Conference on College Composition and Communication

Conference on College Composition and Communication
Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC)
Founded 1949
Location Illionis, United States
Key people Gwendolyn Plough, CCCC Chair 2011; Marilyn Valentino, Past Chair 2010, CCCC Chair's Address
Focus Teaching, Composition, rhetoric, writing
Members Seven thousand

The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC, affectionately referred to as Four C's) is a national professional association of college and university writing instructors in the USA. Formed in 1949 as an organization within the National Council of Teachers of English, CCCC currently has about 7000 members. CCCC is the largest organization dedicated to writing research, theory, and teaching worldwide.[1]


Publications and Conferences


CCCC publishes a quarterly journal, College Composition and Communication that seeks to promote scholarship, research, and the teaching of writing at the collegiate level. CCCC also co-publishes the The Studies in Writing and Rhetoric book series with Southern Illinois University Press. CCCC also published an annual Bibliography of Composition and Rhetoric between 1984 and 1999. [2]

Annual Convention

CCCC holds an annual CCCC convention which usually has over 3000 members in attendance [3]. The location of the convention and convention Chair changes from year to year. The convention is primarily made up of scholarly panels, featured speakers, committee meetings, SIGs (Special Interest Group meetings), and workshops. An additional part of the convention is the Research Network Forum, a venue where researchers gather to present works-in-progress, discuss methodologies, and share possible future projects. The convention is also the time when CCCC presents several yearly awards, including the Exemplar Award, Outstanding Book Award, Richard Braddock Award (for the most outstanding article in CCC), the James Berlin Memorial Outstanding Dissertation Award, and Chair's Memorial Scholarship (for graduate students presenting at the convention), in addition to several others.[1] In addition, the opening meeting usually features the CCCC Chair's Address during which the convention Chair addresses the entire assembly of participants, often articulating a vision of the field of rhetoric and composition.[2]


On its official website, CCCC lists the four following goals in its mission statement:[4]

  1. sponsoring meetings and publishing scholarly materials for the exchange of knowledge about composition, composition pedagogy, and rhetoric
  2. supporting a wide range of research on composition, communication, and rhetoric
  3. working to enhance the conditions for learning and teaching college composition and to promote professional development
  4. acting as an advocate for language and literacy education nationally and internationally

Position Statements

CCCC has published a number of position statements on writing, teaching of writing, and related issues. Emerging from committees within CCCC, the position statements seek to promote the CCCC goals and encourage best practices in writing pedagogy.


The permanent CCCC Executive Committee oversees a number of temporarily constituted special interest committees. These committees are constituted for a 3 year period, after which the Executive Committee can reconstitute the committee for another term. The current list of 3 year committees can be found here. One particularly important responsibility of CCCC committees is to generate and maintain CCCC Position Statements, some of which are linked below.

The complete list of CCCC Position statements is as follows:

Digital Literacy and Assessment

Position Statement Summary: As e-portfolios assume a greater role in institutional assessment, First-Year Composition (FYC) will most likely serve as the course that introduces them to students. Therefore, FYC faculty may have a particular, invested interest in identifying the principles and practices of e-portfolio development that prioritize student learning. This statement provides a set of principles and best practices along with examples and supporting bibliography. This information is intended to enable composition faculty to provide students with experiences that help them expand and specialize their writing skills for a variety of cross-disciplinary programs and professional contexts beyond FYC.

Position Statement Summary: Given that the focus of writing instruction is expanding: the curriculum of composition is widening to include not one but two literacies: a literacy of print and a literacy of the screen and that work in one medium is used to enhance learning in the other, this statement articulates principles of good practice governing these new pedagogical activities for digital literacy.

Position Statement Summary: Writing assessment can be used for a variety of appropriate purposes, both inside the classroom and outside: providing assistance to students, awarding a grade, placing students in appropriate courses, allowing them to exit a course or sequence of courses, and certifying proficiency; and evaluating programs--to name some of the more obvious. Given the high stakes nature of many of these assessment purposes, it is crucial that assessment practices be guided by sound principles to insure that they are valid, fair, and appropriate to the context and purposes for which they designed. This position statement aims to provide that guidance.


In accordance with the CCCC Mission Statement to promote the exchange of knowledge in our field, advocate “for language and literacy education,” “enhance the conditions for learning and teaching,” support “a wide range of research,” and promote professional development, this document describes both concepts and processes of a fully inclusive policy on disability in composition and rhetoric.

Composition specialists share a commitment to protecting the rights, privacy, dignity, and well-being of the persons who are involved in their studies. This statement provides guidelines to assist all scholars, teachers, administrators, and students in fulfilling this commitment. The guidelines apply to formally planned investigations and to studies that discuss writers and unpublished writing that composition specialists encounter. Composition specialists are encouraged to seek additional ways beyond those identified in these guidelines to assure that they treat other people ethically in their research.

Language Issues

Position Statement Summary: This statement was written in response to a controversy regarding Ebonics and the incomplete, uninformed, and in some cases, purposefully distorted commentaries. Urging that teachers, administrators, counselors, supervisors, and curriculum developers undergo training to provide them with adequate knowledge about Ebonics, the authors also call for additional research on how educators can best build on existing knowledge about Ebonics to help students to expand their command of the Language of Wider Communication (“standard English”) and master the essential skills of reading and writing.

