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MnWE News Early Summer Issue
May-June 2022

In this issue:     



4.  Equity/Diversity Literary Resources (in each issue)

5.  Free Teaching/Learning E-Newsletters (in each issue)

6.  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. Click here if you wish to view this or previous issues in your browser. MnWE News goes to over 2500 English and Writing faculty in Minnesota and parts of nearby states. Our next conference is Fri.-Sat., Mar. 31-Apr. 1, 2023, at St. Cloud State University.
        If you are a long-term member of this listserv, thank you for your continuing participation. If you did not receive this newsletter directly and want to see it six times per year, join us by sending a request to the editor at 
jeweLØØ1 at umn dot edu. We suggest you give us a permanent email address.


        About 120 scholars reveled in ideas April 7-8 at the Minnesota Humanities Center in St. Paul for the 12th Annual MnWE Conference. It also combined, for the first time, all events simultaneously in-room and on Zoom, an experiment that worked well.

        This year’s theme was “Changing the Narrative: Empowering Stories.” Together as faculty and storytellers, we listened to excellent plenaries by seven Minnesota luminaries; shared ideas in 85 thoughtful discussions and 5 literary readings in 31 breakouts and entertainments; and enjoyed fresh, homemade lunches and a dinner at MHC, along with multiple coffees and snacks. The all-volunteer MnWE Committee also gained several new members.
        MHC sponsored Thursday’s plenary. Its CEO, Kevin Lindsey, and well known top Minnesota authors Carolyn Holbrook and David Mura discussed Holbrook and Mura’s new edited anthology,
We Are Meant to Rise: Voices for Justice from Minneapolis to the World.
        Their plenary pointed to how the Twin Cities has seen the murder of George Floyd and one of the worst protests and riots in its aftermath, all during a pandemic further crushing minority hopes. In this discussion, audience members learned how the new Holbrook and Mura book–in its brilliant and rich gathering of voices on the American experience of this past year and beyond, from Indigenous writers and writers of color from Minnesota–provides valued witness to recent events. It also speaks to our common future. The collection of mostly nonfiction stories is an ideal lens in class and out to focus pressing themes central to Minnesotans and those living everywhere in our country.
        The second plenary, “Changing the Narrative through Generational Lenses,” was sponsored by Strive Publishing, a relatively new Twin Cities publishing company devoted to finding and selling books by authors of color about children of color. Mary Taris, Strive CEO and owner, engaged in conversation with two of her current authors, Donna Gingery and Anthony Walsh, and professional storyteller Gregory Pickett.
        The four of them asked the audience to envision the great power in elevating everyday stories from the Black community to effect change and challenge the way we relate to one another across cultures and identities. They shared their own stories of elevation, their struggles, and how important it has been to possess Black-owned enterprises and Black examples in finding to exceptional success.
        Their lived experience also represented to the audience their ability to create space to connect, break down stereotypes, and share important life lessons, values, and hope for Generation Z, Generation Alpha, and generations to come. They brought to conference participants the opportunity for sharing education, culture, and community together in an atmosphere of learning and acceptance, where everyone can be an authentic self and face the challenges of educating the next generations in a way that honors each student’s full identity.
        In addition, many of the conference’s breakouts offered a wide variety of pedagogies for “Changing the Narrative: Empowering Stories” in classroom practice. Other breakouts provided an assortment of additional creative practices.

        Next year, join us in Atwood Center at St. Cloud State University! SCSU’s English Department will host the Annual MnWE Conference Friday-Saturday, March  31-April 1, 2023. MnWE plans to continue offering two plenaries and plenty of roundtables to encourage ever more discussion. Our roundtable format asks discussant-presenters to talk for 5-7 minutes each, then share questions and ideas with each other and their audience.     

Profiles of Thur. Plenary Panelists
Profiles of Fri. Plenary Panelists
Would you like to join MnWE volunteers?  Email jeweLØØ1 at umn dot edu.



        The Chronicle’s April 26 newsletter Race on Campus gives notice that new state bans against teaching CRT (Critical Race Theory) and other diversity initiatives are being aimed not just at K-12 schools but also colleges and universities. Editor Fernanda Zamudio-Suarez says that in Florida, for example, you are breaking the law if you train a public college student or employee in any of eight ways about “race and identity.”

        One of these illegal acts is, as Zamudio-Suarez quotes the new law, to train people that “an individual’s moral character or status [is] either privileged or oppressed...determined by his or her race,...color, sex, or national origin.” This statute clearly makes any training about white privilege subject to prosecution.

