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Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning: Conferences

  • 2017 AEPL Conference

    “Writing as a Way of Being Human”


    June 22–25, 2017


    YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park, CO


    Inspired by keynote speaker Robert Yagelski’s Writing as a Way of Being, the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning (AEPL)’s summer 2017 conference will bring together teachers, writers, and scholars from a variety of institutions, K–PhD, to investigate and enact what Yagelski calls the “potentially transformative inquiry into self and world that writing can be.”

    The human element has never been more important for our teaching and writing practices. As a result of defunding, perpetual assessment, and other ideological and social pressures, our institutions are in crisis. Yagelski views these problems as a result of the artificial separations of self/world and mind/body in everyday experience. The divides widen when we conceive of writing and writing instruction as means to an end rather than as a reflective and generative practice we might share together. Joining together in intentional acts of writing can awaken us to our interconnectedness, and to ways in which—as individuals and as a writing community—we might address the social and environmental challenges of our present and future world.  

    You can find early details about the conference site, the call for papers and presentations, and conference registration details below.  

    Please join us.  

    Conference Docs

    • Call for Papers/Presentations ( Word | PDF)  - Proposal deadline extended until April 8.
    • Registration Form  
      • Print and mail form (pay by check): ( Word | PDF)  


    Lodging fees are in addition to conference registration fees. Attendees are responsible for arranging lodging through the YMCA of the Rockies

    Rates are discounted for conference registrants and include lodging for June 22–25, 2017, and meals from dinner on June 22 through breakfast on June 25. Shorter stays are available.  

    • Single occupancy: $457.00
    • Double occupancy: $278.50
    • Triple occupancy: $219.00
    • Four to a room: $189.25
    • Five to a room: $171.40

    Deadline to reserve: April 22, 2017. After that day, AEPL must release rooms not yet reserved and participants will need to find other accommodations in Estes Park and pay for meals individually. Questions about accommodations or requests to be placed with roommates can be sent to

    Transportation and Room Sharing

    Denver International is the nearest airport to the conference site. AEPL attendees have a tradition of sharing rides to/from the airport. Write if you would like to share car rental expenses—a good way to make new friends off the bat. 

    A Message from AEPL Co-Chairs Bruce Novak and Yvonne Siu-Runyan 

    This year has for many of us been one of very tough new times: times that call out to us to seek anew to build a world that is “more decent, more humane, more peaceful,” in the words of AEPL 2017 conference speaker, advisory board member, and this year’s NCTE President Doug Hesse, from his  deeply stirring presidential address at November’s NCTE annual meeting.

    Please come help us do that at this year’s summer conference, “Writing as a Way of Being Human,” also featuring Bob Yagelski and Kurt Spellmeyer—and, hopefully, you! The conference is being organized by our great new Associate Chair Nate Mickelson (see below) at our traditional location in the Y of the Rockies, near Estes Park, Colorado, June 22–25. This is going to be a very, very special conference, in a time when it will be more meaningful than ever for us to come together in the deep community it has always been the main intent of our conferences to bring into being. As Doug so movingly sang to the words of Sondheim’s Into the Woods to end his address:

    Hard to see the light now.
    Just don’t let it go!
    Someone is on your side.
    No one is alone!

    It will be great to have you at our side this summer, and I think we will all be there for one another in new ways in these new times in which we need more than ever what Yagelski has called “the potentially transformative inquiry into self and world that writing can be.” The brochure is attached—do note that there is a $50 discount up to January 15, and that the proposal deadline has been extended until April 8.

    It is also my great pleasure to inform you that Cambridge Scholars has already expressed great interest in publishing the proceedings of this conference. So we are going to invite (though not require) all presenters to prepare versions of their presentations as papers that we will post online before the conference. Of course, the presentations themselves, as always, will need to be highly interactive (and acceptance for the conference does not automatically entail acceptance for the book); but, we are hoping that this will add to the dialogue taking place at the conference, as well as expediting the process of getting the new book ready.

    Also, the Cambridge Scholars volume The Art of Noticing Deeply, edited by Jan and David Buley and Rupert Collister, deriving from many of the presentations of the 2014 conference of that name, is now out, and an extract is available!

    For those of you wishing to receive the upcoming JAEPL, the next to last under the spectacular editorship of Joonna Trapp and Brad Peters, your membership is now due: $30/one year, $75/three years, $100/five years, and 50 percent off each for students, adjuncts, and retirees. You can either renew online at AEPL, or send a check to AEPL Membership Chair Christy Wenger at 334 Hallmark Dr., Martinsburg, West Virginia 25403. You may write her at Christy will be in touch soon with multi-year members whose membership has expired.

    Associate Chair Maureen Hall, who organized last year’s conference, needed to focus her energies elsewhere, so we asked Nate Mickelson, ex officio board member since 2013, and now also our CCCC’s Standing Group leader and 2017 conference organizer, to take over that position. Nate is a Yale PhD, teaches at Guttman College in New York City, and has been a quite stirring presenter and a quite warm presence at our conferences. We could not be more pleased at his willingness to offer his brilliance and positive spirit in so many ways to us. 

    We are also greatly happy to announce two new ex officio board members. Vajra Watson, of UC Davis, keynoted both last summer’s conference and this November’s NCTE SIG, and both her work in the “literacy of hope and liberation” and her luminous presence are going to be great assets to us. Sheryl Mylan, dean of Humanities at the College of DuPage County, Illinois, is an old friend, having served as secretary from 2004 to 2006, and another luminous presence who joined us again last summer with many fond memories that we wanted to encourage her to add to. 

    Last, Bruce wanted to share with you a grant proposal pertinent to these times that he has been working on over the holiday. In some ways it is the project he’s been working on his whole life, that first brought him to AEPL: finding the right philosophical concepts to match the human intuitions of the deep teaching this organization has, more than anything else, sought to promote, which may well decisively justify the dramatic expansion of that kind of teaching to a public that can deeply benefit from it, in a time in which it is more than ever needed. 

    Finally, an enthusiastic attendee from last summer’s conference is preparing a newsletter we hope to send out early next year—and we’ll also include in that any messages or news any of you has to offer about what you’ve been doing lately—just send them to This is one way of coming together through the offering and affirmation of the meaning of what we do, even for those unable to attend the conference!

    Yours, Yvonne and Bruce
    AEPL Co-Chairs Yvonne Siu-Runyan and Bruce Novak