Paul Kei Matsuda

CCCC Committee

I have decided to step down as the chair of the CCCC Committee on Second Language Writing after 9 years. My third three-year term ends in November 2007.

Susan Miller-Cochran, the current co-chair, will continue on as the committee chair, and I will continue to support the committee as an Executive Committee liaison.

I feel the committee has successfully completed its initial mission, which was to integrate a second-language perspective into various aspects of the organization and the field. It has also helped to develop a community of dedicated L2 writing specialists who would determine the future of the committee.

Is this what it feels like to retire? (But then, Jay is always quick to remind me that I'm not that much older than he.)


Sad News

Sally Jacoby, a former colleague of mine at the University of New Hampshire, past away on Friday.

Before I left New Hampshire, I got to see her one last time at a Thai restaurant in Dover. Sally, may you rest in peace.

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CFP: International Writing Across the Curriculum Conference (5/31/2008)

CFP: Ninth Biennial International Writing Across the Curriculum Conference (IWAC), Austin, Texas
Wednesday, May 28 through Saturday, May 31, 2008

We invite proposals investigating how border crossings affect the shape of writing instruction, disciplinary tutoring, institutions, and global WAC conversations. For example, proposals might focus on how working with disciplines and their media in and outside class, and in writing centers influence our theories; how communicating across local (e.g.K-16), national and international borders changes definitions of disciplinary writing as well as teaching and collaborative practices; how we translate what we do so students, academic staff, administration, and those outside our institutions support the scholarship and curricular reform we promote. For more information, visit

Proposal deadline: Friday, September 28, 2007.

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Advice for New Ph.D. Students

An annonymous reader asks: "Do you have any (general) advice for incoming Comp/Rhet PhD students? I want to read this post!"

Here are a few things I can think of:

1. Read a lot. I've said this many times, and I'll say it again. Being a graduate student--no matter how you may feel at the moment--is a luxury. You may not have a whole lot of money, but you have plenty of time. (Relatively speaking, of course.) If you think you are already too busy as a doctoral student, wait until you get a tenure-track position. (But then again, you may not get to that point if you don't read a lot now.)

2. Start developing your own professional library. Your investment will start paying off as soon as you begin to write your first seminar paper. You will probably notice the benefits most strongly when you take the preliminary/comprehensive exam, but it will also continue to be helpful throughout your career. When I was a grad student, my professional library included all the books on my primary field of interest (i.e., second language writing) as well as most of those books that I found remotely interesting or those that were cited or mentioned frequently. Reference books (e.g., encyclopedia, bibliographies, MLA and APA manuals) would also help. Start early because you won't have the time (or money) to buy all the books you need when you get your first tenure-track position (if you get to that point, that is).

3. Have a "room of one's own." Create a space where you can focus on your projects. Even if you live in a small apartment, try to devote a desk to your professional work. Set it up so you have all the resources--including books, articles, a computer, a printer, notepads, pens, sticky notes, etc.--available at your fingertip. Stock up on office supplies so you don't have to put your writing on hold when you run out of notepads. A moment of interruption could kill the momentum!

4. Develop a network of people who share similar interests or concerns. Starting a reading group is one way of accomplishing this. Creating or joining an email discussion list is another. Going to a conference regularly is yet another.

5. Get to know the faculty members in your program. Taking classes is not the only way of getting to know them. When they are giving presentations locally or at conferences, go to their sessions and ask questions (but try not to monopolize them). Take them out for a cup of coffee or a glass of beer or wine or whatever they fancy--within your graduate student budget. Find out what they find interesting (and what they find boring), what they know (and don't know), what kind of methodological approaches they like (or dislike), and how they interact with you, with other students, and with other faculty members. Knowing the faculty members and the interpersonal dynamics among them would be especially important when you choose your dissertation/exam chair and committee members. (And when you choose your dissertation committee members, always consult your chair.) Keep in mind that your default advisor (if there is one) doesn't have to be your dissertation chair.

6. Be open to a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches in your field. Although sometimes it's important to trust your gut feelings and follow your intuition, you don't always fall in love with the right topic or methodology at first. Try to develop a large repertoire before deciding on your dissertation topic.

7. Have fun. If you feel like you are sacrificing something else when you read and write in your field, entering a Ph.D. program may not be the right career decision. If you have that much discipline to complete the degree requirements without really enjoying the process, you might consider choosing from many other career options out there that don't require a Ph.D. and that you might actually enjoy.

Hope this helps. Good luck to you all!

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JSLW Website

The Journal of Second Language Writing website has been redesigned to strengthen the collaboration with the publisher's online services. It provides direct links to various Elsevier services, including abstracts and articles as well as the manuscript submission system.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to use the comments feature here.

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JSLW and SSLW Mailing Lists

The new mailing lists for the Journal of Second Language Writing (JSLWLIST) and the Symposium on Second Language Writing (SSLWLIST) are now available.

Subscribers can manage their own subscription easily through the listserv web interface:

Journal of Second Language Writing Mailing List

Symposium on Second Language Writing Discussion List

JSLWLIST continues to be announcement only, but SSLWLIST is now available for interaction among subscribers. I hope it will help the Symposium participants who need to find roommates or ask questions about the Symposium and its venue.

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Symposium Program Now Available

The tentative schedule for the 2007 Symposium on Second Language Writing (September 15-17, 2007) in nagoya, Japan, is now available in Excel format.

  • Tentative Schedule

  • Due to limited space, only the first authors/presenters are listed. A complete list of all the presenters is also available.

    If you are one of the presenters, please take a look at it and let me know if there is any problem.

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    Server Migration

    As a result of my move to Arizona State, I've also had to move the websites for the Journal of Second Language Writing and Symposium on Second Language Writing.

    Fortunately, with the help of Bruce Matsunaga, the tech person for the ASU English Department, I have been able to move everything to the ASU server without any major problems.

    I will be posting various announcements about the Symposium (label:symposium) and the Journal (label:jslw) here.

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    A new look

    My original blog is back--with a new look that matches my new website. I've also reinstated the blog entries from the original blog site.

    I'll keep the blogspot site up and running for archival purposes. I probably won't be adding anything to that site, so if you are using RSS to read my blog, please change your RSS address to:


    Last update: January 6, 2008