Call for Proposals

Engaging Multiple Perspectives in and about Writing Program Administration
CWPA 2016 Call for Proposals
Raleigh, North Carolina
July 14-17, 2016


Recent calls for proposals in our journals and professional conferences in rhetoric and composition have highlighted the growing need to pay attention to a wider range of perspectives in our work. Professional organizations, conferences, writing programs, and writing courses have not always been welcoming and relevant to many who have also found their work, perspectives, and histories excluded from scholarly conversations.

Our work as writing program administrators is, and should be, impacted by the multiplicities of who we are and by the subjectivities of our students, colleagues, and staff. Therefore, we need a broad range of voices at the table when we make decisions about our curricula and assessment practices, our programs, and our profession. The field, as well as individual programs and classrooms, needs to encourage an environment that respects the necessity of a variety of perspectives that are both present and absent.

The annual conference gives us a space to invite multiple perspectives and to learn from each other. At our 2016 conference in Raleigh, North Carolina–a space of recent political tension, local activism, and persistent racial inequality–I ask that we examine through a critical lens who has been included in and excluded from conversations about writing programs and how we can encourage a broader dialogue. The following questions offer suggestions for topics you might address, but please do not feel limited by them:

  • What concerns should writing programs be engaged in addressing at this moment?
  • What does it mean to be a WPA?
  • Who identifies as a writing program administrator? Why might people choose to identify (or not to identify) with this professional community?
  • What does it mean to “belong” to this community of writing program administrators?
  • Where does WPA work occur? What are the locations of writing program administration?
  • What are the frames/lenses/terms that can help us examine our work in important ways? For example, would the frames of intersectionality, assemblage, belonging, inclusion, and/or diversity help us rethink assumptions about WPA work?
  • Who have we included, and who have we excluded, in the scholarship we have conducted, the policies we have enacted, and the statements we have made?
  • How has writing program administration research excluded investigations of (dis)ability, race, sexual orientation, culture, and other important social dimensions that construct difference in our world?
  • What proactive, real actions can WPAs take–or have you taken–in writing courses, programs, and/or the profession so that we invite a range of voices and perspectives to the table, especially those who critically challenge current directions?
  • How can we effectively mentor and provide relevant professional development and support to a range of students, faculty, staff, and WPAs?
  • What are the shifting demographics at our institutions, and how should writing programs respond to those changes?
  • What curricular designs and assessment models are most inclusive of a range of abilities, orientations, and perspectives? What can we learn about our current curricular and assessment assumptions? What work in other disciplines might inform the work of WPAs?
  • What is the status of working conditions in writing programs on our campuses, and how can we work to improve those conditions for all instructors?
  • What proactive steps can we take to include the perspectives, needs, and goals of writing teachers from a range of ranks and positions (e.g., graduate student, non-tenure-track, staff, tenure-track) in decision-making and planning?
  • What outreach, activism, and advocacy work could writing programs engage in?

CWPA is eager to welcome those who participate in “writing program administration” writ large. This could include work with: writing centers; multiple sections or instructors of writing courses; professional and technical writing programs; community writing programs; ESL writing programs; WAC and WID programs; course and program assessment; or any other work that is related to writing instruction or program direction.


There are three parts to the annual conference that you might participate in:

  • The pre-conference workshop for writing program administrators (July 10-13) with workshop leaders Sheila Carter-Tod, Heidi Estrem, Peggy O’Neill, and Chuck Paine. We will offer two workshops this year to accommodate more participants.
  • The pre-conference institutes (July 14). New this year: instead of pre-determining the three institutes we will offer, we invite proposals for full-day institutes on topics of relevance for WPAs. See proposal information below.
  • Conference (July 14-17): we invite proposals for full panels, individual presentations, and interactive workshops as part of the conference schedule. See proposal information below.


You can propose up to two speaking roles, whether an institute and a conference presentation or two conference presentations.

