AEPL 2024 Summer Symposium:
Enacting Empathy in the Classroom and Beyond

Thurs, June 13–Fri, June 14

10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Eastern, on Zoom

The Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning invites teachers of writing and literature at the secondary and college levels to come together on Zoom this summer for a two-day symposium dedicated to the practice of empathy in the classroom and beyond. 

The symposium will be keynoted by Lisa Blankenship and Eric Leake, authors of Changing the Subject: A Theory of Rhetorical Empathy and Difficult Empathy and Rhetorical Encounters, respectively. Lisa and Eric also are editing two collections in progress on empathy, difference, and the teaching of writing. 

There will be a wonderful range of panels, 30-minute workshops, and hour-long plenary sessions both days. Please join us by registering as soon as possible through the form linked here. Attendees must be current members of AEPL to register. Tiered memberships are available for full-time faculty, part-time faculty, faculty emerita, and students. AEPL provides full-scholarship/no-cost memberships to anyone for whom the fees present a barrier to participation. We value your ideas and are committed to providing access to our programs to everyone interested in exploring expanded perspectives on learning.

All registrants will receive Zoom details in the days before the symposium. Please share this announcement and registration link with your colleagues. Non-presenting attendees are very welcome! 

The full schedule is linked here and will be updated with biographies of our presenters.

Recent Past Events

Winter Workshop: Buddhist Philosophy and Practice in Pedagogy

We are thrilled to invite you to start the new year—2024!—by joining a two-part online workshop on Buddhist Philosophy and Practice in Pedagogy. Led by longtime AEPL contributor and former chair Laurence Musgrove, the workshop will review six Buddhist concepts on the nature of universal reality and human behavior and consider how they might serve as heuristics or modes of analysis to benefit our understanding of the teaching of college English and the language arts. The workshop is offered free of charge and will take place on Zoom.

Click here to register (or paste this link into your browser: https://forms.gle/k5kZg9ai2FgjkPZf9). Registered participants will receive a Zoom link one to two days before each event. Further details, including a short biography of the workshop facilitator, follow below.  

Buddhist Philosophy and Practice in English Pedagogy—Expanding the Scholarship 

Part 1: Introduction to Six Key Concepts

Friday, January 19, 2024, 3:00–5:00 p.m. Eastern 

The purpose of this workshop is to introduce six core concepts in the Buddhist wisdom tradition as they describe the scientific reality of the universe or the way of all things (causality, impermanence, and interbeing) and the psychological reality of human behavior and relationships (suffering, equanimity, and freedom). Participants will share previous experiences with and knowledge about Buddhist principles and practices, reflect in writing on how they might apply these concepts heuristically to a range of issues in their teaching, and share their ideas in small groups. 

Part 2: Application of Buddhist Perspective to Teaching and Learning in College English

Friday, January 26, 2024, 3:00–5:00 p.m. Eastern

The purpose of this second workshop is to review the six core concepts, learn how participants have begun to test these concepts against their teaching, expand the vocabulary of Buddhist concepts into a shared glossary of subject terms, and form research teams to investigate relevant scholarship in the field, as well as areas of new research. 

Laurence Musgrove is a professor of English at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, where he teaches creative writing, composition, and literature from a Buddhist perspective. His articles, poems, and cartoons have appeared in JAEPL, he served as chair of the AEPL Executive Committee 2009–12, and he organized the 2012 Estes Park AEPL Summer Conference on Visual Thinking. In a recent article “A Buddhist Educator’s Perspective on Well-Being Across the Curriculum,” Laurence outlines his past scholarly work on mental attitude and attention, his emerging interests in Buddhism, six foundational Buddhist core concepts and three trainings of the mind, a definition of a Buddhist educational theory and method, how three of his English courses have been shaped by these influences, and some implications for other disciplines across the curriculum. Laurence also has three verse collections from Lamar University Literary Press: Local Bird, The Bluebonnet Sutras, and A Stranger’s Heart

Fall 2023 Online Series

We are excited to announce the first three events of our fall 2023 online series. All events are offered free of charge, are open to all, and will take place on Zoom. Register to attend one or more of the events (or paste this link into your browser: https://forms.gle/GmMJ6xPQjek69FzX9). Registered participants will receive a Zoom link one to two days before each event.

Black Woman of the Yam: Being Black While in the Academy

Friday, October 20, 3:00–4:30 p.m. (Eastern)

Led by RAsheda Young

RAsheda's talk is influenced, in part, by bell hooks’s game-changing book Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self-Recovery, a text that centers blackness and black women within the context of familial, cultural, and societal interactions. Through an autoethnographic approach, RAsheda shares her experience as a Black woman, Black mother, and Black professor within academia and the world more broadly during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, COVID-19, and phenomenal betrayal.

The Genres of Spiritual Writing: Writing and Reading the Self and the Divine

Friday, November 3, 3:00–4:30 p.m. (Eastern)

Led by Joonna Trapp

Join long-time AEPL member Joonna Trapp as she shares her experiences teaching several iterations of an upper division, genre-based class, “Spiritual Writing.” She will discuss the perks and pitfalls of having students read spiritually inclined texts from vastly different forms and faith/secular contexts and why it is important to their development as persons, thinkers, and writers. The texts become models for student explorations of spiritual genres, such as the parable, the spiritual poem, meditations on place, pilgrimage narratives, letters of complaint, interviews, mission statements, and spiritual autobiographies. Students learn “knowing-the-self” spiritually and communally while learning to appreciate the multi-vocal range of spiritual rhetoric which has always been an avenue for change, resilience, and hope in the world. Participants in the workshop will have access to assignments, text lists, syllabi, and other documents to do their own adapting for their own teaching experiences.

