Paul Kei Matsuda

Jinglin Chen

Jinglin Chen, one of my MTESOL advisees, successfully defended her Applied Project, "Reexamining Chinese Students' Perceptions of Collaborative Group Work." Her AP exam took place from 4 to 5 p.m. on Monday, May 4, 2009.

The committee members, Professors Mark A. James and Ruby Macsoud, agreed that her AP paper is substantive and well written in an appropriate academic style. Her presentation also raised an intriguing question--the paradox between the supposed "collectivist" orientation and the challenges Chinese students face in group work--and brought out a range of issues and possible explanations through a critical review of literature.

She also handled committee members' questions well with thoughtful responses.

Congratulations, Chen! Well done!

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Graduate Research Fellowship

Zuzana Tomas, one of the doctoral students in the graduate seminar on Second Language Writing Research I'm teaching at the University of Utah, has received a Graduate Research Fellowship.

Congratulations, Zuzana!

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2009 WPA Conference

The proposal that Steven Accardi, Tanita Saenkhum and I have put together has been accepted for 2009 WPA Conference in Minneapolis. We will present the preliminary findings of our collaborative study of placement practices of multilingual writers in a large, comprehensive first-year writing program.

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From Discourse Communities to Activity Systems: Activity Theory as Approach to Community Service Writing

Michael-John DePalma, a student of mine from UNH, just published an article on service learning and activity theory, which he wrote in my Theory of Composition class.

His article, "From Discourse Communities to Activity Systems: Activity Theory as Approach to Community Service Writing," appears in the latest issue of Reflections: Writing, Service-Learning, and Community Literacy (7.3).

Congratulations, Mike! Well done!

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Congratulations to Tanita Saenkhum!

Tanita Saenkhum, one of my doctoral advisees specializing in second language writing at ASU, has received the Albert H. Marckwardt Travel Grant to attend TESOL 2009 in Denver, Colorado.

Congratulations, Tanita. Well done!

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CFP: TESOL 2009 Graduate Student Forum

Call for Proposals
The 2009 Graduate Student Forum
at the 43rd Annual TESOL Convention
Denver, Colorado, USA
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Eligibility to Submit a Proposal

Full-time and part-time students enrolled in graduate programs leading to the master's degree in TESOL (or related fields) at any institution of higher learning can take part in the Graduate Student Forum, either as presenters or as participants. (Please note that there is a similar but separate forum for doctoral students).

Types of Proposals

Proposals for three types of presentations are being solicited: papers, demonstrations, and poster sessions.

A paper (15 minutes) is an oral summary, with occasional reference to notes or a text, which describes or discusses something that the presenter is doing or has done in relation to theory or practice. Handouts and audiovisual aids may be used.

A demonstration (15 minutes) shows, rather than discusses, a technique for teaching or testing. No more than 5 minutes is spent explaining the theory underlying the technique. The presenter provides handouts and may use audiovisual aids.

A poster session (1 hour) allows for short, informal discussions with other participants during the 1-hour time period that a self-explanatory exhibit is on display. The exhibit is presented on a large (4' x 8') display board that includes a title; the name and institutional affiliation of the presenter(s); and a brief text with clearly labeled photos, drawings, graphs, or charts. No other audiovisual equipment is allowed. Exhibits are set up during the lunch hour before the session and dismantled immediately after the session.

Deadline for Submitting a Proposal

All proposals must be submitted by December 1, 2008. Proposals may be submitted via email using the Proposal Form. If you do not have access to a computer, send your proposal to the following:

TESOL Gradute Forum
Brigham Young University University
4064 JFSB
Provo, UT 84602 USA

Please enclose a self-addressed, stamped postcard with the title of the proposal on it for acknowledgment of proposal receipt. Please do NOT submit duplicate proposals.

Adjudication of Proposals

Submitted proposals will be refereed by graduate students at the host universities (Brigham Young University, Eastern Michigan University, Seattle Pacific University, Southeast Missouri State University). If you have any questions about the 2009 Graduate Student Forum, please contact the TESOL Graduate Student Forum at

Factors Affecting Selection

The Graduate Student Forum is intended to bring together individuals from a variety of institutions and backgrounds; therefore, an important factor in proposal selection is program balance. In adjudicating proposals, the Forum Program Committee will seek such balance in (a) range of topics, (b) level of expertise, (c) interests covered, (d) professional and geographic distribution of the participants, and (e) relevance of the proposal to the needs of graduate students in TESOL.

Another important factor is how well the proposal summary is written. Summaries should possess (a) clarity of purpose, (b) succinctness, (c) appropriateness, (d) significance for the intended audience, (e) an indication of the research quality (if relevant), and (f) evidence that the presentation will be well prepared.

