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2016 Annual Report: Standing Group

MEMORANDUM

Date: 25 April 2016

From: D. Alexis Hart, Rising Senior Chair, Writing with Current, Former, and Future Military Members Standing Group

To: CCCC Officers

Subject:  2016 ANNUAL REPORT

As per the guidelines for CCCC Standing Groups stating, “Standing Groups are expected to submit a copy of their bylaws and a brief annual report of their activities (with recommendations for future action) no later than 30 days after the conclusion of the CCCC Convention,” I submit this annual report on behalf of the Writing with Current, Former, and Future Military Members Standing Group.

  1. Bylaws and Policies Related to the Election of Officers and Their Rotation Officers

The SIG has two co-chairs, a senior and a junior chair. A chair appointment is for two years, and the appointments are staggered: a senior chair serves his/her second year while a junior chair serves his/her first. Immediately after the annual meeting, the junior chair rotates into the senior chair position, and a new junior chair begins his/her tenure.

Functions of officers

Rising Senior Co-chair: responsible for drafting the SIG proposal, planning the annual meeting, leading the meeting, and writing a detailed report of the activities and attendance at the meeting.

Junior Co-chair: assists the senior chair in leading the meeting, takes minutes, and advises the senior co-chair in constructing the meeting agenda. The junior co-chair also assumes responsibility for publicizing the public meeting of the SIG.

Election of Officers

New chairs will be selected with the following procedure:

  • A nominating committee will consist of the senior chair, junior chair, and the immediate past senior chair.
  • At least two months before the annual meeting of the SIG, the nominating committee will select at least two candidates for a new junior chair and confirm that the candidates are willing and eligible to run.
  • Eligibility requirements include: CCCC member; evidence of participation at previous caucus meetings; evidence of a scholarly, service, or teaching agenda connected to the concerns of the SIG; has not served as a chair in the last three years.
  • Before the annual meeting, the candidates’ qualifications will be distributed to the caucus via our email group.
  • At the annual meeting, a secret ballot will be taken during the first half of the meeting, with the new junior chair announced by the end of the meeting.

Membership

Active (voting) members are defined as any CCCC member who either A) attends the annual meeting and chooses to add his or her name to the email group, or B) participates meaningfully in the email group (as judged by the senior and junior chairs), even if he or she is unable to attend the meeting.

Members become inactive when they do not attend three consecutive SIG meetings and do not participate meaningfully in listserv discussions during that three-year time. Thus, members may vote for leadership under the following hypothetical scenarios:

  • Someone who was added to the email group in mid-year and who participates meaningfully before ever attending a meeting may attend her first meeting and vote at that meeting.
  • However, a first-time attendee at the annual meeting who has never participated meaningfully on the listserv may not vote at that meeting.
  • A formerly active member who has missed the last three meetings and hasn’t added anything to the listserv in that time cannot vote at the annual meeting.
  • However, a member who was unable to attend the annual meeting for three consecutive years but continued to contribute meaningfully via email in that time may vote at the next meeting.
  1. Report of Activities
  • February 2016: The Standing Group submitted a successful proposal (written by Rising Junior Chair Mariana Grohowski) for a local outreach grant.
  • April 2016:
    • Eight (8) Standing Group members (Clayton Benjamin, Katt Blackwell-Starnes, Sandy Branham, Mariana Grohowski, Alexis Hart, Corinne Hinton, Cate St. Pierre, and Sheeba Varkey), in partnership with the Lone Star Veterans Association, conducted a resume writing workshop for Houston-area veterans and military family members on the campus of The University of St. Thomas.
    • Twenty-three (23) people attended the Standing Group meeting on Friday, April 8.
  1. Meeting Minutes

Junior Chair Alexis Hart opened the meeting by giving a brief history of the SIG’s evolution since its 2009 initial meeting and then distributed ballots for electing next year’s Junior Chair, identifying the two candidates: Mariana Grohowski and Katt Blackwell-Starnes.

After the ballots had been collected, each person introduced himself or herself.

The Junior Chair then described the group’s progress on various initiatives identified at the 2015 meeting, including the granting of Standing Group status and the creation of an online presence—http://veteransstudies.org—with a Twitter hashtag #veteransstudies and handle @veteransstudies. The Junior Chair also highlighted the group’s receipt of a Local Outreach Grant as evidence of the efforts to conduct outreach outside of NCTE/CCCC.

