Resist/Persist: Teaching and Tutoring College Writers for Justice, Safety, and Progress

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Resist/Persist: Teaching and Tutoring College Writers for Justice, Safety, and Progress

2017 TYCA-PNW/PNWCA Joint Conference

University of Washington-Tacoma
October 13-14, 2017

Our keynote speaker will be Christie Toth from the University of Utah. Conference attendees have the chance to hear her speak during the keynote address on Saturday as well as meet her in a workshop setting Friday afternoon.

In light of the 2016 United States Presidential election, we return to “Higher Education for Democracy,” a key Executive report written 70 years ago under President Harry S. Truman. In it, The President’s Commission on Higher Education argued that “[e]ducation that liberates and ennobles must be made equally available to all. Justice to the individual demands this; the safety and progress of the Nation depend on it” (Sullivan and Toth 8). More directly, and more recently, Nell Ann Pickett, in her 1997 address to the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), described community colleges as “democracy in action” (Pickett 11). Considering the current sociopolitical climate, and a renewal of bootstrap sentiments and policies such as those championed in Angela Lee Duckworth’s Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (2016), the Two-Year College English Association of the Pacific Northwest (TYCA-PNW) and the Pacific Northwest Writing Centers Association (PNWCA) ask college writing instructors, writing center directors, and writing tutors to revisit the essential concepts of justice, safety, and progress in a moment requiring academic resistance and persistence.

Discussions about racism, sexism, transphobia and xenophobia have come to center stage on many campuses in recent months. These tensions play out in classrooms, in students' lives, and on various media, leading many instructors to ask how they can empower students individually while also helping them challenge inequitable systems and ideologies. As educators, we understand that, as Paulo Freire argued in his landmark work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, teaching is an inherently political activity. Nevertheless, many of us feel as though we are navigating unchartered, turbulent waters with increasingly high stakes.

At the 2017 TYCA-PNW/PNWCA joint conference, we invite you to share strategies, challenges, and questions about the ways our teaching and tutoring resist and persist in a threatening political climate. How do we best work toward the justice, safety, and progress that has been emphasized within education circles for decades?

Proposals may consider the following questions:

•How might we encourage or develop resistance and persistence when creating writing assignments for the composition classroom?
•What are the potential effects—pedagogically, psychologically, or structurally—of embracing a grit narrative when teaching composition in the two-year college? What is the impact on students from diverse backgrounds and with diverse interests?
•How is the act of teaching writing a political act? Is the writing teacher or tutor neutral?
•How do instructors navigate conversations about race, class and gender in the classroom?
•How do recent political trends play out on our campuses and in our classrooms? How should we as academics, mentors and teachers respond to these trends? What tools can we give students to make sense of these trends?
•What do student acts of resistance look like? How can students and instructors encourage students to resist instructor, institutional, or cultural norms of authority in constructive ways?
•What pressures may the political landscape put on various campus communities? What resources are available for diverse student populations? What is the role of the tutor or the writing instructor in facilitating a multicultural learning environment?
•How do implied institutional stances in support of “standardized English” conflict with stated values of equity, diversity, and inclusion?
•What role may research in writing centers or writing programs play in expanding notions of what leads to student success?
•What kind of co-curricular programming are writing centers and writing programs developing to support students as they face rising racism, transphobia, and xenophobia?
•How do writing centers continue to perform as safe spaces for students and faculty as political rhetoric and policy become increasingly divisive?
•What actions can writing programs and writing centers take--from training and hiring practices to position statements and campus outreach--that promote inclusivity?

Proposals must contain the following:

•Presenter contact info (name, institution, institutional email, and phone number)
•Proposal abstract (150 words or less per individual presenter)
•Proposal -- one 150-word abstract per person, plus a one-paragraph introduction for panels or workshops, as necessary
•Session type (50 min. individual presentation; 15 min. individual presentation to be combined with related presentations; 50 min. panel of multiple (2-3) individual presentations; 50 min. workshop; poster session; other 50 min. type?)
•Session track (TYCA-PNW; PNWCA; both TYCA-PNW/PNWCA; writing program administration; writing tutoring; writing center administration)
•Requested technology

Please submit your proposal here.

Conference Co-Chair: Jacob Martens, UW-Tacoma,

Conference Co-Chair: Rebecca Disrud, UW-Tacoma,

Conference Co-Chair and TYCA-PNW President: Travis Margoni, Yakima Valley College,

PNWCA Program Chair Sandra Gruberg, Central Washington University,

PNWCA President: Amanda Hill, Cornish College of the Arts,

Conference Treasurer: Kris Fink, Portland Community College,

Announcing the PNWCA Writing Center Administrator Conference Scholarship

The PNWCA is happy to announce the Writing Center Administrator Conference Scholarship (please submit applications here). Recipients will receive a scholarship in the form of funds for conference registration fees and one night’s stay at the conference hotel.

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

1) Be a new writing center administrator or new to our region
2) Demonstrate financial need

Applications will be reviewed by the PNWCA board members. Recipients will be notified via email.

Email PNWCA President, Amanda Hill at with any questions.

Outstanding Proposals by Undergraduate Student Scholarships

The PNWCA is committed to supporting the research and scholarship of undergraduate peer writing tutors. To further this goal, PNWCA will award a total of $500 in scholarships for use toward conference expenses. Five awards of $100 each (per proposal) will be made. Recipients will be notified via email and honored in person at the conference. To be considered for this scholarship, please check the undergraduate presenter box on the submission form. If you have questions, please contact PNWCA President, Amanda Hill at

Early registration (until Sept. 24):

Full-time faculty and staff: $95
Students, adjunct, and retired: $65

Late registration (Sept. 25 – Oct. 6):

Full-time faculty and staff: $115
Students, adjunct, and retired: $85

Day-of registration (Oct. 13 -14): , no guarantee of lunch provided

Full-time faculty and staff: $115
Students, adjunct, and retired: $85

Conference Hotel: Holiday Inn. As of 9/14, this hotel will no longer honor the special group rate; however, they may have competitively priced vacancies ($156).

Courtyard Tacoma Downtown
The Courtyard Tacoma Downtown by Marriott has agreed to hold 15 rooms until they sell out, or 9/22, whichever comes first. Attendees can also call the hotel directly at 253-591-9100 or 800-321-2211 and request the “TYCA PNW” group rate for $149 per night. Online booking is also available: Book your group rate for TYCA PNW.

Hotel Murano
Hotel Murano is offering a conference rate ($159) based on available vacancies. Go to the hotel’s website by clicking here and use the Corporate/Promotion Code PHUNWA
Alternatively, you may also go to the following direct booking URL: by clicking here

Other nearby hotels
To find unaffiliated nearby hotels please click here