A Field of Dreams

Independent Writing Programs and the Future of Composition Studies

edited by Peggy O'Neill, Angela Crow, and Larry Burton

Paperback Price $29.95
Ebook Price $23.95

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One of the first collections to focus on independent writing programs, A Field of Dreams offers a complex picture of the experience of the stand-alone. Included here are narratives of individual programs from a wide range of institutions, exploring such issues as what institutional issues led to their independence, how independence solved or created administrative problems, how it changed the culture of the writing program and faculty sense of purpose, success, or failure.

Further chapters build larger ideas about the advantages and disadvantages of stand-alone status, covering labor issues, promotion/tenure issues, institutional politics, and others. A retrospective on the famous controversy at Minnesota is included, along with a look at the long-established independent programs at Harvard and Syracuse.

Finally, the book considers disciplinary questions raised by the growth of stand-alone programs. Authors here respond with critique and reflection to ideas raised by other chapters—do current independent models inadvertently diminish the influence of rhetoric and composition scholarship? Do they tend to ignore the outward movement of literacy toward technology? Can they be structured to enhance interdisciplinary or writing-across-the-curriculum efforts? Can independent programs play a more influential role in the university than they do from the English department?

O'Neill and company aim both to look closely at particular independent writing programs and to situate them broadly in the current scene of composition scholarship, administration, English studies, and the university.


Peggy O'Neill, associate professor of writing, directs the composition program and teaches writing in the Department of Writing at Loyola University, Maryland. Her scholarship focuses on writing assessment, pedagogy, and program administration and the disciplinarity of composition. Her work appears in journals such as the Journal of Writing Assessment and College Composition and Communication, as well as in several edited collections. She has edited or co-edited four books, most recently Blurring Boundaries: Developing Writers, Researchers and Teachers (Hampton Press 2007) and, with Brian Huot, Assessing Writing: A Critical Sourcebook (Bedford St. Martin's / NCTE 2008).

Angela Crow is an associate professor and Writing Program Coordinator in the School of Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication at James Madison University.

Larry Burton is Director of the Cohen Center for the Study of Technological Humanism and a professor of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication in the College of Arts and Letters at James Madison University.

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  • Paperback Price: $29.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-87421-440-6
  • Ebook Price: $23.95
  • EISBN: 978-0-87421-464-2
  • Publication Year: 2002
  • Pages: 326
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: edited by Peggy O'Neill, Angela Crow, and Larry Burton
  • ECommerce Code: 978-0-87421-440-6
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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