Lake Superior Summit on the Teaching of Writing & English as a Second Language 2023

Join us for the 10th Annual Conference: Lessons from the Land: Teaching, Learning, Writing, Living

Date: Friday, March 3rd, 2023
Time: 9:00am to 3:30pm, registration opens at 8:30am
Location: Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

Welcome to the 10th annual Lake Superior Summit on the Teaching of Writing & English as a Second Language, 2023, held this year at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. This year, we look forward to reflecting on the past, grounding ourselves in the present, and looking to the future together.

Ten years ago, the Summit was founded with the goal of building connections between writing teachers in the Northland. We continue to create professional development opportunities for one another and provide a space for collaborative conversations which honor the deep level of expertise of all our conference attendees.

Register for the 2023 Lake Superior Summit

Call for Session Proposals

Call for Session Proposals: 10th Annual Lake Superior Summit  

Lessons from the Land: Teaching, Learning, Living, Writing

Please consider proposing a session or a panel for the annual Lake Superior Summit. We welcome sessions from secondary and post-secondary presenters. The Summit is an opportunity for you to share your practices, problems, and reflections in a supportive, engaging space.

This year’s session theme is “Lessons from the Land: Teaching, Learning, Writing, Living.” We welcome proposals on any topic. Here are a few categories to think about:

  • How has attending the Summit impacted your teaching or writing practice?
  • How does one manage a healthy work life balance given the laborious nature of our work?
  • How does place shape your teaching and/or writing?
  • In what ways do you incorporate the practice of writing in your own life, given your busy schedule?
  • How do you address the history of colonization of our region and our institutions in your teaching and writing?

Please send a 4-5 sentence description of your presentation containing the following in an email with the subject line Summit Proposal to by 4 pm on February 9, 2023:

  • Your name(s) & institutional affiliation
  • Its title
  • The main topic/argument/approach
  • The format of your presentation (individual presentation, panel, workshop, roundtable discussion)

The committee will review all proposals and aim to include everyone who would like to present.

For more information

Please contact Darci Schummer,, with all Summit queries.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for High School Teachers

High School teachers who attend the conference can earn 6 hours of Continuing Education Units (CEUs). A CEU certificate will be available on the day of the conference to those who request it in advance on the Registration Form.

History of the Summit

The Summit was conceived in 2014 by a group of area writing instructors wishing to meet their colleagues at various educational levels and across states in the Northland. Its purpose is to bring together teachers of writing and literacy to exchange ideas, best practices, common challenges, and innovations in the teaching of writing, whether academic, creative, professional, or otherwise.

The Summit values experimentation in our small-group sessions as acts of discovery in teaching and learning. Thoughtful, intelligent sharing in question-and-answer sessions with very active audience participation is the cornerstone of this event.

In early years, conference fees ranged from $8-15 per attendee. However, since 2015, the conference has been free to attend based on generous donations from area colleges and universities.

Past Conferences

2022 Hosted by the College of Saint Scholastica, the Summit focused on exploring the relationship between secondary and post-secondary writing teachers with the theme “Common Ground or Shifting Sands?”.

2021 Hosted by the University of Wisconsin Superior, the Summit focused on “Essential Innovations” demanded by the limitations imposed by COVID-19, and considered the three themes of “Teaching with Technology,” “Lessons Learned from the Difficult Times,” and “Language & Culture.”

2020 Hosted by the University of Minnesota-Duluth, this Summit addressed awareness and visibility in the classroom, diverse narratives and perspectives, and challenging conversations related to the teaching of writing and English as a Second Language, with the theme “Absence to Presence: Nurturing Awareness & Visibility in Our Teaching Spaces.”

2019 Hosted by Lake Superior College, this Summit examined the importance of writing for engaging students in a polarized nation at a time of particularly troublesome social and political discord.

2018 Hosted by Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College, this Summit explored the role of writing in the lives of both teachers and students inside and outside the academic contexts, and how these related, contrasted, and informed each other.

2017 Hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Superior Yellowjacket Union, the Summit theme, “Writing Lives in the Northland,” explored the role of writing in the lives of both teachers and students inside and outside the academic contexts and how these relate, contrast, and inform each other.

2016 Hosted by College of St. Scholastica, the Summit was focused around the theme of “Engaging Communities,” both in terms of writing teachers engaging their students, as well as how students can learn through community-based writing.

2015 Hosted by University of Minnesota-Duluth, the Summit expanded its focus by collaborating with English as a Second Language colleagues, whose interests dovetail with the teaching of writing. The theme was “Bridging Communities,” a figurative nod to bringing disciplines together, as well as a figurative nod to the bridges connecting the Twin Ports of Superior, WI and Duluth, MN.

