TYCA-SW Statement in Support of Academic Freedom

The Two-Year College English Association — Southwest, representing two-year college English teachers in six states (Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana), supports academic freedom for all college instructors. We also stand against proposals to forbid the teaching of Critical Race Theory in institutions of higher education and any calls to deny or revoke tenure for those professors who engage with a decades-long discourse in their classes. 

While we stand in solidarity with faculty at four-year institutions where tenure is under fire, most faculty at two-year colleges lack this security. Nevertheless, we join with our university colleagues to assert that quality education everywhere is based on academic freedom. College instructors are field-experts and should never fear contract non-renewal or any other penalty for teaching the material they have deemed relevant to student learning. 

Any attempt by any government entity to dictate what college teachers do in their classrooms is unconscionable. Scholars should be free to teach, research, and ask critical questions regardless of political punditry.

Therefore, we stand in support of academic freedom and job security for all faculty and against ignorance and heavy-handed political intrusion into college classrooms.

2022 Annual Conference Information

Conference Theme: Bodies in Space: Fostering Connections in Theory and Practice

Dates: 13-15 October 2022

Format: In Person and Virtual

Deadline for Proposal Submission: 15 July 2022, extended to 1 August 2022

Conference Submission Portal: Click HERE to access the submission form

Background: In 2019, the last time our TYCA-Southwest membership met together in person, our keynote speaker, Dr. Cristina Cedillo (University of Houston-Clear Lake), highlighted the reality that  embodied experiences are always already part of the classroom. Our pedagogies therefore must  acknowledge the way that bodies situate writers in communities and ways of being that are central to questions of language, literacy, and authorship. 

Since that keynote, we have found ourselves reckoning with the way we think about bodies, communities, access, and the way we inhabit public and private spaces. While the spread of COVID-19 means we’ve never been more aware of the fragility of our bodies, we’ve also felt extremely disembodied after two years of meeting each other as only boxes on screens.  We’ve  seen the possibilities of communities coming together in what will surely be remembered as a historic civil rights movement, but we’ve also felt the backlash of “anti-CRT” legislation and  challenged books.

Two years of teaching online have truly exposed gaps in access — from technology divides to understanding how our physical spaces may have excluded people. Now more than ever, we must approach our pedagogies from a framework of embodiment, no matter the modality of instruction. As we return to face-to-face teaching in physical classroom spaces, there’s joy in returning to some of the practices that we’ve had to do without, but we also must question how we do things and keep adapting.

Call for Proposals:

For the 2022 TYCA-Southwest Conference, the chairs invite our organization to think differently about the way we move through space and especially how we come together for a conference. As we meet together for a hybrid conference — one with online options but also face-to-face in Oklahoma City — we’re adopting an interactive model. Instead of panel presentations, we invite collaborative session proposals, with facilitators engaging participants in discussion of a piece of scholarship in Composition and English Studies.  Facilitators will center discussions on scholarship while actively engaging in the kind of embodied pedagogies and strategies that attendees can practice in their own classrooms.

Those proposing  to facilitate a session will name the article or book chapter they want to discuss, express its importance for faculty working in two-year colleges, and detail a plan for a 45-minute discussion or collaboration. The selection committee will rank proposals based on the relevance of the text, pedagogical engagement, and connections between theory and practice.

Text selections should be available for dissemination prior to the conference. Scholarship choice may include foundational or recent texts, but preference will be given to those engaging with articles from Teaching English in the Two-Year College (TETYC).

Sessions may be proposed as discussions or with the intent of a collaborative final product, such as crafting an accessible syllabus, planning a collaborative TETYC article,  or drafting an open letter to political leadership. 

Facilitators may wish to consider one of the following questions when drafting their proposals:

  • What recent scholarship has transformed your teaching practice, such as discussions of assessment, equity, or high-impact practices?
  • What scholarship is missing from TETYC? How can conference attendees plan to add to it?
  • How does scholarship coming from teachers at 4-year colleges apply at the two-year level?
  • Is there scholarship that can help start conversations about labor practices, diversity initiatives, and institutional structures in our two year colleges?
  • What kind of scholarship should be grounding our responses to curricular plans like pathways, dual enrollment, or job-readiness?
  • What research can help us imagine the future of two-year colleges, especially concerning declining student enrollment?
  • What role does research play in the academy’s response to the “Great Resignation”?

The First-Ever Virtual TYCA-SW Conference 2021

Conference Co-Chairs Toni McMillen and Sarah Fish were pleased to coordinate the first-ever virtual TYCA-SW Conference, bringing us together, though we stayed physically apart. You can check out the sessions and conversations we had this year within our conference program.

The First-Ever Travel Awards Announced

The TYCA-SW Scholarship Committee is happy to announce the inaugural travel award recipients for the 2021 Virtual Conference. They have received this honor based on the merits of their proped presentations:

  • Linda Kapocsi, Collin College
  • Rosalinda Valenzuela, Collin College
  • Jessica Goodman, Oklahoma City Community College

The First-Ever Assignment Innovation Track

Another first this year was our inclusion of an Assignment Innovation Track, a way to asynchronously share unique approaches to assignments and offer another way to present at the conference.

Check out the cool work shared below:

Brianne Sardoni, Social Media and Big News: Fact or Opinion? Low Stakes Assignments for Understanding Credible Sources

Kimberly George, Creating Change Portfolio End-of-Semester Project

The conference recognizes these contributions on the same level as a presentation.

TYCA-SW 2021 Conference Registration

TYCA-SW Virtual Conference logo in a half blue circle with conference dates 15 and 22 October 2021.

Conference Theme: “Accentuate the Positive”: Examining the Successes and Failures Navigated during COVID-19

Schedule: 10 AM-2 PM on 15 and 22 October 2021
Check out the specific sessions offered on each day by reviewing the Conference Schedule Overview.

Format: Virtual, including a Presentation Track and an Assignment Innovation Track

Cost: $45 Event Registration, including one-year membership to TYCA-SW

To Register for the 2021 Virtual Conference, click HERE (redirects to an Eventbrite web page).

TYCA-SW 2021 Annual Conference Proposals

Conference Theme: “Accentuate the Positive”: Examining the Successes and Failures Navigated during COVID-19

Dates: 15 and 22 October 2021

Format: Virtual, including a Presentation Track and an Assignment Innovation Track

Deadline for Proposal Submission: 15 June 2021

Conference Submission Portal: Click Here for the Google Form.

Background: At the 2019 TYCA-SW annual conference, keynote speaker Dr. Cristina Cedillo (University of Houston-Clear Lake) asked us to think about how our students’ embodied experiences were and could be part of the classroom.  She reminded us that our literacies and languages provide opportunities to redefine and reshape Englishes and thus engage our writing projects in and out of classrooms.  And she reminded us that the realities of food and housing insecurities, political spaces that erase and remove communities, and a host of other responsibilities are carried into our classrooms. 

And then by March 2020, COVID-19 drastically, fundamentally altered all of our learning and teaching situations.  2020 was a crash course in the very things Cedillo had asked us to consider—and for many of us, we could literally see into the lives of our students and they into ours as we met virtually, trying to create learning spaces that maintained our institutional requirements and navigated the many new responsibilities we faced. 

More than a year into this new teaching situation, the TYCA-SW Conference chairs would like our 2021 Annual Conference to be a space to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, how we innovated, how we failed, and ultimately what adjustments we’ve made to account for our students’ lives and our own outside the classroom.  What changes have you made that were successful?  What material have you read that has made you rethink teaching?  What have you learned about how to best balance your demands?  What can you share with our membership to help as we all keep moving forward. 

The Call for Proposals: Because the 2021 Annual Conference will be virtual, the chairs invite proposals for a Presentation Track or an Assignment Innovation Track, both treated with equal weight for the conference.  Accepted proposals for both tracks will receive additional information to prepare in advance of the conference. 

For the Presentation Track, those interested should propose more traditional conference-style presentations to be delivered virtually, with individual 15-minute presentations placed within a panel, or proposals for a group panel related to the conference theme.  Proposed presentation topics could include new (inter)disciplinary knowledge that has informed adjustments to your teaching, learning experiments you tried out in the classroom to meet specific student demands and the results, or approaches to course design to maximize student engagement in virtual learning situations.  This list is not exhaustive, so the chairs encourage interested members submit proposals for additional ideas they think align with the conference theme. Successful proposals will explain the exigence for the presentation, its value to conference attendees, and its connections to the conference theme. 

The Assignment Innovation Track asks for an original assignment innovation created over the last year to better address the educational context and outside lives of students paired with an explanation/rationale for the assignment.  Successful assignment innovation proposals briefly explain the assignment (what the assignment requires, context used, learning outcomes met) and offer a rationale for the assignment tied to institutional contexts and research about student learning or approaches to teaching.  Material for this track will be made available on the TYCA-SW website to share with all membership and the national organizations we’re connected with (NCTE, TYCA National, CCCC). 

TYCA-SW 2020 Professional Development Series

All two-year college English, Developmental Education, and Humanities departments in Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas are invited to sign up for TYCA-SW’s first ever free professional development events outlined below:

16 Oct.
10:30 AM-12:00 PM
“Part 1: Addressing Faculty Anxiety, Stress, and Trauma: Recover, Renew, and Rewire” (Janet Zadina)
16 Oct.
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
TYCA-SW Member Panel: Equity, Access, and the Classroom
23 Oct.
10:30 AM-12:00 PM
“Part 2: Addressing Faculty Anxiety, Stress, and Trauma: Recover, Renew, and Rewire” (Janet Zadina)
23 Oct.
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
State of the States: What’s Happening in Higher Ed across Our Region
23 Oct. 2:15 PMTYCA-SW Executive Council Meeting (open to TYCA-SW members)

For more information about the conference, check out the TYCA-SW Fall 2020 Newsletter and Janet Zadina’s website.

We only have 250 virtual seats for Janet Zadina’s sessions and 100 virtual seats for the other sessions. The first individuals and groups to claim their spots via the Registration Portal will be the first served.

If your department would like to remotely host or provide a social distanced room to reach more instructors, we would appreciate a lead contact person’s name, a list of attendees, and email addresses for each who attend. We suggest that this session can be used as a formal professional development opportunity for faculty in a time of social distancing.

If needed, TYCA-SW will send formal recognition of participation/attendance for the sessions. Registering groups should include names and email addresses for attendees to ensure they receive needed documentation. Email addresses will strictly be used for links to attend this TYCA-SW session and to confirm the links for this event.

Fall 2020 Newsletter

Check out the TYCA-SW Fall 2020 Newsletter, which includes a conference update and some innovations for the classroom.

Newsletter Correction Note: Leigh Ann Moore is the current Vice-Chair for TYCA-SW. The current newsletter issue lists Michael Berberich in this position.

The TYCA-SW Newsletter Editorial Team welcomes submissions for its future issues.  Interested authors should contact either Sarah Fish or Toni McMillen (see newsletter for more details).