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“MnWE News” Late Fall Issue
November-December 2020
Next Conference: Thurs. and Fri. Afternoons,
March 25-26, 2021, on Zoom

In this issue:






(in each issue)

      7. ABOUT MNWE (in each issue)

If you are new to our listserv, welcome!  We never share your address, and you may always unsubscribe at the bottom of any email.

If you are a long-term member of this listserv, thank you for your continued participation. Our listserv emails go to about three thousand English, Writing, and related Upper Midwest faculty.

If you are the head of a program or department, please consider forwarding this email to your graduate and undergraduate students. If you did not receive this email directly and would like to join, send a request to the editor at richard at jewell dot net. We suggest you send a permanent email address. Also email us for information on joining our meetings five Fridays/year, currently by Zoom.



       We invite you to offer a proposal for the 2021 MnWE Zoom Conference Thursday-Friday, March 25-26! The proposal deadline is January 24. Registration for attending the conference (at a special, lowered fee) will open soon.

        Our theme this year is “Reinvent, Reinvest, Reinvigorate: Teaching after 2020.” 2020 imposed an involuntary reset on academe: an opportunity to take stock of our pedagogy, adapt what needs a refresh, and create new techniques and tools for tutoring and teaching. Our theme invites you to share your experiences in keeping English teaching and learning vital for students during a pandemic, economic disruptions, and demands for law enforcement reform.

       Our theme also encourages you to look to the future. Social justice, health, and economic crises have illuminated our nation’s disparities in both higher education and high schools. Health and safety concerns and financial uncertainties threaten our students, our colleagues and coworkers, and us. How will the lessons and experiences of the past year transform our teaching?

        Join us this March 25-26 on Zoom for what will be an invigorating series of breakouts. This year, to make our Zoom discussions particularly interesting, our breakouts will be organized as one-hour roundtables. Simply send us your proposal on an aspect of the theme. (See length requirements and a list of questions at www.MnWE.org.) You may gather and propose your own group of three to five discussants and a theme-related topic; or, if you propose a subject as an individual, we will place you in a group with others interested in similar issues. Each roundtable will begin with its individuals offering their own view of the topic for several minutes; the remainder of the time, the group will answer questions from each other and from the audience.

        We accept almost every proposal. This year, we ask that it relate to the theme and/or the CFP’s related questions.

        MnWE is a warm, welcoming, professional organization emphasizing friendly, respectful discussion and exchange of information. The annual, two-day MnWE Conference is an Upper Midwest regional event centered in Minnesota, this year entirely on Zoom. It is a great opportunity to practice presenting, prepare for a future presentation, or share your knowledge from work or a past conference. We will look forward to reading your proposal. You also are invited to simply attend, enjoy the conference, and share your questions and thoughts with others.      

Full CFP and Proposal Submission Form: www.MnWE.org  


        The Chronicle has a new weekly newsletter called Race on Campus. Reports will offer stories of race on campuses across the country. Subjects for discussion include advocacy for change, equity, and inclusion. You may sign up free below.  (Note: You may be asked to sign up–no charge–to read online Chronicle articles.)

        Note that the NEA has the weekly newsletter
Diversity Insider. It, too, is free.

Sign up for Race on Campus. See a sample.
Sign up for Diversity Insider. See a sample.


        Kelly Hogan and Viji Sathy of UNC-Chapel Hill provided the Chronicle with an April 7 article, “Eight Ways to Be More Inclusive in Your Zoom Teaching.” Their article does not speak of combatting racism, students’ pandemic fatigue, and a difficult election. However, a well-organized inclusive classroom can have that effect, whether physically or virtually. Good inclusive classrooms naturally model equality, sensitivity, and interest in other viewpoints. Here are the article’s eight methods for Zoom:

  • Before a session, ask students to consider the settings for their names.... Invite students to edit their name on display....
  • Establish the rules of engagement for each Zoom meetup. In our own courses, we’ve found that if we ask students to use video in Zoom, most do....
  • Use different ways for students to “speak up.” In Zoom,...there are many ways to hear from people.... [T]he more ways,...the better....
  • Give careful consideration to the way you start. Without structure, the beginning of online meetings can be very awkward....
  • Be intentional about how you end your Zoom sessions.... For example, you might end every class with students sharing their “muddiest point....”
  • Break out the breakout-room tool. Consider adding to your repertoire the division of the class into small groups....
  • Provide resources and opportunities for asynchronous learning. One certainty in these uncertain times is that students face a whole host of barriers.... 
  • Lastly, acknowledge that we’re all learning together.... To that end, you can model how remote learning doesn’t have to mean exclusion and social isolation....
  • Postscript: [W]e also have created “A Students’ Guide to Zoom” that may be of use to readers. It can be found here....”

