Join us in Chicago!

2023 IWCA Collaborative

Writing Center Relationships, Partnerships, and Coalitions

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

We’ve missed conferences. To echo Frankie Condon’s 2023 CCCCs statement, we also “miss the energy, the vibe, the hustle, and the hum” of being present with our colleagues across the multidisciplinary field of writing center studies. Conferences offer us an opportunity to foster and sustain relationships with each other in an embodied way as we inhabit a place together.

As the IWCA Collaborative approaches, we’ve been thinking particularly about relationships. Thematically, we’re inspired by Condon’s call to seek out “possibilities for deep relationship[s] with collaborators.” With this in mind, we ask, who are (y)our relations and partners? What relationships enrich the work of your writing centers and the people connected to these centers including tutors, administrators, faculty, staff, and community members? Where do these relationships exist across identities, campuses, communities, centers, borders, and nations? What relationships could exist in and across these spaces, fields, and related communities? How do we act in coalition with each other and to what end?

We invite you to join us in Chicago and to submit proposals on all aspects of writing center relationships, partnerships, and coalitions including the following:

  • Community partners: does your center partner with communities outside the university? Are there opportunities for community-university partnerships? How have those partnerships developed over time?
  • Campus networks: how does your center work with other departments, centers, colleges, or campus branches? Has your center developed any programs to foster relationship development across campus?
  • Center-to-center partnerships: does your writing center have a particular partnership with another center or cluster of centers? How have you worked together over time? How could you work together?
  • Identities and the role of identities in partnership building: How do our identities impact and share partnerships? How do identities help or hinder coalition building?
  • Building and maintaining community in the writing center: what about community and relationships within the center? Has your center’s community evolved or gone through different phases? How do the tutors or consultants within your center build relationships with each other or with clients? What challenges have you encountered?
  • Global partnerships: what experiences have you had with working with global partners? How did those partnerships affect your center? What did they look like?
  • The role of assessment within networks and/or partnerships: how do we or do we not assess partnerships? What does that look like or could that look like?
  • Hindrances to partnership building: what moments of friction have you encountered in creating partnerships? Where or when have partnerships failed? What lessons have you learned from those experiences?
  • Any other related aspects of relationships, partnerships, and coalitions

Session Types

Note that more traditional “panel presentations” are not a feature of the IWCA Collaborative this year. The following session types highlight opportunities for collaboration, conversation, and co-authorship. All session types will be 75 minutes.


Facilitators lead discussion of a specific issue, scenario, question, or problem. This format might include short remarks from facilitators, but most of the time is devoted to active and substantive engagement/collaboration with attendees prompted by guiding questions. At the end of the session, facilitators will help participants summarize and reflect on their takeaways from the discussion and think about how they will translate these takeaways into action.


Facilitators lead participants in a hands-on, experiential activity to teach tangible skills or strategies for data-collection, analysis, or problem-solving. Workshop proposals will include a rationale for how the activity can apply to a variety of writing center contexts, will involve active engagement, and will incorporate an opportunity for participants to reflect on the potential for specific future application.

Lab time

A lab time session is an opportunity to move your own research forward by either collecting data from participants or by using participants’ feedback to hone data collection instruments. You could use lab time for creating and receiving feedback on survey or interview questions, data collection, data analysis, etc. In your proposal, please describe what you want to do and how many and what kind of participants you need (ex: undergraduate tutors, writing center administrators, etc.). If seeking participants among attendees, facilitators will need to have institutional IRB approval as well as Informed Consent documentation for them.

Collaborative writing

In this type of session, facilitators guide participants in a group writing activity intended to produce a co-authored document or set of materials to share. For example, you might collaborate on a multi-writing center position statement or a strategic plan for a cluster of writing centers (ex: coalitional goals for writing centers located in a specific city like Chicago). You could also facilitate the production of separate but parallel pieces of writing (ex: participants revise or craft statements for their centers and then share for feedback). Proposals for collaborative writing sessions will include plans for continuing or sharing the work with the larger writing center community after the conference.

Collaborative Hosts and Timeline

We’re particularly excited to host the IWCA Collaborative in Chicago, a place many of us have returned to over the years for other conferences and a city with a variety of

writing centers within different institutional and communal spaces. We would like to express our warm gratitude to the administrators and tutors of DePaul University’s Writing Center for their hospitality in hosting the collaborative at the Loop Campus, which is ideally situated a few blocks from the CCCCs conference hotel.

DePaul University acknowledges that we live and work on traditional Native lands that are today home to representatives of well over one hundred different tribal nations. We extend our respect to all of them, including the Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Odawa nations, who signed the Treaty of Chicago in 1821 and 1833. We also recognize the Ho-Chunk, Myaamia, Menominee, Illinois Confederacy, and Peoria people who also maintained relationships with this land. We appreciate that today Chicago is home to one of the largest urban Native populations in the United States. We further recognize and support the enduring presence of Native peoples among our faculty, staff, and student body.

Please submit abstracts (250 words or less) by December 16, 2022, through the IWCA website. Participants will receive notification by January 13, 2023. Questions may be directed to IWCA Collaborative co-chairs Trixie Smith ( and Grace Pregent (

We hope many undergraduate and graduate students will participate! They’re welcome to connect with conference co-chairs or with Lia DeGroot, Graduate Consultant and Collaborative Coordinator, at to discuss ideas, travel, and general questions.