Position Statement Summary: In the context of two contradictory movements, one that emphasizes a liberal education and a second that works to compress curricula and learning into narrow indicators of teacher accountability and student achievement, and in response to a call for writing instruction to move outward from its traditional emphasis on academic contexts, this statement calls into action all those who share CCCC vision of a future in which an expansive writing curriculum, backed by ample resources, attends unyieldingly to the difficult work of helping students use good words, images, and other appropriate means, well composed, to build a better world.

Position Statement Summary: The National Language Policy is a response to efforts to make English the "official" language of the United States. This policy recognizes the historical reality that, even though English has become the language of wider communication, we are a multilingual society. All people in a democratic society have the right to education, to employment, to social services, and to equal protection under the law. No one should be denied these or any civil rights because of linguistic differences. This policy would enable everyone to participate in the life of this multicultural nation by ensuring continued respect both for English, our common language, and for the many other languages that contribute to our rich cultural heritage.

Position Statement Summary: This statement provides the resolution on language, affirming students' right to “their own patterns and varieties of language -- the dialects of their nurture or whatever dialects in which they find their own identity and style” that was first adopted in 1974. The statement also includes as explanation of research on dialects and usage that supports the resolution, and a bibliography that gives sources of some of the ideas presented in the background statement; besides offering those interested in the subject of language some suggested references for further reading. The publication of this controversial statement climaxed two years of work, by dedicated members of CCCC, toward a position statement on a major problem confronting teachers of composition and communication: how to respond to the variety in their students' dialects.

Position Statement Summary: As a result of colleges and universities in North America actively seeking to increase the diversity of the student population, second-language writers have become an integral part of higher education, including writing programs. This statement urges writing teachers and writing program administrators to recognize the regular presence of second-language writers in writing classes, to understand their characteristics, and to develop instructional and administrative practices that are sensitive to their linguistic and cultural needs. The statement also urges the development of graduate programs in writing-related fields to offer courses in second-language writing theory, research, and instruction; it encourages further investigations into issues surrounding second-language writing and writers in the context of writing programs; and it provides a list of guidelines for second-language writers regarding placement, writing assessment, class size, credit-bearing courses, teacher preparation, and teacher support.

Professional Issues

Position Statement Guidelines: In an effort to provide guidance new and prospective faculty, this position statement outlines what candidates should find out regarding the terms of employment; reappointment, promotions, and tenure; and professionalism and collegiality at prospective schools and the written records that should exist on such matters. Furthermore, the statement urges administrators to assume responsibility for helping faculty members obtain information about their positions and encourage open communication about expectations.

Position Statement Guidelines: As colleges have the right to expect of writing specialists the highest level of performance, so they have the obligation to extend the greatest possible support. To do less is to compromise writing instruction for future generations of American students. Working from this assumption, the purpose of this statement is to examine the conditions which undermine the quality of postsecondary writing instruction and to recommend alternatives to those conditions. The statement proposes that the responsibility for the university’s mission to help students to develop their critical powers as readers and writers, should be vested in tenure-line faculty. Furthermore, it provides guidelines for the professional recognition and treatment of part-time and temporary full-time faculty during the period when these positions are being transformed to the tenure track.

Position Statement Guidelines: To provide effective instruction in writing for learners at any age and at all academic levels, teachers need, first of all, experience in writing, and also some theoretical knowledge to guide classroom practice. This position statement is aimed to help meet this need by providing guidance in the preparation of teachers of writing at all levels, by college and university English departments, faculty of teacher preparation programs, faculty and administrators in elementary and secondary schools, and staffs of state depart­ments of public instruction. This statement is consistent with others from NCTE and CCCC that deal with the preparation of teachers of writing, with findings of research on the composing process, and with studies on the teaching and learning of writing.

Position Statement Summary: Composition studies has evolved into a recognized discipline with its own conventions for research and publication, its own scholarly standards and expectations, and its own procedures for reviewing the work of the discipline (through professional organizations, meetings, and journals). Composition research has been characterized since the beginning by its diversity, drawing on several fields of study and many methods of investigation. Because of this diversity, and because composition research has reached outside the traditional methods of literary studies, this statement describes, for administrators outside of the discipline the range of scholarly activity in composition.

Position Statement Summary: This statement is intended for promotion and tenure committees, and candidates for promotion and tenure. Its purpose is to provide some general principles to promotion and tenure committees and candidates to ensure that candidates' work with technology is explained accurately and evaluated fairly. The statement consists of three parts: general statements about technology and its potential impact on the promotion and tenure review processes, specific guidelines for promotion and tenure committees; and specific guidelines for candidates for promotion and tenure.


The organization sponsors the CCCC Research Initiative, which provides funds to researchers working on datasets collected by the organization and its affiliates. Begun in 2004, the grant has provided means for various research projects, including the “Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy—What We Know, What We Need to Know” project that ran from 2004-2007. In addition to providing grant support to individual and collective projects and promoting inter-institutional collaboration, the project is designed to "create a sustained research initiative to advance scholarship in composition and rhetoric"[3]

CCCC, along with its parent organization National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), sponsors a number of initiatives on writing, including the National Day on Writing held on October 20, 2009.

See also

External links


  1. ^
  2. ^ Duane Roen's collection Views From the Center: The CCCC Chair's Addresses 1977-2005, Bedford-St. Martin's 2006
  3. ^

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