Skip to content

Composition Forum 50, Fall 2022

Writing Program Administration Embodied: Public-Facing Performativity in Times of Trauma

Jessie Blackburn

Abstract: Despite statistical evidence that a majority of faculty, students, and WPAs are impacted by trauma, the field has yet to establish a trauma-informed approach to writing program administration. As a result, WPAs are left to operate without evidence-based, field-specific, best practices as we remain mindful of our own trauma reflexes and careful with the trauma responses of our constituents. In an effort to help move the field forward, this article incorporates concepts of compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma while unpacking data of the types of trauma impacting students, faculty, and WPAs. Moreover, this article proposes steps to take in order to (1) add our voices to the interdisciplinary field of trauma studies and (2) establish intersectional trauma-informed WPA leadership practices specific to higher educational settings.

As composition studies embraces the scholarship on trauma-informed teaching, writing programs grounded in trauma-informed teaching need also be rooted in administrators who are trained in trauma response in order for those administrators to be balanced, intersectional, and reflexive as they lead others while navigating their own life events. Long before March 2020 and the deep marathon of the COVID-19 pandemic, I first began thinking about the need for writing program administrators (WPAs) to be trained in trauma when I found myself facing my son’s medical crisis during my second year as a pre-tenured WPA and a young mother of two. Trauma became a context of my WPA work as I learned how to compartmentalize my family’s trauma happening off campus in order to ride the waves of panic that would wash over me throughout my days on campus. I learned to share just enough with my department chair so that he would understand my absences due to my son’s medical appointments but not enough to signal that I might be unable to focus on the job and maintain a work-life balance that would allow me to advance through the tenure stream and lead my university’s writing program with distinction. I learned how to lead meetings while my mothering thoughts were working overtime in the back of my mind; I discovered that I was able to return emails in the first two hours after dropping my boys at their elementary school before the school nurse would inevitably call me to come for my son; I became an expert at working from waiting rooms at hospitals and doctors’ offices; and I learned that my evening work/life balance would mean helping my younger son fall asleep and then walking down the hall to support my older son (as he, too, was grieving) before logging back on and working to stay caught up. I called on what Adrienne Rich describes as “the intensive training all women go through in every society to place our own long-term and collective interests second or last and to value altruism at the expense of independence and wholeness-- given the degree to which the university reinforces that training in its every aspect” (128). On campus, I cloaked my own sadness, developed a workaholism in response, and welcomed the consuming demands of my program. I checked out emotionally and embodied my writing program administration in an attempt to disembody my shock and grief. It would be years before I learned that this is what trauma specialists call dissociation. I dissociated so that I could bear the trauma without one single person at work knowing the countless times throughout the day that I found myself in fight, flight, or freeze: trauma responses that I was unaware of at the time. All that my students, colleagues, and administrators saw was a job performance and work ethic that exceeded expectations year after year. After all, I was hired right out of my doctoral program into my role as a WPA, and my tenure and promotion were directly linked to my administrative success (and so too was our health insurance). Taking even one semester’s leave would have left the program without its WPA in the middle of my regional university’s restructuring of its general education and would have jeopardized my reputation as a dependable, productive, young faculty member.

Embodying the public-facing role of WPA, I continued to support students and faculty when they came to my office to divulge their own crises even as I faced my private trauma—a scenario that I now realize is far more common than the field prepares us for. Like Doug Hesse in “The WPA as Father, Husband, Ex,” I worked as a WPA with “a crippling kind of alienation from both self and those others (wife, children, colleagues, friends) who might ameliorate the separation” (53). I passed my box of tissue but controlled my own tears while listening to students and faculty as they shared their private crises. All the while, my internal trauma reflexes were triggered but invisible to all around me. It became second nature, after particularly distressing phone calls with my son’s doctors, to simply stand up, blink back my tears, and head into administrative meetings. Without even recognizing what was happening, I was proving Adrienne Rich’s point that “for reasons both complex and painful, the ‘exceptional’ woman who receives status and tenure in the university . . . has for her own survival learned to . . . absorb the masculine adversary style of discourse, and carefully avoid any style or method that could be condemned as ‘irrational’ or ‘emotionally charged’” (138). I excelled in my duties as WPA and cared deeply for the program while invisibly shouldering my son’s illness and my life’s greatest heartbreak. Day in and day out. For years.

It is important to note that though our field pays worthy attention to the topic of self-care, there is very little critical attention paid specifically to the field of trauma studies, which may help WPAs recognize when our own trauma responses are engaged at times of exposure to vicarious or secondary trauma through our programs’ constituents (to this day, my trauma reflexes engage each time a faculty member is in my office disclosing a tragic medical diagnosis). If I could go back in time to my doctoral-student self preparing for her future as a WPA, I would enroll in a psychology course on trauma and the brain, and I would seek out professional development in areas of trauma. Such professional development would have served me well along with the writing programs I directed, and it would have helped me embody writing program administration with healthier trauma responses and burnout avoidance. These are ubiquitous concerns echoed throughout The Things We Carry: Strategies for Recognizing and Negotiating Emotional Labor in Writing Program Administration (Wooten et al.), which is a timely and astute collection of essays on the emotional demands of WPA work. Like the editors and authors of this essential collection, I feel compelled to add to the field’s necessary focus on self-care, and I want to move the needle by pointing to the specific impacts of trauma on our programs and on us as administrators. I want to build on growing appreciation for trauma-informed pedagogies and create a call to action now so that our field might collectively consider how our WPAs may become critically informed of and active contributors to the multidisciplinary study of trauma that is already underway in disciplines such as psychology, sociology, and social work.

In order for our trauma-informed pedagogies to become rooted across our programs, WPAs must also become trauma-informed leaders, as widespread “trauma-informed education, also referred to as trauma-informed practices, requires administrative buy-in and support, trauma-sensitive classroom practices, positive and restorative responses to behavior, policy and procedure changes, teacher and staff professional development, and strong cross-system collaboration among school staff and mental health professionals” (Thomas et al. 422). Obviously, the need for trauma-informed WPAs is more present than ever due to COVID-19—the fallout from which will forever leave its marks on us as well as our programs. Additionally, trauma-informed WPA scholarship is necessary for an intersectional response to ongoing racial discrimination and violence, an awareness of which BIPOC WPAs heralded ahead of the Black Lives Matter Movement in Black Perspective in Writing Program Administration: From the Margins to the Center (Perryman-Clark and Craig, eds.). Though these two concurrent pandemics (viral and racial violence) illustrate a kairotic need for trauma-informed writing program administration, the need will continue well into a future “new normal” once the public health crisis abates but leaves intact amplified social, racial, gender, and economic inequities. Much like Kaitlin Clinnin’s recent call for crisis management training for WPAs (“In the Event of an Emergency”), I recognize that in the aftermath of the crisis, trauma responses kick in and impact how we and our programs function in the wake of these ever-increasing/compounding/systemic emergencies. It is through this essay that I hope to illustrate how the field of trauma studies offers an expansion of our field’s current attention to self-care and provides possible frameworks for training WPAs to identify and respond to trauma when it impacts our programs’ staff, students, and faculty— including ourselves.

