Transformative Leadership Workshop


  • Ellen Cushman, Northeastern: “Toward a Praxis of New Media”
  • Dominic DelliCarpini, York: “Community Engagement Authentic Writing”
  • Juan Guerra, U of Washington: “Navigating Cultures in Flux”
  • Rhea Lathan, Florida State: “For Colored Girls who Considered the Academy when Suicide wasn’t Enough”
  • LuMing Mao, U of Utah: “Essence, Absence, Uselessness”
  • Thomas Miller, U of Arizona: “Reimagining Leadership after the Public Turn” (with Joddy Murray)
  • Krista Ratcliffe, Arizona State: “Rhetorical Listening”

Fill out this leadership profile to help us place you in a mentoring group to discuss your interests.

We will use the works that are listed above as points of reference in our workshop. They are available online.

Register on line for this preconvention workshop at the Conference on College Composition & Communication.  

These facilitators will lead table discussions to provide advice to participants on their leadership plans and projects.  This workshop is organized around the assumption that leadership is a recursive process of collective action that begins with self-reflections, advances through collaborative networks, and concludes with collective stock-taking to assess what has been achieved and what is yet to be done.  This model of reflection in action is consistent with theories of critical pedagogy, participant-action research, and networked models of collective agency. 

To help you apply this model to your own work, we will keep the theoretical framing to a minimum and devote most of our time to pragmatic discussions of your goals and your plans to achieve them.  We will use the readings listed above as points of reference for our discussions.  You do not need to read them before the workshop, but you may wish to consult them to consider how to bridge your own research expertise and leadership efforts.  

Before the workshop, we hope you will fill out this leadership profile to provide us with details on a project or issue you want to address.  If you sign up for the workshop at the last minute, we will consult with you during the opening session to place you in a mentoring group. This leadership profile draws on the insights into collaborative leadership provided by the facilitator’s research, including Rhea Lathan’s narrative about how she became an academic and LuMing Mao’s reflections on cross-cultural studies of rhetoric.

In our first small group discussion, we will focus on rhetorical listening as a model for transformative leadership.  We will consider how listening a process of collaborative inquiry concerned with critical cultural awareness.  This session will begin with the participants’ leadership profiles and conclude by brainstorming on how our perspective on leadership changes when we shift our standpoint from those in authority attempting to persuade others to consider the collaborative dynamics of listening across differences as a mode of collaborative action.  The framing for this discussion draws on Krista Ratcliffe’s work on rhetorical listening as well as Juan Guerra’s study of third space thinking as a means to critical cultural awareness.

In our second small group session, we will focus on the collaborative networks that participants are enlisting in their work on the issues and projects they want to discuss.  Participants will brainstorm on how to frame selected projects to connect with their constituencies and work with institutional priorities and constraints.  We will also consider how such networking can help us strengthen our own institutional positions and advance our individual programs of work. The discussions in this session will be framed by Dominic’s piece on how institutional priorities can be used as rhetorical topoi and Ellen Cushman’s essay on how she has used design thinking to create courses and develop community partnerships.

Our workshop will conclude with a reflection on takeaways from your discussions and a brief overview of how the convergence of trends such as service learning, community outreach, action research, and experiential learning create opportunities for collaborative leaders who are committed to social and institutional transformation.  We will use Tom Miller’s coauthored overview of leadership in the engaged university as a point of reference for a summative discussion of how our studies of rhetoric, composition, and cultural studies provide us with strategies for advancing our leadership.