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Transforming STEM Higher Education

Network for Academic Renewal Conference
November 6-8, 2014
Atlanta, Georgia

Call for Proposals

Thank you for your interest. The deadline has passed and the call for proposals has been completed. If you submitted a proposal and have not received a notification, please send an inquiry to

AAC&U invites proposals for concurrent sessions at the 2014 Network for Academic Renewal conference, Transforming STEM Higher Education.  Please note that all session facilitators are responsible for conference registration fees, travel, and hotel expenses. Presentation times range from Thursday, November 6 at 8:30 p.m. through Saturday, November 8 at 12:00 noon, and presenters are expected to be available at the time they are scheduled for by the conference organizers.

Conference Themes
LEAP Featured Sessions
Session Formats
Developing and Submitting a Proposal
Proposal Review Criteria
Additional Information

The Association of American Colleges and Universities and Project Kaleidoscope are pleased to announce the Call for Proposals for the 2014 AAC&U Transforming STEM Higher Education Conference.  Proposals are invited and encouraged to showcase evidence-based practices that reflect any of the themes below, and that are poised for immediate uptake and adaptation in a wide range of institution types, including community colleges and minority serving institutions.  Of particular interest will be proposals that effectively integrate two or more of the conference themes.

Conference Themes

The specific themes to be addressed with this Call for Proposals are the following:

  • Research, Development, and Assessment of Undergraduate STEM Teaching and Learning
  • Inclusive Excellence in STEM
  • Recruiting, Supporting, and Rewarding STEM Faculty
  • Advancing Institutional Change Strategies for STEM Reform

Theme I:  Research, Development, and Assessment of Undergraduate STEM Teaching and Learning

This theme will include presentations and sessions that describe innovative approaches for enhancing undergraduate STEM learning through implementation of engaged pedagogies and high-impact practices including, but not limited to, integrative, interdisciplinary, and discovery-based learning.  Proposals representing research and/or practices from any STEM discipline (including the social sciences) that include and apply valid quantitative, qualitative, and/or mixed methods and measures of student understanding, content mastery and synthesis, as well as institutional change, are highly encouraged. Proposals linking STEM outcomes with liberal learning outcomes are encouraged.

Examples of approaches related to undergraduate STEM teaching and learning might include:

  • new innovations and/or multidisciplinary approaches in teaching, learning, and assessing STEM undergraduate education;
  • global issues in the undergraduate STEM curriculum that include STEM students in related active learning experiences;
  • methods, such as culturally competent pedagogies, that uniquely serve underrepresented groups; and/or
  • technology and integrative novel learning environments that deepen STEM learning.

Theme II:  Inclusive Excellence in STEM Higher Education

This theme will include presentations and sessions that highlight theory-driven models and innovations directed toward the recruitment, retention, and persistence of students from underrepresented groups in the STEM disciplines.  Special emphasis is placed on initiatives that are readily transferable across various institutional types.  Proposals representing research and/or practices from any STEM discipline (including the social sciences) that include and apply valid quantitative, qualitative, and/or mixed methods and measures to improve the design, implementation, study, and assessment of underrepresented STEM student success, as well as related institutional change efforts, are highly encouraged. 

Examples of Inclusive Excellence activities might include:

  • an examination of the underlying issues affecting the differential participation and graduation rates in STEM undergraduate education for underrepresented groups;
  • innovative strategies for enhancing STEM education, pedagogy, and STEM persistence among underrepresented STEM students; and/or
  • institutional collaborative models that have significant impact on increasing underrepresented STEM student success.

Theme III: Recruiting, Supporting, and Rewarding STEM Faculty

This theme will focus on sessions and presentations that provide faculty with knowledge, materials, and strategies for revising STEM curricula and enhancing teaching and high-impact practices, as well as innovative mechanisms for acquiring necessary resources (if applicable) for implementing new strategies.  Of particular interest are faculty development initiatives that are easily transferable to a diverse group of faculty and/or diverse higher education institutions.  Proposals that describe the impact of interventions on the professional and/or leadership development of faculty from any STEM discipline (including the social sciences) using valid quantitative and qualitative tests and measures of scholarly productivity, career advancement and institutional change are highly encouraged. 

