Monday, December 18, 2017

4C18 Update - Welcoming Survey Out and All-Convention Event Moving Forward




I hope everyone has had a stimulating Fall semester or quarter, with bright and eager students, interesting work with them and colleagues, and time to rest and recharge for the coming year. I know I have, and I'm very grateful for my colleagues and students at UW Tacoma, and I'm most grateful these days for my hard-working colleagues associated with CCCC, all of whom are an important part of this year's annual convention. So thank you again to Jane Greer (Local Arrangements Chair) and her group on the ground in KC, and of course, the growing SJAC task force. Without all these and many other folks, like Emily Nafziger, Kristen Suchor, and Marlene Knight (at NCTE headquarters), we wouldn't have a convention or an organization.

Here's the updates on the planning and preparations for 4C18.
  1. Collaboration with local activists (Ersula Ore, Victor Del Hierro, Romeo Garcia, David Green). This group is just about done with their initial duties, and likely will join the other groups who need help. All but a one or two local groups have been contacted about collaborating with us at the convention. Literacy KC is the first to join the program, and will be one of the organizations who will participate in the all-convention event (#8 below). 
  2. Technology and Access (F2F and OL) (Stephanie Kerschbaum, Aja Y. Martinez, Bump Halbritter, Casie Moreland, Zan Goncalves, Brenda Brueggeman, Chad Iwertz, Ruth Osorio, Kristen Ruccio, and Dev Bose). I want to welcome Dev to the group. There is nothing new to report here.
  3. Welcoming Companions Project (Al Harahap, Brent Chappelow, Dana Driscoll, Brian Hendrickson, Amy Meckenburg-Faenger, Alisa Russell, Mary Stewart, and Matthew Vetter). This work group has changed it's name for clarity purposes. It was previously "safety and security." The Cs the Day (Scott Reed) and FourCForEquality (@4C4Equality) continue to work closely with this group. The survey was sent out on Thursday, Dec 14 and will close the survey to responses on Dec 30. Please take a few minutes and provide feedback. As of this Sunday, Dec 17, there are 285 responses to the survey, so I'd love to see a lot more. 
  4. Donation to Local Movements (Casie Moreland, Kayla Bruce, Jess Boykin, and Hillary Coenen). Casie and her group still need a number of volunteers to sign up on their sign-up sheet. Please go to their sign-up sheet to volunteer for a time slot at the convention. The organizations they will be collecting donations for are: Literacy KC, The Center for American Indian Community Health, and Black Lives Matter
  5. Letter Writing Campaign (Holly Hassel). Nothing new to report here. This work is mostly done. 
  6. Work with Local Committee and Activists on Press Release and Press Coverage (Jessie Moore). Nothing new to report here. This work will start in February. 
  7. Preconvention Statement on Actions, Activities (Michael Pemberton and Romeo Garcia). Michael, Romeo, and I have started to draft a statement that will go into the program and on the convention's web site(s). More on this soon. 
  8. All-Convention Activity (Holly Hassel, Jessie Moore, David Green). Much work has been accomplished in this group. We've decide to do an activity together, one that asks all of us (CCCCs members) to both reflect upon on activism we can do at our home sites and communities, and within the CCCCs organization. To do this reflective work, we are inviting several local KC activists to talk about their work (once they are all confirmed I'll let you know their names), and I'm reaching out to a number of CCCC members and others, particularly scholars and activists working outside the U.S., who might offer something to us in the form of  short statements of some kind. These statements will be circulated to all CCCCs members about a month before the convention, and with the local activists' ideas, we'll use all this information to help us think about our own activism. Here's the structure of the all-convention event that we've designed: 
