WRAP Wins Outstanding Innovative Program Award!

Outstanding_Innovative_Program_HardwareOn April 15, 2014, WRAP was awarded the Outstanding Innovative Program Award at the Student Life Leadership Awards Ceremony in recognition of our Research Speed Networking events. I want to take the opportunity now to give credit and thanks to the folks who worked to organize this event.

The idea for Research Speed Networking was brought to WRAP by Becca Hayes, WRAP Events Chair, who worked with Esther Milu, WRAP Professional Development Chair, and the Professional Development Committee, Laura Gonzales and Victor Del Hierro, to organize and implement this highly successful event.

Research Speed Networking has been our most well-attended event, and the second iteration with faculty was just as successful. The purpose of Research Speed Networking was to offer grad students an opportunity to foster collaborations and community in the Rhetoric & Writing program. We wanted to provide a space for participants to practice speaking about their research interests and projects, develop potential research and writing collaborations, and gain an overall sense of the work being done by fellow graduate students. Additionally, speaking to the innovation of this event, Research Speed Networking was also awarded the CAL Alumni Student Grant in Fall 2013.

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Meeting Notes – April 9th, 2014

Even during this extreme low energy period in the semester, we still had a good showing at this meeting! Keep on coming!

The first item on the agenda was an update on elections. As president, it’s my constitutional job to organize and implement elections this year. We are aiming for a quick turnaround between asking for consent to be nominated and nominee statements to the actual voting. We agreed that the goal was to know who the next WRAP officers will be by the next meeting on April 23rd.

We next discussed the budget. The domain for the website has been renewed for 3 years for a total cost of $111. We next discussed t-shirt pricing, wherein folks were tasked with contacting t-shirt companies. We are awaiting these estimates. We are also awaiting news on our submission for the COGs grant to decide on catering for the End of Semester Picnic on May 2nd.

From here we discussed in more detail the COGs grant, particularly if it’s worth pursuing for the next iteration of WRAP. We found there to be misinformation on the website that didn’t match the actual process for decision-making. While we submitted the proposal on time, apparently spring funds have already been dispersed. We are still awaiting their decision.

Next, a new website/network has been created for student organizations called michiganstate-community.symplicity.com. After baffling at the ironic spelling of “symplicity” we noted that this is the new website to register WRAP as a student organization in the fall.

Our last agenda item was the constitution revisions, which were passed.

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2014-2015 Elections – WRAP Executive Committee Nominee Statements


Victor Del Hierro: Please consider my candidacy for WRAP President. I believe my past experience and successes as president of student organizations and my consistent participation in WRAP this year positions me in a way to build upon the great work done by the current administration. If elected, I will focus primarily on continuing to build community among graduate students and in addition, I will try to add a community engagement element to WRAP.

Maria Novotny: If elected to this position, I would rely upon my previous knowledge of the R&W graduate program (gained from serving on RWGAC and my master’s experience) to advocate for the needs and desires of my fellow R&W grad colleagues. Further, I would look to the current as well as prior WRAP officers to guide this leadership position. These are really really big shoes to fill and even in accepting this nomination, I plan to rely upon the voices/opinions/thoughts of all R&W grad students to influence how they would like the WRAP leadership to present themselves to WRAC/R&W.

Events Chair

Allegra Smith: Allegra Smith is a first-year master’s student in the Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy program. She thinks that her disturbing level of comfort with making phone calls to reserve locations and order food makes her an excellent candidate for WRAP Events Chair.

Professional Development Chair

Ronisha Browdy: I am interested in the possibility of becoming the WRAP Professional Development Chair because I would like to more actively engage in and think critically about what it means to be a professional within and outside of the academy, as well as asking myself and others (that means all y’all!) to think critically about what kind of professional I/you would like to be (Why? How? Where? When?). I am interested in this position because I am a graduate student that recognizes the privilege and sacrifice of being here, and I see this position as an opportunity to collaborate in an effort to create spaces for growth and development that are traditional, non-traditional, and somewhere in between/across/around/outside the two. I am interested in this position because I have participated in WRAP as a member this past year and experienced the accomplishments and contributions the current executive committee members have brought to our department, and I would be honored to learn from and follow them.

Matt Gomes: With the hope of building on the foundation our current squad of WRAP officers has laid down, I will work with WRAP to solicit your opinions about how to continue and improve upon the most valuable professionalization events and experiences from this year. I will also advocate for additional workshops addressing issues such as conference presentations and funding opportunities. Additionally, I hope to use this position to advocate for more professional experiences that are relevant for *all* of our graduate students, and I will reach out to MA advisers, as well as the MA and PhD job placement groups to help create dialogue, support and experiences for students with different professional goals, and in different places in our graduate programs.

Recruitment Chair

Phil Bratta: My interest in Recruitment Chair stems from my investment in the department and program because I see these entities as spaces for emerging leaders in the humanities and social sciences. While in the position, I plan to communicate thoroughly — both via online and face-to-face — with the graduate committee, recruitment buddies, and recruits, as well as create a detailed schedule with welcoming events.

Maria Novotny: My experiences as someone being recruited, participating in various PhD recruitments, and recruiting students via RWGAC influences my desire to become the recruitment chair. My institutional knowledge of previous recruitments (both positive and negative) I believe is essential and important to fostering a recruitment persona and committee that will encourage the positive recruitment experience this year’s WRAP officers created. If elected, I would continue the positive approaches that have been implemented this year and would also welcome the ability to work with RWGAC members in coordinating a successful recruitment for February 2015.

