Paul Kei Matsuda

How to Write a Position Statement

Here are some guidelines for writing a position statement for a professional or academic organization:
  1. Define the issue. Be specific.
  2. Be relevant. Determine the organization's mission and the scope of its activities. Address the issue in ways that relate to the organization's mission and resources.
  3. Stick to the point. Don't take a jab at side issues unless the connection to the main issue is obvious.
  4. Be professional. Be mindful of the voice of the organization and its membership. Don't turn it into an expression of personal frustration.
  5. Be knowledge-based. Base the argument on facts and knowledge (ideally those that are related to the organization's area of expertise), not on speculations, hearsay, questionable interpretations or "alternative facts" (unless you are trying to create a diversion).
  6. Avoid sarcasm, humor, or culturally or politically loaded assumptions.
  7. Do not tell others what to do. This is a document expressing the organization's position on the issue. An organization can't create a "policy" for entities over which they have no jurisdiction.
  8. Avoid statements that have policy implications. Do not state what the organization will or should do, which may become binding. If action is required, create separate policies through appropriate channels.
I've seen so many position statements fail not because of the importance of the issue or the merit of some of the points they make but because they are poorly written or the writers don't understand the nature of the genre (which, by the way, requires not just an understanding of the conventions but also the social relations behind it).

TIRF 2016 Doctoral Dissertation Grants

TIRF – The International Research Foundation for English Language Education – is pleased to announce its 2016 Doctoral Dissertation Grants (DDG) competition. Grants of up to US $5,000 will be made to successful applicants investigating any of the following topics:

Applicants must be enrolled in a legitimate doctoral program and must have been advanced to candidacy. That is, they must have completed any required coursework and/or examinations, and must have had their research plan officially approved by their university committee.

TIRF is pleased to note that half of the available funding for the 2016 DDG competition will be used to support doctoral candidates’ research at universities in the countries on the OECD DAC list of nations: These monies will also be used to fund candidates’ research whose work has the potential for positive impact in countries on the OECD DAC list.

TIRF is particularly interested in research proposals that have clear implications for policy makers and others in positions to make decisions about English language education practices. Thus doctoral students from countries on the OECD DAC list are eligible, as are candidates whose work has the potential to directly and positively influence English language education in those countries.

The application deadline is Wednesday, April 20, 2016. For further information, including accessing the call for proposals, resource videos, frequently asked questions, and information about past recipients and their studies, please visit

TIRF and its Trustees are grateful to be working in partnership with Cambridge English Language Assessment and the British Council, as well as individual donors, in support of the 2016 DDG competition.
You are welcome to write to if you have any questions about this announcement.

Best wishes,

Kathi Bailey                                                     
President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, TIRF     
Ryan Damerow
Chief Operating Officer, TIRF

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Expertise in Second Language Writing

SSLW and SLW Institute
October 19-22, 2016
Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona, USA

The 2016 Symposium on Second Language Writing, in conjunction with the Second Language Writing Institute, will take place on October 19-22, 2016, at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA.

This year's theme, "Expertise in Second Language Writing," highlights the need to explore and articulate what it means to have expertise in the field of second language writing.

Expertise in second language writing is sometimes conceptualized in a binary term—either you are an expert or you are not. In reality, however, there are different types and degrees of expertise that are needed depending on the context and roles—writing center tutors, teachers, teacher educators, program administrators, researchers, research mentors, editors, reviewers. As the field of second language writing matures and continues to grow as a community of experts, it is important to move toward a shared understanding of what knowledge and skills are needed for various roles we play in various contexts, and to develop a mechanism for developing and recognizing those expertise.

This symposium will bring together internationally-recognized experts in second language writing from various contexts to explore the nature of expertise in second language writing and to move toward a shared understanding of the different kinds of expertise that are needed in order to function as second language writing experts in various contexts.

To facilitate the development of expertise, the Second Language Writing Institute will feature workshops on various topics for teachers, researchers and administrators whose work involve second language writing.
Call for Proposals
Call for proposals is available here. Submission deadline: February 29, 2016.
Key Dates
SSLW: October 19-21, 2016
SLW Institute: October 22, 2016

Proposal Submission Deadline: February 28, 2016
Notification: March 31, 2016
SSLWList is an email distribution list which will bring you updates on the Symposium on Second Language Writing. To subscribe, unsubscribe, view previous posts, or update your information, please follow this link.
About SSLW
Founded in 1998 by Tony Silva and Paul Kei Matsuda, the Symposium on Second Language Writing (SSLW) is an annual international conference dedicated to the development of the field of second language writing—a transdisciplinary field of specialization that draws from and contributes to various related fields, including applied linguistics, composition studies, education, foreign language studies, literacy studies, rhetoric, and TESOL.

