WPAs, Writing Programs and the Common Reading Experience

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Community colleges, colleges, and universities around the United States are increasingly instituting common reading programs. These often involve pre-matriculate first-year students reading a common text (or set of texts) and then, once on campus, participating in a range of related academic and/or co-curricular activities. While the goals and administrative roles of common reading experiences (CREs) vary by institution, nearly all intersect with writing programs and the work of writing program administrators (WPAs). These intersections are largely unexplored in writing studies scholarship, despite the fact that CREs are closely connected with reading and writing practices of first-year students. This article draws on three divergent WPA experiences with CREs (Duke University, Fort Lewis College, and University of Texas, Arlington) in order to explore the complexities informing how WPAs choose to productively respond to, strengthen, resist, and/or otherwise engage with the CRE.








Denise K. Comer

Professor of the Practice of Thompson Writing Program

Denise Comer's research interests include composition, nineteenth-century British literature, travel writing, and women's studies. Her current scholarship focuses on issues of the profession in composition and rhetoric, as well as Romantic and Victorian British women's travel writing in India.

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