Announcing the first WCSA Advisory! The Advisory was created to support the Association in keeping with its values. In January 2023, the first team was appointed: Claude Taylor, Renny Christopher, Barbara Jensen, Lita Kurth, and Elaine Laberge. The term runs for one year, from January-December. They are non-voting members who meet independently, participate in Executive Council meetings, and advise on WCSA’s past practices and future. In fall 2023, Claude Taylor and Barbara Jensen stepped down from the Advisory as they were elected to At-Large positions on the Executive Council.
Renny Christopher is Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at Washington State University Vancouver. A Carpenter’s Daughter: A Working-Class Woman in Higher Education (Sense Publishers, 2009), addresses xyr experiences as the first in xyr family to attend college. Before earning a doctorate, Christopher worked as a printing press operator, typesetter, carpenter and horse wrangler.
Lita Kurth grew up in northern rural poverty in the US with nine siblings. She went on to earn a B.A. (University of Wisconsin), M.A.+ all coursework for Ph.D. (UC Berkeley), M.A. (San Francisco State), and an MFA (Rainier Writers Workshop). She is a lecturer at De Anza College in Cupertino, California where she teaches Creative Writing and also teaches private creative writing workshops through CreatorSchoolCA and galleries.
She has presented at WCSA conferences since the one in Pittsburgh (2009) and served on the Outreach committee for several years. She has published in three genres: fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry and has had work nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net prizes. She won the Diana Woods prize for “This is the Way We Wash the Clothes” (Lunchticket) and has received several creative writing fellowships. She is interested in practically everything working class.
Elaine J Laberge (PhD) is a sociologist who focuses on poverty discrimination and classism in Canadian universities and more broadly in Canadian society. Her research focuses on “poverty-class” students and demonstrates how universities can support this oft-overlooked demographic from the grassroots to structural level change.
She is the founder of ShoestringInitiative.com which is the first-of-its-kind grassroots movement to support students from poverty in higher education. Elaine is a professional graphic designer who is known for her engaging knowledge mobilization and translation communication strategies and designs. She is a poet and aspiring playwright and documentary filmmaker.