Call for Proposals: 2018 Annual Meeting

Description of the Meeting
Conference Tracks
ePortfolio Forum
Session Formats
Writing a Strong Proposal
Information to Include
How to Submit a Proposal
Dates to Remember
If You Have Questions

The deadline for receipt of proposals was Friday, July 21.  Individuals who submitted a proposal will receive notice of its status on or before September 29. 

If you have questions, please contact Suzanne Hyers at  Thank you for your interest in AAC&U's Annual Meeting, and we hope to see you in January.


About the Meeting

AAC&U’s 2018 Annual Meeting will address higher education’s role in the American Dream in the face of a public narrative that argues the two have become disconnected.

The conference will reinforce the alignment of higher education, life, work, and citizenship by highlighting evidence-based educational practices guided by clearly articulated goals for student learning—practices designed for students of all backgrounds and across all disciplines and institution types.

AAC&U invites proposals of innovative, interactive, substantive sessions that will raise provocative questions, engage participants with evidence of “what works,” and create and encourage dialogue—before, during, and after the conference.



We welcome compelling session proposals in the following key topic areas:

Creating an Inclusive Campus Climate and Institutional Structures that Contribute to Student Success

  • What role does higher education play in helping individuals from diverse backgrounds—economically disadvantaged and/or historically underrepresented in higher education—attain the American Dream?
  • How do institutions respond to external barriers that cause dreams to be deferred?
  • How is student learning integrated across the curriculum and cocurriculum to allow students to make purposeful connections?
  • How are students being prepared to increase persistence and achievement in STEM fields?
  • What evidence-based pedagogies and practices demonstrate greater success for students?
  • How are equity-minded goals transforming campus climates and practices?
  • How are campuses addressing social issues such as, poverty, food insecurity, and homelessness, among the student population and the broader community?
  • How is assessment informing curricular planning and understanding about student learning?

Connecting General Education with Life, Work, and Citizenship

  • How is the general education curriculum designed to provide students with real-world experiences?
  • How does the general education experience provide students with foundational skills and knowledge that prepare them to enter the majors and participate in experiential learning? 
  • How are we measuring student learning across general education?
  • How does general education connect to workforce preparedness?
  • How do curricular and cocurricular offerings prepare students for democratic engagement?

Making the Case for Higher Education to Multiple Audiences

  • How do we communicate the value of higher education to multiple constituencies—policy makers, community members, and parents?
  • How are we using evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of educational practices?
  • How do we communicate the value of high-impact practices for retention and completion to leaders at the local, state, or federal level?
  • How are our institutions networking with institutions around the world to advance liberal education in an environment where it is increasingly contested?
  • How are higher education organizations working together to communicate our shared values about higher education?
  • How do we advance the case for equity to internal and external stakeholders?

Global-Local Engagement—Preparing Students to be Globally-Minded Civic Problem Solvers

  • How are students engaging in meaningful real-world experiences in connection with the local and/or global communities? 
  • What types of cross-cultural educational opportunities designed to support problem solving are offered at your institution? How do you assess these experiences?
  • How does the concept of civic engagement extend beyond the individual and the institution to contribute to a shared vision for the common good? What types of pedagogies are employed to engage students at this level?
  • How is your institution engaging international partners to combat global attacks on higher education?
  • How does civic engagement contribute to students’ preparation for democratic life?
  • What types of interdisciplinary global and/or civic experiences have resulted in student success?
  • How are community partners empowered in civic engagement programs?

Innovation and Inclusion—the Power of Digital Pedagogy to Advance Student Learning for All

  • How are educational innovations preparing students to flourish as they strive for the American Dream?
  • How are digital pedagogies expanding access to your institution and improving the quality of the learning experience for new majority students?
  • How are you using digital pedagogies to reach students who have previously not been a part of your institution’s community?
  • How are ePortfolios advancing student learning and empowering students?

