Pedagogy, Practice, and Philosophy 2024 – Risk-Taking in the Composition Classroom

deadline for submissions: 
November 30, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
University of Florida's University Writing Program
contact email: 

“We learn when we take risks. We learn when we do something we have not done before…otherwise we are not learning.” – Dr. David Docterman, “Developing Academic Mindsets for Literacy,” 2016.

The University of Florida’s Writing Program invites proposals for our annual Conference on Pedagogy, Practice and Philosophy. This year, we will examine the role of risk-taking in the classroom. As Dr. Docterman emphasizes in his quote, taking risks in the classroom facilitates learning, and yet, risk-taking in the classroom can often be, well…risky. Taking risks in the classroom can lead to failures as well as successes, which means the pedagogy of risk-taking is a worthwhile study to improve our experiments in the classroom. This conference is designed as a practicum for writing instructors to exchange ideas and learn from one another in a similar collaborative spirit. We particularly encourage graduate students to apply, as well as writing studio personnel, Postdocs, and junior faculty. 

Risk taking in the classroom means examining what is commonplace—the established pedagogical practices—and then analyzing the impacts of something different, new, or unusual to facilitate the learning of writing. The advent of AI composition software and new government mandates on higher education may challenge what is commonplace in our classrooms and therefore challenge concepts of “risk taking.” Risk-taking may mean preserving what we know to be sound pedagogy, while weighing the pros and cons of what’s new.

To this end, we seek submissions that explore the ethics, strategies, and outcomes of risk-taking: what new, different, or unusual skills, talents, interests, or approaches to writing have you incorporated into your classrooms?  How can writing studio personnel manage risk taking in student writing? What are some best practices for risk-taking in the composition classroom or writing studio? What can we learn when risk-taking goes awry? How can we encourage or incentivize students to take risks in their writing? Can some instructors or students afford to take risks more than others? How does AI pose an opportunity for risk-taking in the classroom? Are there any drawbacks to risk-taking?

Conference participants are asked to reflect upon the study, practice, and philosophy of teaching writing in universities, and to reconsider current educational trends about learning, engagement, comprehension, and skills-development. In addition, we ask scholars to reflect on writing methods and environments that occur outside of classrooms and to discuss how diverse modes of writing influence classroom learning. Finally, the goal of this conference is to create a network for sharing effective, inclusive, innovative, and creative approaches to composition pedagogy. 

Conference Format 

This conference will be held in-person, but remote sessions will be made available for out-of-state participants. Our goals are to extend conversation across sessions and to encourage the active exchange of ideas. While traditional conference papers are accepted, we invite proposals for presentations or demonstrations that illustrate pragmatic approaches, strategies, and techniques for teaching writing. 

Thus, we invite four kinds of proposals: 

1. Activity swap: comprising a discussion or demonstration of one activity, lesson, or technique related to risk-taking in the composition classroom. Each participant will have 10-15 minutes to demonstrate their activity, followed by group discussion and feedback. 

2. Themed roundtables: featuring 3 to 4 speakers discussing a specific idea or topic related to the conference. Participants’ talks will be 10-15 minutes each to allow for audience discussion. Roundtables should adopt a conversational, collaborative, and audience-centered or participatory format. 

3. Pedagogy Workshops: offering practical, pedagogical advice for course design and assignment creation. 3 to 4 participants will have 10-15 minutes each to lead a workshop on designing a course or assignments related to the conference theme. 

4. Research Paper: delivering a conference-length paper. Each participant will have 10-15 minutes to read the researched paper.

Proposal topics can include (but are not limited to): 

  • Specific writing activities or lessons 
  • Facilitating or serving in a Writing Studio
  • Issues in online and virtual learning
  • Experiential and project-based learning
  • Issues of access or inequality in writing instruction 
  • Inclusive pedagogy 
  • Writing situations, networks, assemblages 
  • Community literacies 
  • Multilingual education and language diversity 
  • Disability studies and composition 
  • Collaborative learning and peer teaching and assessment 
  • The use of new media and technologies in writing instruction 
  • Online teaching resources and pedagogy forums 
  • Sustainable approaches to teaching writing 
  • Exploring race, class, gender, and/or sexuality in the writing classroom 
  • Current-traditional rhetoric, expressivism, and epistemic pedagogy models 
  • Writing in and across the disciplines 


To submit a proposal for the activity swap, themed roundtable, pedagogy workshop, or conference paper, email a 250-word abstract with your contact information, affiliation, and position/title to Angela Brown at When proposing a roundtable or workshop, please include the relevant information for each participant. 

Proposals must be submitted no later than November 30, 2023. Accepted participants will be notified by December 11, 2023. The conference will occur on February 9-11, 2023, hosted by the University of Florida. 

For more information about UF’s Writing Program, visit: 

Please feel free to email Angela Brown at if you have any questions.