Examples of STEM Faculty activities might include:

  • strategies for recruiting, retaining, rewarding, and advancing STEM faculty, particularly those from underrepresented groups; and/or
  • efforts to support, and analyze networks of STEM faculty communities of scholars that cross disciplinary and institutional boundaries.

Theme IV: Advancing Institutional Change Strategies for STEM Reform

This theme will include presentations and sessions related to campus-wide institutional change efforts toward undergraduate STEM education reform.  While there is a pervasive need to provide opportunities for students to participate in research, collaborative assignments, and other innovative engagement practices, oftentimes the culture of STEM departments is not conducive to the implementation of modern pedagogies.  The lack of time, access to resources, viable reward structures, and diverse faculty who are able to serve as role models for diverse undergraduate STEM populations all contribute to hindrances in STEM higher education reform.  This theme will explore the underlying organizational change and social science theories that best explain institutional and/or departmental barriers to implementation of more effective STEM pedagogies and practices.  Emphasis will be placed on methods related to analysis of institutional data and the inclusion of narratives and other qualitative data as part of evidence-based approaches to institutional transformation. 

Examples of institutional change strategies might include:

  • cross-disciplinary efforts that transfer best practices in STEM teaching and learning across academic units; and/or
  • development and implementation of strategic partnerships with institutional research personnel and/or other administrative units on campus to set high expectations for all students and to recognize the assets that all students bring to their education.

LEAP Featured Sessions

Conference sessions designated as “LEAP Featured Sessions” are intended to highlight the innovative work of colleges and universities that are members of AAC&U’s LEAP Campus Action Network (CAN).  Featured Sessions make explicit links between campus-based educational reform and the Essential Learning Outcomes, principles of excellence, and high-impact practices described in AAC&U’sLiberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative.

For more information on applying to have your conference session designated as a LEAP Featured Session, visit

Session Formats

Poster (60 minutes; 1-2 presenters; 6’x3’ table)

Posters share visual models of research findings; course, program, curricular/co-curricular designs; concept maps; assessment rubrics and feedback loops; strategic planning frameworks and high-impact practices.  The poster session provides an opportunity to reach a broad audience and initiate conversations with colleagues with similar interests.  Posters are displayed on a 6’x3’ table, which can also be used to display models, a laptop, or other resources for learning. 

Concurrent Session (60-90 minutes; 2-3 facilitators; rooms set in roundtables; audio visual as available upon request)

Concurrent sessions share current work—in research, theory, or practice—related to the conference domains.  They significantly engage participants in considering how to use this framework to advance change in their own work or campus.  Proposals should explicitly connect to a particular theme and use any of the guiding examples to frame what the session facilitators will discuss in the session.  Facilitators should provide data/findings related to the topic, effective practices, milestones for success, and strategies for change, and engage participants in reflection and discussion.  Concurrent sessions may be organized either as panel/participant discussions or as an analysis of research protocols and findings.  Exercises adapting these protocols and findings might also be included.  Sessions that model high-impact practices—reflection, discussion, collaboration, hands-on activities—are encouraged.  Please note that  the session should be an analysis of effective frameworks, theories, and practices that are adaptable to others – not a show-n-tell of what you did.

HEDs Up (15 minutes; 1 presenter; internet and other support as available upon request)

HEDs Up is a format modelled after “TED Talks” – the Technology, Entertainment, and Design conference that limits each proposed session to a concise presentation. The presentation should focus on an innovative model, pedagogy, practice, rubric, strategy, or “the next big idea” – about transforming STEM education.  HEDs Up presentations should be provocative, challenging, and above all, interesting. AAC&U will combine your talk with two others to create a moderated 60 minute session with time for participant discussion and questions.

Facilitated Discussions – Shared Interest Groups (60 minutes; 1 facilitator; room set in roundtables, no audio visual)

Facilitated discussions provide time for colleagues to more deeply examine topics of similar interest through iterative sharing of expertise and experiences. The facilitators briefly set the context for the conversation related to one of the conference domains.  Contexts may reflect institutional type, position, or a particular area of practice.  For example the discussion topic, i.e., inclusive excellence in STEM higher education might be more narrowly focused on specific sets of strategies in 2-year colleges, faculty perception, or disciplinary/integrative approaches.  Facilitators assist the group in examining new ways of thinking about the topic and strategies for moving forward given the complications of each individual’s professional reality and expertise in the room. This session should allow for questions from all participants to stimulate and focus the conversation so that the issues discussed are meaningful to all involved.  

Homepage Session: A Focus on Technology (60 minutes; 1-2 facilitators; room set in roundtables; internet access and other supports as available upon request)

Homepage sessions feature innovative uses of technology and the ways they are being integrated into teaching, learning, scholarship, and information management to advance new approaches to teaching and learning.  Sessions might feature multi-modal designs for programs, courses, and pedagogical practices that support learning in creative ways (i.e., social media and new forms of technology-assisted community based learning) and foster new outcomes (i.e., collaborative discovery across time and place) that might not otherwise occur.  Sessions should describe the technology, its applications and outcomes, and allow time for participants to question and discuss implications for their own work.

Developing and Submitting a Proposal

Proposals are accepted through an online form and must include:

  • Name, title, institution, and email address of each facilitator
  • Session theme and format
  • Session title (100 character limit including spaces)
  • Brief abstract to be used in the conference program if accepted (150 words)
  • Statement of intended audience (100 word limit)
  • Participant outcomes (100 word limit)
  • Plan for participant engagement (150 word limit, not required for poster or HEDs Up proposals)
  • Background and description of work (150 word limit)

Proposal Review Criteria

AAC&U and PKAL strive to offer a balanced, informative and thought provoking conference that best fits within the framework of undergraduate STEM education reform, which also empowers and emboldens STEM academicians to dramatically impact the quality of STEM education in the U.S.  The conference proposal selection committee will include experienced, diverse academic STEM professionals.  In evaluating conference proposals, reviewers will be asked to consider both the technical aspects of the proposal and the way in which the presentation/session will contribute to reforming undergraduate STEM education.  The following elements will be considered in the review of conference proposals:

  • the potential for the proposed session/presentation to advance knowledge and understanding of STEM undergraduate education;
  • the extent to which the session/presentation offers creative, novel and transformative mechanisms for enhancing STEM learning, particularly for diverse audiences;
  • the extent to which the proposed session/presentation effectively incorporates two or more of the conference themes;
  • the overall contribution of the session/presentation to inclusive excellence; and
  • the ease by which conference session/presentation materials and outcomes can be adapted to a wide range of institution types.

Additional Information

The deadline for proposal submission was April 7, 2014.

 Upon submission of a proposal, the session contact should have receive an automatic message indicating that AAC&U has received the proposal.  If the contact does not receive this message (and it is not in his/her spam filter), please e-mail Siah Annand at


The session contact will be notified via email of the decision on the proposal by May 30.

Expenses and Fees

All session facilitators are responsible for conference registration fees, travel, and hotel expenses. Please be sure that all individuals listed in the proposal have this information and can be available to present throughout the event. Presentation times range from Thursday, November 6 at 8:30 p.m. through Saturday, November 8 at 12:00 noon.

AAC&U Sponsorship Program

Proposals that promote products or services available for purchase will not be considered through the regular proposal process, but will be referred to AAC&U’s Sponsorship Program.

More information about sponsorships is available by writing