Preparing Faculty and Future Faculty for Teaching Excellence

  • How are faculty prepared to implement high-impact practices across disciplines and majors?
  • How are faculty engaged in practices that benefit new majority students?
  • How are contingent faculty supported through meaningful, sustained faculty development?
  • How can institutions work with faculty to enhance considerations for civic engagement and global work in promotion and tenure reviews?
  • How do institutions create pathways for midcareer faculty to enhance their career trajectory?
  • How are faculty prepared to engage an increasingly diverse student population when their training may not have occurred in a diverse environment?
  • How does your institution provide reflective space for faculty of all types—tenured, nontenured, part-time, full-time, contingent, lecturing, visiting, and/or adjunct—to learn about new practices and develop plans for implementation at the course level?



Please note the following:

  • The AAC&U audience continues to appreciate—and request—shorter sessions.  We strongly encourage presentations that are crisp, current, and creative.
  • The AAC&U audience has also requested more sessions focused on discussion and participation, so we strongly encourage you to consider submitting a Seminar or Discussion Session
  • The Annual Meeting will include a series of Roundtable Discussions on Saturday morning. We particularly welcome Roundtable proposals that reflect models of innovative work on LEAP campuses.
  • All sessions will be 30, 60, or 75 minutes in length.  (HEDs Up sessions will include five 10-minute presentations within a 75-minute session.)  With the exception of the 10-minute presentation, all sessions must include opportunities for dialogue with participants.  Please allow time for participants to share their expertise and experiences and incorporate time for activities such as dialogue, reflection, and sharing.



In addition to proposals for the Annual Meeting (presentation on Thursday or Friday), we are seeking proposals for the ePortfolio Forum—“ePortfolios and the American Dream: Empowering Students’ Ownership of Their Future”—held on Saturday, January 27. The Forum will showcase three tracks:

  • The ePortfolio Practice Track will offer information on best practices regarding how to employ ePortfolios to their greatest impact.
  • A robust ePortfolio Research Track will showcase the latest in ePortfolio research.
  • A Digital Learning and Student Success Track will highlight how a range of technological approaches can be leveraged in the service of students.

Proposals for the January 27 ePortfolio Forum have an extended deadline and will be due Monday, August 7.



The proposal process is very competitive, and we offer the following suggestions:

  • All proposals should reflect current work, recent findings, and/ or new perspectives.
  • Priority will be given to proposals that link the work of multiple institutions and reflect diverse perspectives, innovations, disciplines, and programmatic areas.  Joint submissions from across campuses, consortia, and campus-community partners are encouraged, and we particularly welcome student perspectives.
  • The AAC&U audience particularly appreciates sessions that illustrate the perspectives of different organizational roles (e.g., faculty members, department chairs, deans, provosts).
  • AAC&U is committed to presenting an annual meeting at which sessions and participants reflect the pluralism of our campus communities.  Please include presenters who bring diverse perspectives and life experiences to the topic or issue your proposal addresses.
  • Do not read your paper at the Annual Meeting. This is the top complaint from audience members each year.  Proposals that refer to the presentation as “this paper” will not be considered.  Speakers that read papers will not be accepted for future presentations.
  • We encourage proposals that address the challenges and obstacles encountered—not just the successes.   As noted in a meeting evaluation: “I appreciated hearing about how well a new program was working, but I found it more valuable to hear about some of the challenges that were eventually overcome.”
  • Sessions should engage participants in thinking about how they might translate and adapt this research or project/model/innovation to their own institutions or professional settings.   “Show and tell” submissions that have little or no applicability to other institutions will not be considered.  
  • We ask that you present work that has proven effective and is well beyond the planning stages.
  • Please keep in mind the time reserved for dialogue when determining how many speakers you include with your proposal.



Proposals that simply describe the work of one particular program or project, and are not applicable or of interest to a broad audience, are likely to be scheduled as 30-minute sessions or roundtable discussions, rather than as stand-alone sessions.

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 for the Annual Meeting is available by writing to



Seminar Session
Seminar Sessions are small group discussions—limited to 25 participants—on topics actively discussed and debated within higher education today.  The Seminar Leader(s) will facilitate discussion and provide opening statements and/or provocative questions to open the discussion.  If the emphasis will be on presenting your own work, but with audience discussion, please see "Discussion Session" below.