Title: Literacy, Language, and Labor for Social Justice: Outward and Inward Reflection
Goals: Learn from Kansas City activism and work, have conversation and dialogue with colleagues, brainstorm/identify organizational activism/social justice/inclusion and diversity needs, learn strategies for bringing activism and social justice work to participants' local sites
Structure:  1:45-3:00 pm
1:45-1:50 pm. Introduction/overview from convention chair
Provide a handout (before the convention) that offers short (200-300 word) statements that provide ideas, concerns, questions from activists, caucus members, and others in our fields with specific attention to the intersections of literacy and social justice. 
1:50-2:15 pm: Panel of Speakers reflecting on the interactions between literacy and social justice (each get 5-10 minutes to prod us, to orient us) - Possible speakers (not all are confirmed), include:
2:15-2:45 pm: Discussion and engagement. 
Participants engage in structured drafting on a shared document or online space to generate ideas in response to a prompt at their table. Facilitators or table leaders will manage the work at tables.  
2:45-3:00 pm: Roaming mic, tables volunteer to share their discussion, reflection, conversation, identify follow up tasks, goals, or needs
Follow-Up: (after the session)
To help frame the all-convention activity and make it more meaningful to convention-goers, everyone will be encouraged to do some or all of the following after the event: 
  • Do more activist and reflective work in the expo at stations or tables. These could be small tasks that folks can do in 15-20 minutes, maybe talk, maybe write, maybe learn about something particular, then write and talk. 
  • Engage in other activist-based work already happening in the expo, like the letter writing and fundraising tables and the Welcoming Companions table.
  • Ask folks to go through the escape rooms that will include a significant reflection time where participants make sense of their experience in terms of the convention themes, access, privilege, etc.
  • Ask folks to engage in the Cs the Day gaming activities, since everyone will get those materials at registration.
  • Contribute or talk back in some way to someone while at the convention, either informally or formally. There may be opportunities to contribute something to the 4C18 podcast that will be running during the convention. We might have a booth in the expo where folks can come after the all-convention event and be interviewed by someone on the podcast/media team.
  1. Program Statement and Cover Art (Al Harahap, Michael Pemberton, and Romeo Garcia). I'm still working with Paul Tosh and his student group. I'm expecting some samples very soon. 
  2. Pre- and Post-Workshops Dedicated to Activism and Organizing (Michael Pemberton, Romeo Garcia). For Workshop #1, Frankie Condon and Vershawn Young, among others, including Merrell R. Bennekin from the Kansas City police), will be participating. One important note about registration on these: These will be free of charge, but they have not yet been added to list of workshops (see below) on the NCTE/CCCC web site, but if you wish to attend them, please register. 
The pre-convention workshops have been posted (as of Dec 07), so they are available to read here, and again, the new workshops that will be free of charge (#10 above) have not yet been added to these web pages, but they will soon: 
Finally, our acceptance numbers look very good, I think. We have a total of 3,005 speaking roles on the program. Here's how things are shaking out:
  • Roles Accepted: 2,595 (86.36%)
  • Roles Declined: 269 (8.95%)
  • No Response: 141 (4.69%)
Because the next installment of my 4C18 update series lands on the New Year (Jan 01 is a Monday), my next installment will be Monday, Jan 08. 
 