Full article: "8 Ways to Be More Inclusive in Your Zoom Teaching" (Note: You may be asked to sign up–no charge–to read online Chronicle articles.)

        Here is a series of summarized teaching-learning reports by faculty as quoted from Beckie Supiano’s free, weekly, Dec. 3 Teaching newsletter sponsored by the Chronicle. (To sign up, look below in “5. List of Free Teaching/Learning E-Newsletters.”)

  • “[A] Twitter thread from Robin DeRosa...at Plymouth State University [urges] professors to consider the collective workload students [face] with a full schedule of courses...redesigned for online or hybrid delivery.
  • “In a recent Twitter thread, Jody Greene...[lays] out a conundrum. Students complain that they’ve been inundated with busy work;...faculty members say they’ve cut their expectations back....”

    [Note: the remaining links may require you to sign up–no charge–to read online Chronicle articles.]
  • “James Lang...at Assumption College...describes how change and variety can help capture students’ attention in his latest piece on combating distraction. 
  • “Ben Armstrong...at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shares a technique for incorporating silent-reading time into your Zoom classes in this advice article.
  • “Read what college leaders had to say about supporting professors through the pandemic during a recent Chronicle virtual event.
  • “Are you trying to reduce students’ workloads but still hearing from them that you’re asking too much?... I’d love to hear your stories and perspective and might include them in a future newsletter:...beckie.supiano@chronicle.com.”

        The answer according to some sources is “yes.” Beth McMurtrie says the following in the Chronicle’s Oct. 8 newsletter Teaching, starting with a quotation from  Roaya Higazi, president of the Undergraduate Student Government at Ohio State U.:

“[A] lot of faculty members...still [are] not that understanding of the scope and to what degree students are struggling right now,” Higazi says. Housing insecurity, food insecurity, family members affected by Covid-19, isolation, social-justice issues, and the stress of taking multiple classes online are weighing heavily on students, leading many to feel mentally and physically exhausted.
     “Students say they need help,” Higazi continues, “and they hear, ‘OK, go to therapy, go to counseling.’ That’s all good. But how does that show up directly in the classroom?”
     She worries that in an effort to “get back to normal,” faculty members are overlooking how abnormal it is for students to take an entirely online course load, which is challenging even in the best of times. She notes that during one five-day span, she didn’t leave her apartment as she plowed through coursework. “Last year, if I didn’t leave my apartment for five days,” she says, “that would have been incredibly alarming....”

        Higazzi’s suggestions for faculty are:

·   Be flexible with deadlines.” Students now have multiple concerns and pressures.

·   Respect people's privacy.” Don’t, for example, require cam views of students.

·   Support students in isolation.” Some, for example, may be sick or depressed.

·   Explain your policies.” Have your messages or rules been wrongly   interpreted?

·   Acknowledge the moment.” Is there a new, stressful news report?

        Higazzi and McMurtrie add to each of these suggestions excellent examples and more advice. See the original for details.
Full article: "Listening to Students"  



        Do you feel out of touch with colleagues or seek ideas from other networks? Connect by subscribing to these free email newsletters. You may start or stop a subscription at any time.

NEA HigherEd, National Education Association. Weekly news update:

Subscribe           Sample

Race on Campus from Chronicle of Higher Education. Weekly briefs on race on campuses.
Subscribe           Sample

Diversity Insider
, National Education Assoc. Weekly news, essays, and advice:

          Subscribe           Sample

The Source: Updates, MLA Style Center. Weekly briefs, pedagogy, and readings:

          Subscribe (scroll to bottom)  Sample   Other free Center e-letters
          Always available online, the Style Center’s "Works Cited...Guide"

Teaching from Chronicle of Higher Education. Weekly short news on general methods:

          Subscribe           Samples      

Tomorrow’s Professor, Stanford University. Twice-weekly reprint of a pedagogy article:
          Subscribe           Sample e-letter and online version

The Campus View, Minnesota Private Colleges (17 colleges). Monthly news:

          Subscribe             Past issues

7. ABOUT MNWE: Old Issues, Joining, Who We Are, Grad
    Credit, Unsubscribing
(repeated each issue)

More Online-Teaching Resources:
Our Newsletters: For new and old issues,
visitMnWE News.
Forwarding/Joining: Please forward this email to other interested faculty and administrators. Your newer full-time and adjunct faculty members, graduate students, writing center tutors, and English and Writing administrators may not receive it. 

        If you are not on the listserv and would like to join it, simply send your request and email address to richard at jewell dot net. We always enjoy signing up new list members.

