CFP: Converging at the Vanishing Point (ECWCA Apr 8-10, 2010)

full name / name of organization: 
East Central Writing Center Association
contact email: 

Writing centers are at an interesting time in our history. During the past two decades, many of us—in four-year and two-year institutions, and even secondary schools—have moved from the margins to the center as we become more professionalized, better funded and more physically visible in well-designed spaces. In essence, we have converged with larger institutional structures and missions.
• What have we gained from this convergence? And what price do we pay?
• When we give up being marginalized, do we sacrifice independence?
• Do we risk giving up important parts of our identity—or vanishing altogether?
• What aspects of your writing center are in danger of vanishing? What aspects would you like to see vanish? How or why?
• Where do we need to seek greater convergence? Where do we need to avoid it?

The metaphor of converging at a vanishing point has significance in many disciplines. In graphic design or photography, one pictures a road where parallel lines appear to converge at a "vanishing point" in the distance. In physics, in a curved space like a globe, lines can be parallel and still converge at the poles. Within writing centers, writing from a variety of disciplines converges, programming from various areas of the institution converges, technologies and composing converge, teaching and learning converge, and research/assessment and pedagogy converge. All of the factors that enhance student learning converge within the writing center. Writing Centers provide a medium for bringing the disciplines together.
• In what ways has your writing center converged with other disciplines? Other fields of thought? Other practices? What have you lost or gained in such convergences?
• What technologies have helped and/or hindered these convergences?
• How have directors converged with their staff? With their administrators or faculty? With the community?
• How have your staff converged with each other? With the faculty? With the community?
• In what ways do graduate students and undergraduates converge or diverge in your writing center?
• How do various disciplines or fields converge in your center? How does this affect the work of your center? Your tutor recruitment? Client recruitment?
• How has tutor training converged with other programs? Disciplines? Partners?
• What have you done to facilitate or support changing roles in the center due to such convergences or divergences?
• What research has been inspired by these convergences?

Though universities and community colleges appear to run in parallel tracks, in many ways they converge as students dual-enroll or transfer, faculty cross-teach, and even writing center staff are shared or move on from community college writing centers to work in university writing centers (or vice versa).

• In what ways has your writing center converged with other schools or centers in the area?
• How have you converged with members of the community?
• How have you converged with state, regional, national, international groups or associations?
• How have these convergences altered the work of your center?

Session Formats
We will be accepting proposals for a variety of different formats or presentation styles. We expect all sessions to be interactive and invite audience feedback and/or participation.

Presentations: Single presentations will be 15-20 minutes in length. If you submit your proposal alone you will be placed with like presentations for a session.

Panels: Consist of 3-4 presenters who are coordinating their presentations around a central theme. Each presentation will be 15-20 minutes in length.

Roundtables: Roundtables are talks designed around a specific theme and are often highly audience interactive. Several speakers will address a central question from a variety of angles, and then open the question to the audience and answer audience questions.

Workshops: These sessions are designed to be fully interactive with the audience and facilitate the audience in gaining material, hands-on knowledge around the given topic.

Posters: These presentations are designed to be stand alone posters which are informative and meant to be viewed at any time during the conference. There will also be a dedicated time and space for the authors of the posters to answer questions and interact with conference goers about their topics.

Performance: Alternative depictions of research using music, art, dance, film, or other media.

Submitting Proposals

Deadline for submission: October 31, 2009.
Online submission form coming soon.