Two students in a tutoring session.Tutors in action.

Mixing It Up: Working with all Our Audiences in the Writing Center

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Rebecca Day Babcock

Dates and Location:

April 5-6, 2019

San José State University
1 Washington Sq, San Jose, CA 95192
San José, California


Submit your proposals online. Proposals are due Friday, January 25, 2019 by midnight PST.

Call for Proposals: 

The writing center inhabits a unique place on campus in which all its employees—tutors, directors, coordinators, admins—encounter an extraordinary range of diverse populations. The audience of a tutoring session changes with each session, workshop, and special event; writing center practitioners have to alter their own rhetoric to adjust. Tutors have to consider, for example, what explanations or analogies will work for their current audience. An analogy that was perfect for one student in a previous tutoring session might not make sense to a different writer. 

In addition to the diversity inherent to writing center users (the “audience”), there are other, additional groups that are traditionally considered as having their own needs: “Basic writers, writers with disabilities, second-language writers, and graduate student writers have been treated as ‘different’ populations in the writing center literature” (Babcock and Thonus, 2018). Babcock and Thonus go on to encourage “writing center administrators and researchers to consider not only specific practices likely to better support such tutees but at the same time to avoid ‘othering’ them” (2018). We invite you to join us as we discuss how the writing center serves and supports its many different audiences. 

Area Clusters:

This conference will have a variety of topics/sub-themes to help provide a robust experience for all participants. The following topics/sub-themes cover many areas of discussion related to writing center studies. When you submit your proposal, please choose 1-2 area clusters from the following list that your topic falls under. 

  • Administration
  • Diverse Audiences and Populations
  • Engagement/Public Relations
  • Research (e.g., a research study you completed)
  • Technological Innovations
  • Types of Tutoring (e.g., embedded, online, drop-in) & Tutoring Best Practices
  • Other

Session Formats:

Concurrent sessions will be one hour in length. You are welcome to propose any of the following types of session.

  • Panel Presentation: 3-4 presenters focusing on a specific theme/topic/question; each presenter should plan to speak for 10-15 minutes with time allowed for Q&A
  • Individual Presentation: 1 presenter focusing on a specific theme/topic/question; the presenter should plan to speak for 10-15 minutes with time allowed for Q&A; accepted individual proposals will be combined into a panel by the program chair
  • Workshop: 2-4 presenters leading a workshop that involves all attendees in active participation/learning
  • Tutor Tips Roundtable: 4-7 tutors leading a roundtable discussion about tips for tutoring; each tutor should plan to offer a 5-minute tip about a practice that has worked well in their tutoring experience; strategies will then be discussed with all roundtable participants

Proposal Submission Guidelines:

Proposals are due on Friday, January 25, 2019 by midnight PST and should be 250 words. You will also be asked to submit a 50-word description of your session for the conference program. You are welcome to submit more than one proposal. Proposals may be submitted by anyone interested in writing centers: faculty, staff, tutors, administrators, directors, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Submit your proposals online.

You will be notified of your proposal status by mid-February, 2019. Please contact Michelle Hager ( if you have any questions.

Conference Planning Committee:

Michelle Hager (Program Chair)

Maria Judnick

Thomas Moriarty

Amy Russo



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