The Ivory Tower, WAC, the “Masses”, and Money

Field Notes header Welcome to a new feature of the WRD blog!  Each week, we’ll highlight a few articles that piqued our interest — notes from the fields of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse, if you will.  Leave a comment to discuss or let us know what we’ve missed!

Committed to WAC:  Christopher Thaiss

In this in-depth interview published in the most recent issue of The WAC Journal, Christopher Thaiss and Carol Rutz discuss the history of Writing Across the Curriculum programs and their changing place in higher education.  Chris Thaiss, a leader of the University Writing Program at UC Davis, will be visiting DePaul on April 16 for WRD’s spring speaker series.  This interview provides a great introduction to Thaiss’ prolific research on WAC programs and much food for thought for current and future writing teachers.

Crowded Out of the Ivory Tower, Adjuncts See a Life Less Lofty

For some WRD graduates, looking for a job in higher education means accepting one (or several) adjunct teaching positions.  This New York Times article details the plight of an adjunct literature and writing instructor in New York City, using his story to explore the institutional forces that often prevent adjuncts from earning a living wage.

Why So Hostile?: The Relationship among Popularity, “Masses,” and Rhetorical Commonplaces

In this online journal article, Mark Pepper applies a rhetorician’s lens to pop culture.  Citing sources as diverse as Aristotle, Nietzsche, and Mad Men, Pepper questions why people feel the way they do about pop culture and makes a case for paying  attention to the complexity of popularity.

The Real Cost of Higher Education

As students in the WRD program, each of us have chosen to pursue higher education despite its costs in tuition and lost wages.  This Chronicle of Higher Education provides another look at the cost-benefit analysis of higher education.  The article summarizes a recent crowdsourcing project which investigated the amount of debt shouldered by graduate students.  The anecdotal evidence debunks the idea of of fully-funded graduate study and questions the value of post-undergrad education when costs are staggeringly high and job prospects are not guaranteed.

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