Situating Trauma Studies & the Field

Trauma is defined as occurring “when a person is overwhelmed by events or circumstances and responds with intense fear, horror, and helplessness” from events such as (but not limited to) childhood abuse or neglect; physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; accidents and natural disasters; grief and loss; war and other forms of violence; medical interventions; and witnessing acts of violence” (National Council for Behavioral Health). When in trauma, extreme stress often overwhelms a person’s capacity to cope and function to her/his full ability due to distractibility, anxiety, mood dysregulation, etc. According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, “70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives.” This data alludes to the percentage of WPAs who are enduring or who have overcome trauma and its residual consequences, and it is important to acknowledge that WPAs are likely experiencing or recovering from such a crisis in an environment that vicariously exposes WPAs to the traumas of our students and faculty. This, of course, is also in addition to the conflict-laden environments in which WPAs regularly have to do the political work of defending their programs and sometimes even our field.

In order to imagine trauma-informed WPAs navigating the landscape of higher education, I draw on the good work that already exists regarding K-12 trauma-informed pedagogies and bridge that scholarship with the ongoing work of emotional labor in writing program administration. From the steady rise in research on trauma-informed pedagogies in K-12 education, we have learned that trauma impedes learning and is a noteworthy predictor and determinant of academic struggle. In Trauma and Learning: Creating a Culture of Educational Access for Inner City Communities, Marshal Arnwine explains that “trauma serves as a detriment to a student’s ability to learn by altering the physiology of a child’s developing brain and creating a neurobiological response that impairs the performance of daily activities, especially educationally relevant skills like thinking, reading, concentrating, learning, and regulating emotions” (77). In fact, trauma studies research in primary and secondary education has resituated our understanding of how trauma affects learners, including linking trauma to high drop-out rates (Porche et al.), low student engagement and truancy (Balfanz and Byrnes), and high rates of expulsion and suspension (Craig, 2017). As a result of the robust research on childhood and adolescent trauma, K-12 education experienced an emergence in trauma-informed pedagogies, which build inclusive curricula and classrooms that “understand the ways in which violence, victimization, and other traumatic experiences may have impacted the lives of the individuals involved” (Carello and Butler 264). While similar research is making its way into higher education, there remains limited progress in terms of applying that research at the administrative level. Undoubtedly, higher education would benefit from trauma-informed administrators in all fields and at all levels, but I am especially interested in writing programs, where we have yet to see the field develop toward a trauma-informed administrative philosophy despite our knowledge that “even when personal writing is not assigned, students often choose to research and write about topics related to their personal traumas” and “because of typically small class sizes and formats, writing instructors often interact more with students than do instructors in other classes, and this type of involvement also may enable self-disclosure, both in and out of the classroom” (Carello and Butler 267). This is especially important to note as WPAs supervise graduate teachers and faculty who likely “are not trained to respond to students who disclose personal crises or to effectively manage emotions that get triggered when such disclosure occurs in the classroom” (Carello and Butler 267). As such, it is important to acknowledge the role of the WPA in higher education where “a trauma-informed approach must actively resist vicarious traumatisation” (Harrison et al. 4).

WPAs will play a necessarily central role if we are to see program-wide applications of trauma-informed practices that are described by the United States Department of Health and Human Services as a recognition of “the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system, and it must respond by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices” (9). In Increasing Trauma-Informed Awareness and Practice in Higher Education, Doughty reminds us that individual higher education institutions “have not kept pace with the current movements and must make the commitment to increase awareness and ensure trauma-informed practices are part of the culture. . .This is a slow progression. It begins with the introduction of information through new faculty development programs and professional development opportunities” (67). I suggest that higher education must create environments that are sensitive to the life events that our students bring with them to college and that our faculty and staff bring to their work, and I argue that WPAs are central to this shift in professional development and faculty development. Similarly, Julie Kubala, in Of Trauma and Triggers: Pedagogy and Affective Circulations in Feminist Classrooms, reminds us that higher-ed teachers must work to avoid irrationally creating a space that “devalues emotion and experience, which can leave students at a loss for how they navigate the emotions circulating in their classrooms. Part of the issue here, then, is to demand recognition that students (and teachers) are not exempt from multiple forms of violence” (193). Kubala reminds us that the classroom is inevitably a space with embodied trauma, and to attempt to create a space that is decontextualized in an attempt to avoid our students or our own traumas is ultimately impossible.

Composition studies and feminist composition pedagogy in particular are no strangers to this understanding. For many of us, Lynn Bloom’s 1992 essay Teaching College English as a Woman still reads as a cold and noble reminder of what happens to us when we bump up against traumatic topics and our own trauma reflexes in the classroom. We have the option to retreat and compartmentalize, or we can dive in as Bloom did and model trauma survival. What strikes me to this day about Bloom’s essay, in which she recounts her own escape from sexual assault and her ability to teach through that narrative when the traumatic topic arose in a class discussion, is Bloom’s own acknowledgement that at the time she first dared to share her survival story in a classroom, she was a department chair. That is, she was an administrator. In my fourteen years of experience as a WPA and six years as a department assistant chair, I relate to the obligation that Bloom felt to “reaffirm the students” with her own “life-saving story” (539). There have been countless moments in my office when I have supported people as they discussed their sexual assaults, spousal infidelity, or family medical crises. In those moments when I want to be human and also professional, I struggle with how to embody my administrative identity while staying in my body as a trauma survivor. I toggle back and forth between “how the personal and professional interact as they seek to achieve emotional balance” (Costello and Babb 13). Often, I find this dance between emotional presence and absence to be unsustainable as a WPA. Human trauma, loss, and suffering are unavoidable, yet WPAs are not trained in how to lead during times of trauma or the aftermath. As a result, many of us find ourselves intermittently bathing in cortisol and chronic stress reflexes, which physiologically means “your muscles tense; your sensitivity to pain diminishes; your attention is alert and vigilant; focusing on the short-term, here-and-now thinking; your senses are heightened; your memory shifts to channel its functioning to the narrow band of experience and knowledge most immediately relevant to this stressor” (Nagoski and Nagoski 5). I want to suggest that we begin training our WPAs with trauma-informed leadership skills in order to cultivate a fully integrated writing program administrative philosophy guided by the same impulses that shape trauma-informed pedagogies. Such training may lead trauma-informed WPAs to reconsider how we build program policies and navigate conversations regarding faculty renewals, probations, and medical leaves. This is especially important as COVID-19 presents higher education, and WPAs in particular, an opportunity to permanently refine our policies on service, classroom observations, and progress toward promotion and renewal. Now that the pandemic has laid bare the invisible lines between home and work identities, we have an opportunity for trauma-informed program administration to make permanent, humane revisions to pre-quarantine policies; this is especially true now that we are all too aware of the “inherent inequities in confinement. It would be wrong to assume that all researchers have a suitable, safe, and supportive home-working environment” (Corbera et al. 192).

