2023: Pittsburgh



November 2-4, 2023

Sheraton at Station Square, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Important dates

July 1, 2023: Proposal decisions begin to be sent

August 1, 2023: Deadline for presenters to confirm their participation

September 1, 2023: Deadline for submitting ads for the program

September 15, 2023: Early bird registration closes

October 3, 2023: Registration refunds are no longer available

October 9, 2023: Hotel block at the Sheraton is released and prices can no longer be guaranteed. Please note this is hotel is used for Steeler game attendees, and so rates may skyrocket after this date.

November 2, 2023: NCPTW Pittsburgh begins!



Writing centers have been varyingly characterized as safe (Meuse; Welch), brave (Hallman Martini and Webster), and inclusive (Blazer; Wilson) spaces that support students in their development as writers, learners, meaning makers, and citizens. Though such characterizations have been challenged, they emphasize that there is something special about writing centers as spaces of knowledge and community construction. This uniqueness arises in part from the ability of writing center peer tutors and administrators to build bridges and break clichés, to create new connections and to challenge outdated perceptions. This unique capacity gives rise to the theme of the NCPTW 2023: Building Bridges and Breaking Clichés. 

Writing centers are well positioned to build bridges—and have been doing so for years. Writing center peer tutors and administrators work with writers and teachers across campus from multiple disciplines, ages, abilities, and backgrounds. They create connections with community partners. They endeavor to bring literacy education to and grow through listening to the voices of marginalized and underserved populations. 

Likewise, writing centers have also long worked to challenge clichés, including familiar misperceptions that have haunted writing centers since their inception. Many of these clichés were challenged famously in Stephen North’s “The Idea of a Writing Center”: writing centers help writers only with grammar errors, writing centers are remedial spaces, writing centers require students to have finished papers. These notions may still sound all too familiar. But other clichés (unintentionally) arose from North’s idea (which North himself acknowledged): writing center tutors should always use nondirective approaches, writing centers seek to create better writers rather than better papers, line-by-line editing is never appropriate. Further, writing centers have also had to work against other clichés emerging from their efforts to build bridges, such as the notion that writing centers uphold the prominence of standard written English and writing centers are only relevant for English or composition courses. Perhaps most pernicious is the idea that writing centers are now outdated or are even counterproductive (Jacobs).

There is still work to do. And in a time of pandemic, war, and division, writing centers are more important than ever. Therefore, the 2023 NCPTW aims to provide a space for creating connections and challenging clichés. Presentations will provide occasions for peer tutors and administrators to discuss strategies for breaking clichés that hamper our work as well as strategies for building bridges to new communities—be they new populations of writers, new student groups, or new partners off-campus. Our keynote address will embody this approach by including writing center administrators and peer tutors from secondary and postsecondary institutions. Our social events and conference activities will provide occasions for networking, sharing ideas, and having fun!

Pittsburgh is an apt site for this work. Pittsburgh is the City of Bridges, having the most bridges of any city in the United States and the second most bridges of any city in the world. It is also a city that has bridged the past and present, drawing upon its rich industrial history to create new opportunities in cutting-edge fields. Additionally, Pittsburgh is a city that has broken clichés, particularly the notion that Pittsburgh is a polluted, industrial town. In the last twenty years, Pittsburgh has established itself as a leader in medicine, higher education, and clean energy initiatives. With all it has to offer, National Geographic Traveller named Pittsburgh to its “Cool List 2019” of trending travel destinations.

Join us in our quest to build bridges!

Cover image by PETE CHACALOS; bridge image by Christopher Klein from Pixabay

Thank you to our TOP sponsors! Click on each to learn more!

Duquesne University McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Duquesne University English and Theatre Arts Department

Duquesne University Center for Teaching Excellence

Additional thanks to our Carson Bridge sponsors. Please click on each to learn more!

If you would like to contribute to NCPTW 2023 as a sponsor, please email ncptw2023@yahoo.com