        Another part of the law criminalizes those trying to create new anti-racist structures: they never may suggest that any individual “should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment to achieve diversity, equity, or inclusion.” This is reminiscent of a relatively recent, long and painful reprimand by Minneapolis Community and Technical College of a English faculty member of color who angered three white students. The three felt personally attacked when she discussed systems in general of white privilege. The class itself was predominantly nonwhite.

        Her faculty union intervened in her favor, though not with an entirely satisfactory conclusion. If she were to teach this way now in Florida and it were considered “training,” she would be subject to arrest, fining or jail, and loss or suspension of her job and tenure.

        Other states are following. Tennessee now prevents “mandatory diversity training for students,...faculty and staff members,” says Race on Campus. Oklahoma public colleges “can’t require any kind of diversity education,” and their statute “prohibits” an “orientation or requirement that presents any form of race or sex stereotyping or a bias on the basis of race or sex....” Iowa, next-door neighbor of Minnesota, now bans “Mandatory training that promotes certain race-related concepts.”

        Teaching and training CRT and simple diversity–and encouraging hiring stipulations to that purpose–still is possible in Minnesota. However, given the national politics, you may encounter new and greater pushback from students in your classroom or even from administrators. Each faculty member may want to consider carefully the framework they use for such teaching. Conversations at the department and cross-department levels also may be helpful.
MPR News: MCTC’s Reprimand of English Faculty Member
Iowa Bill against Anti-Racist and Anti-Sexist Training, Diversity, and Inclusion
Iowa State U. Response to New Anti-Training Law


        Here are four assessments by students using one method for the beginning, middle, and end of a term. They proved a hundredfold more effective for me than the many mass-produced, objective-answer surveys I was required to give students throughout my career. I recommend them highly with or without other assessments. They are a type called “low-stake” and “formative.” I am very thankful to multiple colleagues and faculty-driven seminars for helping me develop them.

        In all four, you start by asking students to find a standard blank sheet of paper, add no name, write three questions, and then answer each question briefly and respectfully. Add that you’ll read the answers aloud. Here is what they should write:

Week 2: “What is a question you have about this course? What is another question about it? What is a question you have about me as the teacher of this course?”

Week 3:
“What is another question you have about this course? What is a question you have about navigating the campus and/or trying to succeed in college? What is a question you have about my own life as a teacher (not all questions answered)?”

Midterm: “What is working for you in this class? What is not? What would you change if you could?”

Last Week: “What worked for you in this course? What did not? What would you change for future students in the course?” (Language differing from midterm questions is italicized.) 

        Then read the results aloud, skipping repetitions, and respond. I read them the same day. However, a colleague took their comments home to process them, then read them the next class day.

What did I discover?           

 - I learned much more than I expected.
 - Students really like the opportunity to interact like this, and they are quite respectful and serious.
 - They want simple, clear answers.
 - Stupid questions are useful: some students learn better by hearing my responses aloud.
 - They feel I am more interested in them, leading to better interactions and learning in the term.
 - They like anecdotal answers about pitfalls suffered by anonymous students “no longer at the
    school” and about my own difficulties in college. 
 - Responses that seem “off” or angry allow me to model, for all, being patient, kind, and fair.
 - In intro courses, they looked for my teaching bona fides more than my scholarly knowledge.
 - I made many improvements in course materials from their questions and thoughts.
 - I became a much better teacher for both classes and individuals than I realized I could be.
        One of the greatest rewards was that my students developed better metacognition about not just course contents but how they were learning. I took advantage of this by requiring each person to turn in a final short, informal paper: “Please describe what you learned, how you learned it, and how you could apply it in your future courses, jobs, or personal life.” Many answers were bright and thoughtful reflections on how they might  transfer their new knowledge and skills. That was exactly what I wanted.
Four Types of Formative Assessment: Hunter College
Defining Formative vs. Summative Assessment: Carnegie Mellon U.
Seven Formative Assessments & Several Articles--Lucas Educational Foundation
4. Equity Literary Resources (listed in each issue)
              What diversity books might you or your students read? Suggestions are welcome.


50 Top Asian American Literary Books
Time's 25 Asian-Am. Celebrate
MN Hum. Center’s BIPOC Resources

Wikipedia Asian-Amer. Lit., Writer List
2000+ Books on Asian American Lit
Graphic: 85 AAPI Novels  Angel's 60+



44 Best Black Books–
30 Top Black Literary Books
MN Black Children's Bks.–Strive Publ.
MN Hum. Center Diversity Resources

Wikipedia African-Amer. Lit., Writer List
41 Black Fiction Classics–B & N
700+ Black Books–
Black Graphic Novels and Comics


Indigenous/Native American:

50 Native American Bestseller Books
32 Native American Authors
MN Hum. Center Diversity Resources

WikipediaNative-Amer. Lit., Writer List
Minn. Hist. Society Native-Amer. Books
Indigenous Graphic Literature