Since its inception, SSLW has been attracting second language writing researchers and teachers from all over the world. In recent years, the Symposium has been hosted by Nagoya Gakuin University, Japan (2007), Purdue University, USA (2008), Arizona State University, USA (2009), the University of Murcia, Spain (2010), National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan (2011), Purdue University, USA (2012), Shandong University, China (2013), Arizona State University, USA (2014), and Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand (2015).

For more information about the Symposium on Second Language Writing, please visit:


Call for Abstracts: L2 Writing in Non-English Languages

Call for abstracts: 
Edited Volume on L2 writing in non-English languages

Nur Yigitoglu, Middle East Technical University Northern Cyprus Campus, Turkey
Melinda Reichelt, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA

Much of the published literature on L2 writing focuses on writing in English as a Second Language (ESL) contexts, that is, in contexts where English is the dominant surrounding language. As a result, much of what we know about L2 writing is based on conclusions drawn from research on writing in the English language. However, as a great deal of L2 writing and writing instruction is undertaken in various languages other than English, it is necessary to look at L2 writing practices in non-English languages in order to have a more comprehensive understanding of L2 writing. This special volume aims to address an imbalance in the literature by focusing on L2 writing in non-English languages.

We encourage a diverse range of modes of inquiry, including theoretical, historical, empirical (quantitative, qualitative and/or mixed), and/or commentaries. Submissions may include, but are not limited to, an exploration of the following topics: issues in non-English L2 writing instruction; language policies and their influences on non-English writing instruction; non-English L2 writing teacher education; challenges in teaching and learning non-English L2 writing; dominant ideologies surrounding non-English L2 writing; innovative approaches to teaching non-English L2 writing; local pedagogical non-English L2 writing teaching traditions; and attitudes towards non-English L2 writing. We welcome proposals related to other topics as well.

Chapters should be 9,000 words (i.e. 35 pages) in length, including references, tables, and figures. All manuscripts should be prepared according to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition) and should be double-spaced and written in English.

Interested authors should submit a one-to-two-page abstract of their work to the editors at the addresses below.  

Nur Yigitoglu (Middle East Technical University Northern Cyprus Campus):
Melinda Reichelt (University of Toledo): 

Submission deadline for abstracts: January 19, 2016

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CFP: Special issue of Writing and Pedagogy on Writing Development Across the Lifespan

Special Issue of Writing and Pedagogy

Call For Papers: Writing Development Across the Lifespan

The road to adult competence in writing is long, beginning before the earliest childhood scribbles and passing through many locations in and out of school and beyond. As well, writing competence enlists multiple dimensions of changing lives--experience of the world, development and repurposing of psychological resources, social interactions and organized activities that writing participates in, knowledge of cultural resources, emotional orientations, physical manipulation of technologies, social roles and status, and even economic power. Consequently, each person's experienced path into writing is individual and leads to a different kind of writing competence. Yet our studies of writing and writing instruction tend to focus on a limited period in the life of a writer or a single level of education, and often view the competence as a single general thing. Even then, we have only a limited number of longitudinal studies that track change within the four or six years of a singl
e educational institution.

To foster more studies that look at writing development across the lifespan and writing policies and programs that extend across life periods, a special issue of Writing and Pedagogy is to appear in Summer 2018 (19:2). This issue invites submissions that have a longitudinal orientation or otherwise look at writing development, writing instruction, other interventions, curricula, or educational policies that stretch across age epochs or several years. Possible topics include:
• Comparison of texts from different periods in students' lives.
• Writers' retrospective views of their writing development over time.
• Longitudinal case studies of writers' development over life periods
• Stratified samples of student writing at different ages
• Curricula and other writing interventions that extend over several years of student's lives
• Writers' transitions from one level of schooling or from one workplace experience to the next
• Application of developmental research and theory from other disciplinary domains that bear on writing development
• Studies of the influence of available social experiences and changes in those experiences on the changes in writing
• Comparisons of writing development under different cultural, social, or economic conditions
• Studies of writing development in moments of encounter with new writing opportunities
• Studies of differences of curricula, standards, and assessments offered for students of different ages
• Studies of the impact of different expectations and opportunities on writing development at different levels of schooling
Contributors may also address an issue or topic that is not listed above but which illuminates some aspect of writing development from a lifespan perspective.

