Council of Writing Program Administrators
2017 Conference: Workshop, July 16-19; Institutes, July 20; Conference, July 20-23

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About the Conference

The annual CWPA conference has many unique characteristics.  More than just a series of presentations, it is a gathering of those engaged in the challenging and important work of administering programs. As WPAs find themselves in the liminal space where scholarship, advocacy, administrative tasks, and pedagogies intersect, this conference is designed to allow for the maximum amount of interaction among participants from whom we can learn, and with whom we can “solve problems together.”

The 2017 Council of Writing Program Administrators Conference will be held at the Hilton Hotel and UT Conference Center in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. Great dining options, museums, and entertainment venues are within easy walking distance; check the “About Knoxville” section of the site to learn more about the conference venue and the Knoxville area.

The Council of Writing Program Administrators 2017 Conference program is now available on Guidebook at

Android and iOS users: Tap the "Download" button to get the free Guidebook app; open Guidebook to find our "Council of Writing Program Administrators 2017 Conference" guide.

The program is also available for viewing on the web at:

A pdf copy of the CWPA 2017 program is available here. The schedule is subject to change, so please check for updates on the Guidebook version of the program (mobile app or web). Updates also will be announced each morning at 7:30 during breakfast and at each meal. Printed copies will be available upon request at the Registration Table in the Hilton lobby starting on Thursday, July 20, at noon.

We are pleased to announce the CWPA 2017 Conference Opening Plenary Speakers:
Tony Scott (Syracuse University) and Nancy Welch (University of Vermont)

They will begin our conversations about how we can solve problems together and act as advocates and agents of change even in this age of austerity with their talk entitled:

“Between Can-Do and Won’t-Do: Critically Elaborating Writing Program Administration”

Writing programs and their administrators, contributors to Composition in the Age of Austerity suggest, are not only compromised and constrained by local conditions; they are victim to global trends of defunding and dispossession—or even a vehicle for delivering the neoliberal goal of highly surveilled, scantly funded, marketized higher education. Yet from basic writing and first-year composition to graduate education, community-based writing, and prison-writing programs, we all gather in Knoxville because we are committed to our local programs—and because we are committed to the possibility of reclaiming a global vision of higher education rooted in principles like service, access, equality, and justice. In this plenary we will take up Antonio Gramsci’s call for “critical elaboration” and Anna Tsing’s model of investigation into “zones of awkward engagement.” With multilayered illustrations from our own programs, we will explore what it can mean for a writing program director to resist the unforeseen consequences and free-market opportunism of the “can-do” administrator while also rejecting the “won’t-do” position of disengagement and abstention from the work of writing programs altogether.

Note: Since CWPA 2017 is focusing upon themes related to Composition in the Age of Austerity, edited by Nancy Welch and Tony Scott (this year’s plenary speakers), Utah State University Press is pleased to offer a special discount for attendees ordering copies before the conference. Purchase at using promo code WELCHSCOTT by July 1 to get a 25% discount!


Henley Street Bridge. Photo courtesy of Kristi Larkin Havens.

Conference Registration | July 20-23

  • Early Registration (Through May 31) – $410
  • Regular Registration (After May 31) – $450
  • Early Student/Adjunct Registration (Through May 31) – $315
  • Regular Student/Adjunct Registration (After May 31) – $355

Conference registration includes the Thursday evening awards reception; breakfasts, breaks, and lunches on Friday and Saturday; Friday’s reception; Saturday’s social at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame; and Sunday’s breakfast.

Workshop Registration | July 16-19

Workshop Registration – $775

CWPA is offering two concurrent workshops this year so that more people can participate. Workshop registration is capped at 40 (20 participants per workshop).

Workshop registration includes Sunday’s reception; breakfasts, breaks, and lunches on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; and dinner on Wednesday.  All workshop participants receive a one-year membership in the CWPA.

Institutes Registration | July 20

Institute Registration – $200

CWPA is offering three concurrent institutes. Click here to learn more about the Institute topics. Institute registration is capped at 25 participants per institute.
Institute registration includes breakfast, breaks, and lunch on Thursday. 


Refund requests must be submitted in writing via email to Megan Bolton at no later than June 19, 2017.  Cancellations received on or before June 19, 2017 will incur a $25 processing fee, which will be deducted from all approved refunds.

Advance registration closes on July 3, 2017. On-site registration will begin on Thursday, July 20, at 12:00 pm, in the Hilton.