Latinx Writers’ 14 Recommended Bks.
10 Latinx
MN Hum. Center Diversity Resources

WikipediaLatinx LiteratureWriter List
2000+ Latinx Books–
Latinx Graphic Novels



25 Best Classics
40+ LGBTQIA Gay Fiction & Lit Bks.
50 Bestsellers

Wikipedia: LGBTQ General, Writer List
1000+ in Multiple Genres
LGBTQ Graphic Lit: Bestsellers  800+

Graphic Novels and Diversity:

NCTE: "Diversity in Graphic Novels"
NCTE: "In Defense of Graphic Novels"
NPR: "100 Fav. Comics/Graphic Novels"

Social Justice Graphic Novels (All Ages)
Best Graphic Novels of All Time
Top 10 Literary Graphic Novels


5. Free Teaching/Learning E-Newsletters
(listed in each issue)

      Do you want to be more in touch with colleagues nationally, or seek ideas from other networks? Connect by subscribing to one of these free email newsletters. You may start or stop a subscription at any time. Go to each link below to find more about the e-newsletter and instructions for subscribing. (You won’t be subscribed by clicking on the links below.)

NEA HigherEd, National Education Association. Weekly political and labor news update:

Subscribe           Sample

Race on Campus from Chronicle of Higher Education. Weekly briefs and information:
Sample and Free Subscription

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

          Subscribe           Sample

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

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

Teaching from Chronicle of Higher Education. Weekly brief advice on general methods:

          Subscribe           Samples      

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

          Subscribe             Past issues

6. About MnWE: Old Issues, Joining, Who We Are, Grad Credit, Unsubscribing
(in each issue)

More Online-Teaching Resources: See
Our Newsletters: For new and old issues,
MnWE News.
Forwarding/Joining: Please forward this email to other interested faculty and administrators. Your newer full-time and adjunct faculty members, graduate students, undergraduate majors, 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 jeweLØØ1 at umn dot edu. 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, , tutors, publishers, authors, and others in the Upper Midwest and beyond. Our purpose is to bring together these communities in Minnesota and in nearby states and provinces.

Where are we? Please visit us online at Our geographical center is Minneapolis-St. Paul. About 2700 faculty, graduate students, tutors, and related administrators see our emails. Those on our listserv receive this newsletter six times per year, along with additional conference announcements and helpful forwards. 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 in the United States, Canada, and overseas countries.
Conference: At our annual two-day conferences, our speakers highlight 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 four-year 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

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 jeweLØØ1 at umn dot edu 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 five to seven MnWE Committee meetings per year: to join the listserv, email jeweLØØ1 at umn dot edu. 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 News and/or; 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, Editor

MnWE News   

Minnesota Writing and English

David Beard, UMD Advisor, University of Minnesota-Duluth
Heidi Burns, Web & Docs Coordinator, Minn. State University-Mankato
Mary Ellen Daniloff-Merrill, SMSU Advisor, Southwest Minn. State Univ.
Casey DeMarais, 2022 Site Coordinator, Minn. Humanities Center
Gene Gazelka, North Hennepin Community College
Edward Hahn, Registration Coordinator, North Hennepin College
Ryuto Hashimoto, Intrnl. Co-Ldr. & Eval. Coord, Mn. State U.-Mankato
Danielle Hinrichs, Program Coordinator, Metropolitan State University
Richard Jewell, Gen. Coord. & News Ed., Inver Hills College (Emeritus)
Yanmei Jiang, Equity Co-Leader, Century College
Carla-Elaine Johnson, St. Paul College
Linda O’Malley, Volunteer Coordinator, Metropolitan State University
Kerrie Patterson, Treasurer, Hennepin Technical College
Gordon Pueschner, Secretary & Conf. Floor Co-Manager, Century Coll.
Beata Pueschner, Conference Floor Co-Manager, North Hennepin Coll.
Jana Rieck, Communications Coordinator, Champlin Park High School
Donald Ross, Co-Founder and UMN Advisor, University of Minnesota
Kako Shintani, International Co-Leader, University of Leeds
Larry Sklaney, Conference & Cost Center Coordinator, Century College
Mary Taris, Equity Co-Leader, Strive Community Publishing
Elizabetheda Wright, University of Minnesota-Duluth
MnWE Journal Editorial Brd.: David Beard, Yanmei Jiang, & Mary Taris

jeweLØØ1 at umn dot edu - (612) 870-7024
larry dot sklaney at century dot edu - (651) 747-4006
danielle dot hinrichs at metrostate dot edu - (651) 999-5960                 

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Minnesota Writing & English
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Format updated 13 May 2021