How do I get my Poster to the Conference?

On the Writing Center listserv WCENTER, NCTPW2015 presenter Erin Pastore from Merrimack College asked the following  question:

I am very excited to be part of the poster sessions this year at NCPTW with two of my undergraduate writing consultants.

But, having never presented a poster before, we are unsure of the best means of getting it to Salt Lake from Massachusetts.

What would veteran poster presenters suggest? Any pitfalls of either option we should know about?

Veteran presenter Bill McAuley, from the University of Nevada, Reno replied

If it’s a physical poster, I would ship it to yourself at the hotel in a hard tube, arriving before you do, just in case. Make sure that the hotel knows you are doing so and that they have apparatus to receive and keep it for you. USPS and UPS are both reliable and cheap. Fed Ex is the former but less so the latter, at least by comparison and in my experience. Finally, all of those years in air freight come to some use . . .

And Dawn Fels, of the University of Pittsburgh added

I would add that you should phone the hotel to be sure that they don’t charge you  or the conference storage fees.

Thanks to Bill & Dawn for their excellent advice.

Presentation Guide

by Chris LeCluyse
NCPTW 2015 Co-Chair

This guide describes each of the different kinds of presentations scheduled for NCPTW 2015 and provides some pointers to keep in mind as you prepare for the conference. If you have additional questions about the conference, see this very web site, or e-mail

General Logistics

Session Chairs

Each session will be introduced and timed by an assigned chairperson. The chair should become familiar with the presentations beforehand and orient audience members by letting them know about the theme of the session. Chairs will also time presentations and let presenters know as they reach the end of their allotted block. See the descriptions of various formats below for how long each has been allotted.


If you have requested a digital projector in your proposal and paid the technology fee, you will be placed in a room with a digital projector and a screen.  The Little America Hotel does provide technical support, and information on how to contact technical support will be in the conference program.  Each projector will have a pair of speakers, and  a wired internet connection.


If you wish to provide copies for your session attendees, we suggest at least 25.  It is difficult to predict how many people will attend sessions, however, so you may have too many or too few.  The Little America does offer copying services  at $.25 per page for black and white, or $.75 per page for color. 

Presentation Formats

Individual and Panel Presentations

Individual presentations generally consist of three separate presentations of fifteen to twenty minutes apiece, followed by up to 10 minutes for discussion, questions, and answers at the end of all presentations. Individual presentations were submitted separately and combined by the conference organizers according to their topics.  In some cases, only two presentations have been scheduled for a particular session according to their topics and technology needs.  You should check to see who you are paired with in order to determine the amount of time you will be allowed.  If your individual presentation has more than one presenter, you only be allocated the time for the presentation as a whole.  In other words, if you are in a session with 2 other presentations, you will only be allocated 20 mintues.

Panel presentations were submitted together as complete sessions.  Panel presentations have been allocated the full 60 minutes with 10 minutes of discussion time at the end.  You will be responsible for dividing the 60 minutes as you see fit.  Your session chair will indicate when your time is up, and you will have 10 minutes for discussion and questions.  

Suggestions for Individual and Panel Presentations

We encourage all presenters to situate their work in current writing center scholarship. Consider what others have recently published on the topic and how the presentation relates to that context. Even if the purpose of the presentation is to showcase an initiative, method, or findings from a particular place, review recent writing center literature to show how that particular development compares with what others have done and argued.

Presenters may choose to read from written papers or speak from notes or presentation slides. If presenters choose to read from written papers, please keep in mind that the presentation is still an oral genre. Simply reading a piece originally written to be read silently will not likely engage the audience or help them track information. Oral delivery generally requires more “signposting” to prepare listeners for what’s to come and summary of previous points to help them assimilate information. At the same time, it does not require the same depth of evidence and argument that lengthy written arguments do. A few supporting points are generally enough to make a case, and detailed data sets can be summarized or saved for slides or handouts.

Please be considerate of the other presenters by keeping within the fifteen- to twenty-minute time frame. It takes about two minutes to deliver a page of double-spaced text at a comfortable pace. Therefore, think of an individual presentation as taking up no more than seven to nine pages of writing. The session chair will signal presenters at fifteen and nineteen minutes.

