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Session I

Literacy and Literature of Kansas City

Chrissy Nance, Notre Dame de Sion High School
Megan DeLaurier, Notre Dame de Sion High School

We’ve designed a course that demonstrates how a literary tour of Kansas City (and surrounding areas) can empower us as readers and writers while transforming hearts through a look at literacy initiatives and exploring the human experience and the culture of literature with the local writers of yesterday and today. Through our class, we answered essential questions such as: Why does literacy matter? Why does literature matter in our world today

From the Archives to Action: Writing Based on Our Community

Jan Rog, Metropolitan Community College-Longview

Cultivating agency, learning local history, conducting research, and writing authentically: place-based writing can challenge students academically and affirm what they have experienced. I will share various digital tools, local resources, and examples of student writing. Please come, enjoy, and connect; we’ll share ideas beyond this conference.

Empowering Community College Students Through Service-learning: Insights from JCCC's Philosophy Department, Honors Program, and English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Department

Holly Milkowart, Johnson County Community College
Melissa Nolan, Johnson County Community College
Dawn Gale, Johnson County Community College

Explore JCCC’s innovative service-learning initiatives in Philosophy, Honors, and EAP departments. Discuss transformative impacts on students, communities, and institutional culture. Spotlight interdisciplinary collaboration, student testimonials, and impact assessment strategies. Inspire dialogue and share best practices for nurturing engaged citizens in community college settings.

Building a Legacy of Sustainability in Community

Margaret Weaver, Missouri State University
Rhonda Stanton, Missouri State University
Leslie Seawright, Missouri State University

Compositionists remain committed to the belief that we can build community. Our panel will share the intentional design of our Teaching Assistant (TA) program and how this design led to organic community building among the TAs. We will explore if a sense of community is sustainable, particularly when intentionality disappears.

Developing Strong Communities Through Service-learning Initiatives

Jay Gooldy, Dodge City Community College

Create new and exciting communities in the classroom and beyond through service-learning initiatives. These strategies can unite your students into a powerful learning monolith that serves, learns, and succeeds.

Writing for Local Environmental Nonprofit Organizations

Daniel Martin, Rockhurst University

In the course Writing for the Environment, students partner with environmental organizations to work on real-world writing projects that serve explicit needs of those organizations. This form of servicelearning connects students with a professional community outside the classroom, but it also comes with challenges.

Zines, Pronounced "Zeens" – Crafting Community and Participatory Culture in the Classroom

Anthony Procopio Ross, Johnson County Community College and Kansas City Art Institute

Zines, pronounced “zeens,” occupy the intersection of grassroots activism and self-expression. This presentation explores how zines can transform education environments into community spaces, encouraging students to engage actively in meaning-making. I will share implementations of zine-making assignments and exercises, showcasing their role in bridging academic content with students’ personal experiences.

Student Perceptions of Community in an Open-ended, Text-centered Literature Seminar

Glenn Lester, Park University

In this era of hybrid learning, outcomes-oriented curriculum, and highly structured online courses, is the text-centered literature seminar still relevant? Based on analysis of student perceptions of community as revealed in journal entries, anonymous surveys, and informal conversations, I argue “yes,” and this talk will explain why and how.

Session II

Creating Inclusive Classroom Communities Through Un-grading

Heather Hill, Northwest Missouri State University
Renee Abbott, Northwest Missouri State University
Lauren Cox, Northwest Missouri State University

In this panel, we will discuss “un-grading” as an alternative to traditional product-based grading, and the ways this more ethically oriented assessment method might lead to inclusive, equitable, and traumainformed classrooms. We will explain what un-grading is, discuss research-informed reasons for using it, discuss our own experiences using it, and include some student responses to this form of assessment.

Building Language Communities in Composition, English, and Spanish Classrooms

Cathryn Crosby, Emporia State University
Anyi Ahumada Velasquez, Emporia State University
Karina Chapparo Silva, Emporia State University
Laura Stefany Santacruz Vera, Emporia State University
Paola Valdez Donaire, Emporia State University

This panel focuses on learning strategies in composition, English, and Spanish classrooms for fostering students’ confidence, openness, and freedom; navigating academic writing in Paraguay and the United States; implementing literature as a resource in language learning; and pursuing Spanish in building community. We will end with an interactive discussion.

"Fiction That Looks Different:" Empowering Autistic Writers in the Classroom Community

Allison Raymond, Missouri State University

Many commonly accepted pieces of writing advice are based on a neurotypical worldview, leading to the exclusion of autistic students in the writing classroom. We can challenge this linguistic ableism by recognizing the skills and work of neurodivergent writers and celebrating their unique perspectives.

Diaspora, Inafa'maolek, and Composition: CHamoru Culture and Community-building in First-year Writing (FYW)

Jacob Jardel, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Conceptualizing the first-year writing classroom through the lens of diaspora, this presentation will examine the ways FYW students can build community within the classroom and with their home identities. Attendees will leave with knowledge of how to use wayreading and the CHamoru concept of inafa’maolek to help foster these connections.