Who are we? “MnWE” is “Minnesota Writing and English,” an all-volunteer organization started in 2007. MnWE has a coordinating committee, a listserv, and an annual, two-day spring conference attended by 100-200 faculty. Our coordinating committee, which meets about six times per year, is composed entirely of unpaid college, university, high school, and other professional English/Writing volunteers. 

        All activities are by and for college, university, and college-in-the-high-schools English and writing faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and related academic and literary scholars, writers, tutors, and others in the Upper Midwest.  Our purpose is to bring together these communities in Minnesota and in nearby states and provinces.

Where are we? Please visit us at MnWE.org. Our geographical center is Minneapolis-St. Paul. About 3000 faculty, graduate students, tutors, and related administrators are on our listserv. They receive this newsletter six times per year. Our listserv members come from state universities, public and private two-year colleges, private colleges and universities, high schools, publishing companies, and the public universities of Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and other schools and locations beyond the Upper Midwest. 

Conference: At our annual two-day conferences, our keynoters speak on pedagogical concerns and are scholars and writers of national excellence from both local and national locations. Some of our presenters come from states or countries far beyond our own geographical area. The majority of our attendees and presenters are from universities and private colleges; a significant minority are in two-year colleges, high schools, and other groups.
Graduate Credit: Anyone may earn one graduate credit from Southwest Minnesota State
University for attending a MnWE Conference day and writing a related research paper (up to three such credits may be earned). For questions about this course–“Eng 656: MnWE Practicum”–please contact lisa dot lucas at smsu dot edu or see www.smsu.edu/academics/programs/english/?id=11637 .

Unsubscribing: To unsubscribe from this listserv (and no longer receive the “MnWE News,” MnWE Conference announcements, and other forwarded announcements), please do so yourself, following directions at the very bottom of this email.  If you try unsubscribing on your own without success, then send an email to richard at jewell dot net indicating (1) your unsubscribing action that didn’t work, (2) your specific email address copied from the directions at the bottom of a MnWE mailing, and (3) your request for removal.
Formatting: Each of these listserv emails usually is formatted in a relatively simple way using html. If you cannot read it, please click on the link at the top right of this email to see the newsletter on the Web

Questions: We invite you to email the editor or any coordinator on the MnWE Committee listed below. You also are always invited to attend any of our six MnWE Committee meetings per year: to join the listserv, email richard at jewell dot net. If you’d like to attend a meeting, or join the committee for in-person meetings, Zoom attendance, or email comments from a distance, please ask Richard. In addition, you always are invited to offer suggestions to MnWE, or to volunteer your leadership for a session at the annual conference. 

Copyright: This newsletter is written primarily by “MnWE News” editor Richard Jewell without copyright so that anyone may quote, paraphrase, or forward any or all parts freely, unless otherwise noted. We do ask that you give credit to the “MnWE Newsletter” and/or “www.MnWE.org“; and when you use material that has been quoted or paraphrased in this newsletter from another source, please be sure to give proper credit to the original source. 

Richard Jewell, General Coordinator
Larry Sklaney, Conference Coordinator
Danielle Hinrichs, Program Coordinator
Gordon Pueschner,
Volunteer Coordinator
Jana Rieck, Communications Coordinator
Heidi Burns, Registration Coordinator
richard at jewell dot net - (612) 870-7024
larry dot sklaney at century dot edu - (651) 747-4006
danielle dot hinrichs at metrostate dot edu - (651) 999-5960
gordon dot pueschner at century dot edu - (651) 686-4468

janaL dot rieck at yahoo dot com
heidi dot burns at mnsu dot edu

MnWE .org
Minnesota Writing & English
A Consortium of Colleges & Universities

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Bringing scholarly ideas and practical pedagogy together
to create our futures




Donald Ross of the University of

Minnesota and Taiyon Coleman of St. Catherine University run a breakout session about literature. In a later year, they jointly provided a MnWE keynote.




Geoffrey Sirc of the University of Minnesota runs a small breakout after his keynote presentation. Many University of Minnesota faculty have given presentations at MnWE, as well as faculty and graduate students from many other universities, colleges, and high schools.




MnWE started in 2007. The cofounders were Richard Jewell, here giving a welcome after lunch, and Donald Ross, second picture above. MnWE has drawn presenters from Minnesota, the states and province around it, and at least five other states and countries.





During a 2016 breakout, Beata Puschner presents on improving classroom inclusion of ELL students. MnWE attracts a variety of people in other departments and positions, too, from ESL and Reading to Library Science and college-in-the-high-schools faculty.


Format updated 7 Dec. 2019