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The Weekly Blast: September 18, 2009

In “All of My Students Drew Smiles on their Faces,” Jono Tosch combines the clerical side of teaching with getting to know his students. To see how to get your students to put smiles on their faces click on:
(At the time the Blast went out we were in the process of putting this exercise into the database. If it isn’t there right away please keep checking. Sorry for the delay)

The last day to drop off a copy of your syllabus and grading policy is Friday Sept. 18. Remember to write your name on them. New TOs do not have to turn in a grading policy.

The last day to turn in your office hour/address form is Friday, Sept. 18. Every person must turn this form in whether changes have been made or not. Please complete the entire form. Extra forms are in the office.

All College Writing instructors need to introduce their students to the research resources, both print and electronic, of UMass Libraries. This is a key part of Unit III: Adding to a Conversation. We recommend that you do this around October 28-29. You can reserve a computer lab in Du Bois Library by going to the librarians’ blog for College Writing: and clicking on “Reserving a Library Instruction Classroom.” Do this as soon as possible so you’ll be sure to get a computer lab when you want it.

All TO’s Welcome!
Thursday, September 24 at 8:30, the Diversity Committee and Friends will meet at The Moan and Dove in Amherst.

Join members of the Diversity Committee to discuss issues related to writing and the classroom every Thursday evening! Bring questions, concerns, and classroom situations and enjoy a lively discussion!

Proposals for Experimental Writing Workshops are due on October 2. For information about how to submit please see our website at:

Interested in doing a special project for your class? Check out how you can apply for funds at:

The Diversity Committee actively seeks new members! Join us to engage in exciting discussions relating to issues of diversity and the composition classroom. We will meet twice per month –day and time to be scheduled.

For more information, contact Deirdre Vinyard

The Curriculum Committee oversees the curriculum of our main first-year writing course, College Writing (Englwrit 112) and is a great committee to join if you’re interested in talking more about the pedagogy and design of our syllabus, course calendar, and policies. We will likely meet once a month for the coming year. For more information, contact David Fleming at

We STILL need graduate students to serve on this year’s Student Writing Anthology committee. Putting together next book year’s book will be an exciting experience, especially this year! Many people are talking about our current text in excited voices; they really responded positively to the idea of creating a book of student writing with texts from all our Writing Program classes, Junior Year classes, and any other university class who wants to submit a text. We will be continuing our goal and now is the time for YOU to shape our next book.

And great news for the committee: this year we will have clerical assistance, so the already light workload will be lighter still, and all will run smoothly. Meetings will be infrequent and sporadic—depending on when we accumulate enough essays to read and score. And once we have made our selections (by around March 3), the majority of the work is done for you. Being a committee member is an exciting challenge (and a great line on your CV!). And there is a great amount of satisfaction in seeing the finished book and knowing your fingerprints are all over a text being used in our Writing Program courses (and, we hope, beyond).

Please e-mail me at or stop by my office in 305 Bartlett if you are interested in joining this year’s committee. I can hardly wait for our first meeting!

Thank you,
Pat Zukowski

A Writing Workshop with Queer Performance Artist Peggy Shaw
Friday, September 25th, 1:30-3:30
CC 174-176

Are you interested in performance art? Have you always wanted to write your own performance art pieces? Do you want to explore how performance art can be
used for social change?

Peggy Shaw, an internationally acclaimed queer lesbian performance artist, will be offering a free writing workshop for UMass undergraduate and graduate students. No prior performance or acting experience necessary. This is an excellent opportunity to explore creativity while working with a well-known and accomplished performance artist in a friendly, non-threatening environment. Shaw will lead participants through writing exercises designed to generate material and performance techniques that can be used to bring one's life to writing and one's writing to life.

To register, e-mail Mitch Boucher at
space is limited to twenty-five participants

Sponsored by: Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, The Stonewall Center, UMass Writing Program, English Department, German Department,and Edinburgh
Festival Course.

Peggy Shaw is a co-founder of Split Britches, a lesbian performance troupe, and performs individually and collaboratively in the United States and abroad. FMI about Peggy haw's work, visit

An excerpt from the Split Britches Website:
"Split Britches meaningfully extended the post-1960s political theatre mandate of combining art and life; they rip apart theatrical “convention” exposing it to the bone and creating a new aesthetic combining the trash street aesthetic and drag of Hot Peaches, the story-weaving of Spiderwoman, and the live-art Brechtian exposure of what is real now, never letting you forget they are performing as themselves. They explore butch-femme stylistics and, in every piece, women's rage, desire, poverty, hope and love. Their performances are sites of clarity, inspiration and community."
--Laurie Stone of the New York City Village Voice

Split Britches Lesbian Feminist Theatre Company was founded 27 years ago by Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver and Deb Margolin. Since 1980 they have transformed the landscape of queer performance with their vaudevillian satirical gender-bending performances. They describe their work in this way: "Our work is rooted in popular culture, but positioned against it.... It is about a community of outsiders, queers, eccentrics. It is feminist because it encourages the imaginative potential in everyone and lesbian because it takes the presence of lesbian on stage as a given."

Andrea Lawlor sends us some good resources on transgender issues.

Online Resources:
Trans 101: From the San Francisco Transgender Law Center <>
Sylvia Rivera Law Project Resources <>
Dean Spade's "long rant about "transgenders" questions" <>
UMass Stonewall Center (including list of gender neutral bathrooms on campus, information about Ally trainings, etc): < stonewall>
Julia Serano's Resource Page: <>

Very Short Bibliography:
Bornstein, Kate. Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us. New York: Vintage, 1995.
Feinberg, Leslie. Transgender Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue. Boston: Beacon Press, 1998.
Serrano, Julia. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2007.


September 18 Office hour & address forms due
Syllabus and grading policy due

September 24 Diversity on TAP

October 2 Request for Experimental Writing Workshop due

October 12 Columbus Day

October 13 Monday class schedule will be followed

October 19 Mid Term Grade Report

November 25 – 30 Holiday

January 15, 2010 General Meeting

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