2024 Conference on General Education, Pedagogy, and Assessment
Developing a Proposal
Information to Include when Submitting a Proposal
- Presenter contact information. If there is more than one presenter for your proposal, the primary/submitting presenter will receive all proposal submission correspondence. The primary presenter is responsible for sharing presenter-related communications with all co-presenters.
- Session Title (75-character limit, including spaces)
- Modality (virtual or in-person)
- Session Format
- Trending Topics (select no more than three)
- Conference Track (select one)
- Level of Session Expertise (beginner, intermediate, or advanced)
- Proposal Abstract (500-word limit), including the following elements:
- Statement of intended audience (50-word limit)
- Campus role(s)
- Anticipated participant learning outcomes (100-word limit, beginning with "Participants will")
- Background and evidence of effectiveness of work being presented (250-word limit)
- Plan for participant engagement (100-word limit, not required for posters)
- Citations (if applicable)
- Program Description (150-word limit)
- The description should provide a short description to be used in promotional materials.
- 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.
All session presenters are responsible for paying the conference registration fee. In-person presentations will be scheduled from Thursday, April 11, through Saturday, April 13, 2024; virtual sessions will be scheduled on April 9, 10, and 17, 2024. **In-person registration includes access to all virtual programming; virtual registration only is also an option.** Presenters should plan to be available at the date and time their sessions are scheduled.
- How can the structures of general education be reimagined to enhance its relevance and vitality as a hallmark of American higher education?
- How general education curricula be more explicitly connected to careers?
- What emerging strategies are enhancing student engagement and success in general education— e.g., prior learning assessment, microcredentialing and badging, alternative credit hour structures?
- What would general education look like if it were a high-impact educational practice?
- How can the traditional “breadth versus depth” paradigm be redefined to demonstrate the centrality of general education for connecting student learning with critical issues that matter to students and to society?
- How can the courage to engage in reflection and self-critique be fostered as individuals and institutions innovate?
- What innovative approaches from the international community can and should serve as exemplars and models for reimagining general education in the US?
- What pedagogical strategies most effectively meet the mission of general education curricula?
- How can the wealth of resources available from the learning sciences be leveraged to support teaching?
- How can teaching praxis be reimagined to center students’ agency in their own learning?
- How can students’ own misconceptions about learning be addressed most effectively within and beyond general education?
- How can students be prepared to engage ethically and effectively with generative artificial intelligence (AI)?
- In reflecting upon and improving their own teaching, how can educators model the learning they expect of their students?
- What creative, novel, and transformative mechanisms exist for evaluating general education?
- How can the learning sciences be leveraged to effectively define and measure student success?
- How can assessment processes be enhanced through instructional design and pedagogical innovation?
- How can assessment endeavors be designed to ensure all students are represented in the evidence used to tell the complete story of student success?
- How might design thinking, developmental evaluation, and other frameworks inform the assessment of student learning outcomes?
- How can students be engaged in codesigning the assessment and evaluation of their own learning and success?
- How is the assessment of student learning manifesting within the international community of colleges and universities?
- How might frameworks like design thinking recenter and refocus gen ed reform efforts on student agency and learning?
- What would it mean to position general education as a student wellness strategy?
- How could efforts to reform general education, pedagogy, and assessment be reframed to encourage a “reciprocity of kindness” between students, faculty, and other educators?
- How might educators reinforce the primacy of learning—versus credentialing—in undergraduate education through strategies like ungrading?
- Many educators fear for their jobs and for the future of their institutions, which, in turn, can lead to a fear of change. How should solutions to the vexing problems now facing higher education account for these stressors?
- What more can and should be done to support the mental health and well-being of those tasked with engaging in significant campus change?
- What strategies can be used to privilege listening as a critical design element for reimagining general education?
- How can general education be meaningfully connected to the majors in order to enhance its relevance for students?
- Can “employability” and “career preparation” be reframed as empowering students to seek and find their vocation through the disciplines and general education?
- What disciplinary habits of mind can and should inform general education curricula?
- How can integrative learning be centered as an attainable and measurable student outcome, not just an aspiration for a curricular structure?
- In the midst of declining enrollments and limited resources, how can turf wars and retrenched, defensive thinking in curricular (re)design be avoided?
