Crowbirds Took Flight This Summer

Many research teams at large universities slow down their progress in the summer to accommodate travel schedules and personal research agendas. With our ten person team filled with graduate and undergraduate students, the slowing down risk could be even higher, but our Crow team has maintained the same stamina we had all year. Here are some of the highlights from a busy and rewarding three months.

Academic Conferences

In May several members of our team, Michelle, Zhaozhe, Bradley, Shelley, and Lindsey, piled into a minivan and travelled to Rochester, NY to attend Computers and Writing 2016 Conference hosted by St. John Fisher College. The nine hour drive was filled with snacks, coffee and bad jokes from Dr. Bradley Dilger. Their roundtable, “Boundary Work: Designing a Composition Archive for Research and Mentoring Across Disciplines” had great attendance and participation to help Crow discuss the implications of the research we’re doing. For more information, check out our blog entry on the C&W conference.

crowattalc2016_2July included international travel to the 12th Teaching and Language Corpora Conference in Giessen, Germany for team members Hadi, Ola, and Shelley. These three are seasoned international travellers and made it to Germany without a hitch for their panel, “Developing a First Year Composition L2 Writing Corpus and Repository.” Despite being in the last time slot on the last day of the conference, the team members had strong attendance at their session and a lively conversation with attendees about the Purdue Second Language Writing Corpus (PSLW) and its ties with Crow. More information on their time in Germany will be available on the site soon.

Professional development and continuing education is one of the core foundations for Crow, so we actively write proposals and look for opportunities to share our research and team management practices with audiences around the globe.  We’ll keep you updated on our appearances at conferences around the country and other upcoming opportunities for the Crow team on our conference page.

Individual members also found their way to conferences, institutes, and employment opportunities this summer in California, US, Ann Arbor, MI, US, Atlanta, GA, US, and Hanover, NH, US to share personal research projects and to network.

Advancing Our Research

With fewer demands from teaching and learning in the summer, the Crow team took the opportunity to develop more “behind the scenes” components for the project. We were able to launch this site this summer with the diligence of Ola and Bradley. With help from discussions at academic conferences and in team meetings, we narrowed down our research goals and developed our first research project direction, an examination of citation practices in L2 writers based on our growing corpus. The arduous task of completing a large scale multi-institution IRB application for the Crow project began (we are very hopeful that this will be approved soon!**).  And several team members spent more than 40 hours de-identifying student texts from the 2015-2016 academic year in preparation for their inclusion in the corpus later this year.

Research projects require funding, so we also invested quite a bit of time this summer searching for internal and external grants we can apply for in the next year. We’ve had pretty good success with College of Liberal Arts research grants so far, and we’re grateful for their support. We’re also happy to say we’ve identified a partner for an inter-institutional grant we’ve started working on and will submit this fall.

Crow Changes and Evolutions

During the summer the Crow team experienced a few changes.

Our dear Dr. Shelley Staples said farewell to the midwest and Purdue University and went to the southwest to start a new Assistant Professor position at the University of Arizona in the English Applied Linguistics program. In Tucson, Shelley will continue to develop her fascinating research in corpus linguistics, mentor and guide students, and create a branch Crow for the first inter-institutional link. Purdue Crow looks forward to lots of Skype sessions and expanding our team.

Louis Wyatt graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional Writing this May. He will begin an internship with Bleacher Report and hopes to find a more permanent position soon. His contributions to Crow’s usability potential were greatly appreciated and we look forward to watching his bright future.

Samantha Pate joined our Crow team to help with development, web work, and grant writing. As a rising Professional Writing star, she gives us a lot of help towards developing the backend of the project and overall design and interface of the site.

And Dr. Bradley Dilger began a new administrative appointment as the Director of Introductory Composition for Purdue University. In this new position he will coordinate and direct more than 100 sections of first year composition with the help of two assistant directors and several other faculty members, graduate students, and staff that compose the Introductory Composition at Purdue (ICaP) writing program. Although his email box and coffee consumption will grow exponentially, his time and dedication to Crow will not falter. We all look forward to watching him bring innovation and energy to ICaP.

Coming Soon

As Crow enters the fall, we will continue to finesse our research project on citation practices and the prototyping will begin for our site. Grant writing will be a big focus as well. The transitions in the project will continue, but because of the shared leadership model and emphasis on professional development, Crow looks forward to more growth and challenges.


**Update: Crow received the excellent news of IRB approval on Friday August 19th. Congrats to the research team members in charge of this awesome accomplishment. Another milestone reached!

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