2014 Hosted by Lake Superior College, the inaugural conference brought college and high school writing instructors in the Northland together for the first time in the existing memories of senior colleagues (upwards of 20 years).

Parking and Directions

Getting to Campus:

Take the Highway 33/Cloquet exit from Interstate 35, go north approximately one mile to Washington Avenue and turn right. Go to the first stop sign at 14th Street. Turn right onto 14th Street and follow for about one mile. The campus is on the right hand side of 14th Street. Parking is available in any of the lots that surround the main building. On-campus parking is free.

Virtual Tour

Campus Roadmap

Parking Lot Map

Campus Floorplan

Conference Schedule

8:30 am – 9:00 am

  • FDLTCC Commons
  • Registration, Coffee, Tea & Snacks


9:00 am – 10:00 am

  • FDLTCC Commons
  • Pipe Ceremony, Welcome & FDLTCC Overview: Bashqwaa’idaamoqwe (Roxanne DeLille), Dean of Indigenous and Academic Affairs
  • Keynote Address by Kat Werchouski (Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa) & Randy Barker: “Blending Culture and Science:  Medicine Wheel and PERMANENT Model for Well-Being Practices for Self and Community Care.”


SESSION 1: 10:15 am – 11:00 am

A First-Year Writing Course around Paul Bunyan and the Erasure of Minnesota’s History

  • David Beard (UMD)
  • Room 230
  • This presentation will discuss Nik Nerburn’s work “In the Shadow of Paul Bunyan,” which confronts how the myth of Paul Bunyan erases the violence enacted upon indigenous peoples in Minnesota history and how it was translated into the first-year classroom, from exercises about dinner planning to multimodal research projects.

Writing Center, Trends, Triumphs, and Challenges

  • Julie Gard (UWS) & Faith King (UMD)
  • Room 232
  • This roundtable discussion will cover current trends, challenges, and opportunities in the writing center and tutoring/student support services world.

WRITE-D: Applying Write-on-Site to the Disciplines

  • Sarah Issacson (Michigan Technological University)
  • Room 257
  • While writing is a necessity in university programs throughout the disciplines, many find it difficult to address. This session will introduce “write-in-department” groups: groups that provide a regular place and time for writing together within a department. Acknowledging the uses of such groups in undergraduate instruction, write-on-site groups have been implemented successfully at the graduate level at Michigan Technological University.

Visual Rhetoric: Teaching Encapsulation, Layout, and Composition with Graphic Novels and Films

  • Minden Hultstrom (Superior High School)
  • Room 231
  • With a focus on the complex elements of encapsulation, layout, and composition, the session will provide participants with the opportunity to engage in rhetorical analysis themselves and to learn strategies for the instruction of rhetorical analysis in the visual literary mediums of graphic novel and film.


SESSION 2: 11:15 am – 12:00 pm

Approaches to Reading Academic texts: Similarities and Differences between International and General Undergraduate Student Body Populations at UMD

  • Anna Gavrilova (UMD)
  • Room 232
  • This presentation will share the presenter’s experience of teaching academic reading to international and general/American undergraduate students at UMD, do a comparative analysis of their academic reading strategies, and discuss such aspects of the reading process as metacognition, previewing, notetaking, and others.

Artificial Intelligence and the Practice of Writing

  • Kelli Hallsten Erickson (LSC) and Amy Jo Swing (LSC)
  • Room 257
  • This roundtable discussion will address ChatGPT, an Artificial Intelligence that will generate texts based on prompts. There have been a variety of responses to this AI, which essentially boil down to How can we avoid this? and How can we use this? Let’s consider what we know about ChatGPT, what the implications on our campuses are for this tool, and what we want to know more about.

Lessons from the Gelatinous Cube: Insights for the Writing Classroom about Plagiarism and Intellectual Property from Dungeons and Dragons

  • David Beard (UMD), Lisa Horton (UMD) & Kate Rolfe (LSC)
  • Room 230
  • This presentation will talk about the proposed changes to the D&D OGL and show video clips from the fan response to these changes. It will talk about the passion as well as the economic consequences of these changes. Then, finally, the presentation will discuss how these game-centered examples can help us explain to students what is free for them to use and what is a “form of expression” that is not — and why feelings around plagiarism run so hot.

Creating in Community: A Generative Writer’s Workshop

  • Darci Schummer (FDLTCC) & Julie Gard (UWS)
  • Room 228
  • Poet Julie Gard and fiction writer Darci Schummer will focus on helping participants generate ideas for new pieces of writing in any genre. The facilitators will use example texts and writing prompts to aid you in creating new works-in-progress. There will be opportunities to share your writing with the facilitators and/or other workshop participants.


