Writing a Strong Proposal

If this is your first time submitting your work to an academic conference, the task may feel daunting–it may feel daunting even if you’re an experienced center director helping new tutors craft their proposal submissions. This section offers helpful links to resources about crafting proposals. Key takeaways from these resources include:

  • Address the conference theme. The theme is there for a reason: articulate how your work fits into the theme.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of your area. Feel free to integrate paraphrases and source material to show the proposal reviewers that you are up-to-date in research in the field.
  • Make a contribution. Every academic piece, whether it’s a presentation or a peer-reviewed article, must address the question, “So what?” Think about why your work matters and why others in our conference would want to hear about it. Are there practical take aways? Are you changing the world of writing center studies? Are you moving us beyond a long-held tradition or belief? Are you adding to a body of work that will help other center staff in some way?
  • Engage the audience. No one wants to sit for an hour listening to people drone or read from papers. Articulate what makes your presentation unique. Will you interact with the audience? Ask the audience to participate? Have handouts? Build a Google Doc? Stage a flash mob? Engaging the audience doesn’t necessarily mean “the most innovative thing we’ve ever seen!”, but it does mean thinking critically about who your audience is and what modes of communication are best to express your research and takeaways.
  • Follow instructions. Be aware of what the CFP submission form asks for, and adhere to those expectations.

 

Additional resources and ways to think about writing proposals: