National Writing Project

Director's Update

By: Richard Sterling
Publication: The Voice, Vol. 5, No. 1
Date: January-February 2000

Untitled Document Dear Colleagues and Friends:

With this issue I will avoid adding any more thoughts mundane or otherwise about the year, the date, or any confusion or chaos that may have ensued. Instead, I'd like to say thank you for another great NWP meeting at the recent NCTE conference. Not only was this our largest gathering to date, but I think everyone will agree that it was also the best organized and smoothest running. Over 750 people attended, and the evaluations were overwhelmingly positive. One presenter summed it up by saying that both participants and presenters were so knowledgeable, so attentive that everyone left having learned something new.

As Congress adjourned for the holidays, we learned that we have again received an increase in our funding, from $7M to $9M. The final figure is not the final figure though, as Congress passed an across-the-board cut of 38%, and we have yet to learn what that may mean for our program. Nevertheless, this increase means more money for programs of the NWP.

As usual, this issue of The Voice focuses on matters of interest and concern to the NWP and its friends. There is an interview with Joni Chancer, this year's Hechinger Award recipient. At the award ceremony in Denver we were unable to hear much about this outstanding teacher's work. This interview is meant to better acquaint you with her, her teaching and her research. There are also two articles on recruiting for the summer institute, one from a seasoned director, Carol Tateishi of the Bay Area Writing Project, and the other from a new director, Liz Stephens from the Central Texas Writing Project in San Marcos. This topic is of great interest to many directors who have difficulty recruiting 20 or so of the best teachers in their communities for the invitational summer institute.

We are also reprinting an excellent piece by Jeannie Oakes, the director of Center X at UCLA, the Center that houses the UCLA Writing Project, about the enormous complexities involved in the University of California's outreach efforts to disadvantaged students.

Let me remind everyone again that there will be several new opportunities for writing project teachers and directors to attend events sponsored by the NWP this year. Among these are our DC Day and Spring Meeting in early April, the Urban Sites Conference in late April, the Directors Retreat in June, our second Professional Writing Retreat in July and, of course, with NCTE and the U.S. Department of Defense Dependents' Schools, our fourth Global Conversations in English in August. (It's not too late to book flights to Utrecht, Holland.)

Lastly, I am pleased to announce that the NWP now has writing project sites in every state except New Hampshire, in addition to Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. If you have friends or colleagues in New Hampshire, either in a university or associated with one, and you think they would be interested in starting a writing project, tell them to contact us. The millennium would be a good year to complete the set!

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