NCPTW 2017, Hofstra University

Tips for Writing a Conference Proposal

The landscape of Hofstra University’s sprawling campus is connected from north to south by our three distinctive pedestrian bridges, or unispans, that are emblematic of our conference theme, “Reaching Out: Revising Writing Center Spaces and Identities.” In similar fashion, we reach out to you by offering this page to help you turn your ideas, inspired by your work in the writing center, into a conference proposal.

“Reaching Out” is actually a useful way to think about presenting at a conference; conference presentations are avenues for reaching audiences that may have similar questions that you do and for thinking collaboratively about the work that we do.

Writing a conference proposal may seem like a daunting task, especially if you are submitting a proposal for the first time, but it need not be. You are already a writing center practitioner with a vast repertoire of writing and thinking skills. Draw on these skills. Read, brainstorm, imagine. Know that your audience is composed of colleagues—undergraduate, graduate, faculty, and administrators—who have shared many of the same situations and experiences. Take time to review the conference call for proposals. While the conference theme focuses on particular aspects of the writing center, we invite proposals that mix it up a bit and think of the word “revision” through varied lenses.

You might begin the proposal writing process by thinking about what you’ve seen, heard, done, and learned while working in the writing center. What story do you feel needs telling? What questions about your work emerge for you again and again? Once you’ve found your focus, there are two elements to consider when writing: the proposal itself (500 words maximum) that explains the problem or issue you are addressing, and the abstract (75 words maximum) intended for the conference program to pique the interest of conference attendees.

One important goal of conferences is to move conversations forward, so it is important to consider how your interests contribute to writing center research. You may find it helpful to look for writing center scholarship at the following sites:

All presentation sessions—panels, workshops, roundtables, and poster sessions—are 75 minutes. If you are proposing an individual paper to be placed on a panel, be sure that your proposal clearly articulates your inquiry and relevance to the field.

We look forward to reading your proposals and hope to see you at Hofstra in October!

Hofstra in October!