Because institutional travel funding for many graduate students is contingent upon their presenting a session at the convention, the Forum Program Committee will accept only one primary presentation per presenter. Otherwise, if a presenter takes up more than one spot on the forum program, others may be prevented from attending the TESOL convention.

Factors Disqualifying a Proposal

Proposals will be disqualified if they promote commercial interests are not completed according to the guidelines outlined in this Call for Participation (e.g., the summary exceeds one page) are not received by the deadline of December 1, 2008.

Responsibilities of the Presenter

Notify all co-presenters about the status of the proposal. When two or more people are presenting, the first presenter is responsible for notifying the others. Register for the forum and the TESOL convention. TESOL is unable to reimburse program participants for expenses.
Do not change the conceptual content of your session once it has been accepted. Bring enough handouts for your room size, which will be indicated in the proposal acceptance message. Participate in all the activities of the entire Graduate Student Forum from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

Steps in Submitting a Proposal

Proposals that do not follow these steps are automatically disqualified.

1. If the proposal is accepted, the proposal must include an abstract that will appear in the Program Book. Participants in the forum will use the abstract to decide which presentations to attend. Make sure the abstract has the following information in the upper left corner: (a) title, (b) presenter’s full name, (c) institutional affiliation, (d) city, (e) state/province, and (f) country.

Title Guidelines:

(a) accurately reflects the content
(b) is clear to the intended audience
(c) has no colon in the title
(d) is limited to seven words. Each part of a slashed or hyphenated word counts as one word. Do not use quotation marks. Capitalize all major words. Examples: (1)Participants' Perspectives on In-Service Teacher Training (seven words), (2) Web Sites for Teaching U.S. Popular Culture (seven words).

Abstract Guidelines:

(a) does not exceed 50 words
(b) is written in the third-person present tense (e.g., "The presenter begins by ... and she/he ...”)
(c) avoids all references to published works
(d) is carefully edited and proofread
(e) is written to draw the most appropriate audience to the presentation
(f) spells out any acronym(s) used in the title

Sample Abstract: This paper reports on research conducted to determine how to best develop language learning strategies. The participants were EFL learners in a Southeast Asian nation. This research compared the natural development of strategies among students in traditional classrooms with the effects of specific instruction in strategies and their use.

2. Prepare a one-page summary of the presentation content. Only the referees will see the proposal summary; it will not appear in the Program Book. Make sure your proposal summary has the following information in the upper left corner: (a) title, (b) type of presentation (i.e., paper, demonstration, poster session), (c) designated interest area, (d) content area, and (e) audiovisual equipment needs.

Proposal Summary Guidelines:

(a) is limited to one 8 1/2" x 11" (21.5 x 28 cm) page. Longer summaries are disqualified.
(b) is typed: double-spaced, dark, and readable
(c) does not include names of the presenter(s) or institution(s)
(d) presents a clearly stated purpose and point of view
(e) includes supporting details and examples
(f) contains evidence of current practices and/or research
(g) uses appropriate format (e.g., paper, demonstration)
(h) uses a variety of techniques (e.g., activities, visuals)
(i) indicates that a presenter can cover the material in the allotted time
(j) is carefully edited and proofread

Proposal Summary Content:

(a) paper: synopsis that includes central idea and supporting evidence
(b) demonstration: central purpose and description of what will be demonstrated
(c) poster session: main ideas to be presented and description of the visual display

Registering to Attend or Present at the Forum

To attend the 2009 Graduate Student Forum, you must register for the TESOL 2009 Graduate Student Forum. Registration for the 2009 Graduate Student Forum is a separate process. Although there is no extra forum registration fee for students registered for the TESOL convention, registration is still required for the Graduate Student Forum because space limits attendance to 160 participants. To register, fill out the registration form and send it to the address below. Registrations must be received by February 25, 2009.

TESOL Graduate Student Forum
4064 JFSB
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602 USA

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DePalma, Ringer and Webber

"(Re)Charting the (Dis)Courses of Faith and Politics, or Rhetoric and Democracy in the Burkean Barnyard," an article co-authored by three of my former students at the University of New Hampshire, just appeared in the latest issue of Rhetoric Society Quarterly (38.3).

Congratulations to Mike DePalma, Jeff Ringer and Jim Webber!

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Christina's CCC Article

Christina Ortmeier-Hooper's article, “English May Be My Second Language, but I’m Not ‘ESL,’” appears in the most recent issue of College Composition and Communication (59.3).

Here is the abstract: "In this essay, I present three case studies of immigrant, first-year students, as they negotiate their identities as second language writers in mainstream composition classrooms. I argue that such terms as “ESL” and “Generation 1.5” are often problematic for students and mask a wide range of student experiences and expectations."

