"Framing is concerned with the way interests, communicators, sources, and culture combine to yield coherent ways of understanding the world, which are developed using all of the available verbal and visual symbolic resources ... Frames are organizing principles that are socially shared and persistent over time, that work symbolically to meaningfully structure the social world."
Stephen Reese, as cited in Linda Adler-Kassner's The Activist WPA (p. 12)
Writing program administrators are uniquely positioned to see opportunities for improving the structures and activities that constitute the writing instruction students experience. Opportunities for improvements often become visible at moments of institutional change—during curriculum reform, calendar conversion, or program creation—when the framing of educational structures change, activities become the focus and not simply the way it's done.
Transnational Writing Program Administration is just one example of the opportunity- and constraint-filled scene of institutional change. A key element of any international education scene is the overt negotiation of multiple, competing models for how to accomplish the educational and business aims of any given program, campus, or instructional service. In the global expansion of higher education, the tension between economic and pedagogical interests strongly influence decisions made about what kinds of programs to offer and how to offer those programs. Writing teachers and administrators involved in the creation or development of international programs must negotiate these tensions based upon what they know and value about learning, teaching, and writing.
This site reflects my attempts to achieve what Linda Adler-Kassner (2008) called a "balance between ideals and strategies" (p. 9). In her award-winning book, The Activist WPA: Changing Stories about Writing and Writers, Adler-Kassner described ideals as the "goals, aims, ultimate objectives—as well as whose interests are represented in those ends" (p. 8). She elaborated on this sense of ideals, writing: "Ideals are our personal stories and motivating factors—the things most important to us. They extend from what we hold in ourselves, what we see through our emotions and experiences"(p. 9). In the contexts of transnational higher education, I find my ideals—shaped as they are by training in composition, rhetoric, and literacy studies, and my commitments to meaningful writing instruction and to ethical labor and teaching practices—are challenged and invigorated by powerful economic trends and business practices.
Strategies, described by Adler-Kassner (2008), are "the means by which those objectives are measured and achieved" (p. 8). The strategies that I have begun to develop have emerged only as I have come to see and question local institutional infrastructures as they interact with, respond to, and influence globalized, transnational infrastructures. Writing program administration, in a transnational context, has begun to re-frame the terms I use to think about my work:
These terms and their related questions foreground tensions between the needs of local populations of students and faculty with global ideals and strategies. By focusing on the tension between the local and global, this site contributes to a discussion of balancing ideals and strategies as institutional infrastructures become visible, and of keeping infrastructure visible while responding both ethically and effectively.
Here, as in my edited collection, Transnational Writing Program Administration (2015), I use the term "transnational" to describe the growing phenomenon that Grant McBurnie and Christopher Ziguras address in their book Transnational Education: Issues and trends in offshore higher education as "any education delivered by an institution based in one country to students located in another" (p. 1). But unlike "global" or "international," I use the term "transnational" because it also invokes a more critical, analytical orientation like that described by Rebeca Dingo in her book, Networking Arguments: Rhetoric, transnational feminism, and public policy. Dingo (2012) argued:
The term transnational, while defined in a number of ways, generally refers to how globalization has influenced the movement of people and the production of texts, culture, and knowledge across borders so that the strict distinctions among nations and national practices can become blurred. In the last ten years, disciplines throughout the humanities and social sciences have recognized that increasing globalization and enduring neoliberal economics have changed our understandings of citizenship, place, and texts. Drawing heavily from the fields of political science, sociology, geography, and women's studies, the emergent interdisciplinary field of transnational studies has sought to uncover, analyze, and conceptualize similarities, differences and interactions among trans-societal and trans-organizational realities and dynamics across time and space (Levitt and Khagram, p. 10–11). (p. 8–9)
By considering the infrastructure of transnational writing programs, my aim is to continue a critical conversation about the opportunities and implications for the learning, teaching and administration of writing across borders.
The bitter battle in the state of Wisconsin over the right of public employees to unionize and bargain collectively is now shifted to the courts and yet, the massive efforts to recall elected officials failed. The argument made by the Republican Governor, based upon a kind of market logic, is that after years of recession and continued economic downturns, the salaries and benefits of public employees, which were the result of collective bargaining, were too costly for the state to continue paying. Still, while the public employee unions agreed to reductions of pay and benefits, the governor insisting on his legislation in the Republican controlled legislature, despite the efforts of the minority Democrats to thwart the passage of the law, as well as widespread public support. An example of market logic gone awry: even when the unions agreed to reductions of pay and benefits to help close the budget deficit, the governor signed the law to restrict collective bargaining.