12:00pm – 1:30 pm

  • Lunch (Commons)
  • Snowshoeing


SESSION 3: 1:30 pm – 2:15 pm

Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance in Academia

  • Heather M. McGrew (UWS)
  • Room 230
  • This roundtable discussion will focus on ideas for how to maintain a healthy work-life balance based on the facilitator’s personal experience working in academia for 20+ years, some scholarly articles, and tips generated for developmental students during an internship for a doctoral program in spring of 2021.

Is There a “Reading Crisis”? 

  • Sara Sowers-Wills (UMD) & Avesa Rockwell (UMD)
  • Room 228
  • In October 2022, American Public Media released a six-part podcast called “Sold a Story: How Teaching Kids to Read Went so Wrong,” where journalist Emily Hanford exposes what cognitive scientists have known for decades: the three-cueing “whole language” literacy curriculum (that was widely adopted in public school districts since the early 2000s) essentially teaches children to do what poor readers do. Hanford argues that this approach makes reading inefficient and unenjoyable, and creates long-term habits that are difficult to break. In this roundtable, the presenters will facilitate a discussion about what we have observed about our students’ reading abilities and habits, what we have done about it, and what we can do.

Writing Alone Together: In-class Writing time in the Composition Classroom

  • Emily Woster (UMD) & John Wilcox (Northwood Technical College)
  • Room 231
  • This presentation will focus on the value of giving students “Lab Days,” or in-class writing time, to work on their writing assignments. from the student experience in these classes, to the myriad of pedagogical and practical advantages of this practice.  We support our observations with research and direct student feedback.

Credit without coursework: A roundtable discussion on our region’s credit for prior learning policies and practices

  • Beth Grbavcich (UWS)
  • Room 257
  • The goal of this roundtable is to share and compare local colleges’ implementation of and policies on prior learning assessment. From challenge exams to portfolio reviews, there are numerous ways for students to accumulate college credits for knowledge and experience without taking courses. This session will give a brief explanation of prior learning assessment then be guided by prompts and questions to the attendees about the HOWs, WHYs, WHATs, and SHOULDs of credit for prior learning on our local campuses.


2:30 pm – 3:00 pm

  • FDLTCC Commons
  • Drum Ceremony
Keynote Presenters

Randy Barker, M.S.Ed., LPC, (he/him ) is the Director of Student Health and Counseling Services and the Founding Director of the Pruitt Center for Mindfulness and Well-Being at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Randy has previously worked as a college counselor, taught college courses on Positive Psychology, Emotional Intelligence & Mindfulness, and has provided a vast array of training and workshops surrounding the diverse areas of mental health, well-being and EDI. Randy is the creator of the PERMANENT Model of Well-Being, which encompasses a “mind, body, spirit” or holistic approach to well-being. Each of the nine domains of this model has established scientific evidence and teachable/learnable skills that have been shown to increase an individual’s well-being.

Katrina “Kat” Werchouski (she/her/hers) is a proud member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, with ties to the Leech Lake and Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe tribes as well as the state of Jalisco, Mexico. She currently serves as an Equity and Inclusion Education and Training Specialist for the Minnesota Department of Human Services in the Office for Equity and Inclusion and as Senior Partner and Senior Consultant for Peak Perspectives LLC. Prior to this job, she was the Diversity and Inclusion Manager for the American Academy of Neurology, the Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and Senior Diversity Officer at the University of Wisconsin – Superior and the Director of the Indigenous Cultures Center at Northland College. She earned her B.S. in Environmental Studies (Environmental Public Law and Policy) and B.A. in Native American Studies from Northland College and her M.S. in Environmental Studies (Written Communications) from Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont. Kat is finishing the final stages of being a doctoral student at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (you can call her Doctor in about 3 weeks!). Her personal and professional interests intersect in many ways, but most prominently in wanting to educate others about Indigenous cultures, historic and contemporary gender roles and identities, overcoming the challenges and expectations of students from minoritized populations in education, encouraging self-reflection to be more inclusive toward others, and strengthening leadership roles through traditional cultural teachings. She strives to provide spaces where everyone feels safe and welcome to share, learn, and grow from diverse experiences and backgrounds. When she is not doing this, she can be found exploring the beautiful woods and southern shores of Lake Superior, spending time with loved ones, laughing, listening to music, or spending time with her adventure human.



It is awesome here at the FDLTCC Education Program because it is like a family here, if you need help or are struggling with anything, you have quite a few people who will help you out.

I chose FDLTCC because of its size and the curriculum. When I first came here in 2019, I was just looking for what I needed to volunteer, perhaps in a crisis shelter. I met with Don Jarvinen, and the rest is history.

My favorite thing about FDLTCC is the people. I’ve met fantastic students, faculty and staff who go above and beyond what I expected.