Remembering Mike Rose

“A good education helps us make sense of the world and find our way in it”
― Mike Rose, Why School?

Earlier this week, the field of education lost a friend, advocate, and mentor when Mike Rose passed away.

As John Warner wrote in the introduction to Rebecca Weaver’s guest post “In Honor of Mike Rose: Inviting Students Across the Boundaries” on Inside Higher Ed, “[I]f you become interested in pedagogy, it is impossible to avoid [Rose’s] work, and once you have encountered it, it is impossible to shake its influence.”

In her memorial tribute, Weaver referenced the following quotation from Rose:

“We . . . need a pedagogy that encourages us to step back and consider the threat of the standard classroom, and that shows us, having stepped back, how to step forward to invite a student across the boundaries of that powerful room.”

While, Weaver notes, Rose “didn’t mean it for a pandemic” but, rather, for “all the ways that the standard classroom threatens first-gen students, poor students, minority students, and so on,” I feel Rose’s words also speak volumes about where we are as a profession today, especially in light of the continued confusion of teaching in a pandemic.

Another memorial tribute to Mike Rose composed by his UCLA colleague John McDonald also highlights the late teacher/scholar/activist’s particular dedication to chronicling “the educational challenges confronting students from under-resourced neighborhoods, the skills and intelligence of everyday people, and the transformative power of learning. He drew on personal experience, keen observations of classrooms and workplaces, and deep engagement with cognitive psychology.”

Upon learning of Rose’s death, sociologist and poet, Eve Ewing, wrote on Instagram that while academia is often “full of people who are cruel, dismissive, and unnecessarily competitive,” Mike Rose was none of those things. Rather, he was kind and he cared — a LOT. For Ewing, Rose stands out as someone who was willing to reach out and show “the most kindness . . . for the least reason.” He is a powerful reminder and example that “a word of encouragement can really make a difference in someone’s life.”

Dr. Bernice M. Olivas’ recent post on Facebook also highlighted the very great impact which Rose had on her work as a student and educator. She wrote: “R.I.P. Thank you for making room for us working class kids. Thank you for teaching so many of us what it means to be a good teacher, what it means to reach back and lift others up.”

These are just a few of the many tributes to Mike Rose which have been shared. As they all so beautifully illustrate, Mike Rose knew teaching. But, above all, Mike Rose knew people. He valued them. He cared about them. Mike Rose knew how to bring us together.

TYCA was fortunate enough to have Rose create a short video about the power of teaching for the opening session of our 2020 National Conference. When that event was moved online because of COVID restrictions, we shared the video on YouTube instead:

Here, Rose speaks of two-year colleges as important “sites of knowledge making,” noting that both those working at these schools and those matriculating to them “give rise to a rich body of knowledge about important and timely topics.” He references the work of Christie Toth, Patrick Sullivan, and Carolyn Calhoon-Dillahunt’s article “Two-Year College Teacher-Scholar-Activism: Reconstructing the Disciplinary Matrix of Writing Studies” and the idea that the work of two year college scholars is foregrounded in “civic purpose and . . . student advocacy and . . . [a] need for common cause across disciplines and types of institutions.”

There is great work happening at our institutions, and as Rose, Toth, Sullivan, Calhoon-Dillahunt, and others so rightly advocate, two-year colleges are “an especially rich source with a robust public purpose.” TYCA is also proud to advocate for and participate in this great work.

Truly, Mike Rose was a consummate professional, generous with his time and talents, willing to share ideas and encourage both students and educators alike. While he may no longer be part of this mortal realm, he will continue to be an influence for good in our profession, and elsewhere. I think it’s only fitting, then, that we give Mike Rose the last word here:

“If I had to sum up the philosophical thread that runs through my work, it would be this: A deep belief in the ability of the common person, a commitment to educational, occupational, and cultural opportunity to develop that ability, and an affirmation of public institutions and the public sphere as vehicles for nurturing and expressing that ability.” (Mike Rose’s Blog)

Recap: TYCA 2021, Teaching in Times of Change: Leading in a Land of Uncertainty

Albeit woefully belated, I wanted to step back in time a bit and share a few thoughts about TYCA 2021, Teaching in Times of Change: Leading in a Land of Uncertainty.

