Young man wearing headphones sitting between library shelves looking down at laptop, with superimposed text: Critical Literacies in the 21st Century

Photo credit: Vipul Uthaiah

A CCCC Summer Conference

Boston University • July 9-10, 2020

We are excited to invite proposals for the New England CCCC Summer Conference to be held at Boston University’s College of General Studies from July 9-10.

This two-day conference offers New England-area college writing instructors—particularly those who are not able to attend the national CCCC—the opportunity to develop ideas for the classroom, build a network within the region, and become actively involved in the national organization.

The NE CCCC Summer Conference is especially committed to connecting high school and college educators from the region. Although students’ literacy education happens on a continuum, high school instructors and college instructors rarely have opportunities to engage with and learn from each other in professional development settings. This conference provides opportunities for both populations to participate together in interactive and hands-on sessions that will give them research-based practical approaches to teaching literacy in their classrooms.

We have chosen Critical Literacies in the 21st Century Classroom as the conference’s theme to emphasize reading and writing equally. In recent years, the field of composition and its flagship organization, CCCC, have begun to recognize the importance of teaching critical reading alongside writing. Most notably, perhaps, CCCC awarded Deep Reading: Teaching Reading in the Writing Classroom the Best Book honor (in the edited collection category) this past Spring at its annual meeting and the Executive Board of CCCC has commissioned a Task Force to prepare a position statement on reading. This conference builds upon this momentum by offering participants opportunities to explore the connections between reading and writing, as well as the importance of offering students versatile and flexible reading strategies necessary for navigating both their academic careers and our contemporary information landscape.

Call for Proposals

We invite you to contribute to this exciting conversation surrounding the relationship between reading and writing instruction. Some possible questions and avenues of inquiry to explore in relation to the conference theme of Critical Literacies in the 21st Century Classroom include:

  • How do we create reading and writing pedagogies that are inclusive of diverse students and perspectives?
  • What is the best way to help faculty learn about reading so that they can teach students more efficient and effective reading strategies?
  • How can high school instructors and postsecondary instructors work together to ease students’ transition to college-level reading?
  • How can faculty improve student reading for the writing of research and inquiry projects?
  • What kinds of technology can enhance students’ critical reading abilities?
  • How can reading and writing assignments be sequenced and scaffolded to meet specific assignment and larger course and program goals?
  • What forms of multimodal composing represent new opportunities for teaching critical reading and writing?
  • What might reading pedagogies look like in classes outside of first-year writing?
  • What specific kinds of literacy (e.g., racial literacy, environmental literacy) are essential for our students?
  • How can/should university writing centers and other support centers inform the teaching of critical reading?
  • How can instructors best prepare students to participate in a democratic society that depends upon its citizens’ abilities to read critically?

By no means is this an exhaustive list. We invite proposals that address the conference theme in all ways that will enrich and expand the field’s discussions about reading-writing instruction.

Submit a proposal: Proposal form


We strongly encourage proposals for the Summer Conference from high school instructors, part-time and adjunct faculty, graduate students, non-tenure track faculty, as well as full-time faculty engaged in the teaching of writing. The program is open to everyone, including scholars from other disciplines. Nonmembers of CCCC are welcome to submit proposals but will be required to join the organization upon registering for the conference. CCCC is a nonprofit organization and cannot reimburse program participants for travel or hotel expenses.

Registration Fees

To encourage participation and attendance, registration fees will be $30 for graduate students and retirees and $40 for professionals (part-time and adjunct faculty, full-time faculty, and secondary teachers).

As mentioned above, nonmembers of CCCC are welcome to submit proposals but will be required to join the organization upon registering for the conference.

For those who are already NCTE members, the charge is an additional $25 to become CCCC members. (CCCC membership is $75, or $37.50 for students, and includes NCTE membership and a subscription to the CCC journal.)

Registration will open in mid-March.


Low cost lodging will be available on Boston University’s campus. More information can be found here.

Session formats

Overall, we envision a hands-on, interactive conference. As such, we are asking that you propose interactive panels, workshops, and working groups.

Please note that we are not accepting individual paper proposals. However, individuals are welcome to propose workshops and working groups.

Interactive panels
(Length: 2 hours)

Panels will be comprised of 3-4 speakers who will present their work in such a way that involves audience participation throughout sessions rather than just during a question and answer period. We are accepting proposals for panels rather than individual papers to ensure coherent sessions that prioritize audience interaction. Interactive panel proposals should include a detailed statement outlining the various ways that the audience will be involved in the panel throughout the session. We will not consider proposals that neglect to address audience participation.

(Length: 2 hours)

Workshops will be led by an expert or experts on their chosen subject relating to the conference theme and will be entirely interactive for the duration of the session. Workshop proposals should provide details such as the workshop’s objectives, means of achieving those objectives, the intended audience, and the role of the audience throughout the workshop. Please also include a statement indicating the proposer's or proposers' experience leading workshops.

Working Groups:
Work-in-Progress Groups and New Project Groups
(Length: 2 hours)

Working group proposals may take two forms:

  • The first kind of working group is the work-in-progress group. The meeting of a work-in-progress group allows teacher-scholars already working on a project (no matter the stage) to come together and use the conference as a meeting space to further develop that project. These sessions would not be open to anyone outside of the group.
  • The second kind of working group is the new project group. These sessions are focused on a particular subject (e.g., the reading transition from high school to college; motivating students to read; teaching students to use digital annotation software) and open to all conference goers who are interested in developing a project (e.g., a research study, an article, an advocacy project, an edited collection) on that subject.

Please indicate in your proposal which kind of working group you are proposing, as well as the subject. If you are proposing a work-in-progress working group, please list all of the participants in your proposal.

Both kinds of working group proposals require a statement including the working group’s objectives, means of achieving those objectives, the progress that will be made toward the project during the session, as well as the ultimate plans for the project (e.g., publication, presentation, development of a teaching module or pedagogical intervention, grant proposal).

All submissions must be kept to 500 words. In your proposal please address how you will be providing accessible materials.

Deadline: Proposals are due by March 1, 2020, 11:59 p.m EST

Submit proposals: Proposal form

Participants will be notified of acceptance by April 15, 2020.

Questions? Contact

Proposal Review Criteria

As they read proposals, reviewers will focus on five broad criteria:

  1. Connection to key contexts, issues, and practices. Is the proposal situated contextually in the field’s research traditions, current issues, and/or practices? The connection to the field’s broader identities, research, and interests should be clear to reviewers.
  2. Relationship to the conference theme of “Critical Literacies in the 21st Century Classroom.” Does the proposal specify and elaborate on major issues and ask questions about or propose actions that others might take in relation to the conference theme? The proposal should make clear the opportunities that are opened through consideration of its approach or focus.
  3. Focus. Does the proposal seem focused enough for the time available, keeping in mind the need to engage audiences in discussion? Reviewers should be able to readily understand the proposal’s primary question or the idea it will explore and see potential for interaction among presenters and attendees or working group members.
  4. Audience engagement. For workshops and interactive panels, does the proposal describe how the presenter(s) will sustain engagement from participants throughout the session? Does the proposal describe what attendees will take away from the session? For working groups, does the proposal clearly articulate how those participating will support the objectives of the group?
  5. Innovation. Do the practices described establish new ground or point to wider implications or new questions based in research and experience, rather than just describing “what I do in my classroom?” Reviewers should be able to identify what is new, different, and exciting about what is being proposed.

General Guidelines for Proposals and Participants

  • Provide only the information requested. The intense reviewing procedure makes supplemental material a hindrance.
  • In your proposal please address how you will be providing accessible materials.
  • Persons with accepted proposals will be notified by April 15, 2020.
  • Names appearing in the conference program will represent only peer-reviewed proposals and paid registrations.
  • CCCC depends on the support of everyone who attends. Program participants must register online and submit the registration fee when they accept their role in the program.