2024 Conference on the Teaching of Writing

UConn First-Year Writing presents the 19th annual

Conference on the Teaching of Writing

Counterstories, Co-Conspirators, and Composition

Saturday, April 20, 2024
University of Connecticut
Storrs, Connecticut

About the Conference

The Conference on the Teaching of Writing provides professional development for writing educators. It attracts instructors and administrators of writing programs from across the world.

Theme: Counterstories, Co-Conspirators, and Composition

The 2024 theme shines a light on narratives pushed to the fringes – narratives that enrich our understanding with depth, complexity, and an abundance of possibilities. By recognizing the value of counterstories in education, we challenge the notion of a privileged few stories worthy of scholarly attention. This act of inclusion demands a re-examination of history, a revision where all voices find their rightful place.

Writing classrooms need counterstories to critically examine what we have been taught to think about writing education. Attendees will consider the following questions throughout the conference:

  • What are the political implications of counterstories in the classrooms?
  • How are counterstories specifically intersectional, and how does this appear in our classrooms?
  • How might we understand counterstory in conversation with accessibility?
  • How could a pedagogy of counterstories go beyond the classroom to affect whole campuses, institutions, or communities?
  • How can the work of counterstory make writing accessible for those outside the academy, especially those who have been minoritized by systems of higher education?
  • What is the relationship between counterstories and technology? How have counterstories developed alongside or in reaction to evolving technology?
  • How do counterstories challenge ideas of neutrality or objectivity within the writing classroom and the university more broadly?

Friday April 19th—Schedule

All Friday events take place in the North Reading Room in Wilbur Cross

1–3 p.m.

Teaching Workshop Led by Keynote Speaker Aja Y. Martinez with Robert O. Smith "It Was Always Story: The Original Intent of Critical Race Theory"

3:30–4:30 p.m.

Aetna Celebration of Student Writing

Conference Schedule

8-9 a.m.


9-10 a.m.

Keynote — Aja Martinez

10-10:15 a.m.


10:15–11:30 a.m.

Panel Session 1

  • Panel A: New Outlooks on Artificial Intelligence in the Writing Classroom
  • Panel B: Social Transformation in the Classroom
  • Panel C: Multimodality and Visual Literacies

11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.


12-1 p.m.

Poster Presentations

1-2:15 p.m.

Panel Session 2

  • Panel D: Teaching Transfer for the University Classroom and Beyond
  • Panel E: Personal Narratives and Pedagogy
  • Panel F: Imaginative Perspectives on Counterstories in the First-Year Writing Classroom

2:15-2:30 p.m.


2:30–3:45 p.m.

Panel Session 2

  • Panel G: Considering Counterstories in First-Year Writing
  • Panel H: Strategies for Implementing Counterstories in the Classroom

Keynote Speaker

Aja Y. Martinez

Associate Professor of English, University of North Texas

Aja Y. Martinez emphasizes the intertwined nature of narrative and theory. Her scholarship, published nationally and internationally, makes a compelling case for counterstory as methodology through the well-established framework of critical race theory (CRT). Dr. Martinez’ book, Counterstory: The rhetoric and writing of critical race theory, is available as an eBook through the UConn Library.

"My own writing process has included and always will include my family nonacademics, because the work is for them, is sometimes about them, and is nearly always inspired by them. And if my work in counterstory is inaccessible to the very people it is for — well, then what's the point?"

Aja Martinez

Location and Venue

The conference will take place in the North Reading Room of the Wilbur Cross Building (WCB) on UConn’s main campus in Storrs.

UConn’s one-stop shop for student services, the Wilbur Cross Building is easily identifiable by its golden-domed cupola. It is home to CrossRoads Café as well as numerous student service offices, including the Registrar, Residential Life, the Center for Students with Disabilities, the Center for Career Development, and Financial Aid, to name a few.


Friday, April 19

Parking for the Aetna Celebration of Writing Event is available at the North and South Parking Garages. View the garage rates and locations.

Saturday, April 20

Parking is free and available in any employee and student commuter lots that are not otherwise restricted.

The lots closest to Wilbur Cross that meet that criteria are the lot between the School of Nursing and the Austin Building (accessible through Glenbrook Road) and the lot in front of Manchester Hall (accessible through Mansfield Way). The space for these two lots is very limited. There are more spaces available on Whitney Road or the lot next to the North Garage.

Additional information about parking for visitors to the Storrs campus can be found on UConn’s Parking Services website.


Peter Pan buses come to UConn Storrs from Hartford, New York City, Boston, and other cities. For other bus options for getting to UConn from other points in Connecticut, check out UConn’s Transportation Services’ Regional Transit page and the CT Transit’s Trip Planner.

Additional information about getting to campus can be found in this helpful guide prepared by UConn’s Global Affairs.


The conference will serve coffee and tea in the morning and lunch in the afternoon (vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options available).

There are many options in Downtown Storrs for dinner, coffee, and/or snacks. We recommend Gansett Wraps, Dog Lane Café, and Kathmandu Kitchen & Bar. There are also numerous other stores and restaurants in this area, including Price Chopper, CVS, Subway, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Starbucks, and Dunkin’.

The Student Union (SU) Building, located a 5-minute walk from the building where the conference takes place, contains a food court and a convenience store.


Lodging is available near campus, including the following options:

Graduate Hotels Storrs
Address: 855 Bolton Rd, Storrs, CT 06268
Phone: (860) 427-7888

Spring Hill Inn
Address: 957 Storrs Rd, Storrs, CT 06268
Phone: (860) 477-1199

There are also AirBNB options near campus.

Past Events