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MnWE News Spring Conference Issue
March-April 2023
MnWE 2023 Conference In Person and on Zoom at Saint Cloud State
Fri.-Sat., Mar. 31-Apr. 1, 2023
Learning Ecologies: Building, Improving, and Refining Pedagogy
Register for the Conference!         Some Hotels Already Filled--Reserve Soon!
In this issue:





    4.  Friday Entertainment: N.D. PHD ROCK BAND “AcaSheMia” + MNWE DINNER



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

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

    9.  About MnWE (in each issue)

        If you are new to our listserv, welcome! We never share your address, and you always may 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 2000 English and Writing faculty in Minnesota and nearby parts of bordering states. Our next conference is Fri.-Sat., Mar. 31-Apr. 1, 2023, with almost all events available simultaneously in person at St. Cloud State University and on Zoom.
        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 (Change “at” to “@.” We suggest you give us a permanent email.
       Join us for another great MnWE Conference Fri.-Sat., Mar. 31- Apr. 1, at St. Cloud State University! Most people this year are attending in person. Registration, plenaries, readings, and lunch will be in the remodeled Atwood Center with three periods of over twenty breakouts nearby each day. This year’s theme is “Learning Ecologies: Building, Improving, and Refining Pedagogy.” All events are in person and on Zoom simultaneously.  Fees are lower than for most similar conferences. We’d love to see you there! Save $10 by registering by March 23. We also welcome registrations the week before, and during, the Conference: registration

         Note that lodging is going fast! We’re competing with two sports conferences in town that weekend. Reserve early, and cancel or adjust as needed! Lodging suggestions, driving directions, and a campus map—along with the general schedule, “Guidelines for Presenters,” and plenary descriptions—are at
View Hotel Recommendations
Questions? Email us.


        “It is widely reported that the pandemic led to grim educational outcomes and significant learning loss, exacerbating existing disparities among students from under-resourced and marginalized communities. Researchers state the urgency of addressing, through recovery and interventions, the dire consequences of learning loss. 
        “Given the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on community college students at MinnState and other colleges, it is time for us to reevaluate developmental education reforms so that we can re-envision models supported by sound research, centered on community needs, and validated by educators. Only such reevaluation will meet the wide-ranging academic needs of students from diverse backgrounds. Panelists will discuss current debates in developmental education—particularly whether to keep standalone remedial courses as options—in the context of post-pandemic community college education.” —Yanmei Jiang, Plenary Organizer, MnWE Committee

MnWE Conference Plenaries      
    School Part of Community or Is Community Part of the School?

        “What does it mean to have community engagement? This audience-oriented plenary will discuss how and why schools are a part of community. During our 75 minutes, after the open discussion, the audience will be invited to participate in a facilitated experience with the goal of expanding our understanding and need for community engagement as we consider education and equity as a whole."
—Carla-Elaine Johnson, Plenary Organizer, MnWE Committee
MnWE Conference Plenaries      


                                    FRIDAY: DAVID MURA, a well-known Twin Cities author, will read from his His two memoirs are Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei—a NY Times Notable Book—and Where the Body Meets Memory. He also co-edited the anthology of Minnesota BIPOC writers We Are Meant to Rise: Voices for Justice from Minneapolis to the World, featured at a MnWE plenary last year with David as one of the discussants. He recently won the Kay Sexton Award for contributions to Minnesota literature and has received several national honors. He has taught at the University of Minnesota, Hamline University, St. Olaf College, The Loft Literary Center, and the University of Oregon.

In Wikipedia
               SATURDAY: BILL MEISSNER, a well-awarded Minnesota author, will read from several of his books and answer questions afterward. His most recently published novel is Summer of Rain, Summer of Fire. His five collections of poetry include American Compass, Learning to Breathe Underwater, The Sleepwalker’s Son, Twin Sons of Different Mirrors, and The Mapmaker’s Dream. His first novel, Spirits in the Grass, won the Midwest Book Award. His three short story collections are Light at the Edge of the Field, Hitting into the Wind, and The Road to Cosmos. He also recently published a book of baseball photography and writing, Circling Toward Home: Grassroots Baseball Prose, Meditations, and Images. He is a Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing at Saint Cloud State University, has won several additional national and state awards for his creative writing, and continues to offer workshops and readings.
Bill Meissner in
On Facebook

4. Friday Entertainment: N.D. PHD ROCK BAND “AcaSheMia” + MNWE DINNER
      AcaSheMia Faculty Rock Band: Join us Friday, 4:10-5 pm, to listen to what may be the only English PhD rock band in the nation, “AcaSheMia.” In addition to presenting a formal academic breakout at the conference, three of the band’s Fargo-Moorhead area members will perform for 50 minutes Friday afternoon before the MnWE Dinner. AcaSheMia are “creators of feminist academic music” who take well known rock songs and reword them with wit and wisdom to fit subjects such as tenure woes, literature as a high, and other subjects consonant with living the life of faculty.

