Roles and Relationships: Possibilities for Student Participation in Writing Program Administration

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The Rhetoric of Participation: Interrogating Commonplaces in and Beyond the Classroom

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Book Chapter

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This chapter pursues Critel’s research questions beyond composition classrooms into the writing programs that house them. Comer articulates her desire to emulate what she calls Critel’s calm kindness and the generosity with which she taught and learned, but also her determination to develop what Comer calls Critel’s firm gaze and her willingness to confront the messy realities of teaching and learning. She likes to think the former inspired the origins of this project, while the latter enabled its evolution. Prompted by her experiences as new WPA, Comer’s study examines how student participation has been integrated into writing program administration through a survey of twenty years of scholarship in WPA: Writing Program Administration. After surveying these results, the chapter categorizes and comments upon the roles students are asked to play and the relationships established between students and writing programs. Throughout, Comer’s clear-eyed evaluation of the community commonplace tempers optimistic assumptions with a healthy awareness of the practical and pedagogical complexities of student participation in WPA work.


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