Join Us to Celebrate Undergraduate Research and the DALN: 20 Years in the Making

Check out this announcement from guest poster Dr. Jenn Fishman:

The Undergraduate Research Impact Project and the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN) meet at a historical crossroads to open a new DALN collection and begin a shared search for new stories. Read on and learn how you can join us at 4C16, RSA16, and beyond.

In 1998, the Boyer Commission issued a report that reimagined undergraduate education, particularly for American research universities. The Commission’s “blueprint” outlined ten ambitious changes, staring with “I. Make Research-Based Learning the Standard”:

Undergraduate education in research universities requires renewed emphasis on a point strongly made by John Dewey almost a century ago: learning is based on discovery guided by mentoring rather than on the transmission of information. Inherent in inquiry-based learning is an element of reciprocity: faculty can learn from students as students are learning from faculty.

In 2008, members of the DALN consortium began building “a publicly available archive of personal literacy narratives” designed to “provide a historical record of the literacy practices and values of contributors, as those practices and values change” (DALN home). It took only five years for the DALN to become “as far as we know, the largest public[l]y-available, online archive of literacy narratives in the world” (Selfe).

Now, to mark the approaching 20th anniversary of the Boyer Commission’s report, Jenn Fishman, Jane Greer, and Dominic DelliCarpini are launching the Undergraduate Research (UR) Impact Project: a three-part inquiry into UR in rhetoric and composition/writing studies. Marshaling bibliometrics and focus groups, the UR Impact Project is also partnering with DALN to solicit stories from undergraduate researchers and mentors. This collaboration, which also celebrates the DALN’s first decade, will take shape through the archive’s new Undergraduate Impact Collection. Open to all who are or have been involved in UR over the years, this collection will help us learn directly from practitioners about UR in our field. It will also help us rethink our ideas and assumptions about who participates in UR, what UR in rhetoric and composition/writing studies looks like, and how UR informs the many kinds of work undergraduate researchers and mentors go on to pursue, not only within the academy but also well beyond it.

If you have participated in undergraduate research in rhetoric and composition/writing studies, you are invited to contribute. How? See below for details:

  • DALN volunteers will be collecting stories in person at the Conference on College Composition and Communication in Houston, TX. Find them at the Hilton of the Americas (1600 Lamar, Houston, TX 77010), Hilton Grand Ballroom D-F, Level Four on Thursday (4/7) from 12pm-4:30pm, Friday (4/8) from 10:45am-4:30pm, and Saturday (4/9) from 11am-1:30pm.
  • DALN volunteers will also be collecting stories in person at the Rhetoric Society of America in Atlanta, GA. Dates and times TBD.
  • You can also upload your contribution directly to the UR Impact Collection. To get started, register with DALN ( and then follow the online instructions.

Join us in person and online, and contact any of us involved in the UR Impact Project and DALN if you have comments, questions, or suggestions.