My author website is at

My book, flicker, was reviewed on Foreword Reviews and 16 Bytes. I was interviewed by Claire Moran of the KMSU Weekly Reader radio podcast. “Concord,” a poem from flicker, appeared on Verse Daily in February.

I learned to make a photopolymer plate, using InDesign and working with Boxcar Press.

Broadside made with photopolymer plate

Broadside made with photopolymer plate

Tarfia Faizullah, printing in the Publication Center

Tarfia Faizullah, printing in the Publication Center




Printing very carefully.

Proposal for CCCC Panel (links to viewable Google Doc)

My remarks: My role on this roundtable is to give a little background on the development and goals of the WCC. This program developed, as programs do, out of a nexus of circumstances, our observations of our students’ needs and desires, our own scholarship and practice. One relevant question is: what was our emerging urban transfer network like back then? Our two institutions were at that point related as two English departments—the University Writing Program was the location of the required composition courses, as well as upper division writing requirements and some graduate study. The English Department was the location of theory-inflected literary studies, some cultural studies, and the association between the UWP and the University’s English Department was formed largely by the grad students who taught there as teaching fellows and assistants.

One condition that affected our relations with the English Department at the University was the transition in 1998 from quarters to semesters. The required courses for the major all took an upward turn, with their new numbers indicating upper division study even when students were advised to take 3000 level courses as sophomores. This rendered these courses unteachable at the community college, since by definition community colleges teach lower division courses. Our state system, the Utah System of Higher Education, was vocally concerned about ‘mission creep,’ meaning that they were decidedly cool to any lower-division courses articulating to upper-division courses. Effectively this became a redefinition of the first two years as ‘non-major.’

It took a little time for us to parse why this might matter, to us and to our students. Like anyone operating in a system, we saw what we saw from our perspective. We had students who asked for more writing instruction—another way to put this is that we had students who had finished the composition sequence and were looking for more opportunities to strengthen themselves as writers. They didn’t see themselves as having finished at the community college, though, and the transferability between our curriculum and that of our largest transfer institution was not entirely functional.

As we discussed and investigated what we might do to address what our students were asking for, a group of us spent time reading together, including Robert Scholes’ The Rise and Fall of English, wherein Scholes called upon English to ‘rethink our practice by starting with the needs of our students rather than with our inherited professionalism or our personal preferences.’ He argued that we should focus on finding ‘topics for our writing courses that enable students to focus on their culture at the points where it most clearly impinges upon them, where they already have tacit knowledge that needs only to be cultivated to become more explicit.’

Scholes’ call was helpful to us as we began to think about the degree and certificate structures available to us that might accommodate curriculum development with our students’ interests and their writing development in mind. One, the Certificate of Completion, a category of credential that is designed to prepare students for gainful employment.

From R 401, Approval of New Programs, Program Changes, Discontinued Programs, and Program Reports

3.12.2. Certificate of Completion. A program of study consisting primarily of 1000-level courses. Intended to prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation. Typically more than one year and less than two years in length of full-time study. Requires a minimum of 30 and a maximum of 33 semester credit hours or 900 to 990 clock hours consisting primarily of 1000-level courses. General education requirements are less extensive than in AA and AS degrees, generally 9 credit hours in Composition, Computation, and Human Relations. Certificates more than 45 semester credit hours or 1350 clock hours must show how the certificate can lead to an associate’s degree within the normal credit hour requirements for that degree. When appropriate, transfer agreements should be included in the program proposal.

We envisioned our WCC as dovetailing with an Associate’s degree, or as a program for working adults who wanted to demonstrate professional development that would improve their ability to write in workplace settings.

What we were seeking for our students who either began at or returned to our college? We wanted to be able to give them more than just accruable credits, which were increasingly unmoored to direct transfer. We wanted also to offer them something more than the attainment of an Associate’s degree, which, while valuable, was, in the post-semester transition, increasingly more a general education certification than the beginning of baccalaureate studies—the ‘I’m just doing my generals’ account they often gave of their educational plans, which does not seem to bode well for persistence. We wanted them to have the experience of beginning their chosen course of studies at our institution, and we wanted for them to be able, upon transfer, to connect what they had done at our institution with what they did at the four year institution.

Our writing certificate became the frame, prior to the commencement of the University’s WRS program, for developing a course of study cohering around writers who wanted to develop further than the composition sequence. We built the core courses in our certificate around writing in the professions; writing mentoring practices; attention to building an adaptable prose style through the lens of grammar; publication and circulation practices; and writing with and through digital media. Now, the emergence of a separate Writing and Rhetoric Studies program at the U creates another, and vital, point of connection, and we’re going to talk about the opportunities building that partnership together. First, I believe that Andrea is going to share some data our program has collected focusing on WCC student experiences upon completion at the threshold of transfer.

Proposals for TYCA West Presentations:

“Creative Writing IS Composition. Discuss.”

As Doug Hesse notes, in “The Place of Creative Writing in Composition,” “For different reasons, composition studies and creative writing have resisted one another,” drawing on different theoretical and practical approaches and occupying different positions within (and without) English departments. We propose to directly engage this resistance in a pecha kucha session. Four presenters who teach many genres, variously marked as belong to creative or composition categories (almost never both!), will focus on (arguable) claim posed in our title. We plan a nuanced discussion that will allow for productive disagreement among the presenters and discussion with the audience.


Brandon Alva
Lisa Bickmore
Dr. Lynn Kilpatrick
Kati Lewis

Whence We Write: A Consideration of Place in Three Keys

In this panel presentation, the instructors will explore pedagogical implications of place within an intermediate writing course, focusing on the ways online writing environments may affect place-based pedagogies; the desirability of physical writing spaces within a hybrid course; and the need for a stronger theoretical account of suburban/exurban spaces, as loci for investigation, inquiry and activism.

Benjamin Solomon’s presentation will examine the use of place-based pedagogies in an online, intermediate writing course that emphasizes rhetoric, genre study, and multimodal composing. As Ashley J. Holmes reported about her use of place-based pedagogies in a recent issue of Kairos, “Asking students to critically consider place […] led to compositions that were enhanced by local resources: the culture, the people, photographs of places, brochures from local businesses.” Like Holmes’s course, this one invites students “to see their local places and communities as sites with rich possibilities for inquiry and research,” and to situate their writing in lived, material experiences. But how are such goals complicated, enhanced, or undermined in the effective place-lessness of online writing environments? How do digital composing practices effect, mediate, or otherwise alter material explorations of place and community?

Trenton Judson’s presentation will focus on the ways that, in the digital age, we tend to assume that technology has transcended the necessity of a fixed physical space. Even so, with a high volume of information processing and the barrage of external stimuli, composition students may need a designated writing space more than ever. In the instructional team of the 2010 Hybrid course the physical space of the Learning Commons, a designated area of the library for Hybrid students in composition, facilitates all stages in the development of writing. Students in the learning commons meet with instructors one on one and use the space to brainstorm, revise, and innovate. The team’s research and data, along with other research on place and its role in composition, shows the necessity of a fixed space for composition development and learning.

Lisa Bickmore’s presentation will focus on the suburbs and exurbs as loci and even origins of the life experiences of many community college students. These locations may often represent unarticulated differences between instructors and students, and may also be embodied in an effective institutional indifference to these locations. Suburbs are often conceived of as lacking interest, character, and even history. This can lead to a projected sense of the suburbs as non-places, which has at least two effects: a neglect of these remade and subdivided landscapes as subjects of inquiry, study, and activism; and a reproduction of the very incuriosity that is a precondition of bad urban/exurban planning in the first place. The presentation will argue that any place-based pedagogy must draw from a working poetics, historiography, and politics of suburbia as a lifeworld, and will attempt to develop the beginnings of all three, through a look at the west side of the Salt Lake Valley.