Arguing for WPA Work as Intellectual Work

My annual review materials are due this week, and, because of the rising global pandemic, I’ve found myself doing a great deal of work that falls under the category of “intellectual work” according to the CWPA’s statement on “Evaluating the Intellectual Work of Writing Administration.”

This isn’t really anything new for me—a good deal of the work I do fits the guidance proposed by CWPA, and I’ve argued for it before.  But the oddities surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak have called me back to the CWPA’s statement again, making me think carefully about the work I’ve done and whether it might be classified as “intellectual work.”  CWPA Statement on Writing Administration as Intellectual Work

Doing all of this really helped me to appreciate again—and likely for the thousandth time—just how useful that CWPA statement is.  It’s hard to underestimate how useful it is to have a document to point to that rather straightforwardly classifies your work as “intellectual work” with considerable persuasive force.  And I say this as someone lucky enough to have people on his peer committee and in the administrative ranks that understand and appreciate the work I’m doing—these people want to classify work as intellectual work when they can, but they can’t always see the expertise at work from a distance.  So this document helped me frame that for them.  (Or, at least, I think it did—we’ll see what they have to say next month!)

I’m sure the document is even more important for people who aren’t in the position that I am in, and might have to fight through irritating foes rather than providing helpful language to helpful colleagues.  Given the many possible changes that higher ed could go through in the coming months and years, WPAs may find themselves having to rely on this document to explain to their superiors the kinds of expertise they bring to bear on the work that they have to do.  Good to know that it’s a resource for us all!


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