Service Expectations & Professional Development

The Writing and Communication Program expects that each Brittain Fellow will regularly contribute something significant to the program’s maintenance and growth. Such an expectation is typical of most permanent faculty positions, and experience with service will strengthen your position on the job market.

We view the service expectation as one of the program’s many opportunities to express creativity and explore individual interests, so we are confident you will find a form of service that has a clear connection to your overall career trajectory. For example, if you study film, you might curate/co-curate a film series. LMC professors and film scholars Angela Dalle-Vacche and Qi Wang coordinate several series at Georgia Tech, usually with a national or cultural theme, and sometimes in connection with an international embassy. Some time ago, for example, the series focused on Japanese film and was coordinated with the Japanese Embassy. More recently, a film series focused on Chinese film. Angela and Qi like working with Brittain Fellows; their Brittain Fellow partners have included alums Alison Whitney, Scott Balcerzak, and Roger Whitson. The chance to work with LMC faculty on some initiatives is yet another advantage of programmatic service.

While service can take a variety of forms, many opportunities take the conventional form of committee membership. Some years we have as many as 15 active committees. A great example of Brittain Fellow initiative is the World Englishes Committee, created and chaired by third-year Britt Jo Anne Harris. Jo Anne saw a need for better teaching and services for multilingual students in our classes and at Georgia Tech more generally, so she worked with Rebecca to formed an ad hoc committee; the next year, seeing the committee’s importance and success, the WCP made it permanent. Jo Anne’s experience reflects a typical process: someone recognizes a need and starts to address it with an ad hoc group, and if the need persists after a year, the group becomes a standing committee.

If you want to serve on or lead a committee, you don’t have to invent one. Standing committees need new members every year. You might also run for election to the Writing and Communication Committee (WCC) or the Executive Committee. Committees aren’t the only recurring form of service, either. Each year, the Writing and Communication Program hosts several meetings of the Communication Colloquium, at which Brittain Fellows are often featured presenters. Details about some of these opportunities appear below.

The program thinks service is important, but we put teaching first, and we also place a high value on continuing and expanding your research and publication agendas. For these reasons, we don’t like to put a strict quantity on the service you do. However, since service is a key factor in decisions related to special opportunities such as summer teaching and additional courses, a few concrete guidelines can guide your decision making. Everyone should serve on at least one committee…and certainly no more than three.

How do you decide on what committee(s) to join? One possibility: Consider having your service reflect/enhance/reinforce your pedagogical, scholarly, or community interests (e.g., serving on the World Englishes Committee if you’re interested in issues related to ESL/EFL/ELL or serving on the DevLab Committee if you’re interested in digital humanities or technology resources and training). Another possibility: Consider having your service expand/extend your professional experience (e.g., serving on the Grants Committee if you’re interested in learning more about grants or serving on the WOVENText Committee if you’re interested in learning more about book editing and publishing).

Please note also that attendance at LMC and/or WCP meetings and participation in programmatic assessment are not considered service: they’re just part of being a professional colleague. Work that involves additional pay is also not usually considered service.

Guidelines for Service and Program Activities

The following chart is presented as one way of documenting what services expectations in the Brittain Fellowship Program may look like, and it should not be read as representative of your exact and required service commitments to the Writing and Communication Program. Rather, the chart reflects opportunities that will be presented during your time at Georgia Tech. It is recommended that you, in conjunction with your official mentors in the Writing and Communication Program, identify areas of service that speak to your professional goals so that your contribution to the department aligns with your professional goals with the Brittian Fellowship’s service expectations.

Each cell in the table below lists opportunities open to any Brittain Fellow. Most opportunities appear only once an academic year, but all opportunities are open to everyone regardless of your year in the Brittain Fellowship. When an opportunity does reappear, it suggests the growth in responsibility that comes with each year of the fellowship. Something typical or superlative for a first-year might be minimal for a second- or third-year. Consider one suggestion in a cell, not all, as the threshold for minimum, typical, or superlative contribution. Also consider that each cell in a row or column might be joined to previous cells by an and, so that the one suggestion from each of the previous cells combines with a suggestion from the most advanced cell. For example, the minimum contribution for a second-year Britt might be attendance at WCP-sponsored events and membership on a committee, or a typical contribution for a first-year Britt might be attendance at WCP-sponsored events and presenting a poster for Celebrating Teaching Day. That means the heaviest expectations fall on third-year Brittan Fellows, which makes sense because they have the most experience, the highest salaries, and the seniority—all of which are factors along with service that affects decisions related to special opportunities. Finally, consider taking multiple suggestions from a “minimum” cell to be “typical” and from a “typical” cell to be “superlative.”


Writing and Communication Committee (WCC). The WCC is a group of Brittain Fellows and other LMC faculty who examine and debate issues relevant to our Writing and Communication Program, make recommendations for policies, and plan and execute tasks vital to the program’s sustainability and growth. Rebecca Burnett is Chair.

Brittain Fellow Representation on the WCC. Each year, the Brittain Fellows elect four fellows to serve on the WCC: one representative from each cohort (first-year, second-year, third-year), and one “at-large” representative.