Because of continued concerns with the spread of COVID, both the TYCA 2021 and CCCC 2021 conferences transitioned to an online format. After an asynchronous 2020 conference, we were thrilled to have the chance to meet together in 2021, even virtually, and can safely proclaim that TYCA 2021 was a grand success!

On Wednesday, April 7th, we met together for a full day of lively discussions and thoughtful learning surrounding this year’s conference theme: Teaching in Times of Change: Leading in a Land of Uncertainty. Around 284 people participated in this year’s conference, including 78 presenters who shared their work in both live and on-demand formats.

The days events included:

  • 24 on-demand presentations 
  • 7 live webinar sessions
  • 8 pre-recorded sessions with live Q&A  
  • 1 keynote speaker, Kim Johnson
  • 2 continuing the conversation sessions in the action hub

As the Program Chair for TYCA 2021, I extend my most sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in the conference events, whether as a presenter or an attendee. Your engagement proved that we could hold a very successful and engaging academic event in this virtual format.

I would also like to commend the members of the conference planning team for their time, efforts, and thoughtful engagement with the planning and execution processes for this year’s event.  We planned and hoped for an in-person conference but transitioned midstream to change our focus and format to online.  I could not have worked with a better or more engaged group of people than Charissa Che, Joanne Giordano, Tom Geary, Jason Evans, Brian Harrell, and Bruce Martin.  

Additionally, our planning committee could not have functioned so well without the gracious assistance and support of the following individuals:

  • National TYCA EC
    • Sarah Z. Johnson, Chair
    • Cheryl Hogue-Smith, Past Chair
    • Leigh Jonaitis, Secretary
    • Suzanne Labadie, Past Secretary
  • NCTE Liaisons
    • Lori Bianchini
    • Stephanie Casad
    • Emily Kirkpatrick
    • Kristen Ritchie
    • Ashley Sisk
    • Linda Walters-Moore
  • CCCC 2021 Convention Chair, Holly Hassel

We are already excitedly planning for TYCA 2022 and have all of our collective fingers and toes crossed that we’ll be able to join together in person on March 9th in Chicago, IL. For more info about that event, including a link to the CFP, please visit 2022 TYCA Conference: Recovery and Reinvention in Our Profession: Emerging from a Recent Time of Crisis.

Additional details will be posted here on the archive as they become available.

Stephanie M.

Updates for TYCA 2021

As concerns over COVID-19 continue to abound, nothing about our jobs and conference work is as it has been in the past. Indeed, the landscape of academia is in a constant state of flux as we watch travel funds be suspended and we’re all working to make the best decisions for ourselves, our families, and our students. 

In this light, the planning committee for TYCA 2021 is devoted to finding the best, most flexible approach for our conference in the spring. We are now conceiving of the conference as hybrid (if it moves ahead onsite in Spokane) or completely virtual (in the case that CCCC 2021 is moved to a completely virtual format). With this in mind, we are pleased to announce that we will be reopening the submission system on 1 October 2020 to accept additional proposals for this reconceived conference program.  

The new deadline for proposals is 1 November 2020. You can access the submission page here: 2021 TYCA Conference

It is our hope that in addition to this new online facet of our program for TYCA 2021, we will still be able to offer our on-site conference in Spokane next March as scheduled.  Our ability to do this hinges on whether or not CCCC 2021 is able to host their on-site conference.  In the event that CCCC 2021 is a completely virtual experience, we plan to do the same for TYCA 2021, and the conference planning team for TYCA 2021 will work with presenters to identify the best way to offer their session through a virtual format. While we don’t yet know exactly what the virtual presentation options might look like, we will provide more information as the picture becomes clearer.

The review process for all TYCA 2021 submissions will begin in early November, with the goal of having Stage 2 reviews complete by the first week of December.  Individuals who submitted a proposal for the early deadline will receive a survey about their preferences for a virtual conference option if they have an accepted proposal. 

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me at
Thank you!

Stephanie Maenhardt, TYCA 2021 Program Chair

TYCA Teaching in a Time of Change Webinar Series

In conjunction with NCTE, TYCA is thrilled to present the following webinar series: TYCA Teaching in a Time of Change.   This series is free for all TYCA members; if you are not yet a member, we encourage you to join TYCA so that you’ll be able to attend.

