Write It Out THE 2022 WRITING INNOVATION SYMPOSIUM February 3-4 • Marquette University • Milwaukee, WI •

deadline for submissions: 
October 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Lara Karpenko, Carroll University
contact email: 

Write It Out


February 3-4 • Marquette University • Milwaukee, WI • Proposals due 10/15

Sponsored by Marquette’s Social Innovation Initiative, University Libraries, Center for Teaching and Learning, and Haggerty Museum of Art with Mount Mary University and Bedford/St. Martin’s


Writing is a practice that can be used to enable, enact, and invite change in productive, transformative ways. The 2022 symposium theme, “write it out,” acknowledges—and celebrates—the many ways we use writing to remember, acknowledge, and heal. It also embraces the ways we use writing to gain clarity, assuredness, and control in the face of uncertainty or adversity. When we write something out, we figure out whether we really understand what we think and whether there are problems with our arguments. Writing it out can also help us imagine how our ideas might sound to diverse audiences. 

Ultimately, writing it out helps us “ride it out,” whatever it may be. We write out our most personal challenges, and we write out collectively in response to shared struggles: the COVID-19 pandemic, white supremacy, climate crisis, global challenges to democracy, the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and more. 

For the 4th annual Writing Innovation Symposium, we invite writers and writing educators to share their strategies for writing it out. We also invite colleagues to share related research questions, teaching tools, and other resources that demonstrate how writing helps us acknowledge the past and survive the present while looking ahead to the future. 

Propose a Contribution (due 10/15)

As writers, teachers and students, we never “write it out” entirely alone. Whether we write collaboratively, in close proximity, or #AloneTogether, we have each other. In keeping with—and complicating—this year’s theme, “Write It Out,” symposium organizers seek presentations that engage with or respond to current conversations about anti-racist praxes and pedagogies; crisis and trauma-informed teaching; or writing in relation to global historic events. In all, we invite work that showcases some of the ways we have been “writing out” the challenges of the last year and a half, whether writing helped us get through, rise above, escape from, or protest these challenges. We welcome work that shows how writing can either reinscribe or challenge the status quo (e.g., the way things were), and we encourage work that critically engages our “unprecedented times.” We ask contributors to prioritize participant access and accessibility, anti-racist pedagogies, and inclusivity. We especially encourage undergraduate researchers and colleagues with projects in progress or development to share their work.

We invite writing educators of all ranks, areas of expertise, and campus roles to propose a presentation, workshop, poster, or display focused on exemplary curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular efforts, such as assignments that encourage students to use writing and campus resources in creative ways, course designs that involve an innovative partnership with campus and/or local colleagues, and writing-intensive projects that transform extracurricular activities. Colleagues whose proposals are accepted should be prepared to discuss their materials with small groups, providing accessible materials including a single Powerpoint slide (templates will be provided).

Presentation types:

We welcome proposals for

  • Individual presentations: 5- to 15-minute solo or collaborative presentations focusing on teaching/writing/reading innovations for “writing/riding it out.”

  • Themed panels: 75-minute collaborative presentations that connect related innovations/conversations to an overarching theme and that leave time for discussion.

  • Workshops: 75-minute interactive, hands-on sessions designed to inspire innovative curricular, co-curricular, or extra-curricular instruction. Each workshop should focus on purpose-driven, guided co-work (e.g., learning, playing, creating, problem-solving). 

  • Posters, displays, and performances that showcase innovative approaches to writing it out within or beyond educational settings. Both digital and analog contributions are welcome, including posters, audio and audiovisual displays, artwork, and artifact-based installations. We also invite proposals for interactive demonstrations and live performances.


Proposals of 200-400 words should include the following information:

  • Title

  • The type of contribution proposed (i.e. individual, panel, workshop, poster etc).

  • An overview of the purpose and goals of the contribution.

  • A statement connecting the contribution with the symposium theme.

  • A statement which considers how the contribution will be made accessible.

  • For workshop proposals: Indicate one of two target audiences: either (a) a general audience, inclusive of undergraduates as well as graduate students, faculty, and staff or (b) early-career college writing teachers, including graduate teaching assistants. Also include a clear discussion of workshop activities and related timeframe. Please send questions to Sara Heaser at sheaser@uwlax.edu.

  • For poster/displays and or performance proposals: a description of project materials and equipment. Please note that contributors should be prepared to bring many of their own materials and equipment. But the Digital Scholarship Lab can facilitate a Microsoft Surface Hub, projector and screen, movable whiteboards, multitouch table, moveable tables and chairs, group study rooms, recording booth, laptops, and digital cameras.  Please send questions to Maxwell Gray at maxwell.gray@marquette.edu.


To submit a proposal before the deadline, which is 10/15, visit: 



If you have questions about the proposal process or the symposium itself, contact Jenn Fishman (jennfishman.phd@gmail.com) and Lara Karpenko (lkarpenk@carrollu.edu). 

The proposal deadline is Friday, October 15th. 

Additional Details

We most sincerely hope that Write it Out will convene in person at Marquette University, where proof of fully vaccinated or medically exempt status will be required along with adherence to all campus health and safety protocols (e.g., masking, social distancing). 

Historically, event registration has included breakfast and lunch both days and cost $100 for full-time faculty and staff and $25 for graduate students as well as adjunct and emerita or emeritus faculty; one-day passes have also been available at a reduced rate. Previously, there has also been a block of rooms reserved at a local hotel, where rates have been $109-$125 plus tax. We do not anticipate significant changes. 

Symposium Leadership


The first Writing Innovation Symposium was held in 2019, founded by Jenn Fishman, Elizabeth Gibes, and Kelsey Otero. Following the first symposium, the WIS has been led by a cross-institutional Steering Committee, whose membership is reconstituted annually. The 2021-22 Steering Committee includes: 


Jenna Green Azab, Visiting Assistant Professor of English (Marquette U)

Tara Baillargeon, Assistant Dean for Digital Scholarship and Department Head, Research and Instructional Services (Marquette U)

Lilly Campbell, Assistant Professor of English and Director of Foundations Instruction (Marquette U)

Virginia Crank, Professor of English (U of Wisconsin-La Crosse)

Jackielee Derks, Doctoral Candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant in English (Marquette U)

Jenn Fishman, Associate Professor of English and Co-Director, Ott Memorial Writing Center (Marquette U)

Max Gray, Digital Scholarship Librarian (Marquette U)

Sara Heaser, Instructor of English (U of Wisconsin-La Crosse)

Lara Karpenko, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Carroll University Center for the Humanities  (Carroll U)

Jennifer Kontny, Assistant Professor of English and Director of Composition (Mount Mary U)

Kat O’Meara, Assistant Professor of English and Director of Writing Across the Curriculum (St. Norbert College)

Kelsey Otero, Associate Director of Social Innovation (Marquette U)

Patrick Thomas, Associate Professor of English and Director of Undergraduate Studies (U of Dayton)

Darci Thoune, Professor of English and First-Year Writing Program Coordinator (U of Wisconsin-La Crosse),

Shevaun Watson, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Writing Program (U of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)