Paul Kei Matsuda

Teaching Writing at ASU

Writing Programs at ASU is one of the largest writing programs. As such, we are always looking for enthusiastic writing teachers who can contribute to our ongoing effort to provide quality writing instruction to our students.

I addition to classroom teaching, there are many opportunities for professional development--workshops, lectures and conferences. Many writing teachers also gain valuable professional experience by participating actively in curriculum development, mentoring, and conference organization.

Here are some of the current job postings for writing teachers in the Writing Programs at ASU:

Instructors Positions: Four courses/semester. Nine-month appointment. Submit: Letter of application, vita, 1 page statement of teaching philosophy, unofficial graduate transcripts, and 3 letters of recommendation about teaching ability. To meet the first deadline, applications must be postmarked by January 2, 2008; then if not filled postmarked by the 1st of each month thereafter until search is closed. PLEASE DO NOT send your application letter, vita, letters of reference, etc, separately. We do not accept incomplete applications. AA/EOE. AA/EOE

  • Instructors in Composition and Rhetoric -- Required: MA in Rhetoric and Composition or in a related field; post-secondary teaching experience in composition. Applicants who are not native English speakers must provide evidence of having received a minimum score of 55 on either the SPEAK test or the TSE. Desired: Evidence of graduate coursework in Rhetoric and Composition if degree in related field; Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition or related field; evidence of effective teaching; evidence of attendance/presentations at Rhetoric/Composition professional conferences. Send materials to Search Committee, (Instructor, Rhet/Comp), attn. D. Baker, English Department, Writing Programs, Box 870302, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-0302.
  • Instructors in rhetoric and composition with an emphasis in professional writing -- Required: MA in Rhetoric and Composition or in a related field; graduate-level coursework in business, professional and/or technical writing; post-secondary teaching experience in composition or business / professional / technical writing. Applicants who are not native English speakers must provide evidence of having received a minimum score of 55 on either the SPEAK test or the TSE. Desired: Evidence of graduate coursework in Rhetoric and Composition if degree in related field; Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition or related field; evidence of effective teaching; evidence of attendance/presentations at Rhetoric/Composition professional conferences. Send materials to Search Committee, (Instructor, Professional Writing), attn. D. Baker, English Department, Writing Programs, Box 870302, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-0302.

Faculty Associates -- Required: MA degree in English or in a related field; post-secondary teaching experience in composition required. Applicants who are not native English speakers must provide evidence of having received a minimum score of 55 on either the SPEAK test or the TSE. Desired: Evidence of graduate coursework in Rhetoric and Composition; Ph.D. in English; Evidence of professional development; Evidence of effective teaching. General information: Teach one to four composition courses/semester. One semester contract, eligible for renewal. Submit: Letter of application, vita, one page statement of teaching philosophy, unofficial graduate transcripts, SPEAK test or TSE score (if applicable) and 3 letters of recommendation about teaching ability postmarked by 5:00 p.m., February 1, 2008; if not filled, the first of each month thereafter until search is closed, to Search Committee (FA, Rhet/Comp), attn. D. Baker, ASU English Department, Box 870302), Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-0302. PLEASE DO NOT send your application letter, vita, letters of reference, etc, separately. We do not accept incomplete applications. AA/EOE

Writing Programs
Department of English
Arizona State University

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CCCC Conversations on Diversity

CCCC Committee on Diversity will be featuring a series of guest bloggers on the CCCC blog who will address issues of diversity from various perspectives. The first featured blog is by Victor Villanueva.


Guest Bloggers’ schedule:


Victor Villaneuva 5/29

Krista Ratcliffe 6/12

Malea Powell 6/26

Paul Kei Matsuda 7/10

Michelle Kells 7/24

Frankie Condon 8/7

Haivan Hoang 8/21

Jonathan Alexander 9/4

Mike Rose 9/18

A Mixed Message

We have a new building dedicated to sustainability, but finding a recycling bin on this campus has been very hard....

Then, recently, these green boxes began to appear in various corners. I've always thought they were recycling bins sponsored by Pepsi because of the white posters on both sides.

But if you look closely, they are actually high tech decomposting trash cans powered by solar cells!

Whoever designed these needs to take our English 301 (technical writing).


CFP: Technology-Focused Collaborative Research in English Studies

CALL FOR PAPERS: Edited Collection on Technology-Focused Collaborative
Research in English Studies

WORKING TITLE: "Investigating Digital Tools, Texts, and Use Practices:
Collaborative Approaches to Research in English Studies"

Submissions are sought for a collection on the subject of
technology-focused collaborative research conducted by groups of
investigators working in English studies, defined broadly. Submissions
from scholars trained in English studies or rhetoric and composition
but working in newer areas such as software studies or new media
studies are welcome. In particular, submissions from individuals
affiliated with research centers and other larger-scale collaborative
research initiatives are encouraged.

This collection is premised on the idea that evolving technologies,
texts, and use practices are impacting not only our research questions
but also our approaches to conducting and disseminating research. Of
particular interest are the ways in which collaborative project-based
research teams or work groups are investigating technology-related
questions and the lessons that can be learned from these cases. This
collaborative research might bring together faculty, graduate
students, and perhaps undergraduates. At times, it is
interdisciplinary. In some cases, it may involve researchers from
multiple campuses or even from beyond the academy.

The text will feature two sections:

Part I: Research Models for the Twenty-First Century--Part I will
focus on the lessons that can be learned from various collaborative
approaches to investigating digital technologies, texts, use
practices, and culture. Special attention will be paid to
technology-focused research centers, project-based research,
initiatives that involve students as researchers, and multicampus
and/or interdisciplinary research groups. The purpose of Part I is not
only to present models but also to reflect on what these specific
cases demonstrate about the challenges involved in planning,
establishing, managing, and sustaining collaborative research

Part II: New Purposes, Audiences, and Contexts--Part II will address
the goals, outcomes, audiences, and publication contexts associated
with collaborative research into digital technologies, texts, use
practices, and culture. The goal of Part II will be to provide a
variety of perspectives on why this research is necessary, what it can
and should accomplish (outcomes), who it might benefit both within and
beyond the academy, and how it can and should be disseminated.
Attention to topics such as ethics, the state of scholarly
publication, and issues of authorship, authority, and copyright will
be woven throughout the chapters.

Although this list is by no means exhaustive, essays might respond to
one or more of the following questions:

* What are the advantages and challenges of collaborative inquiry for
the study of digital tools, texts, use practices, and culture?
* How does research happen within teams or work groups?
* Which models of collaborative work are relevant for English studies
(e.g., "Big Science," software development) and how have they been
adapted in practice?
* How is collaborative research funded, managed, and sustained over
* In what physical or virtual spaces does this work take place?
* What resources are essential?
* How does this research provide opportunities for student learning
and professionalization?
* What are the outcomes or deliverables of collaborative research?
* Who are the audiences, clients, or beneficiaries of this research?
* Beyond traditional scholarly venues, how are research outcomes being
disseminated (e.g., blogs, Web sites, wikis, multimedia)?
* What issues must be considered (ethics, promotion/tenure,
authorship, authority, copyright)?

Send original essays or 500-word proposals, with a brief CV, to Laura
McGrath, Assistant Professor of English, Kennesaw State University by
August 31, 2008:

Second Language Writing IS at TESOL 2009

Here is a really useful message from Gigi Taylor, current chair of the Second Language Writing Interest Section at TESOL:

Dear IS Members,

As the deadline draws near (this Monday, June 2nd, 11:59 p.m. EST), I urge you to put the finishing touches on your TESOL proposals and to submit them under the Second Language Writing Interest Section.

Very simply, each interest section is represented proportionally--if SLW-IS proposals represent 20% of all TESOL proposals received, then we are assigned 20% of the adjudicated program slots.

If you have more than one brilliant idea, submit them all! You can only be the primary presenter on one of the accepted proposals, but the reviewers will select the one that will be of greatest interest and value to a balanced program. Please, give us plenty to choose from!

Also, please note that Discussion Groups are adjudicated this year, so even if you've got more questions than answers and would like to hear others' ideas, propose a discussion group this year.

Listed below are the topics brainstormed at this year's planning meeting--quite a varied list. Please know that your colleagues are interested in what you're doing and eager to learn from you.

All of us together are making the SLW-IS the vibrant, rapidly growing interest section that it is. Thank you for your participation and your proposals!