Brittain Fellow Representation on the Executive Committee. Brittain Fellows elect one fellow to LMC’s sustainability and growth. The Executive Committee meets monthly, usually on the Tuesday before a faculty meeting scheduled for Thursday. The Executive Committee’s meetings are completely confidential. The Brittain Fellows’ representative on this committee must be absolutely committed to regular attendance at meetings and to respecting the meetings’ confidentiality

Other Writing and Communication Program Committees for the 2015-16 academic year:

  • Assessment Committee: This committee develops methods and materials for assessing the learning and teaching of WOVEN communication. 2015-2016 Chair: Patricia Taylor
  • WOVENText Committee: This committee improves the customized textbook that supports WOVEN communication in and beyond English 1101 and English 1102. 2015-2016 Chair: Monica Miller
  • Intellectual Property Committee: This committee advices the Writing and Communication Program about policies and practices that affect the intellectual property of both students and instructors. 2015-16 Chair: OPEN
  • Professional Development Committee: This committee designs and oversees the mentoring program for incoming Brittain Fellows. 2015-2016 Chair: Valerie Johnson
  • TECHStyle Committee: This committee oversees TECHStyle, an internationally read blog that serves as a publication site and discussion forum to highlight the innovative teaching and research of Brittain Fellows. 2015-2016 Chair: OPEN
  • Special Events Committee: This committee designs and coordinates academic and social events for Brittain Fellows, including the colloquium, the speaker series, the spring symposium, and various social activities. 2015-2016 Chair: OPEN
  • Technical Communication Committee: This committee is reviews technical communication outcomes, rubric, resources. 2015-2016 Chair: Olga Menagarishvili
  • DevLab: This committee is responsible for operation and maintenance of DevLab, a facility for Brittain Fellows to use for a range of activities, including curriculum development and usability research/consulting. 2015-2016 Chair: OPEN
  • Grant Committee: This committee selects RFPs and then crafts and submits proposals. 2015-2016 Chair: Liz Hutter
  • World Englishes Committee: This committee addresses the diverse Englishes that are spoken at Georgia Tech from around the world. 2015-2016 Chair: OPEN

Other Opportunities for Service

Brittain Fellows are often invited to serve on ad hoc task forces dedicated to solving problems or making improvements in the department. If you see a problem or opportunity for improvement, check with Rebecca and Andy about forming an ad hoc task force and invite people to join you! You might also serve by participating curating a film series or arranging a conference. If you have an idea about something that involves the WCP, talk to Rebecca and Andy; they will help you brainstorm ways to make it happen. Here are two examples of opportunities for service that draw on particular interests and expertise.

The Communication Colloquium. The Communication Colloquium (part of the Special Events Committee) is an opportunity for Brittain Fellows and other faculty members to discuss how their research relates to their teaching. The format for a Colloquium involves presentations by a Brittain Fellow and a member of the junior faculty, followed by a formal response by a member of the senior faculty. This format is flexible, however—for example, both speakers might be Brittain Fellows. The Colloquium meetings are open to the entire GT community and usually attended by staff, graduate students, LMC faculty, and faculty from other units on campus.

Cinema@Tech. With additional support from other departments, LMC hosts an annual film series called Cinema@Tech that is often co-organized by both Georgia Tech film faculty and Brittain Fellows. During the Spring of 2016, Dalle Vacche expects to organize an African Film Series—if funding can be secured from the French Consulate in Atlanta. Brittain Fellows interested in co-curating with her are encouraged to contact her.

  • During the Africa-Atlanta initiative (2013-14), Professor Angela Dalle Vacche and Brittain Fellow Kathleen Hanggi (2011-2013; currently Assistant Professor Doane College) hosted Professor Aboubacar Sanogo from Carleton University for his lecture in conjunction with the screening of Abdherradame Sissako’s 1999 Life on Earth.
  • In 2009, Professor Dalle Vacche and Brittain Fellow Scott Balcerzak (2008-09; currently Assistant Professor, Northern Illinois University) co-organized the African Film Series, which included work from such renowned filmmakers as Med Hondo, Gaston J-M Kaborè, and S. Pierre Yameogo. Dalle Vacche and Balcerzak also brought the first-run Japanese film Zen to campus for a special screening.
  • During 2008, Brittain Fellow Allison Whitney (2007-09; currently Assistant Professor, Texas Tech) and Brittain Fellow Andrea Wood (2007-2010; currently Associate Professor, Winona State University) co-curated a Japanese Film Series with professors Angela Dalle Vacche and Olga Solovieva. This series featured Kenji Mizoguchi`s Ugetsu, Masaki Kobayashi`s Kwaidan, and Cannes International Film Festival winner Kiyoshi Kurosawa`s Pulse.
  • Professor Angela Dalle Vacche and Brittain Fellow Rodney Hill (2004-2007; currently Assistant Professor, Hofstra University) worked together on the French government Tournees Film Series for three years and brought French and Francophone films to campus.

Through co-organizing these screenings, Brittain Fellows interested in film have gained experience promoting cinema events, working with the Japanese and French Embassies to secure film rights, and sometimes corresponding with the filmmakers directly. Cinema@Tech also encourages Brittain Fellows to introduce films and invited speakers, giving them the opportunity to take part in an active film community in Atlanta.

Time flies when you’re having fun, but why does it fly when you’re working hard, too? Finding time to fulfill teaching responsibilities, pursue your own research agenda, and apply for jobs can certainly be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Here are some suggestions that might help make your life easier and more efficient. Of course, these are just suggestions, since what works for some people doesn’t necessarily work for others.