Call for Proposals

The proposal submission period is now closed.

Reclaiming Liberal Education

In moments of crisis, when speaking out and speaking up can make a real difference, leadership means finding and raising our voices—in support of what we value as well as in opposition to what threatens it.

Today, as we face a crisis of democracy in the United States and around the world and when public trust in higher education is in decline, the fundamental democratic mission and public purposes of higher education require that we make our voices heard. We must speak out against encroaching authoritarianism by, for example, opposing illiberal efforts to restrict what is taught and learned. But we also must speak up for liberal education, reclaiming this premier tradition of democratic education to which free and open inquiry is so essential. We must speak out against racial injustice by opposing it in all its societal manifestations. But we also must speak up for liberal education, reclaiming this distinctive approach to education that is centrally concerned with preparing students to address structural and systemic racism and global challenges. We must speak out against low expectations that would reduce higher learning to higher training for too many students. But we also must speak up for liberal education, reclaiming the only form of undergraduate education that develops the full human potential of all students and that best prepares graduates for career success, democratic citizenship, global engagement and personal flourishing.

“Reclaiming Liberal Education,” the theme of the 2023 annual meeting, will focus on what we are for as a community of educators and leaders in higher education—and why. We invite proposals for meeting sessions that explore the integral relationship between liberal education and democracy, that share innovations in contemporary liberal education practice to advance student learning, and that present effective strategies for making the case for liberal education to various campus and community stakeholders and within broader public discourses.

Meeting Tracks

  • Advancing Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
  • Demonstrating the Value of Liberal Education
  • Engaging in Authentic Assessment
  • Fostering Community-Based and Global Engagement
  • Involving Non-STEM Disciplines in Undergraduate STEM Reform
  • Supporting Curricular Transformation and Innovation in Teaching and Learning
  • Educating for Democracy
  • Meeting the Holistic Needs of Students, Staff, and Faculty

Sponsorship Note

Proposals featuring and/or promoting products or services by AAC&U members/non-members, vendors, or corporate/industry entities will not be considered through the open submissions process. Such proposals will be referred to AAC&U’s Advancement Team. For information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact [email protected].

Presenter Note

By submitting a proposal, you and any co-presenters agree to register for the meeting and pay registration fees, if the proposal is accepted.

2023 Annual Meeting

The 2023 Annual Meeting will showcase and examine new models, practices, and solutions aimed at reclaiming liberal education.

Session Formats

Sessions will be 10*, 30, 45**, 60, or 75 minutes in length.

*HEDs Up sessions are the only format with 10-minute presentations.

**45-minute sessions are an option for the Annual Forum on Open Learning and ePortfolios only.

  • Multiple 10-minute presentations, within a session, modeled on the format of TED Talks. Each presentation should focus on an innovative project or program, compelling research, or “lessons learned.” HEDs Up presentations should be provocative, challenging, entertaining, and above all, interesting.

  • Explore current work, recent findings, or new perspectives and allow ample time for discussion with, or among, audience members.

  • Follow a traditional format with a presentation(s) followed by discussion among the speakers and with the audience.

  • Present findings, works in progress, or new methodologies pertaining to the meeting themes.

  • Provide opportunities for participants to share successful strategies and examples of effective academic and institutional leadership and/or change at all levels. For these informal discussions, participants are welcome either to rotate among several discussion topics or to focus on one only.

  • Active-learning sessions—limited to 25 participants each—that focus on topics currently being discussed and debated within higher education. Seminar leaders pose provocative questions and introduce activities that engage participants in workshop-style activities.

Writing a Strong Proposal

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

  • draw on the work of multiple institutions, of consortia, or of campus-community partnerships
  • reflect diverse disciplinary or programmatic perspectives
  • 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 organizational roles (e.g., faculty members, department chairs, deans, provosts)
  • address the challenges and obstacles encountered—not just the successes

Sessions should explicitly address and encourage translation or adaptation to other institutional or professional settings. “Show and tell” submissions that have little or no applicability to other institutions will not be accepted. Please consider the number of panelists carefully to ensure adequate time for dialogue.

Proposals that refer to the presentation as “this paper” will not be accepted. Presenters who read papers will not be considered for future sessions. Anyone listed in the proposal as a presenter will be expected to attend and present at the meeting.

Annual Forum on Open Learning and ePortfolios

In addition to regular session proposals that focus on the use of ePortfolios, AAC&U also seeks proposals for the daylong virtual Forum on Open Learning and ePortfolios, which will take place virtually on January 23rd, 2023. You will be able to indicate on the online form whether you are submitting your proposal for the Annual Meeting proper or for the Forum.

Information to Include when Submitting a Proposal

  • The abstract should describe the content and significance of the session and its format, how the session relates to the theme of the meeting, and how the audience will be engaged. Be sure to include new information, examples of innovation, and proven results.

  • 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”).

Additional Information

How to Submit a Proposal

The Call for Proposals will re-open in the summer of 2023 for the 2024 Annual Meeting. If you have any questions about the Annual Meeting, please contact [email protected]


The submission period for the 2023 Annual Meeting has passed.

Proposal Notifications

You should have been notified via email in late September 2022 regarding the status of your proposal.