Best regards,

Gigi Taylor
SLW-IS Chair, 2008-2009

Brainstorming List from Planning Portion of Meeting: Suggested Proposal Topics

  • Corpus linguistics
  • Intercultural rhetoric (analysis through student interviews)
  • Acquisition of academic language (native & non-native; academic language as a second language)
  • Overlap with L1 academic language development
  • Case studies from K-12 to Postsecondary
  • What happens after ESL classes when students enter mainstream (thinking, pattering, prep in EAP)?
  • Mainstreaming too early
  • Higher Ed mainstreamed – longitudinal tracking across 4 years (post-ESL)
  • Program administration – realistic expectations, institutional context, resources, funding sources
  • “How to” advocacy for second language writers and SLW programs (successful program models for advocacy and for collaborating across contexts)
  • All of the above in EFL (strategies, challenges, plagiarism, successes, environment)
  • Assessing instructional needs
  • Linked courses
  • Materials development
  • Assignment design
  • Writing Across the Curriculum issues
  • Graduate research writing (comparisons across ranches/disciplines)
  • Teacher education/professional development for mainstream teachers
  • Teacher training for graduate students for working with second language writers
  • Programs that offer composition training and offer ESL
  • Balancing ESL teachers’ expertise with need for all teachers to develop some expertise
  • Professional placement of ESL writing professionals (rank? Track?)
  • Writing Centers – L2 writing/inter-cultural sensitivity
  • Writing strategies in EFL
  • Plagiarism in EFL
  • Formative feedback, effect
  • Writing for accuracy versus writing for content
  • Reading/writing connection
  • Grammar
  • Writing assessment (machine assessment/scoring, context, teacher education, placement, outsourcing)
  • Rising [x] exam (i.e., rising junior)
  • No Child Left Behind
  • “Teaching despite the standards” (Meeting the standards and still using best practices)
  • High school exit writing exams
  • Continental/cultural differences: Dialogue about context (ESL vs. EFL, K-12 vs. HE)
  • Conversation among people from different contexts
  • Populations of L2 writers (voice, pedagogy)

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Advice for Master’s in TESOL Applicants

Here is my advice to people who are thinking about applying to the Master’s Program in TESOL at ASU. The information provided here is my personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of other MTESOL faculty members, the Department or ASU.

Statement of Purpose. To me, this is the most important document. Here are some of the questions that I ask as I read through these documents:

  • Why do you wish to pursue a master’s degree in TESOL? To begin your career as an English language teacher? To become a more effective teacher in your current teaching context? To expose yourself to the most up-to-date ideas about the English language, language learning, and language teaching? To gain the credential to teach in intensive language programs or college-level ESL courses? To prepare yourself for a research career in TESOL (by continuing onto a Ph.D. program)?
  • What experience have you had in the field of TESOL? Have you taken a course? Have you taught English? Have you reflected on your own language learning experience? It’s OK not to have any experience at all—everyone has to start somewhere, and Master’s Program in TESOL provides an excellent starting point.
  • What do you hope to learn through your studies? Although Master’s Program in TESOL is a general preparation for professionals in TESOL, it helps to have a sense of what you hope to learn in the program, which helps you determine the best plan of study and identify appropriate faculty mentors.
  • Why are you interested in this particular program? It is the wide variety of courses that are offered by the program? Is it the opportunity to gain teaching experience through the internship program? Is it the reputation of the faculty members or graduates of the program? Did a graduate of this program recommend it to you? If so, what did they say that made you want to apply to this program?
  • Do you have a faculty member whose work you are interested? If so, you can mention the person as one of the reasons for applying to this particular program—it shows that you’ve done your homework. But don’t just drop names—listing everyone is not as effective as mentioning one or two people and explaining how their work has inspired you and relates to your professional development and career objectives.
  • What do you plan to do when you complete the program? Do you plan to teach in the United States or abroad? Do you plan to continue onto a Ph.D. program in TESOL or a related field? Are you thinking about starting a language school of your own? A graduate degree is always a means to an end. Have a clear idea about where you are headed. It’s OK to change your mind after you enter the program—you will be introduced to the whole world of TESOL during your studies, and you may discover new possibilities you’ve never considered.
Recommendation Letters. Ask someone who is in the field of TESOL and who knows you and your work very well. Although a letter from a well-known person in the field could help, a weak, dashed-off letter from the same person could actually hurt the case. It is more important to have strong letters that detail your academic strengths, personality traits, your relationships with mentors and classmates, and your interest in and commitment to the profession. (See Recommendation Letters.)

TOEFL or IELTS Score. Advanced proficiency in spoken and written English is essential for your success as a student and future English teacher. If you are an international student, the current requirement is a TOEFL score of 600 PBT, 250 CBT or 100 iBT, or an IELTS score of 6.5. If you don’t have the scores, ASU offers an excellent, multi-level English language program in the American English and Culture Program (AECP), where you can work on your English proficiency while preparing your application.

