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Critical transitions - writing and the question of transfer

Date posted: 01/10/2010

Elon University, in the United States, is pleased to announce the 2011-2013 Elon University Research Seminar on Critical Transitions: Writing and the Question of Transfer, a two-year research seminar that will facilitate multi-institutional research. They invite interested scholars from across the disciplines to submit applications to join a cohort of researchers collaborating on the study of writing transfer at critical transitions. They are eager for participants from across the globe.
From first-year composition through advanced professional and technical communication, writing curricula are constructed under a foundational premise that writing can be taught - and that writing knowledge can be “transferred” across critical transitions. First-year composition is often a required course for all students with the assumption that what is learned there will transfer to other coursework and throughout students’ educational careers. Senior capstone courses often integrate writing instruction that is intended to transfer to post-graduation writing in new workplaces or graduate or professional programs. Arguably, all of modern education is based on the broader assumption that what one learns here can transfer over there – across critical transitions. But what do we really know about transfer, in general, and writing transfer, in particular? Is “transfer,” and all of the assumptions that tag along with it, the best term to use to understand, enhance, and found writing education?
The 2011-2013 Elon Research Seminar will be led by Chris Anson (Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Campus Writing and Speaking Program at North Carolina State University), Randy Bass (Executive Director of the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship at Georgetown University), and Jessie Moore (Professional Writing & Rhetoric Coordinator at Elon University).

Program Overview
The Elon Research Seminar will support multi-institutional research addressing and surrounding this theme over a two year period, with two one-week summer meetings on the Elon University campus, as well as a third culminating meeting of a yet determined form.
12 - 17 June 2011: Working with multi-institutional teams formed by ERS and focused on the same critical transition, participants will meet on Elon’s campus to develop and plan research projects to be conducted throughout the following year at the participants’ own institutions.
17 - 22 June 2012 (tentative dates): Participants will meet to share their initial results, and to plan a more sharply focused research agenda for the research cohort for year two. These research cohorts will afford inter-institutional collaborations that enable larger scale studies and explorations of the impact of different institutional contexts.
Summer 2013: Participants will reconvene to share their year two results, to plan continuations of their work, and/or to host a conference on writing transfer.
Participant expenses
The Elon Research Seminar is sponsored and coordinated by Elon’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. Expenses related to the seminar, including lodging and meals during the seminar’s 2011-2013 summer meetings, will be paid by Elon University. Each participant will be granted $1000 ($500/year for summer 2011 and 2012) to support travel to the seminar’s June meetings at Elon University. Other participant expenses, including additional travel and any research costs, will be paid by the participants and/or their home institutions.
To learn more about the research seminar and how to apply, visit

Applications to be received by 8 November 2010.

Questions should be directed to Dr. Jessie L. Moore at