We seek articles in all categories, as follows:
Featured Essay: A full-length article (7500-9500 words) offering a fresh perspective, grounded in theory and empirical results and potentially controversial, on a major issue or issues related to Lifespan Development of writing or instruction or policy relevant to a Lifespan perspective.

Research Matters: A full-length article which provides empirical research (e.g. quasi- experimental study, action research, and case study) on writing development that stretches across several ages or transitions across life epochs.

Reflections on Practice: A mid-length article (3500-6500 words) which presents theoretically grounded, empirically warranted, and referenced discussions of practices involving the teaching and learning of L2 writing in the Asian context.

From the e-Sphere: A short article (1000-2000 words) or mid-length article (3500-6500 words) describing educational interventions that are attentive to writing development that extends beyond the length of s single course.

New Books: A short review or full-length, multi-book review article on books published or to be published in 2016, 2017, or 2018 that address issues related to Lifespan development of writing.

For articles in all categories other than book reviews, interested potential authors should send their email and postal addresses along with a provisional title and draft article or detailed abstract, summary, or outline of contents by email or hard copy by post to the guest editor. For best consideration, submit this by 30 April 2017. Also send a 75-100 word biographical statement that includes highest degree and where from, current institutional affiliation and job title, and major achievements. For book reviews, please notify the guest editor of relevant books to appear in 2016, 2017 or 2018 and whether you would like to be considered as a possible reviewer of a specific book or books, for which the reviewer will receive a free copy. If you wish to be considered as a reviewer, also send email and postal address along with a 75-100 word biographical statement that includes highest degree and where from, current institutional affiliation and job title, and major achievement
s. Full submissions are to be submitted on the journal website by 1 September 2017.

Guest editor contact information:
Charles Bazerman
Gevirtz Graduate School of Education
University of California Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106 USA

What's wrong with the term "second language writers"?

What's wrong with the term "second language writers"?

It's this very question that requires critical scrutiny.

If some people feel there is anything negative or pejorative about it, that means they have implicitly accepted the idea that being an L2 writer is somehow negative. By avoiding the term without challenging the negative perception, people are inadvertently perpetuating the problem.

It's important to focus on positive aspects of L2 writing and writers, but that cannot be the only thing we do to address the issue. If we ignore the challenges they face, and the need to learn and develop to accomplish their own purposes, or if we simply dismiss other people's negative perceptions and feed them the "correct way" to talk about the issue, we are simply evading the real issue.

I don't do what I do to feel good about myself. I prefer to face the real challenges, even though other people may not see it as pleasant or fashionable. While some may prefer to gentrify the discourse, someone has to do the real work of understanding the situation as it is and promote that understanding so appropriate responses can be developed. It is this kind of work I choose to engage in.

I accept second language writers as they are--with all their amazing accomplishments and daunting challenges they face.

I am a second language writer. And I'm proud of it.

Job Opening: American University of Sharjah, UAE

American University of Sharjah, United Arab  Emirates

Department of English




Ad should be placed in:    The Chronicle of Higher Education 

MLA job list

AUS Website


Faculty Position in TESL-Composition / Second Language Writing

The American University of Sharjah, an internationally ranked and accredited American-style university of 6000 students in the United Arab Emirates, seeks a faculty member with a Ph.D. in TESL-Composition / Second Language Writing for a full-time appointment in the Department of English. The faculty member will teach courses in critical writing at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Successful candidates will have a completed Ph.D., a record of excellent teaching experience, active scholarly publication, and a commitment to productive institutional service. Some experience in course leadership is also desirable. The University is fully committed to equal opportunity at all levels without discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, age, family status, or national origin. As a university formed on American models, AUS will give priority to candidates who have substantial experience in American models of higher education.  

Interested applicants should send a letter of application (including a statement of teaching experience and research interests), curriculum vita, and the names and addresses of three referees to: Dr. Mahmoud Anabtawi, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, American University of Sharjah, e-mail:

Completed applications received by October 17, 2015 will be given priority consideration. 