Members shared the following announcements:

  • Alexis shared information about the 2016 NEH Summer Institute on Veterans in Society: Ambiguities and Representations.
  • Mariana shared information about the open access online peer-reviewed journal, Veterans Studies Journal, available at the veteransstudies.org site.
  • Mike Edwards suggested that SIG members self-nominate for the CCCC Nominating Committee in order to help advocate for more visibility of veterans in the CCCC leadership.

The discussion turned to cross-departmental and cross-disciplinary collaborations, including working with Sociology, Psychology, Medical Schools, Philosophy, ROTC, and other departments. Hugh Burns suggested working with librarians, and Mike mentioned the increasing prominence of cross-disciplinary grants and suggested seeking out local campus grant coordinators to help work those connections. Mariana also suggested promoting discussion and interaction with other SIGs and standing groups, and other members mentioned the Library of Congress Veterans History project (https://www.loc.gov/vets/) and the possibility of reaching out to other organizations, pointing to Pete Molin’s outreach to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (https://www.awpwriter.org/).

During the last 10 minutes of the meeting, members discussed possible collaborations for panels for CCCC 2017.

At 7:30, Alexis announced that Mariana Grohowski was the winner of the election for Junior Chair, and the meeting closed.

  1. Recommendations for Future Action
  • Members were encouraged to contribute to the veteransstudies.org blog and journal.
  • Members were encouraged to continue to develop best practices for teaching or administration to enrich the Task Force policy statement (http://www.ncte.org/cccc/resources/positions/student-veterans).
  • Members set up a writing group to discuss works-in-progress.
  • Members were encouraged to ensure that Department Chairs, WPAs, and Veterans Resource Coordinators are all aware of the Task Force policy statement
  • Members were encouraged members to continue to publish and to cite scholarship on veterans in existing journals such as War Literature and the Arts (http://wlajournal.org, @wlajournal) and new journals such as the Veterans Studies Journal.
News

Follow up from 4C16 and Prep for 4C17 for Standing Group “Writing with Current, Former, and Future Members of the Military”

Colleagues:

We hope this finds you well, just three weeks shy of the 4C17 proposal deadline. We look forward to seeing everyone in Portland, OR in 2017. In the meantime, we hope to sustain interest year-round interest in our Standing Group’s mission to “[support] instructors who work with veterans, ROTC and Academy cadets and midshipmen, and currently-serving members of the military, and [help] composition instructors and composition as a discipline respond to the strengths and needs of those connected to the military. . Due to this tall order, this email is rather lengthy. Thank you in advance for reading all the way through the four (4) items we present for your consideration and action and for reviewing the attached documents (the Annual Report and a CFP). Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or recommendations. 

Item 1: Call for Proposals for Standing Group Sponsored Session or Workshop

The CCCC Standing Group Writing with Current, Former, and Future Members of the Military seeks proposals for its 2017 Sponsored Standing Group Panel and/or Workshop for CCCC in Portland, OR. 

Details below (proposal deadline: Monday, May 2, 2016 end of day).

Considering the theme for the 2017 CCCC, “Cultivating Capacity, Creating Change,” the CCCC Standing Group “Writing With Current, Former, and Future Members of the Military” issues a call for a session or workshop proposal, which presents efforts (pedagogical, grassroots/community-based, departmental, programmatic, institutional, or research studies) that sustain and expand veterans studies within rhetoric, composition, literacy, and writing studies. 

What: The Standing Group is allotted one guaranteed sponsored workshop or session in the CCCC 2017 program. If you wish your proposal to be considered for the Standing Group’s  sponsorship, send your proposal by end of day, Monday, May 2 to both Alexis Hart, Sr. Officer, (hartandthompson.warriorwriters@gmail.com) and Mariana Grohowski, Jr. Officer, (mgrohow@gmail.com

for review. Email notifications of acceptance from the Standing Group will be sent no later than Friday, May 6, 2016 along with instructions on how to indicate “sponsored” status on the proposal. 

Item 2: Pre-Conference Workshop  

If you are interested in proposing a pre-conference workshop for 2017, please email Mariana and she will share with you the successful proposal from 2016 as well as the  successful 2012 proposal, prepared by Lisa Langstraat. 

Item 3: CFP: Special Issue of the Journal of Veterans Studies // invitation to submit any time to JVS

 Attached, please find a call to submit modified CCCC 2016 conference presentations for the Winter 2016 issue of JVS

 That said, you are always invited to submit to JVS (anytime). And if you are interested in serving as a reviewer, please contact Mariana. 

Item 4: Staying in touch via digital / social media and contributing materials to the Group’s website 

Here’s information to stay in touch with colleagues from the Standing Group throughout the year: 

  • Find us on Twitter @veteransstudies
  • Find us on Facebook (Facebook group  Allies of Veterans in Academia)
  • On the Web (http://veteransstudies.org)
    • Add to the materials contributed by Lydia Wilkes, Cate St. Pierre, Sue Doe, Lisa Langstraat, Mark Blaauw-Hara, Cassandra Branham, Tara Hembrough, Mallory Rosalia, Marion Wilson, Corrine Hinton, and Liam Corley on the Readings & Links page 

Our Best,
Mariana and Alexis 

Person to Person

Who Has the Ball?

By Mal

I just returned from participating in the CCCC’s Veteran community for the first time.

Although I’ve researched on Veterans in higher education, and though I’m one myself, I’ve stayed on the outskirts of the community. Felt like the studied one, maybe, and didn’t want my research to make anyone else feel studied.

But there was a sense of “homeness” in the SIG group for me this time; some combination of minds that think in terms of inquiry and feet that move quickly to action. As a scholar in the land of the former I’ve missed the urgency of the latter. Deep down, I can’t quite shake the lived experience that one is a threat to the other. It’s no longer a logical problem—I understand how to be both an academic and forever a Sailor. But it is somehow still part of my experience as I work to meld my academic and veteran selves to be more intertwined.

Grad school is replete with opportunities to wear different hats: one moment the student, the next the teacher, one moment the parent, the next the child, one moment the Sailor, the next without a uniform. The multitudinous moments call for a mixture of all those postures. And all roles I have become adequately familiar with—except the Veteran role. Oh I think I’ve got it. My mind has got it. But twice in the last 3 years I stood up to present on Veterans research and my voice cracked and wavered as if I had never stood up before. I presented at C’s as an undergrad with far more confidence than this. Back then my voice was unwavering. I’ve spoken about sexual assault and controversial issues and no crack in my voice could be heard. Yet when it comes to being a Veteran and speaking to Veterans…I don’t know, my voice insists on sounding small.

I didn’t speak of this last week, but I think it holds some key to this inner controversy: The ethos of my teaching contradicts the ethos of my military self. When I teach a class of those who have not served, all I have to do is mention that I did, and that I fought fire in California, and that I’m a mom, and I have their respect. But when I taught my Veterans-only course, I knew that wouldn’t be the case. Military respect is rendered to rank and to the crisp uniform. Here I have neither. As a supervisor in uniform I earned my guys’ respect by working as hard as they did, and by sending them to do the job without me to grow them into my position—which they would soon move into.

Nearness through banter, distance through orders; equality through shared challenges, separation by willingness to go to bat for them at my own cost, and to keep from them the words from above that might dampen them. My guys. My shop. My uniform—on duty and off. But these are not my guys—they are their own men and women. And this is not my shop—it is a room I use for an hour a day. And my uniform? I never know what to wear in the morning because what you wear says everything about who you are and what values you represent and your position among your people. Civilian clothes don’t come with descriptions that fit those requirements.

And teaching? Yes, I have their obedience, but I want more than that. I want their trust. How can I carry the heaviest toolbox? How can I lead by perfection when my academic brothers claim the class is a place for learning–which is messy? And it is messy! In my Navy we checked off boxes together. My Sailor’s and I marked hours and days by flights, MAF’s, gripes, and maintenance boards filled with aircraft statuses. Messy was fixable—and intolerable. And only existent because someone hadn’t yet done their job. And now I must teach messy. I can—almost. But it feels all wrong: If an aircraft is partially down, there are still boxes to show why, and manuals that lead to way to completing the task. Students don’t seem to have boxes to check, and messy—yes, I can do that, but is it a good messy, or an irresponsible messy, or messy because of inexperience? My academic brethren say yes and know.

Upon the flight deck, in the belly of the aircraft, in the dark night of inexperience and handling ordinance, intuition and determination saved us. Experience and dark humor brought the scattered pieces of Navy life together, and with a good sprinkling of love for adventure and grit against the wind, we eluded panic and rose to the occasion as a team. But here in my class…oh! We got an award for our success! But we are aircraft with living pieces and no one to check the box to say if yes, we are ready to fly.

Who has the ball?