Adrienne Rich reminds us that honorable human interaction is a recursive process through which people refine “the truths they can tell each other. It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation. It is important to do this because in doing so we do justice to our own complexity” (188). Just as we celebrate trauma-informed pedagogies that break down isolation, we as WPAs may want to consider giving ourselves permission to lead with a similar transparency that does justice to our own complexity. Of course, it is essential to note that each WPA needs to identify their own boundaries and leadership style especially in traumatic situations, and I advocate for a model of trauma-informed writing program administration as one possibility for the mindfulness and emotional intelligence that Cindy Moore calls for in Mentoring WPAs for the Long Term: The Promise of Mindfulness and that is articulated in Academia in the Time of COVID-19: Towards and Ethics of Care (Corbera et al.).

Trauma and WPA Work: It Was There Before. It’s There Now. It’ll be There After.

New WPAs are often greeted at their new institutional homes with training workshops, which focus on institutional policies and processes for personnel matters: interviewing and staffing; conducting annual reviews; handling workplace/administrative confidentiality related to mandatory reporting and Title IX, etc. Yet rarely do WPAs receive formal training on how to interact with faculty, staff, and students who are enduring a traumatic experience or how to navigate their own professional trauma. As a WPA, I have had traumatized students in my office discussing a roomate’s suicide, sexual assault, drug addiction, coming out, managing neuro-atypicality away from home, anxiety over returning home for the holidays to a household with domestic abuse and/or drug abuse, racialized and gendered violence, etc. I have received the first phone call from a faculty member’s spouse who called me from the hospital to tell me that the spouse (my colleague) had just been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and would need an emergency FMLA leave. I have been the administrator called when a faculty member had to flee domestic abuse, and I’ve sat with more than one faculty member disclosing addiction, suicidality, miscarriage, psychological breakdown, or the death of a child. I have held space for traumatized faculty who have come to share their grief upon learning of their student’s suicide or sudden death. In fact, my current institution was one of the first universities in the United States to have a student pass away due to COVID-19 (Bolling and Hubler), and as the WPA, I supported the graduate teaching assistant who had that student in her writing class. Most recently due to COVID-19, I’ve received countless calls from distraught faculty members breaking down under the strain of the workload of writing classes while living with long-COVID or while balancing children or elderly parents in the home during quarantine. I have come to recognize the increasing need for trauma response training for WPAs, and this need will not decrease after COVID-19, as this need has long been rooted in our work.

As Micciche points out in Doing Emotion: Rhetoric, Writing, Teaching, “the WPA must navigate the murky waters of institutional hierarchy where decisions to create any sort of change are seriously constrained; where daily existence requires pragmatic, sometimes morally problematic decisions, and where one’s ability to act on one’s conscience or political ideas is seriously compromised” (84). WPAs regularly find themselves mediating high-stress, high-stakes, and sometimes high-conflict situations that may, based on the origin of trauma, trigger a WPA’s own trauma reflexes: fight, flight, freeze; workaholism; poor boundary management; compartmentalization; dissociation; etc. In fact, in some cases, many of us may even be drawn to WPA work in search of external validation, as the highs and lows of writing program administration can echo an emotional co-dependency that trauma often imprints on its survivors. Importantly layered into this dynamic is our empathy for our students’ and our faculty members’ traumas—be it sexual, racial, or gender violence; gun violence; domestic trauma; economic trauma; or medical trauma. In fact, research indicates that most undergraduates experience “at least one traumatic event” and many struggle with related functional impairment (Elhai et al.; Silverstein et al.). As we embrace the value of a trauma-informed pedagogy in classrooms, our faculty members and our WPAs—many of whom, statistically, are survivors of or currently living in traumatic situations—would collectively benefit from an academic praxis that values “forms of performance and productivity that enhance wellbeing and care together with solidarity and pluralism” (Corbera et al. 192). Such a trauma-informed writing program administration would help WPAs remain mindful of their own trauma reflexes while building healthy working and learning ecologies, managing their own “emotional response while also attending to the emotional needs of program stakeholders,” and potentially suppressing “emotions such as fear, anxiety, and grief to perform their administrative duties” (Clinnin, Strategy Sheet 301).

Trauma Interfaced

Studies have been conducted on trauma associated with crisis-response occupations such as first responders, military, nurses, etc. Obviously, WPAs do not fall into such an occupational description, and it would be irresponsible to suggest otherwise. However, WPAs do function as “programmatic crisis responders and perform unrecognized emotional labor in this role” which may “negatively impact the WPA’s physical, mental and emotional well-being” when called “to respond on behalf of the writing program to crises that are beyond human control, such as a student or instructor death, a natural disaster, or campus violence” (Clinnin 133). When we consider the WPA in this context, two occupational hazards of nursing are especially relevant: compassion fatigue and vicarious stress. In A Prospective Assessment of PTSD Symptoms Using Analogue Trauma Training With Nursing Students, Carleton et al. point out that burnout, compassion fatigue, vicarious stress, and secondary traumatic stress are eminently related. Research on compassion fatigue in nursing stems from an acknowledgement of the “phenomenon of stress resulting from exposure to a traumatized individual rather than from exposure to the trauma itself” (Cocker and Joss 618). WPAs may find themselves reporting for work while experiencing or recovering from traumas and may simultaneously be enduring vicarious stress and compassion fatigue due to caring for a faculty and student body, with traumatized members of both bodies regularly in our office disclosing their experiences and seeking our care as mentors and supervisors. Such regular secondary traumatic stress conditions our WPAs toward compassion fatigue, which:

occurs in helping professionals who are routinely exposed to others’ traumas. Stress changes our brains and behaviors, making emotional regulation much harder to achieve. This doesn’t just mean that the young people we teach may be coming to us dysregulated; we, too, may be teaching from a place of dysregulation. When students’ traumas exacerbate our own, we may respond with a number of self-protective but misaligned mechanisms: retreating rather than reaching out, reacting with frustration, avoidance, denial. (Collins 4)

Whether we ourselves harbor former or ongoing trauma (occupational or otherwise) or whether we are experiencing secondary or vicarious trauma and/or reexposure vis-a-vis our faculty or students, WPAs occupy a role that is vulnerable to the emotional and cognitive impacts associated with trauma.