A. Conference Presentations

15-minute individual presentations
Presenters may submit individual paper or presentation proposals; these will be combined into panels/sessions of three or four speakers on the program.

Full session panel of multiple presentations
These may take any form you choose. Two popular formats have been:

Conversation Starters: panels in which a number of speakers give six-minute presentations on a particular topic and then open the floor to a conversation about that topic. Proposals should address (a) the question/topic you want to address or point you want to make; (b) the exigency for your question—why is this important/significant for WPAs? (c) the issues you’d like participants to take up in conversation. Plan to allow at least 30-45 minutes for conversation among the participants.

Panel Sessions: These would consist of three or four 15-minute individual presentations connected by a particular theme. Plan to allow at least 15-20 minutes for questions and discussion.

If you are proposing a full session panel, please clearly indicate in the proposal description which of the above categories your proposal falls into; if you are doing something different, please explain that, too.

Interactive workshop
A full session (75-minute) workshop designed to address a particular issue of relevance to WPAs. Workshops might address how to revise one’s work for publication, how to put together a promotion and tenure dossier, how to prepare for a program review, how to lead as a new WPA, and so on.

B. Pre-Conference Institutes (Thursday)
New this year! In the spirit of welcoming a range of voices and perspectives, we invite proposals for full-day pre-conference institutes. We will offer three institutes on the program. Institutes are interactive and practical spaces for WPAs to learn about topics such as program assessment, preparing for the job market, conducting administrative research, working with various student populations, writing grant proposals, writing as a WPA, leading effective professional development activities in a writing program (to name a few). Independent of how many co-leaders participate in the institute, institutes chosen for the program will be given:

  • two free registrations for the conference (for two of the leaders)
  • a $1000 honorarium (to be divided among the leaders)
  • two rooms at the conference hotel for Wednesday night
  • $60 toward a planning meal on Wednesday night


At the 2016 CWPA conference, we will feature three strands of sessions, and you can indicate your desire to be featured in one of the strands in your proposal:

A. Mentoring Strand Sessions
A strand of sessions at the 2016 conference in Raleigh will again be devoted to professional development and mentoring issues. If you are submitting a proposal in any format to talk about mentoring (broadly defined), please indicate so in the proposal; it will be directed to Joe Janangelo, chair of the CWPA Mentoring Project, for review. Also feel encouraged to email to let him know that you have submitted a proposal intended for the mentoring strand. For more details, please visit the CWPA Mentoring Project on the CWPA website.

B. People of Color Caucus Sessions
CWPA’s People of Color Caucus will offer a strand of sessions at the 2016 conference devoted to issues of racial and ethnic diversity in writing program administration related to scholars, teachers, students, and administrators of color. If you are submitting a proposal in any format that relates to issues appropriate for this strand, please indicate so in the proposal; it will be directed to Genevieve Garcia de Mueller, chair of the CWPA POC Caucus, for review. Also feel encouraged to email to let her know that you have submitted a proposal intended for the POC Caucus strand.

C. Two-Year College Caucus Sessions
CWPA’s Two-Year College Caucus will offer a strand of sessions at the 2016 conference devoted to topics related to, involving, and discussing the contexts of two-year colleges. If you are submitting a proposal in any format that relates to issues appropriate for this strand, please indicate so in the proposal; it will be directed to Daniel Cleary, chair of the CWPA Two-Year College Caucus, for review. Also feel encouraged to email to let him know that you have submitted a proposal intended for the Two-Year College Caucus strand.


We will begin to receive submissions for the 2016 conference on November 15, 2015. Visit at that time to submit a proposal.


  • January 1, 2016: final deadline for Institute Proposals; expedited review deadline for Conference Proposals
  • March 1, 2016: final deadline for Conference Proposals


For local Raleigh, NC questions email: Jessie Moore (

For CWPA proposal questions email: Susan Miller-Cochran ( or Anushka Peres (