The first webinar, “Teaching in Times of Change: Writing Successful Conference Proposals,” will take place on Thursday, August 13, 2020 from 2:00-3:00 pm, ET.  “In this NCTE webinar, three members of National TYCA—Charissa Che (Queensborough Community College), Joanne Baird Giordano (Salt Lake Community College), and Stephanie Dowdle Maenhardt (Salt Lake Community College)—will share their experiences with submitting proposals, reviewing, and making final program selections for the TYCA National Conference and other NCTE conferences.”

For more information about the webinar, including a link to register, please visit TYCA Teaching in a Time of Change Webinar Series. We hope you can join us!

Memory Wall: Nell Ann Pickett

the influence of a good teacher can never be erased

We’ve invited some of our TYCA colleagues to share their memories of Nell Ann Pickett.  This post will be updated as we receive them. Thank you.

She literally saved my professional life when I was a brand new adjunct instructor and was handed a class in technical writing, which I had never studied or taught and a copy of her textbook. When I met her a year later at my first Cs, she gave the Chair’s address, and I was in tears of gratitude when I walked up to talk with her after her address. After I explained how she had helped me, she give me a big grin and a hug, and told me she was proud of me. Yes, I burst in to full tears and she just hugged me again. She was wonderful.” (Sharon Mitchler, TYCA Chair, 2004-2006)

“What difficult news to hear first of Ovid’s death, followed on nearby by Nell Ann’s.  I will forever associate Nell Ann and Ann Laster with my very first SCETC in Jackson in 1974. I was green. I was out-of-my-league. I had no idea what I was doing. I had never taught in a public community college. I didn’t know my heuristic from my hegemonic. But I was eager to learn. And those two would gladly teach. Ann and Nell Ann were welcoming, encouraging, warm, engaging, FAMILY. I thought, I can do this. SCETC, then TYCA became my professional home for my entire teaching career. And nothing made me happier than getting Nell Ann to laugh (can I say cackle?) and twinkle. She was the living embodiment of get-er-done when it came to teaching, writing, leading, organizing. My favorite photo of hers ran in the old SCETC Newsletter–Nell Ann sitting on a tractor, plowing her fields or a garden plot. I clipped that out and the next time I saw her I had her autograph it for me. I carried it in my wallet for some time. I learned that she loved grapefruit, white not ruby, so I sent her grapefruit from our local Florida groves for years and years, always around Valentine’s Day. That gift to her and her enjoyment was actually such a gift to me. Each time, she wrote a thoughtful Thank-You note, signed, Your Valentine. Next season, when I returned to the grove to order the grapefruit, there was her name already on my account record, and I would tell the clerk, ‘Same as last time.” I loved the dependability, reliability, steady assurance of that. Just like Nell Ann herself. I know others had to watch her decline, and how painful that must have been, but I am glad my memory of Nell Ann is one of vim, vigor, vinegar. She was one-of-a-kind, not at all a cliche here, but unique in so many ways. I am glad that our paths crossed, and crossed when they did. There may be order and intention in the universe after all.” (Ben Wiley)

TYCA 2021


The website for TYCA 2021 is now live!
     Offered in connection with CCCC 2021, TYCA 2021 will take place on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 in Spokane, WA.  The theme for next year’s conference is Teaching in Times of Change: Leading in a Land of Uncertainty.  Situated as we all are in powerful moments of change, TYCA 2021 will explore approaches to teaching, the future of the profession, maintaining professional integrity and mental health, job security, and more.
     Please visit for more information about TYCA 2021, including a link to submit a conference proposal.  Proposals will be accepted up through 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday, September 15, 2020.

In Memorium: Nell Ann Pickett

Dr. Nell Ann Pickett (photo from of the Hinds Community College Foundation)

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Dr. Nell Ann Pickett.  One of the founding members of TYCA, Nell Ann was a consummate professional, wholly dedicated to her students, and to supporting and advancing the work of teaching English in two-year colleges.

TYCA’s Nell Ann Pickett Service Award “is granted each year to an outstanding teacher whose vision and voice have had a major impact on two-year college professionalism and whose teaching exemplifies such outstanding personal qualities as creativity, sensitivity, and leadership.”