        The MnWE Dinner: Join us after AcaSheMia’s performance for the annual MnWE Dinner, 5-6:15 pm, Friday evening! We’ll be sitting down to a full complement with several options in Atwood Center’s Cascade Room, where the plenaries and lunches also will be held. This is a time for socializing with old friends and new. All are welcome—sign up during the registration process (or ask at the registration table if any seats still are available).
Registration and Dinner

by John Schleuter, St. Paul College

Editor’s Note: This article represents one of three viewpoints to be presented at MnWE’s Friday Plenary on Developmental Education.

         For the last decade, more colleges and state systems have been “reforming” developmental education, much of it focusing on eliminating standalone remedial courses in English and Math. The dominant narrative is that such classes are a barrier largely affecting underprivileged students because many who begin these classes fail to go on to enroll in and complete college level courses. This push to eliminate now has reached Minnesota. 

       In 2018 MinnState rolled out a
Developmental Education Strategic Roadmap (DESR) for schools.  This roadmap offered schools some leeway to decide what works best for their students—populations that differ widely across the state (not to mention the nation).  To be sure, the roadmap laid out a variety of guiding principles: e.g., accelerated course options, alignment of learning outcomes across the state, and multiple-measures placement. 

        But, in early January, an email from the system office trickled down to faculty, mandating, “All developmental education coursework will be in a corequisite format tied to a college level course by Fall 2026.”  This means the outright elimination of standalone remedial courses in English and Math in favor of corequisite coursework only (i.e., a combined college-level and remedial class at the same time).

        The process for this decision is not entirely clear. Apparently, a “Leadership Action Team” was assembled of presidents from MinnState colleges and universities.  This team was given national and system-specific data, and then made recommendations to the Chancellor, who then directed elimination of standalone developmental education courses by 2026.  This comes on the heels of another MinnState directive to eliminate placement tests at community colleges. Framed as another barrier, traditional placement practices have given way to versions of “guided self-placement,” in which students may place themselves in college-level classes. Both of these mandates have rendered the 2018 DESR null and void, and an initial spirit of cooperation between the MinnState offices and their colleges has given way to top-down, decreed actions.

        Proponents of eliminating standalone remedial courses point to large increases in the numbers of students, especially those of color, who take and pass college level or corequisite English and Math courses and avoid standalone remedial courses. However, basically, this just means that the barrier for these students is not the coursework crafted by expert teachers—it is the time it takes the students to complete these courses. The additional sequential standalone remedial coursework simply provides more “exit points” for students to drop out.

        Unfortunately, all of these “exit points” and more still will occur during the rest of students’ programs or degrees. Therefore, the goal should not be to eliminate such exit points by eliminating courses. Rather, it should be to “plug” or bridge exits throughout a student’s program or degree. Standalone developmental education courses can and should be part of that strategy.

        In fact, the same data as above also show that eliminating standalone remedial coursework does not improve graduation and completion rates—and, depending on the study, even may hurt them. In other words, research demonstrates we could keep the standalone remedial courses and still see the same or possibly better graduation and program-completion rates.
        Now, one may say that if a skills course can be eliminated without negatively affecting graduation rates, then why not do it?  The answer is that we should keep standalone coursework because data exist that indicate those who are able to persist in, and complete, remedial coursework may graduate and transfer at higher rates than those who took corequisite classes alone.  Given this, the goal should be to offer students as much support as possible to persist and complete coursework, and not to eliminate standalone courses, which also eliminates sufficient time for students to work with dedicated developmental education faculty.

        In other words, completing all of a degree or program cannot be done in one semester. At some point, in order to complete their educational goals, students must figure out how to keep going to school.  This is why removing remedial coursework is simply an intra-institutional passing of the buck. No one, in fact, has studied or tracked what happens to those students who fail their corequisite developmental education courses. And graduation rates suggest, as above, that even some who do pass corequisite courses drop out at later exit points.

        Instead of working to find real solutions that help students figure out how to stay in school, this new developmental education “reform” simply gives some students a head start on falling into a difficult hole they are less equipped to overcome than if they had taken standalone remedial coursework in the first place. Corequisite courses may work for some students. However, standalone developmental education still remains the best solution for others.
Editor’s Afterword: Steven Rosenstone, MnSCU’s 2011-2017 Chancellor, said in a business magazine interview, “If you are not on track [for college], we want to start moving all of that remedial education back into high school.” Getting rid of standalone courses, small in class size, likely saves money for MinnState. However, the state’s MMB office (Minnesota Management and Budget) reported in 2018 that equity also must be a consideration in cost-benefit analysis of higher education. In parallel with Schleuter’s article, above, excising standalone English and Math remedial courses may hurt, rather than help, equity.

MinnState (MnSCU) 2018 Developmental Education Strategic Roadmap
Steven Rosenstone Interview, 2020
MMB 2018 Higher Education Report Executive Summary



        According to a March 5 article in the Washington Post, “Florida bills would...erode tenure” and forbid some DEI activities and teaching in Florida higher education. The bills, says the Post, are likely to pass and be signed by Governor Ron DeSantis.

