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Who Gets to Teach Composition?

barclay_barrios
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In the aftermath of our SACSCOC accreditation, our school is sending around a terminal degree list, the idea being that departments should specify what degrees get to teach which classes.  Currently, the rules allow any terminal degree in English to teach any course in English—I could teach the Victorian Novel or creative writing, even though I know almost nothing about either.  In some ways, then, specifying which degrees go with which courses sounds like a great idea, though of course it’s more complicated than that—particularly when it comes to composition. Are all English PhDs and MFAs qualified to teach composition?  What level?  FYC?  Upper division?  Graduate?  Those answers may seem obvious, though I am not sure they are.  We’ll see, once the department opens that discussion. What interests me most, I think, isn’t so much the answers we find but instead the institutionalization of authority.  I’m curious to see how that one plays out…
About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.