Peace to you all, and happy holidays. May your new year be merry! 

Monday, December 4, 2017

#4C18 Update - Activist Workshops, Transnational Connections, and Tech/Access

As you read about the new things developing around 4C18, please note the new volunteers in red text. I want to acknowledge their contributions. As in earlier posts, they are new members to the SJAC team.
  1. Collaboration with local activists (Ersula Ore, Victor Del Hierro, Romeo Garcia, David Green). This work group is still talking with the local chapter of the NAACP and Literacy KC. They have also reached out to the Ida B. Wells Coalition against Police Brutality, BLM KC, the Kansas Human Rights Commission, KC Employee Rights Law Firm, and the ACLU of Missouri. Additionally, I've talked with Mayor Sly James' assistant in charge of his educational initiatives, and there is still a chance he may come and speak at our convention, but I won't know until much closer to the convention. I'm also currently talking with Literacy KC's leadership for ways they can partner with us at our convention. 
  2. Technology and Access (F2F and OL) (Stephanie Kerschbaum, Aja Y. Martinez, Bump Halbritter, Casie Moreland, Zan Goncalves, Brenda Brueggeman, Chad Iwertz, Ruth Osorio, and Kristen Ruccio). This work group is compiling a list of consultants, currently four, with expertise in virtual access and disability in order to request quotes on their services that would help us expand access to our convention. An important element in their discussions with these folks has been to make sure the consultant has skills and/or experience in both access (i.e. consideration of disabilities, etc.) and technology/distance platforms for large conventions. The three main options the group is currently exploring quotes on are: 
  • enabling one room at the convention to be wired/tech accessible for remote presentations and remote-attendance;
  • live-stream or make captioned videos of some key events (e.g. Opening session/chair's address, the all-convention event, the KC Cultural Event) available for later viewing;
  • an assessment of each of these innovations in order to understand how well they achieved accessibility for remote participants and how scaleable they could be for future conventions.
Since the assessment portion will occur regardless of what we do at the convention, the two main options above (the first two bullets) are hopefully both doable. Right now, I see both as important to pilot in some focused way. 
Relatedly, the 4C18 Convention's media director, Matt Gomes (yes, we have one this year), whose volunteer team is in charge of expanding coverage and accessibility to the convention through podcasts, a soundtrack, and other media, is working to offer parts of the convention via podcasts and the like. You'll hear more about this as they produce some pre-convention podcasts as we get closer to the convention. One particular focus of this group is to reach out to an international audience of researchers and teachers. I'd like to see more scholars and convention participants from other countries become more involved in CCCC annual conventions in years to come. This means Matt and his team are working with the Transnational Composition Standing Group (mostly, Shyam Sharma, Brice Nordquist, Tiane Donahue -- welcome, y'all). They are planning to produce podcasts, and perhaps other material, that offer some previews and streaming sessions of transnational sessions that are on the program, record interviews with transnational scholars, and promote various activities through the podcast before and during the convention. 
  1. Safety and Security (Al Harahap, Brent Chappelow, Dana Driscoll, Brian Hendrickson, Amy Meckenburg-Faenger, Alisa Russell, Mary Stewart, and Matthew Vetter). Welcome to the two new members of this work group. The group created a survey in order to find out members' attitudes about the use of the buddy system for travel to and from the convention site. They've also completed initial planning around convention workshop with group #10 below (see those details below). Expect to get a request to complete the survey from NCTE/CCCC by email in the next few weeks. It will help this group and I decide on how to proceed. This group is also working with the good folks from Cs the Day (Scott Reed) and FourCForEquality (@4C4Equality), who have produced checklists for Cs members in the past. These three groups are coordinating their efforts this year. 
  2. Donation to Local Movements (Casie Moreland, Kayla Bruce, Jess Boykin, and Hillary Coenen). Welcome to our three new members to this work group. Casie and her group has made a sign-up sheet. You may go here to sign up for a time slot at the convention to help by sitting at the table that collects donations during the convention! They are hoping to have at least 30 members volunteer through the sign-up system. The organizations they will be collecting donations for are: Literacy KC, The Center for American Indian Community Health, and Black Lives Matter
  3. Letter Writing Campaign (Holly Hassel). Nothing new to report here. 
  4. Work with Local Committee and Activists on Press Release and Press Coverage (Jessie Moore). Nothing new to report here.
  5. Preconvention Statement on Actions, Activities (Michael Pemberton and Romeo Garcia). This work has been collapsed into priority #9 below, but I leave it here so there is a clear record of it and our work on it.