This is especially noteworthy, as research suggests that repeated trauma exposure increases the likelihood of developing a post-traumatic stress disorder. For example, in the article Prospective Examination of Daily Life Traumatic Stress Symptom Expression Following Motor Vehicle Collisions, Grinapol et al. point to repeated trauma exposures as exponentially increasing the levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), and acute stress disorder “symptomatology, which in turn may be reinforced through a cycle of interactions that maintain symptomatology over time in more vulnerable individuals” (8). This is important to note because WPAs are likely storing up multiple encounters with students, faculty, and staff who are facing trauma, shock, grief, addiction, and even suicidality. As we consider how our WPAs may be storing this secondary trauma, saturation, and compassion fatigue, it becomes apparent that we must also develop occupational training for our WPAs—much in the way that psychotherapists, nurses, and social workers learn to manage the compassion fatigue and vicarious stress resulting from occupational exposure to trauma and grief.

Beyond the faculty we supervise, our programs’ students’ exposure to trauma is hardly a new discovery. In fact, Prevalence of Traumatic Events and Peritraumatic Predictors of Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in a Nonclinical Sample of College Students highlights a study of college-aged students, finding that “approximately 67% of respondents reported at least one traumatic event” (Bernat et al. 645). Further defining the traumatic events most commonly experienced by our students, Trauma Exposure and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Predictors of Mental Health Treatment Use in College Students reports the most prevalent traumas to be “the unexpected death of a very close loved one due to accident, suicide, or murder (n 110, 39.0%); being physically harmed by a noncaregiver (n 56, 19.9%); and suffering a life-threatening accident (n 58, 20.6%). Among trauma victims, the most distressing event, upon which PSS ratings were made, was the unexpected death of a loved one (n 65, 31.0%)” (Elhai and Simons). In Posttraumatic stress disorder in DSM-5: Estimates of Prevalence and Symptom Structure in a Nonclinical Sample of College Students, a survey of 389 college students revealed that 66.5% of the effective sample “endorsed at least one traumatic event that would meet DSM-IV PTSD's A1 traumatic stressor criterion” (Elhai et al.). It is clear that supporting the students and their faculty requires a WPA trained in how to be responsibly present and emotionally supportive through traumatic events. This emotional presence is complicated if the WPA is also a survivor of or in the middle of trauma, and it is especially complicated by the broader working conditions that require emotional resilience even before WPAs find themselves sitting with traumatized faculty members or students (Enos and Borrowman; Micciche).

We know that WPAs often work in conditions that lead to emotional burnout. The CWPA Position Statement on Bullying in the Workplace came about as a result of a survey completed by more than 100 WPAs and stakeholders, with 84% of respondents “having experienced bullying in the WPA workplace at some point in their career” (Elder and Davila). The position statement includes acts of bullying such as being shouted at or being the target of spontaneous anger; being the target of intimidating behaviors such as finger-pointing, invasion of personal space, shoving, blocking your way; and receiving threats of violence or physical abuse or actual abuse. Many of these acts may be considered triggering for individuals with PTSD or PTSS—especially WPAs with a history of domestic abuse, psychological abuse, verbal abuse, stalking, physical endangerment, or harassment. The position statement explains that WPA bullying often causes “serious consequences to the targets of bullying, including diminished physical, mental, and emotional health” and that “feelings of isolation, depression, heart conditions, hair loss, weight loss/gain, anxiety, stress on family relations, and thoughts of suicide” (Elder and Davila). What is especially striking about this list of emotional consequences for the bullied WPA is the similarities to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Trauma Symptom Checklist—40, which includes trauma symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, unintentional weight loss, stomach problems, feelings of isolation, ‘flashbacks’ (sudden, vivid, distracting memories), anxiety attacks, loneliness, sadness, dizziness, memory problems, desire to physically hurt oneself, passing out, feelings of inferiority, feeling tense all the time, and having trouble breathing” (Elliot and Briere).

When we consider the prevalence of workplace bullying experienced by WPAs coupled with the opportunities for trauma re-exposure through our faculty and our own students’ traumas, we owe it to ourselves to become trauma-informed WPAs so that we may support our students and faculty but also so that we may recognize how our own trauma reflexes may influence our work as WPAs. For example, trauma responses such as avoidance, emotional numbing, dissociation, and anxiety often masquerade as workaholism and a need for external approval, and it is worth examining the rate at which WPAs find themselves working in triggering situations. In other words, it is essential for our wellbeing as WPAs to be aware of how our work impacts our own journey through trauma and vice versa. After all, we occupy positions that require significant presence on campus under time-sensitive initiatives, and WPAs are far less likely than non-administrative faculty to be in a position to miss a day of work regardless of our mental health.

Non-administrative faculty may be able to “call in sick” or even ride out their trauma around flexible teaching schedules, but WPAs know all too well the “on call” nature of our job and the time-sensitive program matters and institutional deadlines that do not wait even if we take a leave in the middle of a family/personal trauma. This is especially significant when we find ourselves embedded in time-sensitive initiatives and job tasks that require a certain level of cognitive function, mood regulation, and interpersonal relations—all of which are impaired in times of traumatic exposure (Silverstein et al.). I’m particularly interested in the field developing trauma-informed professional development that helps WPAs become aware of maladaptive trauma reflexes so that when faced with traumatic life events or when being re-exposed to previous traumas while at work, we will better recognize when we are operating from a trauma response and productively care for ourselves as well as the others in the conversation. Building beyond our field’s concern with self care, being trauma informed as a WPA may ultimately help us recognize our own patterns of avoidance, flashbacks, intrusive ruminations, and dissociations that, in turn, impact our performance throughout our days as we remain accountable to ourselves, our programs, our colleagues, and our upper administration.

