This committee should:
- Document the variety of majors in composition and rhetoric across the country and in diverse institutional types and in diverse units (eg, Departments of Writing Studies, Departments of English, programs, etc).
- Seek to identify and describe prototypic majors and the methods used to develop them.
- Identify what students with such majors do after graduation: seek professional employment, go to graduate school, enter professional schools, etc.
- Report on these findings annually: to the CCCC officers and EC, and to the membership on the CCCC website and in other venues as appropriate.
- Gather ideas on how writing majors can be supported and advanced through CCCC approving position statements, forming guidelines or models, developing resources or taking other actions. Report on these ideas with an evaluation of their merit, and then make recommendations for CCCC action, if appropriate.
March 2009 Update
The Committee on the Major in Rhetoric and Composition is developing a searchable database of majors in composition and rhetoric broadly defined (none are actually named this way). This database will include information available in the list currently downloadable, but programs will also be able to upload and update information about their majors and career outcomes of their students. Those seeking to explore the varieties of majors in rhetoric and composition will be able to search the database in multiple ways. We hope the database will be available by Summer 2009. The committee also hosted workshops at WPA 2007 and CCCC 2008 for those revising or developing majors in rhetoric and composition, and individual members have presented conference papers drawing on our findings. Several articles are underway.
Our first list of writing majors and tracks within a major in 2005-06 included 45 institutions with such a major. The 2008 update included 68 majors and tracks in 65 different institutions, and the most recent update (Feb 2009) includes 72 majors and tracks in 68 different institutions. Although some of those added since our 2006 count were ones that we did not identify earlier, more than a dozen were brand new majors, and at least three of the majors that were on that list have recently been completely revised with a greater focus on writing. Our data suggests what many people have claimed anecdotally, namely that the number of writing majors is increasing rapidly and writing studies is becoming more central with each revision.