[Update- Deadline Approaching] 2015 CCCC Panel Proposal- Program Politics: The Risks and Rewards of Program Innovation

full name / name of organization: 
Scott Ortolano / Edison State College
contact email: 

Academia is changing, and perhaps nowhere are these changes more concentrated (and contested) than in the field of English. As programs adjust to meet the intellectual and professional needs of students in the 21st century, battle lines emerge between established powers and those encouraging change as well as between faculty and administrators with differing views of what constitutes "progress." Significantly, these beliefs arise not only out of pedagogical concerns but also the politics of power as institutions and departments struggle to balance their own interests against what is in the best interests of students. All too often, changes are dictated by the former concern, and this is the first hurdle that those seeking to innovate programs must overcome. This is compounded by the intrusion of what might be called "real politics" as politicians threaten, encourage, and/or coerce change that benefits their constituents or personal ideology—a process that often sets institutions or fields against one another in a race for increasingly diminishing funds. The local business community offers another important (and all too often overlooked) voice in the process and can be a means of success or an unanticipated danger. This session will speak to the political "risks and rewards" that accompany innovation on a programmatic level during a very difficult but critical time in academia.

This session seeks participants who have had significant experiences navigating the difficult politics of program innovation, whether this has been the result of renovating existent programs, generating new programs, or having embarked on ultimately futile attempts to do either of the above (the latter group perhaps even having the most value). While this proposal was created with writing programs in mind, experiences are welcome from across the field of English, broadly construed. Abstracts should explain how faculty members overcame or attempted to overcome the challenges that stood in their way and how other programs can benefit from these experiences.

Please send 250 word abstracts to Dr. Scott Ortolano at SOrtolano@Edison.edu by May 15th

The 2015 CCCC Annual Convention will take place March 18–21, 2015 in Tampa, FL