        One bill “outlaws spending on diversity, equity and inclusion programs, says a professor’s tenure can come under review at any time and gives boards of trustees—typically appointed by the governor or Board of Governors—control of faculty hiring and curriculum review.”


        The bill also eliminates college majors and minors in “Critical Race Theory, Gender Studies, or Intersectionality.” It also requires colleges to offer general education courses that “’promote the philosophical underpinnings of Western civilization and include studies of this nation’s historical documents’ including the Constitution and the Federalist Papers [to] ensure...higher education...focuse[s] on legitimate fields...rather than disciplines ‘not based in fact.’
        “‘It’s a complete takeover,...’ said Kenneth Nunn, [former] professor of law at the University of Florida.... The ‘attacks’ on higher education ‘reduce the reputation and perhaps the accreditation of the state institutions.’ Pen America, which advocates for free speech, said the bill would impose ‘perhaps the most draconian and censorious restrictions on public colleges and universities in the country.’”

Washington Post article Mar. 3, 2023

7. Equity Literary Resources (listed in each issue)
        What diversity books might you or your students enjoy for reading and researching?


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


8. Free Teaching/Learning E-Newsletters
(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
9. About MnWE: Previous Issues, Joining, Who We Are, Writing a Book Review, Grad
    Credit, Unsubscribing
 (in each issue)

More Online-Teaching Resources: See
Our Newsletters: For new and old issues,
MnWE News.
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Who are we? “MnWE” is “Minnesota Writing and English,” an all-volunteer organization started in 2007. MnWE has a coordinating committee, a listserv of over 2000, and an annual, two-day, spring conference attended by 100-200 faculty. Our main coordinating committee, which meets about ten 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. Over 2000 faculty, graduate students, tutors, and related administrators receive our emails, and forwards go to additional colleagues and students. Those on our listserv receive this newsletter six times per year, along with additional conference announcements and occasional helpful information. Our listserv members come from state universities, public and private two-year colleges, private colleges and universities, high schools, 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.
Conference: At our annual, two-day conferences, our daily panel of plenary speakers highlight pedagogical concerns and are scholars and writers of national excellence from local and regional schools and professional organizations. In our twenty or more breakouts in three time periods each day, discussants come from universities, colleges, high schools from the Upper Midwest, the U.S., and sometimes from other countries.
Book Reviews: Write a book review for us! We publish one in most issues. A typical (though not required) pattern for a 400-600 w. review is a strong introduction (creative, interrogative, anecdotal, controversial, or ?); three sections describing the story, its arguments/implications, and your evaluations; and a brief, interesting conclusion. Also helpful (but not required) are statements of awards, and of its possible use in teaching.
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

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Questions: We invite you to email the editor or a coordinator on the MnWE Committee listed below. You also are always invited to attend any of our ten or more MnWE Committee meetings per year. To join the listserv, email Richard at jeweL001 (zero zero one) at If you’d like to join the committee for our online Zoom meetings or simply attend a few meetings to observe, please ask Richard to add you to the Committee list for dates and times of meetings. In addition, you always are invited to offer suggestions to MnWE, or to volunteer your leadership for forming a breakout 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. Articles written by others are credited, and those articles are copyrighted. 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   
Pronouns: He, him, they, them (Why it matters)

Minnesota Writing & English

David Beard, UMD Advisor, University of Minnesota-Duluth

Mary Ellen Daniloff-Merrill, SMSU Advisor, Southwest Minn. State Univ.

Judith Dorn, 2023 Site Coordinator, St. Cloud State University

Gene Gazelka, Web Docs Coordinator, North Hennepin Community Coll.

Edward Hahn, Web and Registration Coordinator, North Hennepin Coll.

Ryuto Hashimoto, Undergr. Connection Coord., Mn. State U.-Mankato

Danielle Hinrichs, Program/Conf. Coordinator, Metropolitan State Univ.
Richard Jewell, Co-founder & Gen. Coord., Inver Hills Coll. (Emeritus)

Yanmei Jiang, Plenary Coordinator, Century College

Carla-Elaine Johnson, Plenary Coordinator, Saint Paul College

Eric Mein, 2024 Site Coordinator, Normandale Community College

Gordon Pueschner, Secretary & Conf. Floor Co-Manager, Century Coll.

Beata Pueschner, Conference Floor Co-Manager, North Hennepin Coll.

Donald Ross, Co-founder, Univ. of Minnesota-Twin Cities (Emeritus)

Carol Saalmueller, UMN-TC Liaison, Univ. of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Larry Sklaney, Conference & Cost Center Coordinator, Century College

MnWE Journal Editorial Brd.: David Beard and Yanmei Jiang

danielle.hinrichs at - (651) 999-5960

jeweL001 at (zero zero one) - (612) 870-7024

larry.sklaney at - (612) 735-4954

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

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Format updated 5 Oct. 2022