  6. All-Convention Activity (Holly Hassel, Jessie Moore, David Green). This group is collecting responses about their initial ideas for this event from other SJAC task force members. So I'm expecting something substantive in the next week or so. 
  7. Program Statement and Cover Art (Al Harahap, Michael Pemberton, and Romeo Garcia). I've been in contact with Paul Tosh and am working with him and his student group from UMKC to create the cover art for the program. They are using our call and an emphasis on social justice as themes for the artwork that they will present to me next week. My hope is that I might be able to get feedback on the options they offer me for the program cover art, perhaps in my next blog post.  
  8. Pre- and Post-Workshops Dedicated to Activism and Organizing (Michael Pemberton, Romeo Garcia). This work group has put together two half-day workshops that will be offered on Wednesday of the convention. Here's the details of those two exciting workshops that this group submitted to me (the descriptions are theirs): 
Workshop #1 (Wednesday, 9:00 – 12:30): Exploring Issues in Social Justice and Activism 
This workshop will be set up in a round-robin format with four different “stations” focusing on different issues related to social justice work in institutional and civic settings.  Workshop participants will cycle through each of these four stations in 40-45 minute intervals, ensuring that every attendee has the chance to learn from each mini-workshop.  A small group of facilitators at each station will be responsible for leading attendees through their workshop (presentations, activities, discussions, etc.) for each of the four time slots available.  Assuming each session takes about 45 minutes, that will leave 30 minutes for getting the overall workshop session started and reconvening at the end for an open discussion.  The goal of this workshop will be to help participants explore social justice and activism issues from the following perspectives:
  • Group #1: Social Justice and Activism in the Context of Program Administration and Service
  • Group #2: Incorporating Pedagogies of Difference and Inclusion in the Classroom
  • Group #3: The Possibilities and Limitations of Scholarly Work on Social Justice
  • Group #4: Safety, Security, and Public Awareness
Workshop #2 (Wednesday, 1:30 – 5:00): Planning for Social Justice Work in Home Institutions 
This workshop will, we hope, build upon Workshop #1 with a focus on planning for social justice work in the participants’ home institutions at the curricular, programmatic, institutional, civic, research, and/or classroom level. (It is not a requirement that participants in Workshop #2 have also attended Workshop #1, however.) The specific goal of this session will be to share ideas, brainstorm approaches for implementing social justice work in local contexts, and help participants plan specific strategies that they can enact on their home campuses once they leave the conference. In this session, participants will meet in small working groups (4-5 people) to discuss their individual contexts and plans for social justice work at their home institutions. These breakout groups will meet for an hour, and participants will then move to a new table with a new group of people, to share and further develop their plans. (The structure for this approach is similar to the way the RNF is organized; it’s possible that the working groups will be given different tasks/charges in each one-hour session.) As a rough estimate, we figure that if 50 people are signed up for this workshop, we will need facilitators for 10-15 tables. The facilitators’ responsibilities will be to ensure all people in the small group discussions have an opportunity to discuss their contexts and plans, and to keep the conversation active through the entire session.
I'm very excited about all the movement on all fronts that the SJAC has done, and in particular, the work that the last group has done in designing two really great workshops that help us think about and perhaps conduct social justice activism at our own locations. Both workshops will have local activists involved in facilitating them. Additionally, I'm very happy with the work the first group has done. It is often difficult to contact local organizations, especially if you don't live in the area. All of the work groups have been working very hard, and I'm very appreciative of their immense contributions to the convention so far.

Finally, I'd like to update and correct some numbers I gave last week concerning acceptances, rejections, and the waitlist for 4C18 proposals so far. Because of some technical issues in gathering the information my numbers from last week were incorrect, or rather a little off. As of Friday morning (Dec 1), here are our current proposal numbers:
  • Roles Accepted: 2,093 (76%)
  • Roles Declined: 132 (5%)
  • No Response: 515 (19%)
The wait list numbers look like this:
  • Roles Accepted: 194 (73%)
  • Roles Declined: 12 (5%)
  • No Response: 59 (22%)
For some context, we have a total of 2,740 speaking roles offered on our program. These numbers look good, but note that there is still a number of people who have not yet accepted or declined their roles in the convention, and this affects those on the wait list. So please, be sure you've followed all the instructions in your email from NCTE/CCCC. Thank you. You're colleagues who are on the wait list appreciate this.

Peace