Douglas Eyman
Cape Fear Community College

Contributing author:

Cindy Wambeam
New Mexico State University

Contributing editor:

Mike Salvo

    Cindy Wambeam Interviews
     Judy Williamson,
    Founder of the CWTA

JW muses. Ah yes! Our founding!
JW is sorta laughing. The group sorta founded itself in a way. Very non-hierarchical.
CW grins. "I know -- it's an interesting progression."
CW: "So, I know that you told me you were in a Meeting at 4Cs -- was that last year?"
JW: "Yep, we met at Cs but our story goes back to Nashville."
CW: "What was at Nashville?"
Judy was presenting for the first time at Cs in 94 in Nashville.
JW: "Trent [Batson] was running the first ACW meeting. Eric [Crump] and Judy Kirkpatrick invited me to an ACW meeting. I didn't feel like I should go to a meeting where I wasn't really a member, but they really insisted. So, I went. It was a really friendly group. I sat next to Gail Hawisher who was delightfully friendly. I had only read her stuff before that."
Judy was sort of in awe of how friendly everyone was. "At one point in the meeting, Cindy Selfe suggested a pooling of resources or networking or something among grad students. The idea was that we aren't all from technologically rich schools,so it would be helpful if we could find a way to connect."
CW: "So, were you the only grad student there?"
JW: "No. Beck [Becky Rickly] was still a grad student. I can't recall who else was there. Eric [Crump]."
Cin nods.
JW: "Well, Cindy kept saying, 'That would be a good job for a grad student ' and no one spoke up. So she repeated it, and I finally said, "OK, I'll do it!' Everyone in the room clapped, which really made me feel welcome. They were happy to have a newcomer with them, not exclusive and snobby like some academics ."
Cin smiles: "that's great."
JW: "We agreed to do a SIG for Cs 95 in DC. It was supposed to be a thing for grad students and mentors. Cindy and Gail said they'd help. I wrote to Trent after I got home and asked if he'd help and he said he would also.
CW: "Then you took on the responsibilities for 4Cs 95"
JW: "Then we had a SIG in DC this past year at Cs which is where Trent and Hugh [Burns] and Freddie [Kemp] came. Hugh did the first computers & writing dissertation, you know, so he was a perfect guy to have there."
CW: "That's right -- I forgot that about Hugh."
JW: "We had a good meeting. We talked about lots of things including Janice Walker's electronic citations. It was very pleasant and informal: we are lucky in this community to have the support of really amazing people. Grad students are not always treated so lovingly in other academic groups."
CW: "And other grad students /adjuncts showed up?"
JW: "Yes, we had a nice gathering, then I emailed people when the Cs proposals were due, and I put a call out on ACW-L to see if anyone wanted to help to do it again. I didn't want to do it all myself."
Cin nods. "And you got the responses from those of us who are signed up now?"
JW: "I believed that it was important to share the fun and responsibility of such a group. I didn't want it to be 'my' group or anything like that. That's why I'm so delighted that people have just been doing things that need to be done. Like you did the Web page and they had the moo last night [Tuesday, November 14]. People were amazingly supportive and enthusiastic, so I submitted the SIG proposal again to get us on the program. Meanwhile, we were discussing this and that among among ourselves, and we started to get more political. I forget who brought up the idea of actually starting a group."
CW: "And now we're trying to establish goals for ourselves, bring the issues to the forefront, etc."
JW: "Oh, once we really started having fun with this, we also decided to do something at C & W -- so I submitted a proposal for that too."
CW: "As the founding member of the CWTA , what would you like to see happen with this group? A support group? A unionized movement? Something else?"
Judy thinks.
Judy thinks some more.
Judy screws up her face and feels her brain straining.
JW: "Good question. I like the idea that we can really practice support and collaboration among ourselves."
Cin nods.
JW: "I am very glad to see us acknowledging each other in a positive way, giving each other reinforcement and making room for new people who could benefit from association with us. I'd like to see us continue as a force to advocate for grad students in this field and possibly others. But I think if we are fairly prominent with our conversation about acknowledgement and good treatment for grad students that it will have an effect. I'd also like to see us have a political agenda in the sense of raising consciousness about how marginalized grad students can be in academia."

CWTA Moo Dialogue 4C's '95 CWTA SIG CWTA Editorial CWTA Web Pages

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