Trauma Training: A Way Forward for WPAs

An example of such training is already underway in fields of primary and secondary education, social work, nursing, and others. For example, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network developed training materials to teach the 12 Core Concepts for Understanding Traumatic Stress Responses in Children and Families (Layne et al.). This curriculum was used to help prepare social work students for working with traumatized families, and the curriculum was found to be more successful than manualized trauma treatment training. As a result, UCLA expanded the number of trained facilitators able to deliver the core curriculum on trauma so that, once trained, facilitators deliver the curriculum to mental health professionals, staff within their own organizations, and partner organizations within their communities. Trainings range from 1- or 2-hour segments delivered over a series of weeks, to multi-day intensive workshops, and the curriculum has proven to be one of the first “important steps on the path to developing a multidisciplinary trauma-informed national mental health workforce” (Dublin et al. 4). A similar approach may be useful in the field of writing program administration, and we may want to start turning to our national and regional conferences as training grounds to help fill the gaps in trauma training—a gap that leaves most junior WPAs having to learn “on the job” while unknowingly mal/adapting to trauma and amplifying the risk for WPA burnout.

It is important to consider multiple factors in developing training for the trauma-informed WPAs given the importance of an intersectional approach across a range of demographics. For example, research indicates that women are at greater risk for interpersonal and sexual violence and that “once a trauma has been experienced, males and females differ in terms of their cognitive schemas. Specifically, females appear more likely to blame themselves for the trauma, to hold more negative views of themselves, and to view the world as more dangerous than do male trauma victims” (Tolin and Foa 76). This is especially important as we consider the role of the WPA in the handling/reporting of campus sexual assaults and the likelihood that “as with much emotional labor, handling sexual assault reports may be something more women than men, broadly speaking, are confronted with in their roles as WPAs (Owens 118). Additionally, a WPA’s race and LGBTQIA identity also intersect with the various traumas that our students and faculty will share with us and potentially resurface our own traumatic experiences with race-based violence, homophobia, and gender-based discrimination. To that end, an intersectional approach to trauma training is necessary in preparing our WPAs to effectively lead and empathetically support our programs while also recognizing in ourselves when we are experiencing retraumatization, compassion fatigue, or vicarious trauma. Additionally, it will be helpful for the WPA to be trained in how to converse with someone in crisis, how to keep our own safety and boundaries in mind (self-care is foundational but, again, not comprehensive), how to know when to refer that person to trauma resources and institutional processes, and how to situate these suggestions with cultural awareness. For example, given historical and ongoing racialized police violence, it may read as a tone-deaf suggestion to offer a decontextualized referral to campus police when a student or faculty member is in our office reporting race-based violence. Likewise, knowing how to best support LGBTQIA students reporting sexual assault requires a nuance that may not come instinctively to a WPA free from heterosexist oppression. Furthermore, knowing how to support our students and faculty in a trauma-informed administrative manner will help us know how to speak of our own survival stories as testimonies of hope and survival without hijacking the conversation if we choose to say “me too” with our students and faculty. And this approach aligns with our field’s attention to emotional labor as we recognize trauma as a key figure in shaping the emotional yet public landscape of our work and the work of our programs’ students and faculty. In fact, trauma training for WPAs will teach us how to interact responsibly with traumatized individuals and when to “establish yourself as a safe person to whom they can turn for support [and whether to] do this by directly acknowledging the circumstances we are in and being honest about how this situation impacts you” (Collins 4).

Moving Our Field Forward: A Call to Research

As we consider the merits of integrating trauma-informed training into the professional development of our writing program administrators, I want to suggest two “first steps” the field might take in moving us ahead. The field has a few immediate opportunities to integrate training into our approach to writing program administration. For example, as I mentioned above, graduate programs in composition studies may want to consider encouraging students to enroll in graduate courses in trauma studies that are often offered through departments of sociology, social work, psychology, and nursing. This first step would allow composition programs to collaborate with the established knowledge of other fields. Given the interdisciplinarity of composition and writing-across-the-curriculum programs, it is likely the relationships between these programs have already been brokered institutionally and are in a good position to be broadened. Beyond the graduate-level training that we might consider integrating, I would also like to suggest that the Conference for Writing Program Administrators (CWPA) begin offering training and certification in trauma-informed administration. A research cluster on trauma-informed writing program administration could be added to the conference themes, and the pre-conference institute and workshops are perfectly poised to offer intensive multi-day trainings that could result in certification specializing in intersectional approaches that take into account issues of race, gender, class, age, and more. Specifically, the annual CWPA pre-conference “Workshop for New and Continuing WPAs” might offer trauma-informed WPA certification, which could be led by professionals outside of composition studies or led by WPAs who are trained through one of the many relevant certification programs in trauma studies that could easily serve as models for how to tailor trauma training for the specific work of the WPA.

There are numerous examples of such intersectional, interdisciplinary training programs in trauma-informed practices that could inform how we prepare our WPAs. As an example, Wright State University’s Human Services Department offers a Trauma-Informed Counseling Certificate with numerous learning outcomes that are clearly relevant to the work that we do as WPAs: learning strategies for working with and advocating for diverse populations, including multicultural competencies; understanding the nature and needs of persons at all developmental levels and in multicultural contexts; understanding the effects of crisis, disasters, and other trauma-causing events on persons of all ages; learning trauma-informed supervision models, practices, and processes; and learning self-care strategies appropriate to the trauma-informed counselor role (Wright State University). While these outcomes are geared toward preparing counselors, it is clear that similar training could be tailored to fit the daily practices of a trauma-informed WPA. Another relevant training model to turn to is the Trauma-Informed Organization Certificate Program offered through the School of Social Work Continuing Education at the University at Buffalo. This program is geared toward helping organizations reorient themselves toward a trauma-informed management style that assumes that trauma is always likely to be present in any human organization. As such, this program specializes in helping managers and organizations create supportive environments for staff and clients (in our case: faculty and students). Of the learning outcomes from this certification, several are notably relevant for WPA work: to become informed about and sensitive to trauma-related issues of both clients and agency staff (again, for the WPA, we would consider students rather than clients and faculty rather than agency staff); to understand how the guiding principles of trauma-informed care relate to the interactions between staff, and between staff and clients (i.e., between the WPA and faculty and between the faculty and students); and to understand the guiding principles of trauma-informed practice: safety, trust, choice, collaboration and empowerment (University at Buffalo). Though the University at Buffalo’s program is geared toward trauma-informed organizations, there are many commonalities with an academic department or writing program.

