Soaring to New Heights: Breakthroughs, Inventions, and Progress in Writing Centers

East Central Writing Centers Association 2019 Conference

April 4-6, 2019 / University of Dayton

SOARING. For some, the word represents a smooth flight pattern with little visible movement. For others, it represents flying to great heights, rising higher and higher. What, though, does soaring mean in a writing center? Do we have smooth flight paths? Do we rise to greater and greater heights—as tutors, as administrators, as individual centers, as a field? However you visualize the action of soaring, consider how the work we do in writing centers connects with that image. What challenges us to grow, adapt, and change? What allows writers to SOAR to new heights?

Just like the Wright brothers experienced while experimenting with the first aircraft, oftentimes, good ideas or breakthroughs are born of hard work, perseverance, and the desire to serve others, perhaps leading to invention. Writing centers are wonderful examples of this kind of invention. Many writing centers started as only a table and a few chairs, perhaps in the corner of the library, in the basement of an academic building, or at a table in a subject area’s tutoring office. Over time, though, as writing centers expanded, they demonstrated to their campus communities the organic value of writing consultation sessions and peer engagement.

The 2019 ECWCA Conference explores the progress of writing centers and how they adapt to the ever-changing needs of institutions and writers. Having fun with Dayton’s aviation history, we want you to SOAR with us as we consider breakthroughs, inventions, and progress in writing centers.


We invite writing center community members to consider how their work has progressed over the years, impacts all who encounter the writing center at an institution, and evolves to assist writers.

ECWCA welcomes proposals from:

  • writing center faculty, staff, and researchers
  • high school educators and high school writing tutors/leaders
  • college and university undergraduate and graduate tutors/consultants
  • writers who have experienced a writing center session

We welcome presenters to submit proposals for:

  • Individual presentation or paper - Duration: 15 minutes
  • Panel Session - Duration: 1 hour
  • Poster
  • Special interest group/roundtable - Duration: 1 hour
  • Workshop - Duration: 1 hour
  • Other

Multiple proposal submissions from individual presenters are welcome.

All rooms are smart classrooms. Please note additional audiovisual needs in the proposal. We will do our best to accommodate audiovisual requests.


  • Individual presentation or paper: Presenters should plan to speak for up to 15 minutes with a discussion period following the completion of three papers or presentations. (Each presenter will be grouped with two others presenting similar but distinct projects.)
  • Panel session: Facilitators present on a specific issue or topic as a group or, in special circumstances, as an individual. These sessions should include questions, discussion, and reflection of some kind (approximately 1 hour in length).
  • Poster: Poster proposals should include the same information as other submissions with the addition of a description of the visual construction of the poster. Poster presenters will present simultaneously with others during a predetermined block of time for a larger-scale poster exhibit. These presentations are suggested for those with works in progress or projects requiring a more multi-modal approach.
  • Special interest group/roundtable: These proposals should make specific reference to the rationale for a topic related to a special interest. Examples include but are not limited to working in high school writing centers, responding online, and working with specific populations of writers. Special interest groups will take the form of a roundtable facilitated by the proposer or proposing group.
  • Workshop: Facilitators lead participants in a hands-on, experiential activity to teach tangible skills or strategies related to writing center work. Successful workshop proposals include reflective elements and time for the participants to explore ideas (approximately 1 hour in length).
  • Other: Have a format in mind that we haven't included? Propose it.


Proposal submission deadline has been extended to January 21st.

The deadline for proposals is January 7, 2019. To submit a proposal, click the link “Submit Proposal” in the left sidebar of the conference website.


We invite presenters to consider the following questions:

  • What inventions has your writing center created, discovered, or leveraged that support the mission of writing centers?
  • What inventions has your writing center created, discovered, or leveraged that support writers?
  • How has tutor/consultant preparation and training evolved in your center?
  • Writing center work provides an opportunity for staff members to hone valuable skills leveraged in numerous professions. How does your writing center help staff members to reach new heights through professional development and training?
  • What technological inventions has your writing center adopted, and how do these tools impact and/or change the way writing centers work?
  • What does “progress” mean for writing center work? For writers? Consider the types of progress in your center.
  • Writing centers are not “editing services”—a perception many of us deal with. How has your center made breakthroughs around misguided perceptions (faculty and students) of our work?
  • What does center history (local, regional, national, international) tell us about the evolution of writing centers? How can we learn from our history?
  • How do we assess writing centers moving forward?
  • With digital composing and multimedia assignments gaining momentum in the classroom, how is your center responding to these new ways of composing?
  • Asynchronous, synchronous, face-to-face—writing centers reach writers in a variety of ways. What breakthroughs has your center experienced while looking for ways to accommodate the needs of writers?
  • What breakthroughs has your center experienced addressing the writing needs of international students?
  • Where has your writing center made progress collaborating with departments at your institution? What breakthroughs have you made through partnerships?


  • ***PROPOSAL DEADLINE EXTENDED!*** All proposals should be submitted electronically by 11:59 PM on Monday, January 21, 2019.
  • Notification of acceptance by early February 2019.
  • Travel grant applications due February 1, 2019.
  • Tutor Award nominations due February 1, 2019.
  • Conference early-bird registration ends March 1, 2019.
  • Regular registration ends March 20, 2019.


All registrations include a required $10 ECWCA membership fee. The fees shown here are early-bird rates; fees increase $15 per category after March 1, 2019:

  • College administrators $155
  • College consultants $105
  • High school administrators $90
  • High school consultants $75
  • Parents, chaperones, partners of presenters $75


Ready to SOAR? Questions can be directed to the 2019 conference mailbox at . You may also contact Christina Klimo, University of Dayton, at , or Stacie Covington, University of Dayton, at .

The East Central Writing Centers Association and the University of Dayton look forward to seeing you at Soaring to New Heights: Breakthroughs, Inventions, and Progress in Writing Centers April 4-6, 2019!