2019 Call for Participation

SLAC-WPA 2019 Annual Conference

Small Liberal Arts Meets Big (and Not So Big) Data

January 11-12, 2019 | Davidson College | Davidson, NC

Increasingly, writing program and writing center administrators are asked to produce, analyze, and evaluate quantitative and qualitative data. Many of our institutions’ allocations of funding and decision-making have become more and more data-driven, catalyzing a need for WPAs to develop a measure of data fluency as they create reports, assess student work, or design institutional research projects. Those of us not trained in quantitative research have at time felt unready or ill-prepared to meet this important change. All of us can benefit from thinking together about the importance of this aspect of our professional work and collectively identifying the challenges and opportunities that various forms of data collection and analysis present for us. 

This year’s conference will allows us to glimpse one another’s data-based projects, to attend to hopes (and fears) about the place and best uses of data to support our administrative work, and become familiar with several “big data” initiatives no taking place at small liberal arts settings. We welcome presentations that showcase and/or comment on the use of data in sets of any size, both small and big, in the various contexts of our work. We want to make a place for everyone, regardless of one’s level of practice with, or commitment to, or ambivalence about the use of data in our professional endeavors.

  • What are the most promising uses of data in our professional work?
  • How can we learn to parse and make use of big (or small-scale) data to serve our administrative interests?
  • How might expanding uses of data (big or small) invite or demand new relationships between writing programs and admissions, grants offices, college communications, and others?
  • How might use of data help us to increase diversity and inclusivity in our writing centers and writing programs?
  • How might the use of data energize arguments for new hires, increased funding, and other institutional resources?
  • How can we contextualize smaller or local data-driven projects in the larger conversation about big data?
  • How might we collaborate with our data-savvy colleagues to strengthen our programs?

By September 28, 2018, please submit proposals for

  • individual roundtable presentation
  • group roundtable presentation
  • speed sharing

to Diane LeBlancSLAC-WPA Consortium Vice-President at leblanc@stolaf.edu

  • Roundtables

Ten-minute presentations that sketch out an approach, summarize one’s research, or synthesize others’ use of (or comments about) data collection, analysis, evaluation, or dissemination. Typically, a roundtable is composed of four participants addressing a common theme or shared institutional practice. One can propose an entire roundtable or propose a single presentation that the conference organizers will cluster with kindred presenters.

  • Speed Sharing

Ten-minutes presentations that preview a new strategy, technique, or arrangement in tutoring, teaching, or administering writing that will likely be of interest to many of the conference attendees. The subject of the presentation need not focus on the conference theme of big data. Speed shares keep us informed of new developments in the field, novel administrative arrangements, ideas for assessment, strategies for staffing, skills for stretching tight budgets, thoughts about faculty development, etc. The materials introduced in speed sharing sessions become artifacts of our practice, and are archived on the SLAC-WPA website.

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