Congratulations, Christina! Excellent job!

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Publication by DePalma, Ringer and Webber

A collaborative article by Michael-Jon DePalma, Jeffrey Ringer, and James D. Webber has been accepted for publication in Rhetoric Society Quarterly. Congratulations, Mike, Jeff and Jim! Way to go!

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Christina Ortmeier-Hooper's New Job

Christina Ortmeier-Hooper has just accepted the position of Assistant Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire, Durham. She will be working with doctoral students in Composition Studies, some of whom are intereted in her expertise in second language writing, among other things.

I'm really happy for Christina and especially for UNH!

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Steve Simpson's Publication

The chapter on mentoring that Steve Simpson and I wrote together just came out:

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.

It provides an overview of my approach to mentoring as well as Steve's perspective on how it worked for him during the first few years of doctoral studies.

It's been fun working with you on this project, Steve!

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New position for Abby Knoblauch!

A. Abby Knoblauch, my former student at UNH and co-author of the forthcoming chapter on the history of composition, has just accepted a job offer from Kansas State University. Congratulations, Abby! Well deserved!

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Kate Tirabassi is the recipient of the 2008 Berlin Award!

Kate Tirabassi, Assistant Professor English at Keene State College and one of my former doctoral students at the University of New Hampshire, is the recipient of 2008 James A. Berlin Memorial Outstanding Dissertation Award.

The award ceremony will be on Friday, April 4 from 5:00-6:30pm at the Conference on College Composition and Communication in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Congratulations, Kate!

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Mike DePalma's Publication

Mike DePalma, one of my former doctoral students at UNH, just emailed me to let me know that his manuscript on Austin Phelps, a nineteenth-century preacher and professor of sacred rhetoric from Andover Theological Seminary, has been accepted in Rhetoric Review.

Congratulations, Mike! Well done!

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Carnegie Foundation Creates New 'Owner's Manual' for Doctoral Programs -

Here is some news about a publication that looks seriously at the need for improving the preparation of future researchers in doctoral programs. (I personally think the Chronicle headline misses the point, though.)

According to the Chronicle article, the report (rightly, I think) criticizes the (historical) master-apprentice model that relies on accidental match of personalities. (The model of apprenticeship being discussed here seems to be the historical apprenticeship, rather than apprenticeship in situated learning.) It uses the term mentoring instead:

The study recommends that doctoral programs adopt new structures that allow students to have several intellectual mentors and come to think of mentorship as less an accident of interpersonal chemistry and as more a set of techniques that can be learned, assessed, and rewarded.

Some of these efforts are already in place, as we will see in Chris Casanave and Xiaoming Li's forth coming book. But it's true that it has depended more on individual initiatives rather than institutionalized practices. The good news is that ASU is being mentioned as one of the model institutions for encouraging successful mentoring at the doctoral level.

The challenge, of course, is to institutionalize these practices without falling into the trap of believing that successful mentoring relationships can be mass-produced. As Steve Simpson and I tried to articulate in our chapter on mentoring (to appear in Casanave and Li), this is something mentors and mentees have to work out as they develop their relationships.

What worries me about this report, as represented by the Chronicle article, is that it seems to reduce mentoring into a set of skills that can be prescribed to anyone. Well, it's not that simple.

While I agree that part of the problem is the heavy reliance on "accidental match of personalities," prescribing techniques seems limited as a solution. For mentoring to really work, both mentors and mentees need to recognize the need to make concerted and ongoing efforts to develop a productive relationship. And that, IMHO, takes much more than just "a set of techniques."

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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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Congratulations, Christina!

Christina Ortmeier-Hooper, one of my doctoral students at UNH, has just informed me that her manuscript, "'English is My Second Language, but I'm Not ESL'" has been accepted for publication in College Composition and Communication.

Congratulations, Christina! Well done!

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Dissertation Defense

Michelle Cox, one of my doctoral students, successfully defended her dissertation--a qualitative study of clinical writing at an on-campus speech clinic. Her work usefully complicates the binary distinction between classroom and workplace writing by examining the writing practice at a site where two activity systems--those of school and workplace--overlap.

The defense went smoothly. It was more a conversation than a defense--as it should be with a quality dissertation. Everyone on the committee--Tom Newkirk, Jess Enoch, Cindy Gannett and John Brereton--seemed to think highly of Michelle's work. She worked really hard in developing her understanding of various theories--situated learning, activity theories, rhetorical genre theories--and in synthesizing them as she prepared for her project. I hope she will continue to pursue this project.

Congratulations, Michelle. Well done!

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Last update: January 6, 2008