Creating Connections 2024

Our theme for the 7th annual Creating Connections symposium on writing pedagogy, “Re-envisioning ‘Good’ Writing in the 21st Century University,” was inspired by Dr. Vershawn Ashanti Young’s work on code meshing, a means of encouraging student writers to bring their authentic selves to all forms of communication. Young’s work encourages us to re-envision what we mean by “good” writing in our fields so that we “[promote] recognition and acceptance of the robust and positive ways that people’s home, heritage, cultural languages influence all of their communicative practices in school, in home, and at work,” and this year’s symposium takes up this call in multiple ways. We will feature workshops on information literacy and on positionality in science writing, as well as a roundtable on approaches to writing that foreground student agency. The symposium will be held in person, with opportunities to watch remotely.


Young Research Library Main Conference Room (YRL 11360) (accessibility guide)
Zoom information will be provided via RSVP.

Revised Schedule

Pedagogy Social Hour

Description: Come grab a coffee or tea and some breakfast treats and strike up a conversation with colleagues about how your classes are going this quarter (or future pedagogical plans)!

10:30 – 11:30


Welcome from Laurel Westrup, Coordinator of the Graduate Certificate in Writing Pedagogy



Steal These Ideas, Please! Information Literacy Activities for First-Year Composition

Description: Participants in this session will sample and discuss six activities that engage students around issues of information literacy, citation justice, voice, and culture. Be prepared to leave with creative lesson plans and embodied teaching strategies for teaching writing.

Workshop Leaders:

Marilyn Love, C. Phil, Near Eastern Languages & Cultures
James L. Epps, Teaching Advising Consultant, Writing Programs
Dr. Tara Prescott-Johnson, Continuing Lecturer in Writing Programs

Link: Workshop materials


Lunch and Conversation

Lunch will be provided!

12:30 – 1:15


Positionality & Audience in Science Writing

Description: In this workshop, attendees will learn about the importance of recognizing positionality, identity, and diversity in science writing and learn how the acknowledgment of these nuances can be leveraged to effectively communicate with a given audience. We will share examples of the epistemic strength of identity in science, and explore how identity can become central to classroom activities and writing assignments in UCLA science courses. Active participation and generative discussion is encouraged!

Workshop Leaders:
Hayley L. Bricker (they/them), 4th year PhD student in paleoclimatology, UCLA Earth, Planetary & Space Sciences
Caitlyn Fick (she/her), 4th year PhD candidate in polymer chemistry, UCLA Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Michelle Rensel (she/her), Assistant Teaching Professor, UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics

Links: handout | slides


Break and Conversation



Individual Voices and Distributed Knowledge

Description: This panel will discuss strategies for enabling students to create spaces within the expectations of various writing disciplines for contributing their own authentic voices, enriched by individual and cultural practices. Additionally, we’ll address methods to overcome the ways in which AI-based tools and their related surveillance measures impede students’ unique sense of self in their writing, particularly among marginalized students. Through acknowledging and deferring generic writing expectations, we promote translanguaging, communal writing, field journaling, and scholarly dialogue. These practices can equip students to produce original writing that fosters agency, experimentation, self-awareness, and surprise, instead of merely conforming to predictable, imitative, or even “correct” standards.

Tam J. Guy (they/them), Department of Urban Planning

Jacob Lang (he/him), English Department
Dana Cairns Watson (she/her), Writing Programs & Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Liz Arnold (she/her), Department of Anthropology
Fadhila Hadjeris (she/her), Department of Education
Soseul Park (she/her), Department of Asian Languages and Cultures

Links: slides | additional resources

2:15 – 3:00

2024 Steering Committee:

Chloe Bell-Wilson (she/her), History and Clusters
Peggy Davis (she/her), Writing Programs
Emily Frake (she/her), School of Education
Laurel Westrup (she/her), Writing Programs

2024 Volunteers:

William Hirsh, Geography
Jada Patchigondla, Writing Programs
Leslie Sherwood, Writing Programs
Julia Walder, School of Education

Thank You

Tony Friscia, Director of UCLA Clusters
Leigh Harris, Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Educational Initiatives
Christine Holten, Director of Writing Programs
Sara Hosegera, Curriculum Planning Analyst, Writing Programs
Jade Lacy, Business Office Coordinator, English
Suzy Lee, Young Research Library
Alexandra Minna Stern, Dean of Humanities
Whitney Su, Business Office Manager, English
Chris Thompson, IT Manager, Writing Programs & English
Brooke Wilkinson, Director of Academic Initiatives

This year’s symposium was made possible by

Funding from UCLA Clusters | Undergraduate Educational Initiatives
A grant from the Division of Humanities Creating Community Fund

This symposium was organized by students in the Graduate Certificate in Writing Pedagogy in consultation with faculty and staff in UCLA Writing Programs