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CFP and Proposal

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Research, Assessment, and Inter-campus Collaboration


January 13-14

Please submit proposals by September 15


The upcoming meeting at Swarthmore will mark the 10th anniversary of SLAC-WPA. Back when we created the consortium, the goal was to get together a group of writing professionals from SLACs to discuss our shared practices and to build a network of support for current challenges. Our work together began as a set of narratives around our individual campuses and programs, and over the past ten years these narratives have formed a collective. We have explored questions around assessment, faculty development, information literacy and diversely-prepared learners; and we have learned from each other through the annual Speedshare and the recently added Artifacts from our Practices. As we move into the next decade of the organization, we want to think about how we can use the collective to answer our shared questions and to inform national conversations around the teaching of writing at post-secondary institutions.

This year, our conference will focus on research and assessment initiatives that foster collaborations between and among campuses. We are interested in reflecting on prior and existing collaborations between SLACs, and with other campuses, and in conceiving of new possibilities for collaboration. We will use our time together to create spaces to share our individual questions with the goal of finding overlap and the potential for future collaboration.

Examples of questions or topics we might explore:

  • How are SLACs uniquely positioned to conduct writing research and assessment?
  • How can our research projects speak to programs beyond SLACs?
  • How can we create larger data sets by pooling data from multiple campuses?
  • How might we enhance or extend traditional notions of scholarship?
  • How can we more effectively call upon one another in designing and executing writing assessments?
  • What do the products of inter-campus collaborations look like?
  • How might inter-campus collaborations involve community or public partnerships?
  • How might WPAs secure funding to support these collaborations?
  • How can we speak to upper administration about the value and potential of these collaborations?
  • What are the publishing possibilities for work of this kind?

Continuing SLAC-WPA’s tradition of discussion that engages as many participants as possible, we offer several ways to participate in the conference: by bringing an Artifact from our Practice to share and discuss, as a Roundtable participant, or as a Speedsharer.

Artifacts from our Practice

Last year we added a session where we asked participants to bring an artifact from their practice: syllabi and annual reports. The feedback from the session was overwhelmingly positive, but there was a call for a little more structure. Related to this year’s conference theme, we invite participants to bring a survey from your practice or a research proposal. For example, it could be the survey you give visitors to the writing center, a faculty survey on WAC, or a survey related to a current research question. Research proposals could include proposals for small or large scale research undertakings, for internal or external support. When you register for the conference we will ask you what type of artifact you plan to bring. For this CFP we are seeking individuals who would like to help facilitate the session. If so, let us know the following:

  • What type of artifact do you feel most comfortable discussing?
  • What are your goals for this session?
  • What role do you see yourself taking in this session?

Roundtables on research methods

Roundtable participants will each share 5-7 minutes of information around a research method they have previously employed, or are currently using, in research or assessment. They will then engage fellow roundtable participants and audience members in an open conversation about the pros and cons of the methodology. The goal of these roundtables is to gain a better understanding of the affordances of a particular research method and to interrogate its potential uses. Roundtable participants might address any of the following questions (or others):

  • Why employ surveys, focus groups, interviews, archival research, longitudinal studies, or other methods of data collection?
  • What is the goal for using a particular set of research tools? What data are/were you hoping to gather?
  • What are the challenges with a particular research tool?
  • What questions needed to be addressed as you employed a particular tool?
  • How do we analyze the data we collect?

The conference committee will group proposals into roundtables.

Roundtables on inter-campus collaborations

Roundtable participants will each share 5-7 minutes of information about their own past or current collaborations, and then engage their fellow roundtable participants and audience members in an open conversation about how to get new collaborations off the ground. With the aim of helping others conceive of, develop, or execute collaborations of their own, roundtable participants might address any of the following questions (or others):

  • What do you perceive as the benefits of collaboration with colleagues from other campuses?
  • How did you connect with potential collaborators at other institutions?
  • How did you secure funding for collaborations?
  • What were the logistics of your collaboration?
  • How did you involve students in these projects?
  • What do you wish you’d known before you started?
  • What was the best advice you received?
  • How did you identify an audience for your work?
  • What research and assessment questions are ripe for future collaboration?

The conference committee will group proposals into roundtables.


Speedsharers propose a specific topic related to our work as WPAs, but not necessarily related to the conference theme. Speedsharers will begin their session with a short (5 minute) presentation and then facilitate a small-group discussion (10 minutes). Conference participants will rotate through several fifteen-minute mini-sessions during the speedsharing timeslot.

Submitting Your Proposal

By September 15, 2016, please submit a 250-word proposal describing the role you prefer: Roundtable, Speedsharer, and/or Artifacts from our Practice, and what you hope your fellow SLAC-WPA members will gain from your participation. Please submit your proposal by completing this electronic form

Questions about proposals should be sent to Alba Newmann Holmes via email