Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

What to Expect at NUCL

The Shape of the Day

We have structured the day this way: all 100+ conference participants and attendees will convene on the morning of the conference at the University of Portland's campus to sign in and for a welcoming address.

Following this brief opening session, participants will proceed to Session I, consisting of six to ten panels.

If you are not giving a paper in Session I, then you will be able to sit in on any of the panels presenting at that time--to hear the papers, and, we hope and expect, to enter into the "critical conversation" after the three or four papers have been read. If you are presenting as part of a panel in Session I, you'll be at the head table in the room, and will present your work as well as listen to others present theirs. Of course, you, too, can ask questions afterward. The same pattern holds for each Session. So you can attend those panels that look interesting to you in the Sessions in which you yourself are not presenting.

We expect that each panel will have an audience of 10-20 people.

Session II will take place before lunch. Then we will all proceed to lunch and the NUCL Awards presentation.

We will then reconvene for the keynote address.

The panels for Session III will begin after the keynote address. After session III there will be a closing summary of the conference events.

What to Expect in Panel Sessions

Intellectual stimulation and fun, first of all. It's really cool to hear what others have been thinking, even if you are unfamiliar with some of the texts being studied. We have tried to create panels in which the papers have some link — literary theory, historical era, genre, texts, etc. So there should be at least some commonality in the papers.

Each panel has three or four members, plus one University of Portland student as panel chair and another as panel respondent. You will sit with the other panelists and the chair at a table in front of a classroom, which will contain interested students from panels meeting at other times of the day. The chair will introduce each panelist before he or she presents. The chair will remind you to take no more than 18 minutes, and then give you a gentle warning as you approach that time limit. If you go over a minute or two, you'll be fine, but you will be stopped at 20 minutes, even if you haven't finished, to allow time for the rest of the panel, and for discussion.

At most literary meetings, panelists read their papers, but have practiced reading them with feeling and emphasis, thus making them easy on the ears and easy to follow just by listening. So consider your audience's needs as you prepare your presentation.

Once the three or four papers have been read, the respondent and the chair will open up discussion with friendly questions they will have prepared ahead of time to prime the pump of the "critical conversations" we hope will ensue. Questions and comments from the audience will also be invited (what could be more fun?). Some panels may last the entire allotted time, while others may end a few minutes early.

Further Questions?

If you have pressing questions, please contact us at

NUCL is sponsored by University of Portland's Department of English, Office of the Provost, College of Arts & Sciences, and dean of admissions.

"To talk in public, to think in solitude, to read and to hear, to inquire, and to answer inquiries, is the business of a scholar." Samuel Johnson, Chapter VIII, The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia