The article for English students was the CCCC (four C’s) “Guidelines for the Ethical Conduct of Research in Composition Studies.” Last semester was the first time I had ever heard of the IRB, which is largely due to the fact that as an English major undergraduate, my papers were on literary topics and never studies that involved speaking to a person of any sort. Even now, the majority of my papers are still on literary topics; however, these ethical guidelines would be useful if I decided to do a study on, say, my pedagogical approach in my classroom this semester.
I found the timing of this reading uncanny because I just began my section on the Fieldwork Paper with my freshman writing students this week. Tomorrow, I will be going over interviews, surveys, and questionnaires. Because of this, I planned to talk about the IRB with the students, and its role in the process of publishing or sharing any study that uses human subjects as evidence, even in composition. I hadn’t thought to bring up the CCCC Guidelines for Ethics, but now I think I will show them this particular section from the Guidelines:
- “Some studies may include populations who may be considered vulnerable and protected, including but not limited to children and adolescent minors, students, prisoners, pregnant women, military veterans, disenfranchised groups, persons with disabilities, and adults with legal guardians. In these cases, as researchers, we consult carefully with the IRB/reviewing agencies, colleagues, and (when allowed) with prospective participants to develop a protocol that protects their rights, privacy, well-being, and especially, dignity.” (CCCC)
The concern of preserving the “rights, privacy, well-being, and…dignity” of the people who voluntarily involve themselves in a project is the main ethical concern, in my opinion (CCCC). Granted, reporting accurate facts and citing them properly is important, too, but our concern as members of the Humanities should also be to preserve the rights and dignity of human beings. I think this was an important inclusion in the code of ethics and is definitely something that I will bring up in class tomorrow because none of these students are English majors whose papers deal solely with literature and could very well have to go through the IRB before their time here at Virginia Tech is over.
Conference on College Composition and Communication. “CCCC Guidelines for the Ethical Conduct of Research in Composition Studies.” National Council of Teachers of English, November 2003, link, accessed 31 January 2017.
After reading the article and watch the videos, particularly the video from TIME, it seems the purpose of the University is two-fold, especially if the university claims the prestigious position as a research institution. The purposes of the University are to share and perpetuate knowledge, and it might do this by means of teaching and researching. Research Universities receive funding from the government, so in many ways are funded by the people; therefore, they owe the public a debt and pay it by publishing their research and teaching knowledge within their classrooms.
The TIME video was interesting because it touched upon certain issues in higher education. One of these issues is change. What needs to change in higher education? How can we change so that higher education can benefit more people in more ways? I thought that some of these answers from these higher-ups in higher ed were great and would love to see them elaborated upon and eventually implemented. For example, I thought one gentleman’s point about schools looking at a student’s score or capability in every single subject being a little excessive was relevant to how many students feel today. I think he used Alan Ginsberg as an example, saying that today, he probably wouldn’t be let into Columbia University because his science scores weren’t good enough (TIME). I think this happens to many students who are talented in one area of academics, but not so talented in another. The SAT can hinder a student whose math score wasn’t high enough for him or her to get into a philosophy program. I think something that is important to remember is that the University should be about the student, educating and edifying the student, more than it should focus on anything else.
As a student of the humanities, I would also like to see the humanities make its way back into the respect of the academic community. At a research university, the academics within the humanities often feel that they have to justify their right to existence. I had to throw that in there.
“Reinventing Our Universities in the 21st Century.” TIME, 20 September 2013, link
I’m Jaclyn, a first-year MA student in the English Department here at Tech. My literary interests vary fairly widely, but I have a special place in my heart for late 19th/early 20th century writings by female authors. Even better if those writings are a form of immigrant literature! I haven’t decided on my thesis yet, but I hope to do some work with Willa Cather and/or Betty Smith and their depictions of immigrants in their parts of the country.
After reading the VT’s Principles of Community, I obviously wondered to what the phrase “a legacy that reflected bias and exclusion” referred. I hoped that the video would make that more clear, but I couldn’t get it to work for some reason. Googling the video led me back to a Virginia Tech site that contained a video of diverse faculty, staff, and students reciting the Principles of Community. Thinking about our country’s past, I can imagine why a Principles of Community document would be necessary, and I find our document to be refreshing. I also particularly appreciate that there is a principle which affirms our right to free speech, to our freedom to express thoughts and opinions in a kind manner without fear of being reproached. The fact that I get to hear differing ideas and opinions daily in discussions in my graduate classes is something that makes my education here both enjoyable and challenging.