Flexible Groupings in Chile and Tracking Students in the USA: Two Different Perspectives in Education

Jean Georges Emock Bakelak, Missouri State University

Grouping students is a successful pedagogical strategy in Chile, but did not have the same results in the United States. The current inquiries focus on understanding why grouping failed to yield positive outcomes in the U.S. but has shown results in Chile.

Illuminating Hidden Architects: The Role of Paratext in Online Community Building

Abby Breyer, University of Kansas

This presentation explores the role of paratextual elements—comment sections, hashtags, algorithms, user design—in online community building. Drawing on theories of paratextuality and multimodality, and content analyses of disability communities online, I connect findings to pedagogical and activist strategies for enhancing access and participation in online communities.

Belonging Through Celebration of Uniqueness: Building Community in the Writing Classroom

Lindsey Bartlett, Emporia State University
Curtis Becker, Emporia State University
Kevin Rabas, Emporia State University

Three English faculty from Emporia State University discuss the ways teachers can work to create a sense of community in their classrooms. For one instructor, the use of place-based writing is a way to not only create community, but also help reach rural students who may be grappling with their sense of identity. Another instructor uses various techniques to help LGBTQ students feel safe and welcomed in the writing classroom. The final member uses randomizers, such as dice, in small groups to help DEI in their classrooms.

Session III

Finding Balance With AI Somewhere Between All or Nothing

Cheryl Duffy, Fort Hays State University
Olivia McGillivray, Fort Hays State University
CJ Gibson, Fort Hays State University

Generative AI has us thinking about connecting with … a machine? In this session, a professor and two upper-division English majors explore GenAI from three different perspectives. One panelist shares the student perspective—how and why they use GenAI. Another demonstrates how teachers can incorporate GenAI in fruitful and ethical ways. A third proposes a radically compassionate solution to the temptation to cheat with GenAI.

Gen Z Teaching Gen Z: Achieving Connection and Community in a Technological World

Kayla Reese, Missouri State University
Alana Rowan, Missouri State University
Emily Lewandowski, Missouri State University

This panel of Gen Z instructors will examine how to build trust in a world where the rules of classroom etiquette are challenged by the use of technology. The panelists intend to dive into topics including the rise of online study communities, ChatGPT, and oversharing in relation to Gen Z.

In My Swift Lit Era: Connecting Past & Present Literature to a 21st Century Audience

Kayla Branstetter, Crowder College
Stephanie Witcher, Crowder College
Leandra Toomoth, Crowder College

A Communications Division Chair, an English Instructor, and an Instructional Designer from Crowder College will present on how collaborating and co-teaching an online course centered on comparing Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar to Taylor Swift’s writing increased student interest in classic literature.

From Seducer to Groomer: Contrasting the Form, Content and Reception of Two Coming-of-Age Comics by Queer Cartoonists

Sandra Cox, Southeast Missouri State University

The presentation contrasts the content and critical receptions of Bechdel’s Fun Home (2006) with the self-disclosure and resulting cultural controversies incited by the publication of Kobabe’s Gender Queer (2021) to better understand how formal elements that may be “indecent” or “explicit” in contemporary comics are part of an emergent visual used to chronicle queer subjects’ coming-of-age in ways that reveal implicit biases and problematic social hierarchies.

The First Five Days

Amanda Durnal, Blue Valley High School

First impressions matter. We tell students this all the time. In teaching, the first five days matter. My session will share what my “first five days” looks like. With sixteen years of public classroom experience, I have seen (and will share about) the community that grows from this solid beginning.

Awareness of Difference: Diversity Trainings in Tutoring Spaces

Jack Shaw, University of Kansas

At a training I attended last fall, we were given an activity that asked us to identify aspects of our personal identities that were privileged or marginalized. This activity had significant shortcomings in its structure and administration. We can learn from these shortcomings and correct them as we work to best embrace diversity and address structural advantages in tutoring spaces.

Outreach: Connecting Communities or Copping Out?

Lael Ewy, Hutchinson Community College

This workshop uses existing work in the field and the lived experience of teaching in a community college outreach program to explore whether the nature and structure of outreach programs enables building communities of academic writing in college composition classes or undermines it.

"Can You See Me? Can You Hear Me?" Classroom Culture and Virtual Learning

Mark Malaby, Director, ESSDACK, McPherson, KS
Christopher Malone, Northeastern State University

Virtual educators face challenges having to do with building classroom community. How does a virtual literature student’s decision to leave her camera off impact class discussion? How does that decision bring to the surface power dynamics that might otherwise remain obscured? This co-presented paper examines how student and teacher identities depend on seeing one another and being seen, and whether the virtual literature classroom can become something other than Foucault’s panopticon.

Teaching Texts That Inspire Community

Louise Krug, Washburn University

Every teacher would say the texts they teach are interesting, but some inspire connection and belonging more than others. We will look at examples of readings from memoirs that have caused students to band together and support each other in a myriad of ways.