“HEDs UP” – Higher Ed Session
HEDs UP is a format in the model of “TED Talks.”  HEDs Up presentations are limited to 10 minutes.  The presentation should focus on an innovative project or program, compelling research, or “lessons learned.”   HEDs Up presentations should be provocative, challenging, and, above all, interesting.   (Bonus points for being entertaining, as well.)  

One moderated 75-minute session will consist of five presentations to ensure that the session is lively and moves quickly to the next speaker.   It is especially important in this format that no papers be read.

Digital Learning and Emerging Technologies
Digital learning presentations will focus on curricular models or innovative programs that use new technologies to enhance teaching and learning.

Discussion Session
The primary focus of these sessions is discussion with or among audience members.

Research Session
Research sessions present findings, works in progress, or new methodologies pertaining to the meeting themes.

Roundtable Discussions
Roundtable discussions will provide opportunities for participants to share strategies and successful examples of academic and institutional leadership at all levels.  These are informal discussions, and participants will be welcome to rotate among several discussions or focus on one. 

ePortfolio Session
EPortfolio sessions should include a demonstration and/or links to student or institutional work, if possible.  We encourage proposals on ePortfolios for inclusion in the Annual Meeting (on Thursday and Friday) and/or for the ePortfolio Forum on Saturday, January 27.

Panel Presentation
This is a traditional format with presentation(s) followed by discussion among the speakers and with the audience.



Annual Meeting participants will have Internet access available at all sessions of the Annual Meeting.  We encourage speakers to take advantage of this opportunity and provide a more interactive experience for the AAC&U audience.

We encourage you to post your PowerPoints and handouts prior to the Annual Meeting so participants can access this information before, during, and after your presentation.

If you have links to such materials at this time, please provide the URL address with your proposal. 



Proposal Abstract (400 words)
The abstract should describe the content and significance of the session, seminar, or roundtable, as well as how it relates to the theme of the meeting.  Participants will be most interested in new information, innovative programs, and proven results. 

Brief Description (150 words)
This description will be used for the Final Program.  Please remember that—should your proposal be accepted—a participant’s decision to attend your session will be based in large part on this description.  We encourage you to make it as accurate, and compelling, as possible.

Expected Learning Outcomes (50-75 words)
Please describe—or list—the outcomes with which you hope the audience members will leave the session—i.e., the “takeaways.”



Electronic Submission:
Please submit your proposal electronically as directed on the online form. If you need assistance, please contact Suzanne Hyers at or call 202-387-3760.

Please submit your proposal on or before Friday, July 21, 2017.

You should receive an automatic message indicating receipt of your proposal when it is submitted. If you do not receive this message, please send an email to Suzanne Hyers at

Final Confirmation re: Receipt of Proposal:
AAC&U will send an email on or before August 11 to each Contact Person as a final confirmation of receipt of your proposal. Please make a note of this. If you do not receive this email, it is possible that your proposal was lost in the data transfer.

You will be notified via email by September 29, 2017, regarding the status of your proposal.

Registration Fees:
All presenters at the Annual Meeting are responsible for the appropriate registration fees. Please be sure all presenters submitted in your proposal have this information. Registration materials will be available online beginning September 15, 2017.

Final Reminders:

  • Please complete all fields, including information pertaining to all additional speakers.
  • Please include links to supplemental materials, if available.

By submitting a proposal, you agree to:

  • Register and pay fees, if the proposal is accepted.
  • Inform your co-presenters about the proposal’s status and the need for all presenters to register and pay fees.


Dates to Remember:

July 21, 2017
Proposals due to AAC&U

September 15, 2017
Registration materials available online

September 29, 2017
Acceptance (or rejection) of proposals sent to all Contact Persons


If You Have Questions or Need Additional Information
Please do not hesitate to contact us at or to call AAC&U at 202-387-3760. We look forward to receiving your proposal.


Session proposals must be received by July 21, 2017