Call for Proposals: 2020 Diversity, Equity, and Student Success Conference

The deadline to submit proposals has passed. Thank you to all that submitted. Notifications will be sent by December 20.

AAC&U invites proposals for sessions at the 2020 conference on diversity, equity, and student success: The Power of Collective Action

AAC&U strongly encourages proposals that balance conceptual and theoretical frameworks with concrete, pragmatic examples.  We seek to highlight the how and why of a practice, strategy, or model and to facilitate reflection and engagement that helps translate vision into practice.  We want mature evidence-based programs that foster discovery and problem solving through idea sharing and community building. Proposals should address how the work can be adapted in a wide range of institutional types, including community colleges and minority-serving institutions.

All session presenters are responsible for conference registration fees, travel, and hotel expenses. Presentations will take place from Thursday, March 19 at 7:00 pm through Saturday, March 21, at 12:00 noon. Presenters should plan to be available at the time their session is assigned in the conference program.

Developing and Submitting a Proposal

The online proposal form includes the following fields:

  • Name, title, discipline, institution name, and email address of each facilitator
  • Session format
  • Session title (75-character limit, including spaces)
  • Anticipated participant learning outcomes (100-word limit)
  • Background and evidence of effectiveness of work being presented (250-word limit)
  • Plan for participant engagement (150-word limit, required for workshops, optional for other session types)
  • Brief description to be used in conference program if accepted (2–3 sentences for a total of 75–125 words. Descriptions should summarize the above fields and highlight what is distinctive and transferrable about the work you are presenting.)
  • Participant guidance, for both categories more than one response may be selected:
    • Level of work: is the session designed for beginner, intermediate, or advanced participants.
    • Campus roles: is the session most relevant for students, faculty, administrators, student affairs professionals, policymakers, researchers, or diversity officers.

Proposal Review Criteria

AAC&U strives to offer a balanced, informative, and thought-provoking conference focused on frameworks for undergraduate liberal education. It seeks to empower and embolden all educators to provide a coherent, purposeful undergraduate experience for all students, with emphasis on effective pathways from cornerstone to capstone at two- and four-year institutions.

The proposal selection committee will include experienced academic professionals from a diverse range of backgrounds and areas of expertise. Successful proposals will represent evidence-based theory-to-practice models that interrogate the effectiveness of existing campus cultures and structures in the context of today’s student demographics; local, national, and global communities; and our nation’s reliance on an educated and engaged citizenry. It invites innovative strategies and work in progress to transform cultures that are not keeping pace with these realities. The following elements serve as proposal selection criteria:

  • Potential for the proposed session/presentation to advance engaged inclusivity in teaching and learning; to break down elitism in the academy; and to foster and sustain collaborations among academic affairs and student affairs.  
  • Inclusion of evidence-based theory-to-practice models that connect research and scholarship with effective approaches to developing courses, curricula, pedagogies, assessment practices, and campus cultures that engage all students in high-quality learning experiences and that ensure all members of the community feel valued and respected.
  • Extent to which the session/presentation offers creative, novel, and transformative mechanisms for designing and facilitating critical dialogues to advance understanding across difference and promote idea sharing for institutional transformation.
  • Extent to which the proposed session/presentation provides evidence of effectiveness, lessons learned, challenges overcome, and applicability across a range of institutional types.
  • Explicit plans for involving participants in reflection, discussion, exercises, and other activities that will help them understand and apply the material.
  • Extent to which proposals reflect diverse perspectives, innovations, disciplines, and strategies for change. Student voices and perspectives are encouraged.

Session Formats

Poster Session (60-90 minutes)
Poster presentations are visual displays of research, models, and materials. A poster session provides an opportunity for presenters to talk with attendees about how to apply findings to their own work. AAC&U provides a 4’x3’ bifold poster board and 6’x3’ table for the poster board.

Facilitated Discussions (60 minutes)
Facilitated discussions provide time for colleagues to examine topics through the iterative sharing of expertise and experiences. They provide an opportunity to work through issues, engage in problem solving, and explore new ideas.

Roundtable Discussions (60 minutes)
Roundtables allow for conversation among a small group of colleagues. Presenters are assigned a table for the duration of the session.Participants may move between tables. 

Strategy Sessions (60-75 minutes)
These sessions are designed to guide participants as they develop action plans for significant work at the course, program, or institution level.  Presenters should provide resources and templates to help participants structure their plannning.  Opportunities for discussion and feedback on the action plans should be included.

Workshops (75 minutes)
Workshops are designed to provide conference attendees with opportunities to deeply examine, explore, or experience specific topics. They should include opportunities for engagement through practice, reflection, or engagement.


Additional Information

The deadline to submit proposals  has passed.

Upon submission of a proposal, the primary session contact should receive an automatic message confirming receipt. If the contact does not receive this message (and it has not been captured by a spam filter), please email

The primary session contact will receive an email message indicating the decision on the proposal by December 20, 2019.

Expenses and Fees
All session presenters are responsible for conference registration fees, travel, and hotel expenses. Please ensure that all individuals listed in the proposal have this information and can be available at the appropriate time during the event. Presentation times take place from Thursday, March 19 at 7:00 pm through Saturday, March 21 at 12:00 p.m. 

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 for the conference is available by writing to