HOW DID MnWE START?
MnWE was started officially by Richard Jewell, an Inver Hills College tenured faculty member, who had taught previously at both the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State University. In January 2007, he asked Donald Ross at the University of Minnesota if the two of them might work to develop a joint conference in their two systems and throughout the state.
When Donald agreed, Richard then went to the annual MnSCU English and writing discipline meeting in Minneapolis in February to ask whether its members would like him to develop an annual state conference that would include all Minnesota colleges and universities.
About eighty faculty from throughout MnSCU were present; they voted by over 80% to support the conference. A founding committee coordinated by Richard formed immediately to organize the first conference.
The initial committee has grown to include several dozen active members and MnWE representatives at their schools who come from campuses in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. The conference and the newsletter reach out to all states surrounding Minnesota.
Members of the committee represent a wide diversity of college and university professors, instructors, and graduate students from University of Minnesota campuses, Minnesota and Wisconsin state universities and public two-year colleges, and a variety of nonprofit and for-profit private colleges and universities. We also are proud to include graduate students in the conferences and on our committee, and we are glad to see an increasing number of high school faculty attending the conferences, who teach college writing and English in their schools.
The first conference was in fall 2009. Attendance normally varies from 150 to 200. Richard Jewell continues to serve as the General Coordinator. In about 2011, two additional central positions were added: Larry Sklaney as Conference Coordinator, and Danielle Hinrichs as Conference Program Coordinator. In about 2012, MnWE began producing its now bi-monthly newsletter edited by Richard. In 2014, a fourth central position was added: Gordon Puescher, Creative Writing Coordinator. In 2015, Amy Kubista became Program Coordinator, and Danielle Hinrichs joined Larry Sklaney as Conference Co-Coordinators.