Writing for Dramatic Performance in Community and the Classroom

Friday, December 1, 3:00–4:30 p.m. (Eastern)

Led by Sarah Moon

In this workshop, we'll discuss teaching community writing for performance. This talk will describe the food-centered community writing and performance workshop, Write Your Roots. Sarah will discuss the meaningful opportunities that rehearsal and performance afford the writing process, as well as the community discourse spurred by live performance. In addition, Sarah will discuss the ways this project has been adapted for the first-year writing classroom to help establish mutual identification at the beginning of the semester, serving the ideal of creating a true classroom community.

Presenter Biographies

RAsheda Young, assistant teaching professor at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, was one of 13 faculty members from the School of Arts and Sciences awarded the Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education award in October 2022. One year prior, she was inducted into Asbury Park High School’s Distinguished Hall of Fame for exemplary teaching, dedicated community service, and ongoing activism within the Black Lives Matters movement. RAsheda has presented her research at numerous conferences that focus on integrating critical play, radical love, autoethnography, and contemplative writing pedagogy as instructional strategies to humanize learning experiences for all learners. She has held national leadership positions within the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning and is currently serving as an executive board member for the National Council of Basic Writing. She is a graduate of the language and literacy, MA, at the City College of New York, a published writer, and a PhD candidate at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Joonna Smitherman Trapp retires from Emory University in December of 2023. She has served as the director of the writing program and the WAC program there. She was department chair at two other universities as well before moving to Emory. She and Brad Peters co-edited the Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning (JAEPL) for seven years. As a rhetorician, she has long been working on an archival project attempting to recover the antebellum lyceum movement in the Old South. In addition to vampires, Flannery O’Connor, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, pedagogy is her passion, and she loves to talk to other teachers about their teaching.

Sarah Moon is an assistant professor of humanities at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, a community writing facilitator, and an award-winning playwright. Her Write Your Roots projects have taken place in Willimantic, CT, and Providence, RI, and her plays have been produced in Washington, DC, Boston, and New York City. Her newest play Apostates, PA, will receive a public reading at Eastern CT Center for History, Art, and Performance, where she is the 2023 artist-in-residence, this fall. Her scholarly work is published in Community Literacy Journal, Literacy in Composition Studies, and Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics and is forthcoming in Pedagogy. She lives in rural Eastern Connecticut with her husband and three children.

Poetry Reading and Workshop with Libby Falk Jones – Open to all writers

Part 1:

  • Friday, August 4
  • 3:00–4:30 p.m. Eastern

Part 2:

  • Friday, August 11
  • 3:00–4:30 p.m. Eastern

Former AEPL Chair Libby Falk Jones will share some poems from her new collection, For Your Good Health, Drink Flowers (Bass Clef Books, 2023)* as invitations for you to explore family relationships, landscapes, and language. Your writing may take any form—poetry or prose. Attend either or both sessions. 

AEPL Conversation Circle: Autoethnography as Resistance in the Academy

  • Friday, September 15
  • 3:00–4:30 p.m. Eastern

Join AEPL board members Liz DeBetta, PhD and RAsheda Young, PhD candidate, for a conversation about Liz’s new book, Adult Adoptees and Writing to Heal: Migrating Toward Wholeness, and how autoethnography can be used to disrupt the canon and provide opportunities for critical writing that is humanizing, reflective, and grounded in theory. 

The purpose of Conversation Circle is to give all members the chance to share their publications or works in progress with their colleagues. Let us know if you’d like to be next!

*Praise for Libby Falk Jones’s For Your Good Health, Drink Flowers:

“Season your milkshake with anemones/bubbling from a silver faucet,” Libby Falk Jones advises in For Your Good Health, Drink Flowers, and we know we are in the presence of a poet alert to the natural world, serene at the shimmering edge of the surreal—secure in her poetic vision. These are earthly, embodied poems, imbued with the energy of a woman in motion—traveling, hiking, pocketing stones so alive they feel like her “own mortality jingling.” “This is how I want to die,” she declares in the collection’s penultimate poem, “grounded, held//by a body, . . . feeling flesh . . .[the] weight of earth—//we matter.” Her poetry renders the visceral joy and sorrow of familial love alongside vivid experiences of aloneness. Distilled from a lifetime of close observation, the poems in this capacious collection embrace stillness and motion, relationship and solitude, declaring the necessary sustenance in each.
—Leatha Kendrick, author of And Luckier 

Libby Falk Jones’s latest collection is a compendium of wonder. Wonder of snow geese in flight looking down on the viewer as an exploded milkweed, wonder in the taste of mulberries that are a “sunset in the mouth,“ wonder in mountain shadows of Death Valley that reflect a “riotous impermanence.” It is also a testament of the heart in which the human voice can attend to what it means to be human. As a bonus, it is a glossary of poetic forms masterfully embodied in ghazals and pantoums, cinquains, and deft villanelles as well as more familiar haikus and sonnets, a demo of the ways an accomplished poet catches the world in all its shimmering immediacy. This is a read that awards all of us ample dividends.
—Richard Taylor, Kentucky Poet Laureate 1999–2001

Please join us! 

Announcing the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning Symposia Archive

Paid AEPL members and honorary scholars may now access archived materials and recordings from AEPL's online symposia by going to the AEPL Symposia Archive website and entering the password they should have received. If you not have received this password, please contact membership director Jonathan Marine at jonathanmmarine@gmail.com with your payment receipt or confirmation of your honorary scholarship status.