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations may be made in memory of Nell Ann to the charity of your choice.

Obituary for Dr. Nell Ann Pickett

Nell Ann Pickett, Hinds Community College Foundation

Happy 15th Birthday National TYCA (1996-2011)


A New Editor for TETYC

TYCA is thrilled to welcome Darin Jensen as the newest editor of TETYC. He steps into the position which was recently vacated by Holly Hassel, the Program Chair for CCCC 2021 in Spokane, Washington.

Darin is an Instructor of English at the Carroll Campus for Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) and has “a Ph.D. in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln as well as a masters’ degrees in Language Teaching (University of Nebraska—Omaha) and English (Kansas State University).”  His writing has appeared inTETYC, College English, and Writing on the Edge.

Together with Christie Toth and Patrick Sullivan, Darin is one of the co-founders of Teacher-Scholar-Activist, a website designed to be “a place where teachers share the small local moves that matter in our communities; a place where we collect them and add them together.”

Welcome, Darin!  We’re glad to have you.

From TYCA Chair, Cheryl Hogue-Smith

Dear TYCA Conference Registrants and Presenters,
      As you well know, today is the day TYCA was to hold its second National Conference at the CCCC Convention in Milwaukee. This morning, Mike Rose was going to deliver a special message to open the first session. Since that message was recorded ahead of time, we decided to release it on the morning it was going to be shared with you. Here is the link: Mike Rose’s TYCA 2020 Address
      As Joanne Giordano and Stephanie Maenhardt, the 2020 and 2021 TYCA Conference Chairs, respectively, learn more about how CCCC and NCTE might make presentations available, we will get that information to you. They are working with Julie Lindquist and Holly Hassel, the 2020 and 2021 CCCC Program Chairs, respectively, to find a solution. You will hear from either Joanne or Stephanie when they know.
      Remember that the TYCA listserv is available for any questions or ideas you want to ask or share, especially about the online teaching that we all find ourselves doing.
      Please stay safe during this time and enjoy Mike’s address.
Cheryl Hogue Smith
TYCA Chair

2020 CCCC Annual Convention and TYCA Conference Cancelled

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic,  the TYCA EC and members of the TYCA 2020 planning committee join the CCCCs Officers in announcing that, regretfully, both TYCA and CCCC 2020 have been cancelled. (See below for the message from CCCCs.)

Members of the planning committee for the TYCA Conference will be meeting tomorrow — Saturday, 14 March 2020 — to discuss possible next steps.  Updates will be available here on the TYCA Archive, so please check back soon for more information.

Our deepest gratitude to everyone for their patience and understanding as we work together to navigate these challenging times.


Message from CCCC:

It is with extreme sadness that the CCCC Officers, on behalf of the full CCCC Executive Committee, announce that the 2020 CCCC Annual Convention has been cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 Convention, Considering Our Commonplaces, has been planned with focus, passion, and commitment to this academic community by CCCC 2020 Program Chair Julie Lindquist and her team of collaborators. A great number of people within our CCCC community have volunteered their time and labor to contribute ideas toward a vision for CCCC 2020, and have worked to realize that vision. We know that the Convention is a place for us all to share and develop important work, and cancelling the meeting is heartbreaking.

Expect additional guidance to be forthcoming for online options for disseminating work and handling constituent group business, as well as for how participants can document their participation in professional materials. Having made the difficult decision to cancel the Convention, we are now moving into the next phase of planning for what follows.

We ask for your patience as next steps proceed.

CCCC 2021 Program Chair Holly Hassel and Julie Lindquist have started conversation to plan an experience for 2021 that integrates the visions of both events and offers much of the special programming for 2020 (e.g., Documentarians, new on- and offsite discussion spaces, experiential learning sessions). We all thank you for the positive energy, ideas, and support you’ve already sent. These expressions of support and encouragement mean a lot.

Please be assured that we are offering full refunds for registration cancellations. Even so, we encourage you—if it is possible for you to do so—to consider donating your registration fees and/or renewing your CCCC membership in an effort to continue CCCC’s momentum at this challenging time, as well as to sustain our services and programs to members with the loss of income from the Convention. Registrants will receive a separate email within the next couple of days detailing how to request refunds or make donations. Questions may be sent to

The CCCC Officers