More extemporaneous presentations should be practiced beforehand to avoid long digressions.  Slide shows should play a supporting role for your presentation.  Avoid just reading your slides.

Poster Discussions

Posters will be displayed around the edges of the room and are especially suited to presenting on specific programs or strategies. As the audience circulates, presenters will explain their poster to small groups, discuss their work, and answer questions. Presenters may distribute handouts to summarize their presentations.  Keep in mind that you will be presenting your material to many people over and over again.  

Posters typically feature several panels or sections summarizing key aspects of the topic or project (for example, introduction/background, methods, results, and conclusions for empirical research). They often include visual diagrams to make it easy for viewers to assimilate information quickly.  Successful poster discussions usually have something for the viewer to take away with them.

We will have easels for your use.  Your poster should be mounted on thick display cardboard.  We will not provide this cardboard.  If you cannot carry your cardboard-mounted poster with you in your travels, there are several office supply stores within walking or TRAX light rail distance of the conference hotel.  The conference hotel is within the free fare zone for Utah Transit Authority.  If you stay within that zone (encompassing most of downtown) you will not have to pay a fare.


Roundtables feature a group of speakers who each give brief presentations before discussing a topic among themselves and with the audience. For NCPTW 2015, roundtable sessions will be split between two roundtables that have common themes.  This means that each roundtable group is allotted thirty minutes of the seventy-minute block.   Ten minutes will be allocated at the end of the session for discussion of both roundtable presentations and will be coordinated by the session chair.

Our roundtable rooms will be configured with chairs arranged in a U shape to facilitate conversation, since roundtables are an opportunity for others in the room to participate in a discussion.  For that reason, we suggest that you structure your formal presentations to prompt conversation.  You may wish to create writing prompts, for example, to get people thinking and talking.  Another method to get people talking is to have them work in even smaller groups that have been given a specific task.   You may also wish to have your session attendees walk away with something tangible that they created in the session.

Please be careful to make sure your discussion doesn’t run over time.  Your session chair will remind you when you have five minutes left; when your time is up, move along to the other roundtable or to mutual discussion. 


Workshops are participatory sessions that involve participants in creating something tangible for their own writing center practice.  Workshops are limited to 70 minutes and will all be held on Sunday morning, November 8, 2015.  Workshops will not have chair assigned to them, so you will need to control your time accordingly.  Formal presentation should be limited in workshop sessions so that participants have time to apply, discuss, and reflect on the instruction and their work.  Workshop attendees should be actively engaged in the session and have something tangible to take away with them.  

Public Draft Program Preview

The NCPTW preview program has been in the hands of NCPTW presenters for just about a week now, so the NCPTW2015 co-chairs Andrea Malouf, Chris LeCluyse, and Clint Gardner think that this is an opportune time to release the preview program for public viewing. If you visit you will be able to see the breadth and depth of the program in a Google Sheets spreadsheet. We have over 200 presentations and round tables over 2 days (Friday, November 6 and Saturday November 7, 2015). We also have an excellent Sunday morning of intensive workshops (November 8).

There are many other exciting events at the conference:

  •  A sold out Psychogeography Tour of area writing centers where participants will travel around the Salt Lake Valley visiting the SLCC Community Writing Center, Westminster College Writing Center, and Salt Lake Community College Student Writing Center. Participants will be invited to reflect on the impact that space and location has on writing center work
  •  An opening reception on Thursday where you can greet old friends and meet new ones.
  • Jackie Grutsch McKinney will set the keynote for the conference with her address “On Elephants, Writing Center Tutors, and Other Misunderstood Creatures.”
  • On Friday night we will have the first ever TutorCon: For, About, and By Peer Writing Tutors. Peer writing tutors are invited to join together for an evening of fun activities, music, great raffle prizes, and light refreshments.
  • On Saturday, we will have several special interest groups (SIGs): LGBTQ, anti-racism activism, high school writing centers, and language policy.
  • We’ll also have a wrap-up session on Sunday to reflect on how we can take our NCPTW experience forward into our writing center work.

In case you don’t want to click around, here are some handy links to get you going:

We’re looking forward to seeing you all in Salt Lake in November!