Conference Call for Papers

Click here for the Feb. 2nd, 2019 conference schedule.

The University of Florida’s Writing Program invites proposals for the annual Conference on Pedagogy, Practice and Philosophy. This year, we will examine how writing environments influence writing practice and pedagogy. Writing always takes place somewhere, from notes on a page and assignments addressing a specific audience to graffiti sprayed on a wall and memes designed for viral circulation. As communication becomes more mobile and multimodal, writing instruction must consider where writing takes place alongside how writing moves and circulates. Students and instructors alike communicate across a multitude of writing ecologies, developing composition practices that shape our relationships with individuals, networks, institutions, and events. How can college composition use ideas of space, place, and participation to help students understand different perspectives, formats, and rhetorical goals? We want to discuss tools and approaches for teaching writing as a part of a complex environment that extends beyond courses and classrooms – to analyze how writing environments shape not only where we compose, but how, why, and to what effect.

Analyzing writing environments means examining the conditions as well as the locations of composition. Increasingly, writing programs are asked to incorporate skills that encourage students to participate in public forums or civic action. Writers balance academic goals with community activism, public engagement and professional development. How can college composition prepare students for diverse writing environments and methods of circulation? How do writing instructors already engage community-based pedagogies or emerging writing environments with new media technologies and shifts in pedagogical practice, design, and implementation? In addition, how can writing programs create access to resources or better account for disparate conditions when teaching writing? We seek presentations that address the ever-changing dynamics of composition, while also attending to the challenges and opportunities these changes afford for both students and instructors.

The conference is designed as a practicum that emphasizes collaboration and exchange. 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. The overarching goal of this conference is to create a network for sharing effective, innovative, and creative approaches to composition pedagogy in practice. If you have a theory, lesson, activity, or discussion – please come and share your writing practice and pedagogy with us.

Conference Format

Instead of having panelists read traditional twenty-minute conference papers, we welcome proposals for ten to twelve minute presentations or demonstrations that illustrate pragmatic approaches, strategies, and techniques for teaching writing. Accepted participants will be grouped into themed or conceptual panels, but our goal is to extend the dialog and conversation across the conference sessions. We are also open to proposals for roundtable discussions, which are to model a conversational, collaborative, and audience-centered or participatory format.

Instead of having panelists read traditional conference papers, we welcome proposals for ten to twelve minute presentations or demonstrations that illustrate pragmatic approaches, strategies, and techniques for teaching writing. Accepted participants will be grouped into themed or conceptual panels, but our goal is to extend the dialog and conversation across the conference sessions. We are also open to proposals for roundtable discussions, which model a conversational, collaborative, and audience-centered or participatory format.

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

  • Writing space and environments
  • Writing situations, networks, assemblages
  • Writing for civic action
  • Public writing and circulation
  • Community literacies
  • The use of new media in the writing classroom
  • Online writing environments
  • Technical communication pedagogy
  • Collaborative learning and peer teaching and assessment
  • Issues of access or inequality
  • Writing technologies
  • Making as writing
  • Sustainable, ecological, or green approaches to teaching writing
  • Exploring race, class, gender, and/or sexuality in the writing classroom
  • Current-traditional rhetoric, expressivism, and epistemic pedagogy models
  • Prewriting techniques and strategies
  • Writing and rhetorical ecologies
  • Writing in and across the disciplines

Keynote Workshop

This year, instead of featuring one keynote speaker, we have organized a workshop to discuss diverse writing environments. The workshop will address specific techniques and approaches through structured, collaborative discussions. By creating a space for instructors to communicate and learn from each other, we hope to build upon the expertise already at the conference and allow multiple perspectives to guide a productive exchange.

Submissions

To submit a proposal for an individual presentation, please email a 250 word abstract in .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .pdf format to Shannon Butts at Shannon.butts@ufl.edu. Be sure to include your contact information, affiliation, and position/title on the abstract. To propose a roundtable, please email a description of the discussion, a rationale of what it seeks to accomplish, and the names, affiliations, and positions/titles of each participant. Proposals must be submitted no later than November 25th. Accepted participants will be notified by December 1st. The Conference will occur on February 22019 at the University of Florida.

Please feel free to email Shannon.butts@ufl.edu if you have any questions.

The University Writing Program is pleased to announce the first annual Word Art Competition. UF students are encouraged to submit works of graphic art that give voice to the values and goals of the program. To learn about the University Writing Program, contact Creed Greer, Program Director, or Alison Reynolds, Associate Program Director.

Winning submissions will be displayed for at least one year in the UWP office at 2215 Turlington Hall and will be recognized on the UWP website in a homepage feature story. Contestants should visit the UWP office to learn about the venue and installations.

Submissions should be the original work of the artist, with references to any other printed or published work provided in an artist’s statement. Submissions should be made in PDF or JPEG format. Review of submissions will begin on May 1, 2019.

Alexis Ulseth, a sophomore at UF, has won a $400 grant for Noah’s Endeavor, the local nonprofit for which she volunteers. Ulseth, a biochemistry major who is pursuing a Disabilities in Society minor, was first introduced to Noah’s Endeavor when she volunteered for Friends For Life last spring.

At Noah’s Endeavor, “most of the children have a disability or are connected to a child with a disability,” Ulseth says. The children come together each week and play a sport, “but it’s not about the sport, it’s about activity, friendship, and fun.”

Her interest in Noah’s Endeavor deepened when she took Exceptional People, a course at UF requiring volunteer hours. Then, in Fall 2016, Ulseth took ENC3254, Melissa Mellon’s “Writing for Non-Profits” course. One of the assignments was to write a grant proposal for a non-profit and Ulseth rose to the challenge. In the end, she won a grant from the Finish Line Youth Foundation, which Noah’s Endeavor will use to purchase new sports equipment and expand the organization’s community presence.

“Writing for Non-Profits” was first offered at UF through the University Writing Program (UWP) in Fall 2016. The goal of the course was to bridge the gap between academic writing and real-world writing. Thus, Ms. Mellon encouraged her students to pick a non-profit to work with and write assignments which could serve the organization’s needs. The assignments included a special interest report, a grant proposal, and a white paper, and students were required to interview representatives of their chosen non-profit for each assignment.

For the grant proposal, students met librarian Bess de Farber, who is the UF library’s grants manager. Through the library’s internal grant-seeking program, which Ms. De Farber set up, students were able to search for grants relevant to their chosen non-profit organizations. It was through this resource and with Ms. Mellon’s guidance that Ulseth was able to find the Finish Line Youth Foundation grant. Ulseth completed the grant application in October 2016 and in January Finish Line contacted her to conduct a telephone interview. In February, Ulseth was told she had won the funding.

Ulseth grew up in Crystal River, FL, where she still volunteers at the Rotary Club. When she came to UF, she brought her love of volunteering with her and joined Rotaract, Impact Autism, Friends for Life, and Noah’s Endeavor.

Noah’s Endeavor, originally named the Endeavor League, provides a place where children with disabilities can get involved with sports and feel part of a community. Shelly Voelker, a Family and Information Specialist at UF, and her husband, Will Voelker, took their son Noah there. Noah was born with cerebral palsy and spent his life in a wheel chair. But, at Endeavor League, Noah was able to swim, play soccer, baseball, and basketball, and interact with other children of varying ages. When Noah passed away in 2009, the Voelkers took over the Endeavor League and changed the name to Noah’s Endeavor.

Ulseth says the goal of Noah’s Endeavor is to help people realize “that a child with a disability is first and foremost a child.” Ulseth volunteers on Sundays from 2:00-4:00pm and spends her time playing sports (baseball in the spring and soccer in the fall) with the children and making sure that they are having fun.

Here is a video Ulseth made to thank the Finish Line Youth Foundation for the grant and to showcase the invaluable work done at Noah’s Endeavor.

–Holly Pratt

“Even though I already had tutoring experience, I was really interested in the course because I wanted an official course in tutoring, as well as more professional experience as a peer tutor at UF.” – Valerie Melina, UWP Peer Tutor

“Peer tutoring gave me the opportunity to bask in the writing I rarely dealt in anymore and do something I definitely had never even thought of doing: teach.” – Victoria Todd, UWP Peer Tutor

ENC 4930, an undergraduate peer tutoring course launched by the UWP in Fall 2015, trains qualified undergraduates to work one-on-one with peers to improve grammar and meet the outcomes of academic assignments. During the first six weeks, students are trained in basic grammar concepts, writing structure and organization, and writing to meet the objectives of an assignment prompt. During the second six weeks, the students are assigned a workspace in the UWP where they apply their training to real-world situations by helping undergraduates, graduates, and ESL students improve their written assignments. The two-credit course, run by Dr. Martin Simpson, is departmentally controlled which means that in order to sign up for the course students need to email Dr. Simpson with a CV and then conduct a half-hour interview. During the interview, Dr. Simpson looks for a specific skillset: “an approachable, friendly demeanor; solid grammar and writing skills; good time management, and the ability to quickly triage potential weaknesses in a paper in order to focus on the most important issues first.”

