2025 Annual Meeting

Developing and Submitting a Proposal

AAC&U invites proposals for sessions that address the challenges currently facing colleges and universities and higher education writ large. We particularly encourage proposals that focus on working collaboratively across institutions and sectors, that present solutions developed by educators in partnership with policymakers, community members and philanthropists, and that offer models for campus engagement and student learning in challenging times.

Proposal submissions require:

    1. Advancing Public Purposes
      This track will explore the public purposes of higher education and how colleges and universities can advance them by focusing on the intersection of students’ career preparation; civic, community, and global engagement; and holistic well-being.
    2. Arguing with Evidence
      With a focus on policy drivers of curricular and pedagogical innovation at the institutional, state, and system levels, this track will explore how evidence gathered through authentic assessment and evaluation can be leveraged to demonstrate the multiple values of the student educational experience—in the classroom and across the curriculum and cocurriculum.
    3. Bridging Science and Humanity
      This track will explore how the convergence of problem-solving approaches across the sciences, arts, and humanities can yield innovative solutions to complex and unpredictable societal problems, while also deepening student competency in, and capacity for, scientific learning and global engagement.
    4. Educating for a Democracy in Question
      Amid growing threats to democracy in the US and globally, and in the aftermath of the 2024 elections, this track will focus on the integral relationship between higher education and democracy and on the role colleges and universities can play in helping create and enact a more aspirational, equitable, and inclusive vision of democracy.
    5. Leveraging Digital Innovation
      With emphasis on artificial intelligence, this track will examine how new and emerging technologies can support student learning and success goals and advance institutional priorities.
    6. Transforming Policies and Practices to Support Student Success
      Amid ongoing efforts to dismantle DEI, this track will focus on how to examine, build, and sustain institutional policies and practices that create and strengthen campus cultures of inclusion and belonging by prioritizing educational equity and student success.
  • Sessions will be 10*, 30, 60, or 75 minutes in length.

    • "HEDs UP" Sessions*
      • Multiple 10-minute presentations within a one-hour session, modeled on the format of TED Talks. Each presentation should focus on an innovative project or program, on compelling research, or on “lessons learned.” HEDs Up presentations should be provocative, challenging, entertaining, and, above all, engaging.
        *HEDs Up sessions are the only format with 10-minute presentations.
    • Discussion Sessions
      • Explore current work, recent findings, or new perspectives and allow at least 20 minutes for discussion.
    • Panel Presentations
      • Follow a traditional format that allows for conversation with up to five panelists on a topic relevant to a meeting track; panelists should offer different perspectives on the topic (e.g., institutional, professional role, programmatic, curricular, cocurricular, disciplinary).
    • Research Sessions
      • Present findings, works in progress, or new methodologies relevant to the meeting themes or tracks.
    • Roundtable Discussions
      • Facilitate an informal discussion around your effective practices or programs and provide opportunities for attendees to share their successful strategies, questions, and concerns. For these discussions, attendees are welcome to rotate among several discussion topics or to focus on one only.
    • Seminar Sessions
      • Active-learning sessions—limited to 25 attendees each—provide an interactive environment within which to focus on topics currently being discussed and debated within higher education. Seminar leaders pose provocative questions and introduce activities that engage attendees in workshop-style activities.
  • The abstract should describe the content and significance of the session and its format and how the audience will be engaged. Be sure to include new information, examples of innovation, and proven results. Please format your abstract into the following sections:

    • Anticipated learning outcomes for participants
    • Background and evidence of the effectiveness of the work being presented
    • Takeaways from your session that are applicable to attendees
    • Plan for participant interaction for Discussion Sessions
    • For Discussion Sessions, please provide the guiding questions for the discussion.
  • Include up to four learning outcomes

  • Please elaborate on the background and evidence of the work being presented. If your proposal pertains to a project, program, course, or other feature for which there is material on the Web, please provide the URL here.

  • For discussion, panel, and roundtable sessions, please provide the guiding questions for the discussion portion of your proposed session or specify how you would facilitate interaction and engagement during the proposed session.

    For Seminar Sessions, please provide an outline of the session structure.

  • Provide a short description to be used in promotional materials and in both the meeting program and the mobile app. 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. It should be accurate and as compelling as possible.

  • Describe or list the outcomes with which you hope the audience members will leave the session (i.e., the “takeaways”).

  • Describe specific examples that attendees would take away from this session and apply or use at their institutions.

Writing a Strong Proposal

The proposal process is highly competitive. Priority is given to proposals that:

  • draw on the work of multiple roles, institutions, consortia, or campus-community partners (single-presenter sessions are only considered for HEDs Up, Seminar, or Research Sessions);
  • incorporate diverse disciplinary or programmatic perspectives;
  • reflect the pluralism of campus communities and include presenters who bring diverse perspectives and life experiences;
  • demonstrate work that has been proven effective and has advanced well beyond the planning stage;
  • highlight current work, recent findings, fresh viewpoints, and curricular or institutional innovations;
  • illustrate the perspectives of various professional roles (e.g., faculty members, department chairs, deans, provosts);
  • address the challenges and obstacles encountered—not just the successes;
  • demonstrate collaboration across key roles at a single institution or across different institutions.

Sessions should explicitly address and encourage translation or adaptation to other institutional or professional settings. “Show and tell” submissions from single institutions without applicability to different institutional contexts will not be accepted. Please consider the number of panelists carefully to ensure adequate time for dialogue.

Everyone listed in the proposal as a presenter will be expected to attend and present at the meeting.

Submission Deadline

The deadline to submit proposals is Wednesday, July 31, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. PT.


Decisions on proposals will be sent via email, to the primary session contact, the week of September 23, 2024.

Registration Fees

All presenters are expected to attend the meeting, in person, and are responsible for paying the appropriate registration fees. Please be sure all presenters submitted in your proposal have this information.

A Special Note Regarding Proposals from Non-Campus Practitioners

AAC&U values the insights from both inside and outside the higher education campus community. Non-campus practitioners (e.g., non-profit, for-profit, association, consultant, etc.) interested in participating as presenters at the AAC&U Annual Meeting are encouraged to either submit a proposal for peer review or contact the AAC&U Office of Advancement at [email protected] regarding sponsored session options.

  • Sessions submitted via the call for proposals will be reviewed by the program director and the annual meeting planning committee. If accepted, session presenters are responsible for covering their own annual meeting registration fees, travel expenses, etc. There are no additional fees associated with this session type.

  • Sessions submitted via the AAC&U Office of Advancement ([email protected]) are considered sponsored sessions and require executive approval. Please note that this is a paid sponsorship option. Sponsored session presenters are required to adhere to all meeting guidelines regarding session format and expectations.


For questions or additional information about the Annual Meeting, please email [email protected].