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2014-2015 Elections – RWGAC & PW Committee Nominee Statements


Ezekiel Choffel: As a second year MA student, the prospect of joining a committee in which I can help shape the future community that is the WRAC department is very exciting to me. This committee is of particular interest to me because I am very interested in understanding the programmatic workings of our department and finding ways to share these working with everyone. As I will be filling out my own applications for PhD institutions, it will be nice to be able to understand and share what the process looks like and gathering input to help shape the future of the program.

Shewonda Leger: I am interested in this position because I am curious to learn about departmental policies and decision-making tactics. I strive to understand the specific needs of each individual graduate student, and interpret their needs in a formal setting so that I may raise concerns relevant to graduate students, which may directly or indirectly effect their professional choices. If you give me the privilege of holding this position, I will listen to and advocate for everyone equally, because I take multiple voices into consideration to find the best possible solutions.

Allegra Smith: Allegra Smith is a first-year master’s student in the Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy program. She hopes to serve on the Rhetoric & Writing Graduate Advisory Committee to learn more about the graduate admissions and selection process, as well as departmental/program academic governance in general.


Ronisha Browdy: As I approach the end of my first year as a WRAC PhD student, I am very much interested in learning more about and contributing to our department in other ways, which is why I would like to be the RWGAC PhD Representative. The responsibility of representing PhD students within the department is something I do not approach half-hearted/mindedly and I take serious the opportunity to be an advocate for students within the department, communicating between RWGAC and other organizations, and participating in the process of recruiting new students to our department.

Matt Gomes: As the RWGC PhD Representative, I hope to continue to build dialogue between graduate students and faculty. I also hope to push for greater transparency as it relates to assistantship opportunities and funding decisions.

Shenika Hankerson: Hello All, I would love to help advance the needs of graduate students and the department. In specific, I would love to help advance initiatives geared toward community and professional development. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Casey Miles: Being your RWGAC PhD Rep appeals to me because this past year as the WRAP President has given me a clearer perspective on the graduate student experience in our program. We are a lively, brilliant group of folks! As your RWGAC PhD rep I would be honored to carry this knowledge forward, working to further open lines of communication and transparency with WRAP and the graduate students in our program.

Doug Schraufnagle: My name is Doug Schraufnagle and I am currently a third year PhD student. I have been extremely interested in the work that goes into building and running a successful graduate school program since I started the program in 2009 as an MA student. Serving as a PhD representative on RWGAC will not only provide me an opportunity to give back to the community that trained me, but also to learn more about higher education administration.

PW Curriculum Committee Rep

Shewonda Leger: I am interested in this position because I want to be involved in opening doors and creating new opportunities for upcoming students based on past experiences in the PW program. I want to help enhance the courses, activities, and networks for PW students, because these connections are important to on-going achievements. I will be an effective candidate for this position because I am skilled at facilitating clear communication channels between student and faculty by holding monthly meetings and maintaining consistent online and face-to-face engagement.

Rebecca Zantjer: I’m interested in continuing to serve on this committee because of the ways it has allowed me to use my experience as a recent graduate of the Professional Writing program to help PW faculty think more critically about their practices and to shape better student experiences for future PW alumni. I’m a huge believer in this PW program and I feel that the educational experiences it offered prepared me phenomenally well to participate in graduate education. I believe my continued service on this committee would be a meaningful way to give back to this community, and I heartily welcome that opportunity.

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Meeting Notes – March 12, 2014

The first item on the agenda for WRAP’s March 12th open meeting was the budget. We have a good amount of money that we’re looking to spend. Known future costs include a 3-year website domain renewal and catering for the End of the Year Picnic. Suggestions around the room included t-shirts and raffle and/or door prizes for the BBQ.

We next discussed elections, which are right around the corner. We asked the EC to write descriptions of their positions, and Casey was tasked with collecting descriptions of committee positions. Once these are collected Casey will begin the election process.

Next up, constitution revisions. We discussed needing to be able to “show the changes” in the document. Katie suggested using track changes. Once this is ready, she will send it to the listserv for review before putting forward a vote to accept these changes.

Next up, applying for a COGs Grant to fund our End of Semester Picnic. Becca volunteered to get this going for us with Laura as a proofreader. This grant is due March 26th.

WRAP proposed nominating ourselves for the Student Life Leadership Awards. We discussed which award categories we would best fit, concluding with: Student Organization Achievement, Outstanding Professional Organization and Innovative Programming for Research Speed Networking. These nominations require an essay and letters of support with the official application. Casey agreed to get a draft started of the essays, and Becca agreed to ask for letters of support. These nominations are due March 17th, with the awards banquet on April 15th. All are welcome to attend!

Our next item of discussion was the upcoming Chapter & Article Proposal Workshop. Esther has confirmed that Danielle and Jeff are still on board to speak and facilitate. The Professional Development Committee has arranged 316 Bessey for the location, agreed on Jose’s Cuban Sandwiches for catering, and have developed an agenda for the workshop. They have also developed a plan for publicity, including creating a facebook event and reminding folks on the listserv and in person.

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