January 10, 2017.

About Dartmouth

Dartmouth is in Hanover, NH, USA, a beautiful New England town. Dartmouth offers an excellent summer location, with serious facilities, resources, and a work atmosphere alongside recreational and cultural events for off-time: hiking, lakes, bicycling, farmer’s market, concerts, films, speakers, and performances. Access to Dartmouth is quite easy from Boston Logan (Dartmouth Coach is direct to campus every 2 hours). There are also flights into Manchester NH or Lebanon NH and Burlington VT, and an Amtrak train, Greyhound bus, and Dartmouth Coach from NYC.

Previous participants’ commentary on the Dartmouth Summer Seminar

“In addition to several ‘ah ha’ moments, I left the conference with a new approach to and understanding of research and research tools that can help me answer questions I've been trying to ask for quite a while.”

“Certainly one of the most incredible professional experiences I’ve had.”

“I was pushed to think in new ways about my particular project and about writing studies research in general. It was incredibly stimulating intellectually to go through that process with other researchers.”

“This was such a valuable opportunity to get to know [writing] researchers who were at various points in their career, from a variety of places and institutions, and with unique perspectives on writing studies. It simultaneously helped me to hone in on my own research and to see new possibilities for research.”

“The seminar filled big holes in my graduate education—holes that I didn’t know were there. I feel better equipped to design and carry out research projects, as well as better equipped to read and review scholarship in the field. I’ve always felt a step behind due to the lack of focus on research methods in my graduate program. Now I feel confident that I'll be able to make valuable contributions.”

“It was SO wonderful to be a student again. It helped solidify some things I knew about methodologies and methods; I learned practical coding practices that I could immediately implement; and I finally understand what all those statistics mean when I read research across disciplines!”

“An excellent professional development opportunity and learning experience for teacher-scholars at any career stage. You get to work side-by-side on developing research with specialists in the field--when do you get that kind of sustained experience at your own institution? The seminar changed the way I think about research; I value that tremendously for my own work, and I will take this new mindset back to my own institution and to my work with undergraduate and graduate students.”

“Everything seemed designed to provide us with two weeks to learn, explore, design, circle back, think, and share with like-minded (and, frankly, wonderful) colleagues. I also appreciated that we were pushed out of our comfort zones on our projects and on ways of doing research. I cannot imagine a richer environment for this stage in my career.”

“The content was very well-chosen, and the mentoring and modeling so generously offered by the program leaders was a gift, both for younger colleagues and mid-career professionals. The uncompromising dedication to this emerging field—writing studies—demonstrated by the organizers and contributing faculty was energizing and at times bracing but always welcome. I certainly benefited from the experience, and it will probably mark a turning point in my career.”

“The energy that comes from bringing together a group of committed, intellectually curious professionals is really inspiring!”

“Not since grad school have most of us had anything quite like this, and few of us will likely enjoy such a sense of professional community again—at least not to such a concentrated degree.”

“I felt engaged intellectually and socially on common projects, even though our individual projects were different.”

“This is among the very best intellectual experiences I have had in my career. I feel like my career has received an electrifying jolt (in a very good way)!”

“I hoped to learn new methods and to think through ways those methods would apply to future projects, but really the experience was far richer than I could have anticipated.”