March 13, 2013 – University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Writing Center Work—All of It

Conversations in the writing center—during peer tutoring sessions, staff meetings, informal occasions, WCenter threads—present open, dialogic opportunities for what participants can accomplish together, how they exercise their identities, and where they choose to engage in risky thinking and risky speech. Likewise, the unconference model that serves as the foundation for the IWCA Collaborative @ CCCC opens a flexible space for innovation as it eschews traditional conference presentation formats. In many ways, Las Vegas, with its super-sized menu of entertainment options, hotel properties, and 24-hour casinos seems a fitting place to celebrate the Collaborative’s unconference spirit.

The co-authors of The Everyday Writing Center: A Community of Practice encourage risk-taking behavior as they describe a “high-risk, high-yield approach to writing center pedagogy…and [writing center] leadership roles” (117). Anne Geller, Michele Eodice, Frankie Condon, Meg Carroll, and Elizabeth H. Boquet assert that intellectual risk-taking expresses the writing center community’s values of curiosity and wonderment, particularly when intellectual risk-taking embeds itself in reflective practice.

We invite proposers for the 2013 IWCA Collaborative @ CCCC to consider broadly their “Writing Center Work—All of It,” and we trust that participants’ curiosity, creativity, and commitment to writing center work will lead to provocative and interactive Collaborative sessions that are high-risk, high-yield in both their content and their format.

Session Formats

For this year’s IWCA Collaborative @ CCCC,  we will continue to experiment with a growing trend in regional writing center association conferences inspired by the “unconference” model in other fields and industries. While more traditional formats, such as roundtable sessions, are available, traditional conference papers and panel presentations will not be included. Instead, proposals that explore new modes of collaborating and making meaning will be given priority in the review and selection process, including:

  • Laboratories: Facilitators use the session time with the participants to conduct an experiment or test a hypotheses (e.g. administer and discuss a survey, have participants be guinea pigs in an activity you plan to use with your staff, etc.) (75 minutes)
  • Collaborative writing circles: Facilitators guide participants in a group writing activity intended to collaboratively produce a document or materials (e.g. mission statements, petitions, position statements, letters to the administration, etc.) (75 minutes)
  • Workshops: Facilitators lead participants in a hands-on activity (rather than presenting a paper or power point) to teach tangible skills related to writing center work and activism (e.g. how to advocate for resources, facilitate intergroup dialogue among staff, or speak confidently at a faculty meeting, etc.) (75 minutes)
  • Roundtable Sessions: Facilitators lead discussion of a specific issue related to writing center praxis and activism; this format might include short remarks from between 2-4 presenters followed by active and substantive engagement/collaboration with attendees prompted by guiding questions. (75 minutes)
  • Fishbowl Conversations: Facilitators initiate a large-group discussion then rotate off the panel to allow other attendees to join in and contribute to the discussion. (75 minutes)
  • Round Robin Discussions: Facilitators introduce a topic or theme (e.g., racial justice in the writing center) and organize participants into smaller break-out groups to continue the conversation. In the spirit of “round robin” tournaments, participants will change groups after 20-30 minutes to extend and expand their conversations. After at least two rounds of conversation, facilitators will reconvene the full group for a concluding discussion. (75 minutes)
  • Works-in-Progress Workshops: In facilitated small-group workshops, participants present in-progress research or assessment projects and receive feedback from colleagues in attendance in response to questions posed by the researcher. The proposer should include a set of questions in the proposal, and the questions should help the participants provide useful feedback to the writer/researcher. Each participant will have 5 minutes to present his/her project and 25 minutes to receive feedback and discuss it. (75 minutes)
  • Other new and engaging models! Have a format in mind that we haven’t included? Propose it (and be sure to include a description and rationale)!



Proposal Process

This year’s chairs, Kristen Garrison (Midwestern State University) and Nicole Kraemer Munday (Salisbury University), and a committee of reviewers will select proposals based on their relevance to the theme, their contribution to writing center work, and their articulated plan for participation and collaboration with attendees. This is a competitive process; not all proposals will be accepted. Submissions should be no longer than 500 words, and they should include:

  1. Presenter contact information: Please include name, title, institutional affiliation, phone number, and email address of all presenters, specifying a primary contact.
  2. Format of session: Specify session type (laboratory, collaborative writing circle, roundtable, etc.) from the above list or name a new model.
  3. Session title
  4. Abstract of session: 70-100 words for inclusion in the program, if accepted.
  5. Description of session (proposal): Please include a) a description of the session topic and its importance and anticipated appeal to participants;  b) each presenter’s anticipated contribution; and c) detailed information on how presenters plan to allocate time during their 75-minute session. Proposals for the Works-in-Progress Workshop should describe the nature of the project, methodologies used, anticipated stage of completion by the conference date, and types of feedback (specific questions) desired.
  6. Rationale of session format: Please include a brief description and rationale for the interactive nature of your session. Identifying the activity, specific questions to prompt discussion, or breakdown of time spent with facilitator remarks versus group discussion/activity will be useful. Please note: no proposals for traditional presentation formats (i.e. papers, power point speeches, or panel presentations) will be accepted.
  7. Audio/visual needs: Each room will have a portable projector and screen but no sound systems; presenters will need to bring laptops and cords.

Email proposals (WORD DOC) by November 12, 2012 November 19, 2012 (extended deadline) to Proposers will be informed of their program status by mid-December. As you prepare your proposals, we encourage you to contact the chairs with any questions or concerns you may have.

IWCA @ CCCC Collaborative Overview

The all-day IWCA Collaborative @ CCCC is an independent, annual IWCA event and will not appear on the CCCC program. The Collaborative @ CCCC focuses on providing an interactive, informal, and invigorating day for all comers. As of 2010, IWCA hosts an annual Collaborative @ CCCC and fall IWCA conferences in even-numbered years. The schedule reflects IWCA’s effort to respond to difficult financial circumstances, to reduce conflicts between spring IWCA conferences and CCCC, to strengthen writing center presence in conjunction with CCCC, and to encourage strong participation in regional conferences.

This year the event will take place from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Student Union of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). The UNLV campus is about three miles from the CCCC’s conference hotel, and bus transportation will be provided between the Riviera (CCCC’s conference hotel) and UNLV’s Student Union. The day will be well worth the registration fee, which will include beverages, lunch, an evening reception, as well as bus transportation. Registration information will be posted on the IWCA website as it becomes available. We look forward to joining you for a great day in Las Vegas!