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:

  • Analytical/interpretive papers that present a well-supported argument and participate in a critical conversation
  • Original poems
  • Original personal essays
  • Presentation of a special research project (completed and presented with an attending faculty sponsor)

What is the selection process?

Each year we receive more than 100 NUCL submissions. Submissions are read anonymously by University of Portland faculty and the three NUCL interns; each submission is read by three different readers. We then convene and discuss each submission individually given the rankings and comments provided by readers. Generally, accepted papers meet the following criteria:

Contain a clear and consistent argument

  • Well-written
  • Well-researched but also communicate the author's own argument about the text
  • Aware of audience (explain terms, provide historical/literary context, etc.)
  • 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. You might change the paper from, say, focusing on three texts to just one; or you might simply cut whatever pages are least crucial to the overall argument. You can also append a note to your submission explaining what you cut. Alternatively, you might write a presentation, under 10 pages, that is based on your paper. In other words, if your paper is a 25 page research project, you could develop a 15-minute presentation of some of the highlights of this project and send us the text of that presentation. 

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. This person will sign your submission form attesting that the work is indeed your own, and will also be invited to attend NUCL in the spring. If your faculty sponsor is not on campus or otherwise inaccessible to sign your form, you can have him or her email nucl@up.edu in place of a signature.

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; here is a link to advice about how to do that. 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; email us for more information.

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 and Franz Halls, 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 .

Contact

University of Portland
5000 N. Willamette Blvd.,
Portland, Oregon 97203-5798

503.943.8000

webmaster@up.edu