#CWS25: Gratitude, Congratulations, and an Invitation

Last night and early this morning, a lunar eclipse. Today, the start of a new term for the Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition. Since good things so often come in threes, my first President’s Blog offers gratitude, congratulations, and an invitation.

First, gratitude. As many of you know, at #4C14 in Indianapolis, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Coalition. Our gala, hosted by Elizabeth Tasker Davis, planned by the 2012-14 Executive Board, and supported by the 2012-14 Advisory Board, featured speakers, nearly a dozen mentoring tables, and cake!

If you were at the conference or following our Twitter feed then you already know that Kathleen Welch, Shirley Wilson Logan, and Barb L’Eplattenier delivered thoughtful and provocative talks, calling on all of us not only to look back at the organization’s history but also to look ahead, consider the future of the Coalition, and get involved in not only sustaining but also strengthening a group that offers so many scholars in rhetoric and composition a professional home.

Perhaps the best thanks we can offer to everyone who has served the Coalition over the past quarter century is to work with with equal commitment and care—for each other, for feminist work in our field—for at least another 25 years.

In this spirit, congratulations! At the Coalition business meeting, which takes place on 4Cs Wednesdays just before the Coalition evening session,  the Advisory Board voted to expand, increasing elected membership on the board from 25 to 30. This decision reflects both a recognized need and a collective desire to see the organization grow in different ways in order to fulfill its mission: not only to support women in the profession but also to support all teachers and scholars who do feminist work, who research and write histories of women, and who study and teach gender and sexuality in rhetoric and composition.

Our decision was followed by an election. Thirty-four colleagues were nominated for open seats on the CWSHRC Advisory Board, and I am delighted to welcome the following newly elected members to the Coalition’s leadership: Jane Greer, Gwen Pough, Cristina Ramirez, Dora Ramirez-Dhoore, Rebecca Richards, Bo Wang, and Hyoejin Yoon along with #FemRhet15 co-chairs Maureen Goggin and Shirley Rose.

These fine colleagues join ongoing board members Lisa Mastrangelo (Vice President), Marta Hess (Treasurer), Tarez Graban (Secretary), Elizabeth Tasker Davis (Immediate Past President), Nancy Myers (Member at Large), Roxanne Aftanas, Kate Adams, Risa Applegarth, Lindal Buchanan, Kirsti Cole, Jess Enoch, Lynée Lewis Gaillet, Cheryl Glenn, Patti Hanlon-Baker, Nan Johnson, Andrea Lunsford, Jacqueline McLeod Rogers, Whitney Myers, Wendy Sharer, and Hui Wu as well as ex officio members Jenny Bay, Alli Crandell, Shirley Wilson Logan, Arabella Lyon, Joyce Irene Middleton, Kris Ratcliffe, Pat Sullivan, and Kathleen Welch.

Last, an invitation: I invite you to get ready. As our Gala speakers underscored and our converation during the following Q&A period made clear, we have work to do.

Over the past several years, the Coalition has transformed. You may not know, but the CWSHRC is now a 501c3. Online, we have not only a dynamic website but also a growing social media network, and we co-host not only the biennial Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference but also Peitho, which is now a twice-annual  peer-reviewed journal. Our work is to make the most of these still new resources—and then make even more. Some questions to consider: How can we max out our current potential for scholarly communication about subjects of shared interest and concern? How can we build more working relationships both within our membership and beyond, “coalitioning” with other professional groups? How can we be more representative and, at the same time, better represent?

To address these questions is to keep transforming, and my invitation to you—whether you are a new or long-time Coalition member or a non-member willing to coalition with us—is to get ready to get involved. New initiatives and new opportunities on the horizon will give you new ways  to contribute, to mentor and to be mentored, to collaborate, to coalition. So, I encourage you to watch this space, like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and contact me or any members of the Advisory Board with questions, comments, and ideas.

You can also find me (occasionally) on Twitter @JennFishperson.

Posted in President's Blog