There are numerous other trauma certification programs that we might customize or bring to CWPA for pre-conference workshops and institutes, and there are countless intersectional approaches to trauma-informed writing program administration that would warrant a standing conference research cluster—e.g., applying an intersectional trauma-informed administrative practice in the contexts of race, gender, class, veteran status, age, ability. Boundaries and self-care are also essential topics to incorporate as we move toward a trauma-informed approach to our work. Not all WPAs will have the same personal boundaries or approaches to self-care, and trauma-related research into these issues would be just as useful as has been (and continues to be) our field’s hardy grappling with feminist and critical pedagogies. Furthermore, robust trauma studies research would help our field nuance the critical differences between a truly trauma-informed practice rather than merely a generalized maternalistic approach to WPA work, and it may help the field make these moves without further exacerbating the “mammy role” of BIPOC WPAs, “given the almost perfunctory assumption (however inaccurate) that administrative work in higher education is service, a social expectation that further chains black women’s bodies in specific ways” (Kynard 34). This is especially important, if the field is going to acknowledge what Sheila Carter-Tod and Jennifer Sano-Franchini point out in Black Lives Matter and Anti-Racist Projects in Writing Program Administration as “the absence of material actions and curricular and/or policy changes writing program administrators have taken to make Black Lives Matter within writing programs” (12). Though there are numerous conditions and considerations a trauma-informed WPA may reflect, a few starting points come to mind in these particularly traumatic times:

  • Emerging from quarantine brings people back to the classroom from situations where female students and faculty may have seen their labor burdens at home increase inequitably (not to mention the number of students and faculty who found themselves quarantining in abusive home situations). A trauma-informed WPA will seek to create program conditions that query whether faculty can be “expected to conduct business-as-usual in the wake of a global pandemic and maintain the same pace of productivity and engagement with our job duties…in the context of a crisis of major dimensions and ramifications” (Corbera et al. 193).

  • During COVID-19 and the affordances and constraints of intermittent online teaching, a trauma-informed WPA might point to the practices Brittany Collins outlines in “Yes, You Can Do Trauma-Informed Teaching Remotely (and You Really, Really Should)” as administrators consider encouraging faculty to “build into your remote working routine time away from screens ... Protect your emotional reserves so that you may receive students’ distress in a way that meets them where they are, validates what they’re going through, and promotes everyone’s attainment of—and attunement to—emotional regulation” (5).

  • WPAs may also consider building curricula and practicing trauma-informed philosophies that create sustainable work environments for themselves and their faculty by “contributing to institutional initiatives aimed at fostering collegiality and collective support ... prioritizing tasks where we can really make a difference, writing less but better, avoiding as much as possible a hectic race for new projects and articles, and engaging more seriously with knowledge transfer to civil society and policy change activities” (Corbera et al. 193).

  • Trauma-informed WPAs might consider creating a trauma-informed workplace for our faculty as we begin to return from quarantine and “reduce the number of face-to-face meetings, workshops, conferences” and program initiatives that we expect faculty members to attend (Corbera et al. 195). This is especially important for the WPA looking to build trauma-informed programs that “prioritize personal and collective wellbeing over ‘productivity’ focused tasks, recognize the diversity of needs, experiences, and vulnerabilities during the crisis, and question the overall ‘rat race’ practices” (Corbera et al. 196).

  • In times of trauma, people seek stability. As such, Covid provides trauma-informed WPAs an opportunity to provide consistency to faculty and students and minimize new initiatives or policy changes until program members have recovered their stamina and intellectual resources. Trauma-informed WPAs may want to recognize that now is not the time to implement changes in protocol or procedures that would demand increased or new training modules in order for faculty to conduct their usual workload.

  • A WPA who receives trauma-informed administrative training or certification may want to post those qualifications on program websites and/or in office spaces so that people will recognize the WPA’s office as a trauma-informed space. This idea could function in the same way that The Safe Zone Project works as an LGBTQIA awareness and ally training workshop, which produces safe zone icons that faculty and students have learned to look for when seeking truly safe spaces on campus.

  • Trauma-informed WPAs may seek crisis-response workshops so that we may be trained in how to listen, support, and respond with intersectionality when we hear distressing news from a colleague or student. Likewise, a trauma-informed WPA may want to not only model for but also train faculty in such crisis-response skills.

  • Trauma-informed WPAs should embrace, champion, and incentivize anti-racist pedagogies in program faculty and “root that work in black theory, thereby necessitating real interdisciplinarity/transdisciplinarity” (Kynard 46). This means embedding anti-racist pedagogies in faculty promotions, program initiatives, and professional development opportunities. It also means taking a close look at course objectives and outcomes, program textbooks, assignments, grading and classroom policies, and course content. It also means recruiting and retaining diversity into our programs, including into WPA positions and other positions of leadership.

  • Trauma-informed WPAs should seek training in various forms of microaggression so that we may recognize when such aggression shapes difficult conversations.

  • Trauma-informed WPAs should seek training in the causes of trauma, vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and trauma responses. It is especially important for WPAs to learn our own trauma responses and triggers so that we can identify when we are potentially administrating while simultaneously experiencing/exhibiting our own adapted trauma behaviors.

  • Trauma-informed WPAs should seek training in practices that, when necessary, help move our brains out of a trauma response/survival mode so that we may lead from a grounded place.

  • Relatedly, trauma-informed WPAs should seek training that prepares us and our faculty for healthy responses when students choose to research and write about abuse, structuring “their texts to move, either implicitly or explicitly, from often hauntingly detailed or powerfully understated narratives of the abuse to analyses…of culture, gender, and power relations” (Payne 121).

  • Trauma-informed WPAs should seek training in the statistics of trauma so that we can help normalize the fact that trauma is ever-present in our classrooms and our programs so that we can all operate from a humane place that truly engenders the best opportunity for our students, faculty, and staff to thrive—not just survive—in settings of higher education.