Official Transcripts. Be sure that your overall GPA is 3.0 on a 4 point scale (i.e., B average) or above. It would help if you have taken courses related to applied linguistics, linguistics or language teaching, but it’s neither required nor necessary.

Department of English Application. Fill it out completely and neatly. Type the form—hand-written applications can be a turn-off.

Graduate Application (online). Be sure to complete both Department of English and Graduate Application.

Best of luck with your application process!

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Symposium on Second Language Writing

The 2008 Symposium is just around the corner. I'm really looking forward to reconnecting with many of the colleagues from around the world as we explore the issue of foreign language writing.

In the meantime, I'm already working on the next one--to be held at Arizona State University on November 5-7, 2009.

The theme of the 2009 Symposium will be "The Future of Second Language Writing," and the call for proposals will be available sometime this fall.

I hope you will join us in exploring the future directions for this young and vibrant field.

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Recent Publications

I've been too busy to even keep track of my own work. Here are a few publications that recently came out.

Knoblauch, A. A., & Matsuda, P. K. (2008). First-year composition in the 20th century U.S. higher education: An historical overview. In P. Friedrich (Ed.), Teaching academic writing (pp. 3-25). New York: Continuum.

As the title suggests, this chapter provides an overview of the development of first-year composition--starting with the creation of the first-year composition course in the late 19th century. It also considers the rise of rhetoric and composition as a discipline in the mid 20th century and explores some of the major pedagogical approaches in the 20th century. Abby, by the way, is going to start as Assistant Professor at Kansas State University.
Matsuda, P. K. (2008). Myth: International and U.S. resident ESL writers cannot be taught in the same class. In J. M. Reid (Ed.), Writing myths: Applying second language research to classroom teaching (pp. 159-176). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
This piece examines one of the extreme positions I've seen people take--that ESL writing courses (intensive or first-year) are for international students only and that resident students' needs are too different from international students for them to be placed in the same course. Well, it may be, but given the demographics, all writing teachers--mainstream, basic, or ESL--need to be prepared to work with students who come from various language backgrounds.
Matsuda, P. K. (2008). Voice in second language writing: Implications for Japanese learners of English. JACET Summer Seminar Proceedings, No.7: Issues in L2 Writing Instruction (pp. 9-14). Tokyo: The Japan Association of College English Teachers.
This is an outcome of a JACET summer seminar in Kusatsu, Gunma, Japan. (If you are in Japan in August, I highly recommend it.) Based on my earlier study of voice (Matsuda, 2001), I considered the implications of voice for English learners in Japan. While my view on voice encompasses both individual and social voice, I couldn't help but notice that many Japanese students want to develop their own individual voice. That is, they don't want to stand out but they don't want to be the same as everyone else. Individual identiy, after all, is something we create by combining socially available discursive and non-discursive repertoire.
Matsuda, P. K., & Atkinson, D. (2008). A conversation on contrastive rhetoric: Dwight Atkinson and Paul Kei Matsuda talk about issues, conceptualizations, and the future of contrastive rhetoric. In U. Connor, E. Nagelhout, & W. Rozycki (Eds.), Contrastive rhetoric: Reaching to intercultural rhetoric (pp. 277-298). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Dwight and I often have conversations on various topics in the field (and we often don't agree with one another), and we decided it would be a good idea (and fun) to share some of those conversations with other people in the field. So we tape-recorded one of our conversations when I visited his family cottage on Deer Isle, Main. Steve Simpson transcribed the conversation for us. (He reflects on that experience in Simpson and Matsuda (2008) that I mention below.) We edited it very little, but it sounds remarkably coherent and even handed--it was interesting for us to see what kinds of conversations we often have. (We were aware of the presence of the tape recorder, of course, but after a few beers, it just didn't seem to matter.)
Matsuda, P. K., & Tardy, C. M. (2008). Continuing the conversation about voice in academic writing. English for Specific Purposes, 27(1), 100-105. (doi:10.1016/j.esp.2007.04.002)
This is a response to the response that Paul Stapleton and Rena Helms-Park wrote to our article on voice (Matsuda & Tardy, 2007). It may sound pretty strong, but we felt compelled to respond to all the points that Stapleton and Helms-Park raised in their piece. (I've met them both, and they are great people.) Chris and I have a follow-up article on voice (though not in response to this dialogue) that's being considered for publication as we speak.
Simpson, S., & Matsuda, P. K. (2008). Mentoring as a long-term relationship: Situated learning in a doctoral program. In C. P. Casanave & X. Li (Eds.), Learning the literacy practices of graduate school: Insiders' reflections on academic enculturation (pp. 90-104). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Steve and I wrote this piece during the summer of 2006. I thought of this as a culminating experience for our mentoring relationship at UNH and an important step toward our relationship as colleagues. It was useful for me to reflect on my approach to mentoring and to hear Steve's perspective as well. I was also happy that we were able to receive responses from some of my other mentees, including Michelle Cox, Joleen Hanson, Matt Schneider, and Christina Ortmeier-Hooper. Matt Schneider, who came from San Francisco State to work with me during the summer, observed the whole process of writing this piece. I was lucky to have had the chance to work with these and many other great grad students at UNH, who remain my important colleagues and friends.
A list of major publications is available at:

