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Reading is still an important issue in colleges.  More than ever, we are
seeing the negative success rate of students who have problems reading.
In fact reading affects retention.  Therefore, more and more colleges
are creating and restructuring their reading courses and programs to
meet the need of our students who are entering college, especially
community colleges, lacking reading skills.  I do not believe that R
should be taken out.  Dolores 

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Carter-Wells, JoAnn
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2007 1:04 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: CRLA Name Change

If you are a member of CRLA, you probably know about the proposal to
change the name of the organization and eliminate the R for Reading.
Several position papers have been written in opposition to this change,
and the latest appears below.  I hope you will read it.  So far, the
response has been gratifying with support coming from reading
instructors, learning specialists, directors of study skills centers,
directors of academic achievement and learning centers, textbook
authors, Professors of English, teacher educators, college deans,
English instructors, Professors of Education, and present and former
CRLA leaders. If you are a member of CRLA, you are invited to have your
name added to the list as a supporter.  The details are at the end of
the paper.  

 

 

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It!

 

In previous issues of the CRLA newsletter, some members wrote articles
suggesting that a change is needed for CRLA.  In this response, several
long-time CRLA leaders, listed below in alphabetical order, voice their
opposition to a name change. 

 

As the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  Unfortunately,
what we are seeing is an attempt to portray CRLA as an organization
needing fixing.  But let's look at the numbers.  Our membership
continues to grow every year, from 1,014 in 2000 to 1144 in 2006, and so
far this year, new and renewed memberships are greater than last year's
by over 100.  

 

Conference attendance is also up.  Over 57% of the membership attended
the 2005 conference and a whopping 68% of the membership were at the
2006 conference.  And although each conference has had a large number of
first time participants, the majority who attend are repeat attendees,
indicating satisfaction with the current structure.  Conference income
shows a steady increase, and our treasury is flush. Simply put, CRLA is
flourishing!  

 

Those advocating a name change that will eliminate reading need to
re-examine the facts.  In looking at the Overview of Conference Strands
from the last two conferences, we can see the importance of reading to
the members of CRLA.  More concurrent presentations are in the Reading
Theory Strand than in any of the other strands.  And the largest SIG is
the College Reading SIG.  Furthermore, with half of the articles in the
most recent issues of The Journal of College Reading and Learning
relating to reading, and the other half relating to learning, it's clear
that our professional journal reflects both the name of the organization
and the interests of its members and readership. 

 

We've presented facts and stats, but CRLA is much more than numbers.
Those of us who regularly attend the annual conferences know that we can
expect something special.  We are noted for our warm welcomes and
terrific array of presentations.  Despite our focus on reading and
learning - or perhaps because of it - we attract colleagues from other
disciplines such as nursing, math, athletic administration and
counseling who have joined CRLA and attended our conferences to talk to
reading and learning professionals and learn more about our field.  The
size of our conference works for us.  We're big enough to offer a
plethora of interesting and varied presentations but small enough to
keep our legendary CRLA hospitality alive.  

 

A few members have voiced concerns that "Reading" in the name of our
organization has made it difficult or impossible for those in
disciplines other than reading or learning assistance to attend our
conferences and has made this a reason to eliminate reading from the
name.  They neglect to consider, however, what could happen to the
hundreds of reading professionals should a name change occur.  Instead
of a few individuals from other disciplines faced with convincing their
supervisors that a CRLA conference would be of benefit, many reading
professionals could find themselves trying to justify attendance at a
conference sponsored by an organization that actually eliminated reading
from its name!  It would be infinitely easier for CRLA to issue a letter
explaining the value of attending a CRLA conference for a math
professional than it would be to explain why a reading professional
should attend a conference of an organization that eliminated reading
from its name.

 

We fear that, should a name change occur, it would be the start of the
end of our organization.  We would lose our identity in a foolish
attempt to become all things to all people.  In the field of
developmental education, an organization already exists that encompasses
all aspects of this field.  It is a fine organization, but it's not
CRLA.  The College READING and Learning Association is healthy, vibrant
and, most important, special to those of us in the fields of reading and
learning assistance.  There is no reason to change our name or our
beloved organization.  It ain't broke!

 

Kathi Bartle-Angus

JoAnn Carter-Wells

Joe Cortina

Tom Dayton

JoAnne Greenbaum

Patricia Grega

Pat Jonason

Lonna Smith

 

PLEASE NOTE:  In addition to sending this position paper via email,
copies will be printed and distributed at the 2007 Conference in
Portland.  If you are a member of CRLA, and if you agree with this
position paper, you are urged to email Lonna Smith at [log in to unmask]
to request that your name be included on a list of supporters that will
be attached to the position paper.  Your name will then be listed below
the following statement:

 

The following members endorse the ideas expressed in this document:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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