Paul Kei Matsuda

2008 Symposium

The 2008 Symposium on Second Language Writing was a great success. As always, it was good to see many familiar faces as well as new ones. This year, we focused on foreign language writing--English as a foreign language as well as foreign languages other than English.

This year's Symposium would not have been possible without the contributions of the two Associate Chairs. Melinda Reichelt was the driving force behind this year's program--she was instrumental in assembling the list of speakers who represent a wide variety of languages and contexts. Tony Cimasko worked hard in taking care of local details; everything went smoothly thanks to him.

The Graduate Student Conference, organized by Jihyun Im and Beril Tezeller Arik, was also stimulating. The discussion at the end, where participants reported on issues they found interesting, gave me a lot of ideas for next year's Symposium.

We also benefited much from the support provided by the Symposium Assistants from Purdue University, Arizona State University, and the University of New Hampshire. They are: Haiying Cao, Shihyu Chang, Lixia Cheng, Yin Ling Cheung, Cristyn Elder, Fatima Esseili, Brian Guthrie, John Hitz, Mike Hubert, Jaisree Jayaraman, Beth Kramer, Elena Lawrick, Xianqiang Li, cristine McMartin-Miller, Wongjan Poolpoem, Laurel Reinking, Tanita Saenkhum, and Steven Simpson.

The next Symposium will be held on November 5-7, 2009, at Arizona State University. The theme will be the future of second language writing.

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A Growing Department

One of the exciting things about coming to ASU is that the English Department is actively growing--new positions are shooting up like bamboos. This is quite a change from what I'm used to.

Here is a message from Neal Lester, our Department Chair that speaks to the excitement about the new direction that the Department--and the University--is taking:

October 18, 2007

Dear Colleague:

Movement, Change, Possibilities . . . the spirit and energy that is Arizona State University (ASU). Named one of “America’s Best Colleges” by U. S. News and World Report, ASU is a Research I university located in a thriving metropolitan area. The Department of English, located on the Tempe campus, embraces with excitement the local, national, and global opportunities afforded by the evolution of ASU as a New American University. Comprised of highly accomplished researchers, excellent teachers, and active members in community and professional organizations, the Department offers degree programs in comparative literature, creative writing, English education, linguistics, literature, rhetoric and composition, and TESOL. We are a robust, broadminded group rooted in tradition but always reaching toward greater invention, collaboration and achievement. New thought, new expression, and new ways of experiencing language and culture constitute the heart of our vision and work.

Recognizing the Department’s important role in creating and sustaining ASU as a New American University, President Michael Crow has made a special commitment to the English Department to build our faculty ranks. This year, eight new faculty joined us: Jessica Early (English Education and Rhetoric/Composition), David Hawkes (17th Century British Literature), Heather Maring (Medieval Studies), Paul Kei Matsuda (Linguistics and Rhetoric/Composition), Richard Newhauser (Medieval Studies), Simon Ortiz (Indigenous American Literatures), Bradley Ryner (Renaissance Studies), and Robert Sturges (Medieval Studies and Queer Studies). These new colleagues are already advancing both the mission of the Department and ASU to engage in intellectual fusion, harness research to specific social and cultural purposes, and develop research and pedagogy that are socially embedded and globally engaged.

This year, we will continue to strengthen and grow our focus on literatures, languages, and discourses in these concentration areas: Borderlands; Cultural and Cross-Cultural Encounters; and Technologies. Toward that end, we are pleased to announce searches for the following positions:

  • Professor in Modern American Fiction
  • Professor in Creative Writing/Fiction
  • Associate Professor in English Education
  • Associate Professor in Rhetoric/Composition with specialization in New Media
  • Assistant Professor in Rhetoric/Composition with specialization in Community Literacy
  • Assistant Professor in Native American Linguistics/Semantics
  • Assistant Professor in Applied Linguistics/TESOL with a specialization in CALL
  • Assistant Professor of Postcolonial Studies
  • Assistant Professor in English Education with a specialization in ESL
  • Assistant Professor in 19th Century/Early 20th Century American Literature

We expect to hire a significant number of new faculty members the following year as well. Clearly, this is an exciting time in our department as an infusion of new thinkers re-invigorates an already strong community of teachers-scholars-citizens.

The Phoenix metropolitan area is a unique place to live, offering many cultural options outside of the campus environment. Located in the gorgeous and surprisingly fecund Sonora Desert, the Phoenix metropolitan area boasts a rich Southwestern heritage as well as a vibrant arts and culture scene. From museums to extensive hiking trails in over seven regional parks, the Phoenix area provides something for everyone.

Specific details about all of our job advertisements are on the Department of English website at To speak with me about the program or to discuss any of the positions, please call (480) 965-3535, or e-mail me at

Thank you for circulating these positions to interested candidates.


Neal A. Lester, Chair and Professor of English
Foundation Professor
Parents Association Professor
Bebbling Family Dean’s Distinguished Professor
Arizona Humanities Council Distinguished Public Scholar

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University of Denver Visit

I came to Denver yesterday to give a talk at the University of Denver at the invitation of Doug Hesse, who directs the newly-developed University Writing Program.

After a nice sandwich from Udi's, I met with a group of enthusiastic and well-informed writing instructors for an informal discussion of various topics related to language differences in the classroom, the role of grammar in writing instruction and assessment, my current projects, etc.

I then gave a talk for a wider university community. After an overview of the presence, characteristics and needs of multilingual writers in U.S. higher education in general and at DU in particular, I discussed some of the strategies as well as questions to consider in designing and teaching a course that includes multilingual students.

We had a nice dinner at Tamayo, an upscale Mexican restaurant in downtown Denver. I had pozole; it was quite different from what I had in Coyoacan, which was more like ramen, but it was still great--in a fancy-restaurant sort of way.

I'll be heading home this morning so I can get home by this afternoon--in time for the parent-teacher conference.

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2007 Symposium on Second Language Writing

This year's Symposium on Second Language Writing was a huge success. About 340 people from 26 countries participated in the three-day event that took place at Nagoya Gakuin University, home of Miyuki Sasaki, one of the leading L2 writing researchers.

Many people told me that they were impressed by the quality of presentations (as was I) and that they enjoyed meeting people from variuos parts of the Pacific Rim and beyond.

More photos are available here.

The Symposium has now become an annual event, and the next Symposium will take place on June 5-7, 2008, at Purdue University. Tony and his staff will be organizing the 2008 Symposium (including the website), and I'll be working on the 2009 Symposium.

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Last update: January 6, 2008