Call for Proposals


Proposal deadline has passed.

AAC&U invites proposals for concurrent sessions and poster presentations at the 2021 Virtual Conference on General Education, Pedagogy, and Assessment: Embracing the Best Emerging Practices for Quality and Equity.

AAC&U strongly encourages proposals that balance conceptual and theoretical frameworks with concrete, pragmatic examples; that highlight the how and the why of a practice, strategy, or cutting-edge model for achieving integrated and intentional designs for general education; and that showcase evidence of quality learning through general education programs. Proposals should address how the work can be adapted in a wide range of institutional types, including community colleges, research-extensive institutions, and minority-serving institutions.

All session presenters are responsible for conference registration fees.  Presentations will be scheduled Thursday, February 11-13, 2021.  Presenters should plan to be available at the time their session is scheduled.

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

Developing and Submitting a Proposal

The online proposal form includes the following fields:

  • Name, title, discipline, institution name (and Carnegie Classification), and email address for each facilitator
  • Session theme and 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
  • Level of work: beginner, intermediate, or advanced

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 campus 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 have proven effective in creating coherent, purposeful undergraduate experiences for all students. In this time of COVID-19, successful proposals can also represent models that rapidly emerged from solid foundations in the literature that strongly suggest the models will prove effective through empirical inquiry over time. Successful proposals will also involve practitioners from across a campus or institution. The following elements serve as criteria for proposal selection:

  • Presentations should have the potential to advance new approaches to integrating general education with the major, demonstrating the centrality of general education in connecting student learning with critical social issues that matter to students and to society.
  • Sessions should include evidence-based theory-to-practice models that connect research and scholarship with effective, equity-focused courses, curricula, pedagogies, assessment practices, and campus cultures that engage all students in high-quality learning experiences.
  • Sessions should offer creative, novel, and transformative mechanisms for designing general education and assessment.
  • Presentations should provide evidence of effectiveness, lessons learned, challenges overcome, and applicability across a range of institutional types.
  • Sessions should include explicit plans for involving participants in reflection, discussion, exercises, and other activities that will help them understand and apply the material.

Priority will be given to proposals that reflect innovations and perspectives from multiple disciplines, programmatic areas, and institutions. We particularly welcome student perspectives.

Conference Themes

The five conference themes and suggested topics within each theme reflect the Principles of General Education Maps and Markers (GEMs) created as part of a nationwide effort to develop foundational purposes for general education programs to advance student learning and preparation. The themes suggested below serve as points of departure and should not be limiting. Promising practices emerging as a result of experimentation in response to COVID-19 are encouraged and welcomed across all conference themes.

Proficiency: General education should provide programs, curricula, and experiences leading to demonstrable, transferable learning proficiencies and outcomes that are portable across contexts, disciplines, and institutions.

Agency and Self-Direction: Undergraduate education should empower students to develop the intellectual and personal capacities to achieve their educational and professional goals, enrich their lives, and act in principled and constructive ways, both in their personal lives and in society.

Engaged Pedagogy, Integrative Learning, and Problem-Based Inquiry: Students should demonstrate proficiency through the integration of curricular, cocurricular, community-based, and prior learning experiences, all of which can include digital communities of learning and practice. Students will achieve proficiencies most effectively through consistent engagement in work on significant issues that are relevant to students’ interests and that require students to draw upon insights from multiple areas of study.

Equity: General education programs should be equity-focused in design and implementation. General education programs should advance practices and policies aimed at achieving the full spectrum of learning outcomes for all students regardless of their backgrounds. Leadership should demonstrate a commitment to equity and advancing student success.

Intentionality, Transparency, and Assessment: Students and institutions should be able to point to student work that addresses critical issues, such as systemic racism, equity, health and use of knowledge for solving challenges, especially through problem- and project-based inquiry (signature work), as demonstrations of measurable proficiency worthy of credit across institutional settings.

Session Formats

Poster Session (60 minutes; 1–2 presenters)
Poster presenters share visual models of research findings; general education course, program, and curricular or cocurricular designs; concept maps; assessment rubrics and feedback loops; faculty development, support, and reward programs and policies; frameworks for design thinking and strategic planning; and high-impact practices. The poster session provides an opportunity for presenters to talk with attendees about how to apply findings to their own work. 

Dialogue for Learning  (60 minutes; 1–4 facilitators)
Dialogues for Learning provide time for colleagues to examine timely and potentially provocative topics of similar interest through iterative sharing of expertise and experiences. They provide an opportunity to work through issues, ideas, and challenges from multiple perspectives. The facilitators’ job is to kickstart both small group conversations that then feed into a collective discussion on the question at hand. These dialogues may address the following questions:

  • How can we organize general education to result in student integration of learning across content areas?
  • How can general education designs improve students’ ways of knowing?
  • How do we make siloed organizational structures coherent and purposeful?
  • How can general education be a sense-making and meaning-making experience for students?
  • How do we critically examine and reshape academic structures and systems that were created for a different time and place?
  • How do we support and recognize faculty professional development for student success?
  • How can we make assessment processes and results matter for students and faculty?
  • What if the critics are correct, and much of how we assess is wrong?

Proposals for a dialogue should briefly set the context for the conversation related to one of the conference themes, and should articulate clearly the intended audience in terms of institutional type, position, or particular area of practice. Facilitators assist the group in examining new ways of thinking about the topic and strategies for moving forward given the professional reality and expertise of each individual in the room.

Workshops—Theory to Practice (75 minutes each; 2–4 facilitators)
Workshops provide opportunities for participants to bridge theory with practice. Facilitators should guide participants in examining critical theories and scholarly evidence that support the mechanics of how to develop purposeful general education courses, curricula, pedagogies, practices, pathways, or strategies that integrate learning with the majors in the context of real-world issues. Facilitators should provide scholarship and evidence related to the topic and engage participants in reflection, discussion, and design work. Reviewers will give priority to proposals that model high-impact practices such as collaborative and hands-on activities, those that include a diversity of facilitators, and those that explain how the work applies to other institutional types.

Pecha Kucha (6 minutes; 1 presenter recommended)
Pecha Kucha (chit chat in Japanese) is combination of visual and oral presentation organized to convey a creative endeavor, research finding, or other interesting activity related to a particular conference theme. A Pecha Kucha presentation, which consists of 20 slides each running for 20 seconds, is carefully orchestrated to articulate key elements featured in each slide. Three Pecha Kucha presentations will be combined with 30 minutes of discussion time to create one 60-minute session.  The following link provides an overview and guidelines for designing a Pecha Kucha presentation:

Additional Information

The deadline for submitting proposals is November 16Upon submission of a proposal, the primary session contact should 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 email


The primary session presenter will receive notice via email of the decision regarding the proposal by December 15.

Expenses and Fees

All session presenters are responsible for conference registration fees. Please ensure that all individuals listed in the proposal have this information and can be available at the appropriate time during the event. Presentation dates range from Thursday, February 11, through Saturday, February 13.

AAC&U Meeting Sponsors

AAC&U's Meeting Sponsorship program provides organizations, nonprofits, companies, publishers, and others the opportunity to showcase their products and services while exchanging information with members of a higher education audience. For more information about sponsorship opportunities, please go to AAC&U Sponsorships or contact AAC&U's Office of Outreach and Member Engagement at 202-387-3760 or email us at

Proposals that promote products or services available for purchase will not be considered through the call for proposals.