Black Perspectives on Writing Program Administration: From the Margins to the Center

by Staci M. Perryman-Clark and Collin Craig

Over the past year and a half, we’ve been collaborating on the edited collection for CCCC SWR. Up until this point, much of our work has focused on anti-racist pedagogy both in the classroom as Black writing educators, in writing programmatic policies, and in disciplinary spaces that engage WPA research and scholarship. Through our collaborative work, we’ve asked the field to think more deeply and critically about how we foster stronger allyship not only with and for students of color, but also with each other as educators and disciplinary colleagues. For us, we see our current project as a more extended opportunity to gather a variety of voices that enact and move forward anti-racist pedagogies both in the classroom and as colleagues in our disciplines. We see WPA work, then, as a space to think about anti-racist pedagogy to effect not simply, classroom innovation, but also disciplinary and institutional transformation. In short, our current project includes voices from allies, WPAs of color working at PWIs, and WPAs of color working at HBCUs. Each contributor shares their administrative experiences and perspectives that highlight ways in which WPAs might leverage allyship to employ anti-racist pedagogy, with a particular focus on Black students and writing program curricular development. For us, anti-racist pedagogy is not simply an issue that pertains to students in our classrooms; based on the stories from these voices, we firmly believe that anti-racist pedagogical instruction requires our colleagues to learn how and what it means to practice anti-racism, and in particular, avoid racist, microaggressive behaviors in our daily interactions with one another. From being mistaken for another African American woman on campus despite no other resemblance than skin color, to being constantly asked to show ID before entering a campus building to host weekly office hours, a variation of microaggressive behaviors can shape the everyday realities of Black academic life.

Additional contributions to our project, however, do provide pedagogical examples of what anti-racist pedagogy looks like in curricula and how students have benefitted from these practices. In a chapter from our project, we use the CWPA Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing ( to provide a framework for what success for Black student writers looks like in postsecondary writing programs. We even highlight a few examples of HBCU and PWI programs that are enacting successful pedagogies that support Black students. For us, anti-racist pedagogy means that students of historically oppressed populations, including Black students, are provided with the tools and institutional support to perform successfully in writing programmatic settings.

These days, our work at institutional sites has moved us beyond writing programs toward even larger institutional transformation. For Staci, she was recently appointed as the Associate Director of her university’s teaching and learning center, the WMU Office of Faculty Development ( In that role, she has developed a Teaching Inclusivity Series ( that promotes workshops including anti-racist responses to Charlottesville. For Collin, his work as Project Coordinator for the university Black and Latino Male Initiative has allowed him to identify how to bring non-curricular driven learning environments in conversation with anti-racist, culturally sustaining university writing program learning objectives.  In effect, for us, we believe that in order to move the field forward in our adoptions of antiracist pedagogy, we also need to advocate more strongly for institutional change beyond the work we do as WPAs in campus-wide writing programs.  Moreover, while as a field, we should of course care about Black student success in writing programs, we must both connect and engage them with the larger sociopolitical issues facing Black students and our appeals to racial justice. This book, then, positions the work in writing programs with the work of social justice.



Making Our Future Through Anti-racist Citation Networks

This year’s SWR blog continues to be dedicated to considering the position of anti-racist scholarly practices to counter prevailing white-supremacist cis-heteropatriarchal Americentric normate practices, and holding each other and ourselves accountable for making this work central to our academic lives. Past and future contributors, include Asao Inoue, Staci Perryman-Clark, and Collin Craig. As C’s approaches, an event that many use to “map” themselves onto the field, we thought a consideration of citation practices might make an interesting contribution to that discussion.

We hope you enjoy the following post. We also hope you look forward to reading Staci and Collin’s discussion of African-American identity and WPA work in the coming weeks.

Steve Parks, Editor

Andre Habet, Associate Editor

P.S. Forgive the bit of delay since our last post, we’ve been working on this season’s author interviews audio book excerpts. Watch the CCCC/NCTE listserv as well as the SWR Facebook for their appearance soon.


Like pretty much anyone with access and ability to make it to a movie theater, I recently watched Black Panther. Like many others, it blew me away and sent my mind churning over all its various elements. What the movie triggered in me was a rethinking once again of the work of Jacqueline Jones Royster in Traces of a Stream, and the way she takes on the work of recovering 19th century American black woman’s literacies as a means of establishing a lineage for her and other black woman academics whose own literacies are regularly discounted by mainstream white academia.

Similar to Royster, I have been trying to create a reading of the field of rhetoric and composition that works for me and connects me to my communities, thinking through sites where lineages are created. Currently, I am working through an independent study that looks at the intersections of disability rhetorics, architecture, mobility studies, and food studies. In thinking through these intersections, and the work being done within them, I find myself regularly doing an activity after encountering any work I feel may be relevant to the work I want to do. I find myself looking up each individual scholar in search of an image of them, and then using that image as a means to then interrogate how their public identity’s positionalities may be influencing the biases of their work. I do this because I am trying to create a lineage that speaks to an embodied understanding of the world: one that is non-white, queer, and gives consideration to non-normative bodies by which I mean recognizing that no bodies fit a norm and that normal is grade-F balony. Continue reading “Making Our Future Through Anti-racist Citation Networks”

Beware Becoming the Trojan Horse

I am a brown person of color that grew up in a non-US country where white supremacy manifested primarily in the absence of white people following the country’s independence in the early 80’s. My family’s socio-economic privilege inscribed me into whiteness with peers often calling me a ‘white bway’ even when we shared the same shade of brown. I, in turn, internalized this image of myself, simultaneously hating my brown skin and idolizing the whiteness of the Americans, British, and French I encountered through film. In my academic experience as a graduate student in the United States, I had never been in a position of discussing issues of race in a critical way until my first semester of my doctoral degree in a feminist rhetoric, and a Caribbean tourism and sex trade course.

I struggle with how to link my research interests (comics authorship, graduate student labor, and Caribbean tourism rhetorics) to a vision of the nebulous field of rhetoric and composition. Many of the names that I am told are important to know hit me with a dead thump because their prominence feels significant only within an Americentric context. As a person from a global south country with plans to return there following graduation, it is nauseating to think that if I passively take up the names and ideas of folks who most often circulate and talk to them through my scholarship that I may gain social capital, but likely, no definitely, come out of it primarily having embodied the scholarship of white American able-bodied cis-het folks. I see this possibility as dangerous not only for myself, but for future students I work with, carving myself into a Trojan horse that enters a Belizean institution under the guise of a shared nation-state identity only to then unleash rhetorics mired in the epistemologies of empire, patriarchy, white supremacy, and ableism. Continue reading “Beware Becoming the Trojan Horse”