NUCL FAQs

What types of papers do you accept?

While the primary emphasis of NUCL is on critical writing, we also invite student poets and essayists to submit 1 essay, or a suite of 5-7 poems. We accept the following types of submissions:

  • Scholarly papers that present a well-supported argument and participate in a critical conversation
  • Original poems
  • Original personal essays

If you'd like to present something that falls outside the scope of these submission types, please contact the conference organizers. 

What is the selection process?

Each year we receive more than 150 submissions. Submissions are read anonymously by University of Portland faculty and student interns; each submission is read and scored by three different readers. We then convene to discuss each submission individually. We prioritize papers that offer a clear and compelling argument; that are well written and well researched; that show awareness of their audience (by explaining unfamiliar terms, providing historical and literary context, etc.); and that are no longer than 10 pages.  

What if I have a paper that is much longer than 10 pages?

We encourage you to revise the paper so it is no longer than 10 pages. This will involve cutting sections so as to reduce the scope of your argument. We welcome excerpts from larger research projects; but our readers will expect these excerpts to stand on their own. 

What is a faculty sponsor?

Your faculty sponsor is most typically the professor or teacher for whose class you wrote the paper. If you wrote the paper, essay, or poems on your own, just ask a faculty member whom you know to serve as your sponsor.

What is the dress code?

There is no official dress code for NUCL. Students typically dress professionally, but comfortably, since the conference goes all day. We would suggest wearing something dressier than jeans and a t-shirt, but not as dressy as a business suit.

How should I prepare? Should I read my paper or present it more informally?

Most students read their papers aloud, but you are also encouraged to consider developing a more audience-friendly presentation of your paper, especially if it’s dense and/or theoretical. Whether you read or present more informally, try to be as dynamic as possible. Lastly, if your paper focuses extensively on close reading particular passages or poems, consider providing a handout so that audience members can follow along and perhaps even ask questions related to the text. We can make copies of handouts, but please contact us ahead of time. 

When do I find out if my paper is accepted?

We will send out notification of acceptances within 4-6 weeks of the submission deadline.

How do I get to the University of Portland? Where does the conference take place?

UP is located in North Portland, not far from Interstate 5. (Get directions.) Tri-Met bus numbers 44 and 35 come to campus. The conference will be held in Mago Hunt, Franz Hall, and Dundon-Berchtold Hall, and the lunch will be in the Terrace Room of Bauccio Commons.

What accommodations are available for people who attend the conference?

Most NUCL attendees live near enough to come just for the day. However, if you are staying in Portland overnight, you can find suggestions for area accommodations here .