Feedback on a Conferece Proposal

Sometimes people wonder why their conference proposals were not accepted, and ask the conference organizer for feedback. I am not always able to offer feedback, but sometimes I try to help out--especially if the issues I see are closely related to my current thinking. In exchange, I ask them if it's OK for me to post it publicly so other people would be able to benefit from the exchange as well. Stephanie (@stephfuccio) was one of those people, and she graciously agreed to have me share the message below.


Hi Stephanie,

Thanks for your message. The reviewers did not provide any comments on your abstracts, but the scores were just below the cut-off point, which means it is a good proposal but there were plenty of other proposals that were even stronger.

If I may, here are some of my own thoughts on your proposal. You wrote:

Writing is a difficult, vulnerable act, and becomes even more so when done in a second language. Giving and receiving writing feedback, for instructors and peers, in an L2 context is even more of a balancing act due to the historical focus on accuracy. Compounding the matter further still is the issue of where students should write and receive feedback. Using technology has been a common practice for at least a generation for L1 writing classrooms globally, but for international students from more traditional classroom environments bringing computers into the classroom can be a new and daunting experience. Currently, there are numerous studies detailing the uses of wikis and blogs for L2 writing for both instructor and peer feedback along with a growing amount of literature on L1 cloud writing feedback. But although cloud feedback is being used more in the L2 writing classroom, there is still a rather large gap in the L2 writing literature about said usage. Of all the technologies available, cloud feedback has the highest potential to shift the L2 educational paradigm in order to encourage the L2 writer’s ideas, in lieu of highlighting their language deficiencies. If there ever was a student population that would benefit from added visual input and shifting educational paradigms, it would be L2 writers. This action research study examines how 34 international students from two sections of First-Year Writing classes at a university in the South-Western United States utilized, benefited from and reacted to using Google Docs for feedback purposes.

You are right that cloud writing feedback has not been widely used or documented in L2 writing classroom. There certainly is room for a study that defines and describes cloud writing feedback, documents its implementation, and discusses its impact on learning and teaching. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the lack of studies on any given topic is not strong enough as a rationale for a study. It would have made the proposal much stronger if it made clear to the readers what the issues in the field are that can be addressed by taking up the particular topic or approach (feedback is too general).

I do realize that there is a statement that seems like an attempt to justify the study: "Of all the technologies available, cloud feedback has the highest potential to shift the L2 educational paradigm in order to encourage the L2 writer’s ideas, in lieu of highlighting their language deficiencies.” But this sentence needs to be developed more. First, what are the shortcomings of the current technologies and how does cloud writing feedback overcome those issues? And why is cloud feedback contrasted with “highlighting their language deficiencies”? (This is a matter of how technology is used, not necessarily what is inherent in the technologies that are used for providing feedback.)

Another consideration is how the proposal is grounded in a current conversation in the field of L2 writing. In this proposal, the introduction consists of a series of general and widely accepted statements—so much so that they don’t need to be stated at all. There is an attempt to narrow down by moving from general to specific (a genre appropriate move). But it starts too far back, rather than starting with the current state of knowledge in the field. It also moves too slowly to get to the real issue. In fact, you could get rid of the first four sentences without affecting your proposal at all. Instead, more emphasis needs to be placed on describing the specific research problem/question, research method, possible findings and implications.

In writing a proposal, always keep in mind these questions: What is it about (research problem)? How are you going to address the research problem (method)? What are the major contributions (findings)? and Why does it matter (implications)?

Hope these comments help as you develop future proposals.



CFP: Special Issue on Internationalizing the WAC/WID Classroom

ATD (Across the Disciplines) invites submissions for an upcoming Special Issue on Internationalizing the WAC/WID classroom

Bringing the Outside In:Internationalizing the WAC/WID Classroom

Guest editors: Stefanie Frigo, North Carolina Central University, and Collie Fulford, North Carolina Central University

Over the last two decades, both international experience and international competence in terms of communication and cultural understanding have become extraordinarily important to the newest generations of undergraduate students. An enhanced level of global literacy provides myriad benefits for new graduates, giving them the ability to communicate across international and local cultural borders, to see connections between their worlds, and to develop an international sensitivity that will allow them to succeed professionally and socially in a globally competitive job market. This emphasis on taking U.S. students to the world and bringing the world to U.S. students has led to internationalization efforts across university curricula that have extended through institutional layers to departmental and course levels.

