It's been a busy few weeks here at Praxis, so sorry for the lack of an update last week. Though it's been making the rounds on the Writing Center listserv and on Twitter for the last few weeks, I'm excited to share with you more information about Praxis 14.1, the special guest-edited issue on access and equity for graduate student writing support. We're right at a month out from the release, and today, I thought it might be fun to take a few minutes to reflect on issue 14.1's genesis.
In the fall of 2015, I was starting my first semester serving as a Praxis co-managing editor, and one of my first tasks was to represent Praxis at an IWCA roundtable. After the discussion, during which we presented our respective journals, Michele Eodice approached me to propose a guest-edited issue with Shannon Madden. Given that it was my first semester, I had to take the news back to my co-editor, Thomas, and my executive editor, Trish Roberts- Miller, but needless to say, they were both elated at the prospect. One phenomenal proposal later, and here we are, almost exactly a month before publication of the issue.
Michele might be clairvoyant, but I don't think she actually had any idea how expert her timing was in proposing this issue. Graduate writing support is a crucial issue that needs to be addressed and, based on the number of panels I saw at IWCA this year, more and more attention is being devoted to finding ways to help grad students through the sometimes grueling process of writing the dissertation (but also the many other kinds of writing that we have to do). Here at the University of Texas at Austin, though, we've recently implemented more tutoring for graduate students, and that program was brand new at the time that Michele approached me. Our graduate writing services have been a success so far and have continued to grow and expand beyond what we initially envisioned, and I'm excited that we at Praxis are able to publish an issue that coheres so well with what's happening in our own writing center.
I know when I was a student in the beginning stages of my graduate career, I desperately needed help, having been out of school a couple of years when I decided to matriculate at the University of Georgia, but I didn't always know where to turn for help. By the time I got to UT, I was certainly more confident in my ability to write seminar papers, but I wonder how many graduate students simply fall away or give up after learning how much more difficult the tasks of graduate-level writing are. More than that, what this issue draws attention to are the other, more insidious and systemic factors, including class and race, that tend to crop up and keep students locked out of succeeding, and I'm excited that Praxis is going to be a forum for addressing these timely and critical issues. As you can see from the table of contents above, this special issue tackles head on concerns that cover a wide gamut of topics ranging from the role of family life in graduate student writers to he intersectional identity politics of graduate student writers. Some of the pieces hews to the standard focus article and column format you're used to, but there are also several works that play with form in some ways by which I was quite pleasantly stunned and astonished after reading them. Casey and I are proud to have the privilege to work with Shannon and Michele, and we can't wait to share this issue with you.