For the 2022 conference, we invite proposals related to one of the following themes:

  • Writing Beyond the University
  • Previous Center for Engaged Learning Research Seminar and Conference Topics (see below), and
  • Cross-Cutting Questions about Engaged Learning

Writing Beyond the University

Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning (CEL) has hosted two research seminars focused on writing development and writers’ transfer of knowledge and strategies from one writing context (including but not limited to courses) to another (e.g., subsequent and concurrent courses, workplaces, civic activities, etc.).

The 2011-2013 research seminar on Critical Transitions: Writing and the Question of Transfer fostered significant growth in what higher education knows about transfer of writing knowledge and practices. More recently, the 2019-2021 research seminar on Writing Beyond the University: Fostering Writers’ Lifelong Learning and Agency addressed the need for more research on (preparing students for) writing beyond the university. For the 2022 Conference for Engaged Learning, we invite proposals for presentations that take stock, refocus, and update the research emerging from these two seminars.

Scholarship emerging from the first CEL seminar appears in a special issue of Composition Forum, two edited collections (Critical Transitions: Writing and the Question of Transfer, Understanding Writing Transfer), and dozens of other publications. Seminar scholars and others have contributed to our understandings of students’ and faculty members’ perceptions of writing transfer (Bergmann & Zepernick; Driscoll), students’ meaningful writing experiences (Geller, Eodice, & Lerner), critical transitions within the university (Boyd; Goldschmidt; Gorzelsky, et al.; Hayes, Ferris, & Whithaus; Wardle & Mercer Clement), the ways in which cognitive issues or student dispositions influence writing behaviors (Driscoll & Wells; Yancey, Robertson, & Taczak), and teaching for transfer (Robertson & Taczak; Yancey, Robertson, & Taczak).

These studies contribute valuable evidence about how students transfer their writing knowledge and practice, primarily within a university context. Yet they often overlook other factors that influence students’ writing transfer, such as prior and concurrent writing experiences beyond the classroom, identity and cultural influences, and non-traditional pathways through higher education.

Some scholarship has addressed writing experiences beyond the university and whether writing knowledge between the workplace and the university can transfer, most notably in professional/technical writing case studies of specific workplace contexts (Blythe; Blythe, Lauer, & Curran). However, few scholars have focused on transfer beyond the university outside of specific workplace contexts, examining work-integrated learning spaces like internships and co-ops (Anson & Forsberg; Brent; Dilger & Baird; Jennings), service-learning (Bacon; Bowden & Scott; Zimmerelli), civic activism (Alexander & Jarratt), transfer for writing center consultants (Driscoll, Devet, Hill), or writing in self-sponsored spaces (Rosinski). Scholarship emerging from the Center’s 2019-2021 research seminar is extending these conversations; and a new edited collection, Writing Beyond the University: Implications for Fostering Writers’ Lifelong Learning and Agency, forthcoming from the Center for Engaged Learning Open Access Book Series, showcases some of this related emerging research.

Given what higher education now knows about writing transfer and given the new scholarship emerging on writing beyond the university, we invite other scholars to join these conversations by examining:

  • What writing is composed in contexts beyond the university? What writing are alumni encountering? How is writing perceived, valued, and conceptualized by stakeholders in these contexts?

  • How are writers’ developing professional identities, subjectivities, and practices informed by writing experiences in academic contexts—contexts both within writing courses and programs and in courses/programs outside of writing studies—that give writers opportunities to focus on transitions to contexts beyond the university?

  • What habits of mind and dispositions facilitate writers’ abilities to adjust and respond to new rhetorical situations for writing?

  • How do campus experiences, internships, or pedagogies like work-integrated learning influence writers’ practices in contexts beyond the university?

  • What does a writer’s lifespan look like—how is it defined, described, experienced—across different and changing contexts? How can educators and administrators help students prepare for lifewide writing?

  • How might universities build writers’ capacities for writing, in and beyond the university—as well as writers’ appreciation for their own agency based on their prior knowledge and experiences?

  • How can writing education—that takes into account the complicated pathways writers take through higher education, identity/cultural influences, and prior/concurrent writing experiences beyond the university—more equitably prepare students for their writing lives after graduation?

Previous Center for Engaged Learning Research Seminar and Conference Topics

We also invite scholars and practitioners studying the following engaged learning topics to submit proposals that extend our previous conference conversations on:

  • Capstone or Culminating Experiences
  • Global Learning, Study Abroad, and Off-Campus Domestic Study
  • Mentored Undergraduate Research
  • Residential/Living Learning Communities
  • Teaching Democratic Thinking
  • Transfer of Writing Knowledge and Practices

Cross-Cutting Questions about Engaged Learning

In addition, we invite proposals that share research on cross-cutting questions about engaged learning, including but not limited to:

  • Scaling up access to engaged learning experiences
  • Attending to diversity, inclusion, and equity across high-impact practices
  • Supporting students’ integration of learning across multiple high-impact practices for engaged learning