In English and writing departments, these efforts have been translated into initiatives that bring a global flavor to many courses, first year writing in particular. While on the surface, this seems like a reasonable goal, achievable, as Schaub (2003) puts it, by "expanding writing assignments to encompass international interests and themes and revising syllabi to reflect a more global perspective," in reality, it entails no inconsiderable amount of work and reflection. Matsuda and Silva (1999) argue that: "writing teachers and writing program administrators are facing, among many others, two important challenges. The first is to provide an appropriate environment for all types of students, as the student population at many university campuses is becoming increasingly diverse and international … the second challenge is to provide educational opportunities in which students can prepare themselves for an increasingly internationalized world." Matsuda and Silva articulate an important point: the difficulties inherent in internationalizing the composition classroom lie both in the internal dynamics of the class and in bringing with world into that classroom in a way that is meaningful and educational to every student in the course.

Within English and Writing Studies, internationalizing the writing classroom has been studied from several perspectives, including Composition and Rhetoric, ESL/EFL, and Technical and Professional Writing. Christiane Donahue (2009), Stephen Guerin (2009), Santosh Khadka (2012), Mark Schaub (2003), and the collaborative partnerships of Paul Kei Matsuda, Tony Silva, and Aya Matsuda have done much to further our thinking vis à vis internationalization, both from practical and philosophical viewpoints, but there remains a relative paucity of resources for the WAC/WID instructor, WPAs, and in particular, faculty in writing-based courses in disciplines other than English.

"Internationalization" is happening in college campuses across the country, and WAC programs are uniquely positioned to be at the forefront of this movement; because of their broad, cross-campus influence and connections, internationalized curricula across all departments in WAC programs would have significant impact on students and their writing. In this special issue of Across the Disciplines, we invite proposals for articles that expand our understanding of the links between the teaching and learning of writing within the disciplines, inter-disciplinary discourses, and the increasingly interconnected world in which we live. Proposals for theoretical studies, analyses of internationalization efforts within the sciences and social sciences in addition to the humanities, and programmatic case studies are all welcome. Potential articles might include:
  • Theory-based pieces that examine what it means to internationalize the teaching and learning of writing across the curriculum
  • Examinations of the challenges presented to instructors teaching writing in the disciplines by the call to internationalize their classrooms
  • Research into best practices for creating or adapting curricula and syllabi to reflect an international focus
  • Models of how WAC/WID instructors can leverage existing intra-campus relationships to enhance the international focus of the classroom
  • Narratives of faculty and administrators who are charged with implementing, supporting, or assessing the internationalization of the teaching and learning of writing in the disciplines

Deadline for Proposals: July 1, 2015

Notification of Acceptance: August 15, 2015

Manuscripts Due: December 15, 2015

Publication: Fall 2016

Proposal Format: Please submit a one-page proposal explaining your topic, the research and theoretical base on which you will draw, and your plans for the structure of your article, following the general guidelines for ATD at Send your proposal electronically (in MS Word format) to guest editors Stefanie Frigo ( and Collie Fulford (, and also to ATD editor Michael Pemberton at Please provide full contact information with your submission. 

Call for (Self-)Nominations: AAAL Blog Coordinator

Here is an announcement for a new opportunity for AAAL members who have a vision for how blog can be used to facilitate communication among its members--and beyond!

Call for Nominations
As our membership continues to grow, we are constantly looking for new ways to communicate, both with the membership and with the world at large. With this in mind, we are announcing an exciting opportunity for self-nominations for the position of the AAAL blog coordinator
Since this is a new undertaking, the new coordinator will have a unique opportunity to design the blog and to shape our communication over the first few months of his or her appointment, then the coordinator will administer the blog until March 2016. 
All nominations should include a biographical statement and a proposal for how you would like to operate. Biographical statements should include your current position and interests, your history and experience with AAAL, and your experience with social media and technology (approximately 500 words). Your proposals should discuss your own vision for the AAAL blog in terms of authorship, frequency, features, and ways to address internal and external audiences (approximately 500 words). 
All proposals should be sent to by March 1, 2015
We are really excited about this new undertaking and hope to find a kindred spirit - someone who could help us trigger meaningful conversations among AAAL members and create opportunities for outreach that could inform the larger world about our work. 

Last update: January 6, 2008