As a development editor at Bedford/St. Martin’s, I recognize the importance of keeping connected to the first-year writing classroom – to new pedagogy and practice, to instructors, and to students. Our English editorial team learns a great deal from working with our distinguished authors, communicating with instructors during textbook reviews, and attending professional conferences such as CCCC, MLA, NADE, and more. But one of my favorite events is the Bedford New Scholars Advisory Board, and the 2018 program and participants do not disappoint.
First, a bit of context: The Bedford New Scholars Advisory Board is an ongoing venture begun by the Bedford/St. Martin’s English editorial team in 2008; it was formerly known as the Bedford/St. Martin's TA Advisory Board. Each year we contact program directors from ten leading graduate programs and invite them to nominate one of their outstanding graduate students to serve on an advisory board for the calendar year. By bringing together a motivated group of graduate students from across the country, we hope to hear more about the teaching challenges they face and the research in the field that excites them. They also give us feedback on the direction of our new projects. In the process, Bedford New Scholars participants have the opportunity to connect with other graduate students from across the country and to learn a bit about how publishing works.
Without further ado, I present the Bedford New Scholars advisory board for 2018:
- Andrew Hollinger, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (nominated by Randall Monty)
- Daniel Libertz, University of Pittsburgh (nominated by Jean Ferguson Carr)
- Dara Liling, University of Maryland-College Park (nominated by Jessica Enoch)
- Rachel McCabe, Indiana University Bloomington (nominated by Dana Anderson)
- Emily Pucker, University of Alabama (nominated by Luke Niiler)
- Skye Roberson, University of Memphis (nominated by Katie Fredlund)
- Cecilia Shelton, East Carolina University (nominated by Michelle Eble)
- Matt Switliski, University of New Hampshire (nominated by Christina Ortmeier-Hooper)
- Lizbett Tinoco, Texas A&M University-San Antonio (recently of University of Texas at El Paso) (nominated by Kate Mangelsdorf)
- Kristin vanEyk, University of Michigan (nominated by Anne Ruggles Gere)
Though tenure in the program is a full year, the most anticipated event is when all participants – advisory board members and English editors – gather together for the annual summit. This year’s meeting took place in Boston on June 20-22, 2018, in and around the Bedford/St. Martin’s office. We spent time getting to know each other over good food, conversation, and city tours in between introducing and getting feedback on the projects we are all working on.
On the Bedford/St. Martin’s side, we shared some of our exciting first edition projects, in various stages of development, to receive feedback from this advisory board of rising composition teachers, scholars, and administrators. These projects included the soon-to-publish Becoming a College Writer: A Multimedia Text by Todd Taylor, as well as some other new book and media projects in the works.
Bedford New Scholars board members also led the group by presenting their Assignments that Work, successful or innovative activities or assignments they have used in the classroom. As always, this was one of our most lively sessions, providing excellent questions and insights into pedagogy and practice. (Never fear! We hope to make many of these assignments available to you on the English Community very soon.)
Here are my Four Key Takeaways from this summer’s Bedford New Scholars summit:
- Assignments in the first-year classroom grow ever more varied and multimodal; we saw assignments that produced true crime podcasts, soundtrack playlists, and other new media such as infographics, videos, and websites. But through their assignments, instructors are also finding new ways to teach the core writing concepts of individual voice, synthesis, revision, and the rhetorical importance of the sentence.
- Recognizing, honoring, and teaching to students’ multiple languages is a growing focus in the classroom, one that requires a rethinking of how we teach writing assignments and present instruction.
- As part of professional development efforts for grad students, an Ideal TA Training Kit might include more attention to the general principles of teaching as a graduate student: more go-to classroom activity and assignment ideas (especially for a variety of courses like hybrid and online), books on teaching and juggling teaching with graduate student expectations, WPA-specific training workshops and webinars, and sample syllabi.
- These 2018 Bedford New Scholars are incredibly smart, driven, and passionate about their work and their students. Be on the lookout for them!
We at Bedford/St. Martin’s are excited to know and connect with these advisory board participants, who represent the future of the field. Speaking for myself, I certainly look forward to seeing each of them – not to mention past advisory board members! – at conferences and on scholarly (and textbook!) covers in the future.
Coming soon!: A Community page dedicated to the Bedford New Scholars program, where you can follow these advisory board members in the coming year as they publish Bits blog posts about their teaching and research. Stay tuned!