- What role can and should experiential learning and the cocurriculum play in general education in concert with the disciplines?
- How can general education expose students to the best of the disciplines without overemphasizing disciplinary paradigms that might seem too precious?
- What possibilities emerge when general education is reframed as a part of larger retention, persistence, and graduation strategies?
- What evidence-based solutions exist for addressing the multiple layers of digital inequity that students and institutions face?
- How can high-impact educational practices and other impactful general education offerings (i.e., open educational resources, transformative texts) be leveraged to diversify course content, materials, and instructional approaches?
- How can the promise of a liberal education be delivered for all students when academic freedom is increasingly called into question?
- Given the various ways students earn credits toward a college degree—e.g., dual enrollment, AP, transfer credits between institutions—what would be the effects of recognizing all students as transfer students requiring multiple on-ramps and pathways toward a baccalaureate degree?
- What are successful models and/or strategies for interinstitutional collaboration to address access and affordability?
- How might a “framework for courage” be built to guide and shape the work of undergraduate education?
- How can threats to academic freedom be addressed collectively?
- What constitutes courage in today’s social, political, economic, and cultural climate?
- How can we champion the inherent value of higher education while addressing valid critiques regarding issues of access, affordability, and fairness?
- What must academic and institutional leaders do to encourage collaboration versus siloed competition between colleges and universities to scaffold, scale, and align the most effective value-added innovations?
- How can academic and institutional leaders identify, recognize, and reward emerging leaders who engage in the real work of reimagining general education, pedagogy, and assessment—especially those with little positional power?
- How can barriers to courageous change be dismantled?
Submissions for the Collective Courage track will be considered for sessions held in collaboration with the Forum on Transformational Leadership.
Pre-Conference Session Formats
Focused Workshops and Strategy Sessions—In-person or Virtual (2.5 hours; 1–3 presenters). Pre-conference sessions are designed to provide a deeper professional development experience:
Engage participants in cultivating new skills, identify alternative approaches to their own work, and connect with previously unexplored resources, such as new practices, theories, frameworks, and/or research.
Designed to guide participants as they develop plans of action for significant work aligned with one of the conference’s tracks. Presenters should provide resources and templates to help participants structure their planning.
Facilitators for either Focused Workshops or Strategy Sessions should have a proven track record in designing and offering interactive workshops for higher education professionals locally at their own institutions or within broader disciplinary/professional communities. Proposals for pre-conference sessions should include a robust plan for participant engagement across the 2.5-hour session, as well as a detailed description of the tangible “takeaways” that participants will develop by the end of the session.
Conference Sessions Formats
In-person Only (60 minutes; 1–3 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.
In-person Only (6 minutes; 1 presenter recommended)
Pecha Kucha (“chit chat” in Japanese) sessions combine visual and oral presentations to convey a creative endeavor, research finding, or other interesting activity related to a particular conference track. A Pecha Kucha presentation, which consists of 20 slides running for 20 seconds each, is carefully orchestrated to articulate key elements featured in each slide. Two Pecha Kucha presentations will be combined with 30 minutes of discussion time to create one 45-minute session. The following link provides an overview and guidelines for designing a Pecha Kucha presentation: http://avoision.com/pechakucha.
In-person Only (75 minutes each; 2–4 facilitators)
Workshops provide opportunities for participants to bridge theory and 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.
Please note: Space is limited as there are only two bands of Theory-to-Practice Workshops. Reviewers will give priority to proposals that model excellent active learning strategies and 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 a range of institutional types.
In-person Only (1-4 facilitators)
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!
This is an exploratory effort to design a space for participants to share their iterative thinking and learning. Facilitators will be available during three specific, hour-long time slots (Thursday afternoon, Friday afternoon, and Saturday morning) to engage participants in iterative thinking to develop new approaches to key aspects of general education, pedagogy, and assessment in “real time.” Participants are invited to visit the session tables at any time (whether facilitators are present or not) to share and examine their own evolving ideas with and problem-solve questions posed by colleagues. In the last time frame of the conference, participants will gain the latest thinking on these key issues and action steps, and strategies will be made available to all conference participants on the conference platform.
