Moves Toward Antiracist Action: Reimagining the First-Year Writing Program

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The following webinar was presented as part of Bedford’s 5th Annual WPA/Writing Director Workshop.  This year’s theme was Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in First-Year Composition.  The workshops focused on best practices for incorporating diverse, equitable, and inclusive practices into your course. Learn more about the overall event. 

Melvin Beavers

Assistant Professor and First-Year Writing Director, University of Arkansas at Little Rock


Melvin Beavers is an Assistant Professor and the First-Year Writing Director in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. His research interests involve writing program administration, composition pedagogy, online writing instruction, rhetorical theory, and popular culture studies. He teaches first-year writing and a variety of upper-level writing courses. His work has been published in Academic Labor: Research and Artistry, the WPA Symposium on Black Lives Matter, and an edited collection entitled, Pedagogical Perspectives on Cognition and Writing. He serves as president of the Executive Board of the Southern Regional Composition Conference. Additionally, he has presented research at several national conferences, including conferences for the Council of Writing Program Administrators, Conference on College Composition and Communication, and the Association of Rhetoric and Writing Studies.



This presentation focuses on ways writing program administrators can begin to examine their programs and make moves to reflect a more antiracist orientation. In order to align a program's values with those of antiracist scholarship, WPAs should determine what forms of antiracism they can build into their program curriculum and programmatic assessment efforts. 

Part of rethinking or reimaging the values and mission of a writing program involve questioning what Marcus Croom (2021) posits “what if our courses ‘programs’ were designed in a manner that did not perpetuate the neutrality and universality of whiteness, any aspiration to whiteness, or the false notion of it”. His remarks speak to the larger issue of systemic forms of oppression and racism that reverberate within writing programs. In this presentation, Dr. Beavers attempts to build a framework for WPAs to explore their writing programs and look for ways to make them more equitable, diverse, and inclusive.

Watch the Webinar: