Paul Kei Matsuda

Symposium on Second Language Writing 2006

The Symposium program is almost complete, and it's now available on the web. We are still looking for a few session chairs, but other than that, we have a pretty full program for the three-day event. This year, Tony Cimasko from Purdue and Steve Simpson from UNH are organizing the Graduate Student Conference, and they have done a great job in putting together a robust program.

Joleen Hanson from UNH and Karyn Mallett from Purdue will be working with us to organize the Symposium. I'll be asking them to put together the program book, coordinate the book exhibit, and lead the Symposium Assistants. (We used to call them Local Representatives, but since UNH grad students are not really local, we've decided to change the name.)

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CCCC 2006

I'm still trying to clear my desk after TESOL and CCCC.

Since 1995, I've been working with many of my colleagues at CCCC to integrate L2 writing issues into the organization and the profession, and it seems to be making a difference. There are a number of L2 writing specialists who attend CCCC regularly, and there seems to be a strong sense of community. L2 writing sessions--workshops, panels, and SIG meetings are also well attended not only by specialists but also by composition teachers who are beggining to realize the importance of addressing the needs of L2 writers in their classrooms. And it was good to see Duku Anokye, a former member of the L2 Writing Committee, working as the program chair and next year's CCCC Chair.

The two Wednesday workshops seemed to work well--we received strong evaluations from the participants. Kate Mangelsdord, Jay Jordan, Fifi Juliana, Michelle Cox, and Laurel Reinking did a great job of organizing the workshops. We'll be continuing the tradition next year.

The panel I organized--the one on the implications of terms people use to describe L2 writers with Diane Belcher, Barbara Jean Hall, and Shondel Nero--was well attended. The room was packed--both TESOL and CCCC need to realize that L2 writing is much more popular than they realize! I also saw some established composition specialists, including Keith Gilyard and Susan Jarratt, in the audience. I problematized the popular term "generation 1.5." I had anticipated a strong reaction from some of the people in the audience, but they all seemed to accept my argument.

I didn't get to any other panels because of meetings, but judging from the reports at the Committee open meeing on Saturday, we had a successful year. I hope the trend continues next year. I'm actually excited by Cheryl Glenn's leadership and her call for papers, which highlighted identity and language, and mentioned ESL explicitly.

Deborah Crusan organized a consultation session that featured a lot of L2 writing specialists--Diane Belcher, Colleen Brice, Chris Casanave, Ulla Connor, Dana Ferris, Ann Johns, Ilona Leki, Tony Silva, Margi Wald, Jessica Williams, Carol Severino, and me. It was also well attended, and the discussion was really interesting.

Kevin DePew and Susan Kay Miller-Cochran's SIG attracted a small group of people--perhaps because it was competing with the Bedford/St. Martin reception at the Field Museum. But the presentations on writing center by Paula Gilespie and Sarah Riling as well as the response by Carol Severino was interesting, and I enjoyed the discussion and the informal dinner afterwards.

The challenge next year, of course, is that CCCC and TESOL are going to be taking place at the same time. I hope there will be a good respresentation of L2 writing specialists at both conferences to keep the momentum going.

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Charles Nelson's L2 Writing Website

Here is Charles's website.


Good news

I received a letter from the Dean saying that my tenure and promotion case has been approved by the Provost. Just a few more steps before it's final. Aya received the same letter for her case. We will be tenured associate professors from this Fall.

My fourth edited collection just came out, and Aya's article on the "perpetual first-year foreign-language teacher" just got accepted for publication.

We went out to celebrate at a Japanese restaurant in Portsmouth, but not the one Don Murray wrote about in his Globe column.

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Back from TESOL

I just came back from TESOL.

I finished my term as a member of TESOL Quaterly Editorial Advisory Board. I really enjoyed working with Carol and Suresh, and with other board members. The Committee to Internationalize TQ, which I inherited from Dwight, seems to have served its purpose, especially with Suresh in the leadership and with a number of highly qualified board members from various parts of the world. I hope the trend will continue even after Suresh completes his term.

I'm glad to report that TESOL is getting better in some ways. Last year, I spent most of the conference (other than the board meeting and my presentations) trying to get TESOL to stop publishing discriminatory ads in the program book and to revise the policy that banned little children from the convention. This year, both problems had been solved. Chuck, the Executive Director, even stopped by to say hi to my daughter. I want to thank TESOL President Elliott Judd and others for making these important changes.

Board members also seemed to be speaking their minds more freely compared to a few years ago, when TESOL suddenly decided to discontinue TESOL Matters and TESOL Journal and replace them with Essential Teachers. (I encountered a cynical board member, but I want to believe it was the problem of this particular individual and not of the entire organization.)

The talk of the conference this year was that the Board of Directors decided to resurrect TESOL Journal. It will be an online-journal--to avoid competition with Essential Teachers, I was told--but it's still good to have the theoretically-informed pedagogical journal back in business so TQ can continue to be a first-rate research journal.

Another piece of good news is that Second Language Writing Interest Section, which was approved last year, is now up and running. Christina Ortmeier-Hooper and Jessie Moore Kapper did an excellent job in organizing the activities for the premier year. My personal high point was when Christina told me that now she understands why I handed over this huge responsibility to her. She now knows a lot of people and how TESOL works.

The bad news is that, since TESOL and CCCC are scheduled to take place at the same time for the next two years, I will have to choose one or the other. Since I'm still chairing the L2 writing committee at CCCC, I'll probably have to attend CCCC.

I'll be leaving for CCCC on Tuesday.

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Last update: January 6, 2008