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References for a Job

I've written on the topic of requesting a recommendation letter, but what about asking someone to be a reference (i.e., listing that person on your CV or resume)?

Of course it depends on the situation, but the same general principles of requesting a recommendation letter also apply.

  • Don't assume that the person can (or is willing to) serve as your reference. Ask for their permission to have their names included--before you include the name on your resume or CV.
  • Ask for the preferred contact information. Some people may wish to receive those phone calls at home while others may not like to be bothered at home. Others may prefer email over phone.
  • Provide some information about the job. Who is the employer? What's the nature of the job? (Summer job? Permanent job? Internship?) Is there a job description? In what ways do you think you qualify for the job?
  • Provide the timelines. When is the application deadline? When will they be scheduling the interviews? When does the job start? This type of information will help your prospective reference to anticipate when they might receive the call.

It would help if you could provide the documents that you would normally provide when you ask for a recommendation letter.

You would want the person to say that you are well organized and considerate, and has strong communication skills (among many other things). If so, it would help if you could demonstrate those skills when you make the request.

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New Course for Fall: APL601 Introduction to Applied Lingusitics


Thursdays 4:40-7:30

Instructor: Professor Aya Matsuda

Course Description:

This course provides an overview of the field of applied linguistics, or the study of real-life problems and issues related to languages. Topics to be explored include, but are not limited to, language education and acquisition, discourse analysis, language policy and planning, and World Englishes. The question of disciplinarity—e.g., the interdisciplinary nature of the field of applied linguistics, how the field is defined in different parts of the world, and how the disciplinary boundary is constantly pushed—is also addressed throughout the course. Global focus.


Article presentations, Professionalization activity, Reflective journals, Final research paper

*Please feel free to email Aya Matsuda ( with questions.

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CFP: AAAL 2009 in Denver

AAAL 2009 Abstract Submission Announcement

The 2009 conference of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) will be held March 21-24 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, Denver, CO.

The 2009 conference's plenary presentations and invited colloquia (see below) address the theme of the relevance of applied linguistics-to the real world and to other fields of scientific inquiry. Proposals addressing this theme are particularly encouraged, but proposals are welcome in all of the following topic strands:

Analysis of discourse and interaction
Assessment and evaluation
Bilingual, immersion, heritage, and language minority education
Language and ideology
Language and learner characteristics
Language and technology
Language cognition and brain research
Language maintenance and revitalization
Language, culture, socialization, and pragmatics
Language, planning, and policy
Reading, writing, and literacy
Second and foreign language pedagogy
Second language acquisition, language acquisition, and attrition
Text analysis (written discourse)
Translation and interpretation

The abstract submission deadline is August 15, 2008.

To login and submit your proposal, go to:

For hotel reservation information, go to:

For conference registration and rates, go to:

The early registration deadline date is February 20, 2009.

AAAL Business Office

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WPA Award for Grad Students

The Council of Writing Program Administrators is pleased to announce the call for nominations for its recently created award recognizing outstanding scholarship by graduate students writing on issues in writing program administration. Please review the description of the award and guidelines for eligibility vailable on the WPA website at this URL:

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Conferences Ahead

Here are some of the conferences I'm planning to attend over the next year or so:

Symposium on Second Language Writing, West Lafayette, IN, June 5-7, 2008.

Thomas Watson Conference, University of Louisville, Louiville, KY, October 16-18, 2008.

National Council of Teachers of English, San Antonio, TX, November 20-23, 2008.

Conference on College Composition and Communication, San Francisco, CA, March 11-14, 2009.

American Association for Applied Linguistics, Denver, CO, March 21-24, 2009.

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Denver, CO, March 25-28, 2009.

Symposium on Second Language Writing, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, November 5-7, 2009.

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Last update: January 6, 2008