Our programs and all who work and learn within them are creaking and groaning beneath the invisible yet ever-present weight of embodied trauma. Whether we as WPAs are undergoing current trauma or are survivors of past trauma, it is statistically understood that a majority of our faculty and students are themselves impacted by trauma. So that we may navigate the public-facing demands of our work and remain mindful of our own trauma reflexes and careful with the trauma responses of others, the field is due to take action. By integrating trauma-informed training into the professional development of writing program administrators, we are serving our field and undergirding our WPAs and their programs as a result. Just as the editors and authors of The Things We Carry point to emotional labor and its compounding weight on the backs of our WPAs, I signal a continuation of that concern with a potential strategy for moving forward collectively as a field. In doing so, composition studies may contribute to the intersectional “nature of the empirical work around trauma-informed practices and the subsequent need for interdisciplinary inquiry and dissemination to change teaching practice” (Thomas et al. 423). Specifically, if we embrace trauma studies as a component of our field, WPAs will be able to add to the scholarship on trauma-informed pedagogies, trauma-informed leadership, trauma-informed organizations, and trauma-informed interventions in higher education. On a program level, trauma training for WPAs will enable program leaders to build professional development for their faculty; lead trauma-informed program initiatives; conduct curriculum mapping for trauma-sensitive matter; and create intersectional, responsible, and culturally sensitive responses. Furthermore, trauma training will enable WPAs to establish healthy boundaries and recognize their own compassion fatigue over the years of serving as a public-facing figure and managing interpersonal landscapes. Knowing how to recognize in ourselves when/how trauma is impacting us will help maintain the collective mental wellness of our WPAs, including an awareness of the signs and symptoms of maladaptive coping through workaholism, dissociation, dysregulation, and flight/flight/freeze responses.

Embracing trauma studies as a component of composition studies, weaving content on trauma into our graduate curricula, and rooting trauma training into our professional associations will have far reaching implications for our WPAs and the programs they lead. Specifically, CWPA is perfectly poised to begin offering training and certification in trauma-informed administration. By hosting intersectional clusters on trauma-informed writing program administration and offering intensive, multi-day trauma training through our pre-conference institute and workshops, our field could add our voices to the interdisciplinarity of trauma studies and specialize in administrative approaches that take into account issues race, gender, class, ability, neurodiversity, age, and more. As we experience COVID-19 as WPAs, it is my hope that we develop the scholarly understanding that is necessary to help our programs, faculty, and students endure. It is also my hope that we acknowledge the presence of trauma that shaped our work long before this pandemic and that will inevitably be present in our programs long after this public health crisis has eased.

Works Cited

Anderson, Charles M. and Marian M. MacCurdy, eds. Writing and Healing; Toward an Informed Practice. National Council of Teachers of English, 2000.

Arnwine, Marshal, Jr. Trauma and Learning: Creating a Culture of Educational Access for Inner City Communities. University of San Francisco Law Review, vol. 53, no. 1, 2019, pp. 77-116.

Balfanz, R., and V. Byrnes. 2012. The Importance of Being in School: A Report on Absenteeism. Education Digest, vol. 78, no. 2, 2012, pp. 4-9.

Bernat, Jeffrey A., et al. Prevalence of Traumatic Events and Peritraumatic Predictors of Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in a Nonclinical Sample of College Students. Journal of Traumatic Stress, vol. 11, no. 4, 1 Jan. 1998, pp. 645-64.

Bloom, Lynn Z. Teaching College English as a Woman. College English, vol. 54, no. 7, 1992, pp. 818-825.

Bolling, Cristina and Shawn Hubler. A Student Dies, and a Campus Gets Serious About Coronavirus. The New York Times. 5 Oct. 2020.

Boyd, Jenna E. et al. Dissociative Symptoms Mediate the Relation Between PTSD Symptoms and Functional Impairment in a Sample of Military Members, Veterans, and First Responders with PTSD. European Journal of Psychtraumatology, vol. 9, no. 1, May 2018, pp. 1-16. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/200008198.2018.1463794.

Carleton, R. Nicholas, et al. A Prospective Assessment of PTSD Symptoms Using Analogue Trauma Training with Nursing Students. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 181-91.

Carello, Janice and Lisa Butler. Practicing What We Teach: Trauma-Informed Educational Practice. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, vol. 35, no. 3, 2015, pp. 2626-278.

Carello, Janice and Lisa Butler. Potentially Perilous Pedagogies: Teaching Trauma Is Not the Same as Trauma-Informed Teaching. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, vol. 15, no. 2, 2014, pp. 153-168.

Carter-Todd, Sheila and Jennifer Sano-Franchini, eds. Introduction: Black Lives Matter and Anti-Racist Projects in Writing Program Administration WPA: Writing Program Administration, vol. 44, no. 3, Summer 2021. Special Issue: Black Lives Matter and Anti-Racist Projects in Writing Program Administration, pp 12-22.

Clinnin, Kaitlin. And So I Respond: The Emotional Labor of Writing Program Administration in Crisis Response. The Things We Carry: Strategies for Recognizing and Negotiating Emotional Labor in Writing Program Administration. Edited by Courtney Adams Wooten, et al. University Press of Colorado and Utah State University Press, 2020, pp. 129-44.

Clinnin, Kaitlin. In the Event of an Emergency: Crisis Management for WPAs. Writing Program Administration, vol. 45, no. 1, Fall 2021, pp. 9-30.

Clinnin, Kaitlin. Strategy Sheet: Strategies for Managing The Emotional Labor of Crisis Response. The Things We Carry: Strategies for Recognizing and Negotiating Emotional Labor in Writing Program Administration. Edited by Courtney Adams Wooten, et al. University Press of Colorado and Utah State University Press, 2020, pp. 301-2.

Cocker, Fiona and Nerida Joss. Compassion Fatigue among Healthcare, Emergency and Community Service Workers: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 13, no. 6, June 2016, p. 618.

Collins, Brittany R. Yes, You Can Do Trauma-Informed Teaching Remotely (and You Really, Really Should). Education Week, April 2020.

Corbera, Esteve, et al. Academia in the Time of COVID-19: Towards and Ethics of Care. Planning Theory and Practice, vol. 21, no 2, 2020, pp. 191-199.

Costello, Kristi Murry and Jacob Babb. Introduction: Emotional Labor, Writing Studies, and Writing Program Administration. The Things We Carry: Strategies for Recognizing and Negotiating Emotional Labor in Writing Program Administration. Edited by Courtney Adams Wooten, et al. University Press of Colorado and Utah State University Press, 2020, pp. 3-18.

Craig, Susan E. Trauma-sensitive Schools: Learning Communities Transforming Children’s Lives, K-5, Teachers College Press, 2016.

Craig, Susan E. Trauma-Sensitive Schools for the Adolescent Years: Promoting Resiliency and Healing, 6-12, Teachers College Press, 2017.

