Our age of globalization and virtual communities can obscure the reality that we are all literally grounded in our landscapes, our locales and institutional sites. MnWE’s 2017 theme, Connecting Landscapes, invites us to consider the most fruitful ways of connecting both geographical and metaphorical landscapes. As English educators, we speak of discovering “where we stand” on issues, of being “moved” by words and images, and of using language to change others’ positions and points of view and create movement. How can Composition, Literature, and Creative Writing help us bridge divides, comprehend divergent perspectives, and reevaluate our own ideas? How can reading and writing create understanding of and empathy with people coming from other landscapes? How can language evoke and examine topographies or worldviews?
We welcome proposals responding to the “Connecting Landscapes” theme or any matter involving teaching literature, writing, or ESL, the relationships between high school and college-level English, or writing center and tutoring work. Prospective presenters may consider the following questions as they design proposals:
- As we help students become conversant in the culture of writing and ideas, how are we preparing and empowering our increasingly diverse learners to understand the world beyond their home turf? How can we connect writing and literature classes to global experiences to help students explore broader geographical and ideological landscapes?
- Have we responded effectively to the varying needs of newcomers to our landscapes? How can placement and assessment policies best help new students acclimate to academic landscapes?
- How do we create inclusive communities that welcome and build on the strengths of immigrants? How can English and Writing departments work with student support services to increase retention and success among underrepresented students?
- How might service learning opportunities expand or deepen student engagement with surrounding communities?
- How can writing centers and writing faculty create connections between separate campus spaces and philosophies?
- How do we adapt pedagogy and create connection with students in the landscape of online teaching and tutoring?
- Do our schools treat graduate students, adjunct instructors, writing center staff, and full-time faculty equitably? How can we create more connection and shared purpose among these groups?
- How can we reach beyond the physical and ideological boundaries of our own institutions to meaningfully connect with other high schools, colleges, and universities?