The Illinois State University Writing Program

133 Stevenson Hall * Campus Box 4240 Normal, IL 61790-4240 • Phone: (309) 438-3957

Staff Contacts

Upcoming Event!


The ISU Writing Program Visiting Speaker Series welcomes Dr. Jody Shipka, Associate Professor of English in the Communication and Technology Track at University of Maryland – Baltimore County. Dr. Shipka is our Fall 2014 Visiting Scholar, and will be here at ISU October 8-10, 2014. Dr. Shipka is the author of Toward a Composition Made Whole as well as the editor of Play! A Collection of Toy Camera Photographs. She is currently working on a book-length project titled To Honor, Rival, and Revise: On the Process of Composing Other People’s Lives.

Thursday, October 9th – 7:30-9PM – Stevenson Hall 401

“Talking Pictures”

In this video-based presentation, Shipka draws on theories of remediation, multimodality and embodiment as she advocates the importance of moving beyond established archives (e.g. major research or university-based archives), to explore how the rich assortments of materials found at flea markets, estate and yard sales might positively impact research agendas and theories of composing. As she engages with other people’s memory artifacts, Shipka enacts an approach to composing—one that de-composes in order to re-compose, if you will—that plays with time, space, voice and bodies in order to blur the boundaries between now and then, here and there, between the human and nonhuman, and the living and the dead. This presentation will be followed by a reception with refreshments.


Friday, October 10th – 10AM-1PM – Stevenson Hall 133

“Thinking & Writing With Objects”

In Evocative Objects: Things We Think With, Sherry Turkle points to the reality that, quite often, “We think with the objects we love; we love the objects we think with.” This workshop invites participants to consider the impact of doing something beyond, or in addition to, “thinking with objects”—or, as is often the case, when objects are even considered and given their due, writing about objects. Instead, participants will be exploring more fully what it might mean (and, indeed, how it feels) to actually compose with objects. Participants in this hands-on session will be composing multimodal texts while working with (and against) the affordances of a wide variety of material objects. By inviting participants to compose complex 3D object-texts, the workshop challenges a tendency in the field to conflate multimodality with digital media or visual-verbal 2D object-texts. Indeed, when they are considered at all, multimodal texts that are strictly analog or hybrid analog/digital creations are not often viewed as being scholarly or academic—they are instead labeled expressive, crafty, arhetorical, or even childlike. This workshop works to trouble those assumptions. The workshop will be followed by a luncheon. Registration is required, and limited to 30 participants. Participants should be prepared to stay for the duration of the workshop (3 hours). Register with Emily R. Johnston, Speaker Series Coordinator ( Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Don’t delay!

Mission Statement

The specific mission of the ISU Writing Program is to support the work of English 101 and English 145 courses (each course has several variants), which are designed to serve both different populations of students as well as the needs of different colleges and programs throughout the university. Beyond our adherence to the goals of the ISU general education curriculum ( and our own program learning outcomes (, our program’s primary mission is to promote a focus on “citizen writing research” through a range of activities that include specific classroom practices including our Grassroots writing research publication, fellowship, and community outreach program; and our own program-based research into the intersections and complexities of our personal lived experiences as writers and learners.