Davila, Bethany and Cristyn L. Elder. Shocked by the Incivility: A Survey of Bullying in the WPA Workplace. Defining, Locating, and Addressing Bullying in the WPA Workplace, Utah State University Press, 2019, pp. 18-33.

Doughty, Kristen. Increasing Trauma-Informed Awareness and Practice in Higher Education. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, vol. 40, no. 1, 2020, p. 66-9.

Dublin, Sonya, et al. Building a Trauma-Informed National Mental Health Workforce: Learning Outcomes from Use of the Core Curriculum on Childhood Trauma in Multidisciplinary Practice Settings. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, Dec. 2019. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1037/tra0000540.

Elder, Cristyn L., and Bethany Davila, editors. Defining, Locating, and Addressing Bullying in the WPA Workplace. Utah State University Press, 2019.

Elhai, Jon D., et al. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in DSM-5: Estimates of Prevalence and Symptom Structure in a Nonclinical Sample of College Students. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, vol 26, no. 1, Jan. 2012, pp. 58-64.

Elhai, Jon D. and Jeffrey Simons. Trauma Exposure and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Predictors of Mental Health Treatment Use in College Students. Psychological Services, vol. 4, no. 1, 01 Feb. 2007, pp. 38-45.

Elliot D. M. and J. N. Briere. Trauma Symptom Checklist - 40 (TSC-40). U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 1992.

Enos, Theresa and Shane Borrowman. The Promise and Perils of Writing Program Administration. Parlor, 2008.

George, Diana. Kitchen Cooks, Plate Twirlers, and troubadours: Writing Program Administrators Tell Their Stories. Boynton/Cook Publishers, 1999.

Grinapol, Shulamit, et al. Prospective Examination of Daily Life Traumatic Stress Symptom Expression Following Motor Vehicle Collisions. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 30 Dec. 2019. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1037/tra0000537.

Harrison, Neil, et al. Risky Teaching; Developing a Trauma-Informed Pedagogy for Higher Education. Teaching in Higher Education. 27 June 2020, pp. 2-15.

Hesse, Doug. The WPA as Father, Husband, Ex. Kitchen Cooks, Plate Twirlers, & Troubadours: Writing Program Administrators Tell Their Stories, edited by Diana George, Boynton/Cook Publishers, 1999, pp. 44-55.

Kubala, Julie. Of Trauma and Triggers: Pedagogy and Affective Circulations in Feminist Classrooms. Feminist Formations, vol. 32, no. 2, 2020, pp. 183-206.

Kynard, Carmen. Administering While Black: Black Women’s Labor in the Academy and the ‘Position of the Unthought.’ Black Perspectives in Writing Program Administration: From the Margins to the Center, edited by Staci M. Perryman-Clark and Collin Lamont Craig, CCCC and NCTE, 2019, pp. 28-50.

Layne C.M., et al. The Core Curriculum on Childhood Trauma: A tool for Preparing a Trauma-Informed Mental Health Workforce. Traumatic Stress Points, vol. 31, 2017, pp 1-8.

Micciche, Laura. Doing Emotion: Rhetoric, Writing, Teaching. Boynton/Cook Publishers, 2007.

Moore, Cindy. Mentoring WPAs for the Long Term: The Promise of Mindfulness. Journal of the Council of Writing Program Administrators, vol 42, no. 1, Fall. 2018, pp. 89-106.

Nagoski, Emily and Amelia Nagoski. Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle. New York: Penguin Random House, 2019.

National Council for Mental Wellbeing. How to Manage Trauma. JPEG file, 2022.

Owens, Kim Hensley. Handling Sexual Assault Reports as a WPA. The Things We Carry: Strategies for Recognizing and Negotiating Emotional Labor in Writing Program Administration. Edited by Courtney Adams Wooten, et al. University Press of Colorado and Utah State University Press, 2020, pp. 115-28.

Payne, Michelle. A Strange Unaccountable Something: Historicizing Sexual Abuse Essays. Writing and Healing: Toward an Informed Practice, edited by Charles Anderson and Marian MacCurdy, NCTE, 2000, pp.115-157.

Perryman-Clark, Staci and Collin Lamont Craig, eds. Black Perspectives in Writing Program Administration: From the Margins to the Center. National Council of Teachers of English, 2019.

Porche, Michelle V., et al. Childhood Trauma and Psychiatric Disorders as Correlates of School Dropout in a National Sample of Young Adults. Child Development, vol. 82 no. 3, May 2011, pp. 982-98.

Rich, Adrienne. On Lies, Secrets, and Silence. New York: W. W. Norton, 1979.

Silver, Kristin et al. Trauma and Health Symptoms in a Community Sample: Examining the Influences of Gender and Daily Stress. The American Journal of Family Therapy, vol. 46, no. 2. Mar/Apr 2018, pp. 153-167.

Silverstein, Madison W., et al. Functional Impairment: The Role of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms, Negative Mood Regulation, and Interpersonal Problems. Traumatology, vol. 25, no. 1, Mar. 2019, pp. 51-7.

Sundborg, Stephanie. Knowledge, Principal Support, Self-Efficacy, and Beliefs Predict Commitment to Trauma-Informed Care. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, vol. 11, no. 2, Feb. 2019, pp. 224-231.

Thomas, M. Shelley, et al. Trauma-Informed Practices in Schools Across Two Decades: An Interdisciplinary Review of Research. Review of Research in Education, vol. 43, 2019. pp. 422-52.

Tolin, David F. and Edna B. Foa. Gender and PTSD: A cognitive model. Gender and PTSD. Edited by R. Kimerling, et al. The Guilford Press, 2002, pp. 76-97.

United States Department of Health and Human Services. SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach. Oct. 2014. PDF.

University at Buffalo. Trauma-Informed Organization Certificate Program. University at Buffalo School of Social Work Continuing Education,

Wenger, Christy. Navigating WPA Emotional Labor with Mindfulness: Practical Strategies for Well-Being. The Things We Carry: Strategies for Recognizing and Negotiating Emotional Labor in Writing Program Administration. Edited by Courtney Adams Wooten, et al. University Press of Colorado and Utah State University Press, 2020, pp. 251-269.

Wooten, Courtney Adams, et al. editors. The Things We Carry: Strategies for Recognizing and Negotiating Emotional Labor in Writing Program Administration. University Press of Colorado and Utah State University Press, 2020.

Wright State University. Trauma-Informed Counseling Certificate Wright State University Academic Catalog,

Return to Composition Forum 50 table of contents.