Those students who perform well in ENC 4930 will have the opportunity to work as paid tutors in the University Writing Studio in future semesters. Currently, the Writing Studio employs mostly graduate students from the English and Creative Writing Departments. With the peer tutoring course, Dr. Simpson aims to “build and diversify our tutor line-up, while at the same time providing more UF students with individual tutoring, and providing our peer tutors a part-time job that lets them build both their skills and their résumés.”

Valerie Melina and Victoria Todd have both completed the peer tutoring course and currently work as undergraduate tutors in the writing studio.

Ms. Melina, an English and Communications major, has previous experience working as a freelance tutor and as a tutor at UF’s Office of Academic Support, however the additional training she received in ENC4930 helped her strengthen her editing and writing skills through “checking students’ writing for compliance to the prompt, making sure the evidence was logical, checking for proper structure, and finally proofreading for grammar mistakes.”

Ms. Todd, a Journalism major, was able to take her passion for the English language and transform it into a useful tool for others as well as a rewarding experience for herself. “I learned the integral approaches to disassembling a stranger’s essay and then giving them the guidance and confidence to piece it together again through a more structured and realized process. The training and my experience as a peer tutor have rekindled my love for English and fostered a need for continual improvement as a student, as a reader and as a tutor.”
While both Ms. Melina and Ms. Todd are pursuing language-related majors, the aim of ENC 4930 is to recruit peer tutors from diverse backgrounds. Over the four semesters that the course has been offered, peer tutors have had majors as different as Political Science, Psychology, English, and Engineering. Initially the number of students admitted to the peer tutoring course was capped at four, but for the fall semester it will be capped at twelve.

–Holly Beth Pratt

Mallory Szymanski won the prestigious University of Florida Graduate Teaching Award for her instruction in the University Writing Program, where she has taught since 2012.Currently a PhD candidate in the Department of History, she also teaches courses in sociology, history, and women’s studies.

Across these disciplines, Mallory maintains a collaborative pedagogy in which students and teachers work together to inspire curiosity, strengthen critical thinking tools, and hone professional writing skills. The UWP teaches that writing is a process and not simply the product of formulaic responses; a collaborative environment facilitates the patience and fortitude this process requires. Mallory complements this group-oriented theme with individual attention to students’ strengths, interests, and areas in need of improvement. She tailors daily lesson plans to address the distinctive skills and needs students bring from their high school training. From this base, students use the course to practice rhetorical strategies and writing fundamentals and produce coherent, convincing arguments. By the end of the semester, they will have mastered a writing process that is unique to them and that can aid them in future academic and professional undertakings.

Much like her teaching endeavors, Mallory’s research engages multiple fields. She studies sexual neurasthenia, a medical diagnosis given to fatigued American men in the late nineteenth century. Physicians heralded neurasthenia as the “national disease of America” and feared that modern civilization was crushing its workers underfoot. Mallory’s dissertation will provide a cultural and medical history of sexual neurasthenia to explain how this diagnosis sparked a national conversation about men’s sexual and reproductive health in the Gilded Age. She expects to complete her dissertation in Spring 2016 and pursue an interdisciplinary teaching and research position.

Jamie Lee Marks is a PhD student in UF’s Anthropology department and has been teaching for the University Writing Program since Fall 2011. She has served as a mentor to incoming Graduate Assistants for the Writing Program this year. A UF alumnus, Jamie Lee received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Women’s Studies and Political Science, and Master of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Florida. In addition, she earned a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults from the University of Cambridge. She describes her experience as a UF undergraduate student as demanding, liberating, and transformational because of committed instructors that required high quality written work and dialogue-based classroom environments that challenged her to connect her lived experience to scholarly materials. These experiences inspired a commitment to undergraduate pedagogy and education at the University of Florida. Working with undergraduate students has and continues to teach, move, and motivate her, as each student brings with her or him a particular perspective on each course’s subject matter and, more broadly, on human social interaction and connection. She considers teaching one of the most rewarding components of graduate studies.

As a cultural anthropologist, she is primarily interested in ethnographic field methods, and narrative ethnography as a genre allowing social scientists—and artists—to move their experiences to text and share them with various audiences. She has worked as a contracted researcher and also done fieldwork in Lima, Huaraz, and Huánuco, Peru; Mallorca, Spain; and Gainesville, Florida. Her work thus far has explored themes of narrating migration, mobility and transportation infrastructure, and representations of gender in popular culture both in the United States and Peru. Her dissertation project currently focuses on the politics, aesthetics, and experiences of contemporary transport reform in Lima, Peru.