Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Social Agency in the Administration of Writing and Technology

Katherine Tsiopos Wills.

This study asks, What are the results when individual agency meets technological literacy in the academic workplace? Numerous articles have examined WPAs as agents of social change (R. Miller, C. Selfe, M. Pemberton); few have used empirical data as their grounds. To date, no articles have examined the WPA’s agency with technological literacy in computer-mediated environments. The study assumes that WPAs act as administrative agents who use their agency to move beyond the role of functionaries such as “boss compositionists” (Sledd in Harris, 2000) or academic bureaucrats (R. Miller, 1988). Special features of this dissertation include original primary data on WPA decision-making, education, compensation.

Preliminary data show the following: WPAs report using their agency when managing technology use for departments and institutions; WPAs receive mixed recognition for their intellectual contributions in tenure and promotion. Seventy percent of WPAs report that their technological literacy affords them power in their departments; seventy percent of WPAs state that their technological literacy has improved their relations with students; most WPAs receive little compensation for their technological skills other than salary; and search and screen committees increasingly require technology proficiency of their writing faculty. This data suggests that job skills and intellectual contributions of WPAs who work with CAI are not fully recognized and compensated in departments and contribute to a rise in invisible labor. This study utilizes triangulated and multi-modal research methods including site observations as well as interviews and email surveys with WPAs, students, technicians, and non-departmental stakeholders.


Katherine Tsiopos Wills  (United States)
Trustee Lecturer in English
English Department Division of Liberal Arts
Indiana University Purdue University at Columbus

Katherine V. Tsiopos Wills is a Trustee Lecturer in the English Department at Indiana University Purdue University at Columbus. Her interests are techno-rhetoric, writing program administration, diaspora literature and creative writing.

  • Agency
  • Labor
  • Technology
  • Writing
  • Research

(Virtual Presentation, English)