Some Context & Framing
The Comp/Rhet Money Map follows a tradition of what Tim Lockridge calls small, meaningful projects in digital composition and is inspired by other similar small, meaningful projects like Jim Ridolfo's rhetmap, Tim Lockridge's rhetorlist, and the Writing Studies Tree. In addition, we see this project as enacting what Patrick Sullivan, Darin Jensen, and Christie Toth call a teacher-scholar-activist ethos, in which we attempt to make our academic work "matter in our communities" and "hold up our democratic and humane values." Finally, we share all collected data openly in several formats, as we advocate for data transparency and open source research.
Beyond collecting this information for informative and advocacy purposes, we hope this project will encourage others to imagine and compose their own small, meaningful digital projects. While projects like this do not often count for any kind of publication metric, we believe that these projects are both vital to the work we do as writing studies and digital composition scholars, but more importantly as advocates and activists (which includes local contexts but also larger frames/networks of higher education and academia).
This project is co-created by Logan Clem and Will Chesher. Will Chesher is a current doctoral candidate in the English: Composition and Rhetoric PhD Program at Miami University, and Logan Clem was formerly at Miami but now works as a technical writer. They both have been interested in and have researched graduate labor and graduate compensation in writing studies adjacent programs.
For Logan, this is a continuation of research he has done on graduate labor and compensation, particularly in thinking through the uncompensated labor graduate students in administrative roles take on above and beyond their scheduled contracts.
For Will, this started in his master's program when he realized the semester fees advertised did not match up with reality–which eventually led to data collection of the financial status of grad students in his department (spoiler alert: things were not great).
While Logan was doing research on compensation and graduate labor in 2023, he asked Will if he'd like to partner up to complete this project. The first iteration of the project just included doctoral programs, but now over a year later, this second iteration includes master's programs!
Future Possibilities & Directions
We recognize that programs are diverse and we also recognize that the labor that supports writing programs is not just done by PhD students in writing studies and includes adjunct instructors, MA & PhD students in Literature, and MFA creative writers. We knew we needed to start somewhere, but also know there is more to do. Therefore, we are making plans to expand this list in the future to consider topics like (but not constrained to):
1) Cost of Living (in beta),
2) Non-advertised costs of participating in academic life (conferences, text books, joining professional associations, etc.), and
3) Health care costs not covered by university insurance .
If you have other suggestions for improving or expanding this survey, please email us at email@example.com.