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Are you interested in or already are writing about the history of academic access programs? There is a new group forming to bring together people interested in developmental education and learning assistance. Even if you are are only interested, please consider joining us. Click on the link below for more information.
The history of academic access is not well documented in the professional literature. I have read many of the classic histories on postsecondary education and seldom find more than a few paragraphs or pages related to access issues. Frankly, most of the histories don't say much about the faculty or students as well. It seems that most of the time that the books are devoted to the college administrators, significant political leaders at the local or state level, and the physical construction of the colleges.

Since I made the transition to full-time teaching, I have now have more time to write. However, it can be a lonely experience writing about a topic area that does not have lots of other colleagues engaged in the same work. When I shared this with some other colleagues who make conference presentations or write articles, they shared the same experience. So, with the availability of web-based tools here at the University of Minnesota, I decided to see what would happen if a notice was placed up on several large listserv discussion groups that have people who work in this field. After a week, nearly 40 people had responded with interest. Some had no experience, some were in the middle of their dissertation writing, and others had experience with having their research published.

As a result, a working group has been created. Four Internet tools will be used to help us connect with one another and to support our writing interests:
(a) threaded web discussion board
(b) blog page to share with the larger education community our work and publications
(c) wiki web page to collect resources from the group to support our collective efforts
(d) podcasting series will be distributed beginning summer 2006 consisting of interviews of our working group members regarding their scholarship in progress and early findings

It is a pretty ambitious project, considering that most of the communication, encouragement, and work will be conducted online in a "virtual community" of scholars. But it should be an interesting experiment. If you have an interest in writing about the history of academic access programs (developmental educaiton and learning assistance), send an email to me,