The facilitators will be provided with resources/tools that will enable participants to share ideas and theories throughout the conference, collectively developing new approaches to any and all aspects of the three pillars of the conference—general education, pedagogy, and assessment.
Please clearly describe the concept, theory, or practice that you would like to explore with participants and how you will present the idea as a point of departure for participants to discuss, explore, and develop. It is important that you describe how you would like to engage participants in this exploratory conversation. For example, you might create a large template (paper, white board, or electronic) for participants to fill in and build on each other’s ideas. Outcomes will be shared on the conference platform following the conference.
In-person or Virtual (45 minutes; 1–4 facilitators)
Dialogue for Learning sessions provide time for colleagues to examine timely and potentially provocative topics of similar interest through the 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 small group conversations through a brief presentation based upon their own work/research/praxis that then feeds into a collective discussion of the question at hand, dedicating at least 20–25 minutes to discussion. Proposals for Dialogue for Learning sessions should briefly set the context for the conversation related to one of the conference tracks and should clearly articulate the intended audience in terms of institutional type, position, or 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 everyone in the room.
These dialogues may address the following questions:
- How can general education be organized to result in student integration of learning across content areas?
- How can general education designs improve students’ ways of knowing?
- How can siloed organizational structures be made coherent and purposeful?
- How can general education be a sense-making and meaning-making experience for students?
- How can academic structures and systems that were created for a different time and place be critically examined and reshaped?
- How can faculty professional development for student success be supported and recognized?
- How can we address the “elephant in the room”—the dearth of active learning and empirically supported pedagogy in our classrooms?
- How can assessment processes and results be made to matter for students and faculty?
- What if the critics are correct, and much of how assessment is currently conducted is wrong?
In-person or Virtual (45 minutes each, 1–3 facilitators)
NEW SESSION FORMAT!
This session format is designed to stimulate conversation and help participants engage in creative problem-solving using a case-study approach. Facilitators will create a case study (no more than three pages) problematizing a specific incident/issue related to general education, pedagogy, and assessment (re)design, one grounded in the actual experiences and/or expertise of the authors/presenters (institutions/individuals in the case study should be de-identified). The case study will be posted to the conference platform one week in advance of the start of the 2024 GEPA Conference.
Participants will be given time to read the case study in the live session before collaborating in small groups to “solve” the case study by (1) identifying the key problems/focusing on the right questions; (2) examining assumptions and addressing contextual factors; (3) exploring multiple solutions, including naming advantages and disadvantages for each; (4) selecting the best, most appropriate solution; and (5) discussing implications, including possible limitations. After groups present their proposed solutions, facilitators will help the group synthesize the information shared, reveal—if appropriate—what actually transpired, and discuss the actual “lessons learned” from the event that inspired the case study. The following link to the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching provides a clear, concise description of case studies as well as guidance on what makes a good case study that may be helpful: https://bit.ly/casestudy_guidance
In-person Only (45 minutes each; 1–3 facilitators)
NEW SESSION FORMAT!
Less formal and less scripted than Dialogue for Learning sessions, this session format is designed to seed the conference with opportunities for colleagues to connect over emergent and pressing issues, through which smaller groups of participants meet new colleagues, build connections, and potentially lay the foundation for future collaboration. Borrowing from the more traditional “roundtable” format, facilitators are assigned a table for the duration of the session. Participants may move among tables. Facilitators should provide a brief description of the proposed topic for conversation, along with a brief rationale for its inclusion at the conference. Facilitators must plan to the context for the conversation related to one of the conference tracks. Contexts may reflect institutional type, position, or a particular area of practice. Please clearly state any defining contexts to clarify your intended audience. Facilitators will assist the group in examining new ways of thinking about the topic and strategies for moving forward given the complications associated with the professional reality and expertise of everyone around the table. Facilitators are expected to provide a summary of the conversation for posting in the conference platform and suggest mechanisms for making future connections throughout the conference based on the outcomes of the conversation.
For Crowdsourced Conversations there will be no A/V provided.
In-person and Virtual (15 minutes; 1–4 facilitators)
These moderated sessions will feature cutting-edge advances in general education; equity-focused, design-thinking frameworks; courses, programs, curricula, and/or high-impact practices; faculty development, support, and reward approaches; teaching and learning research; and assessment models and feedback loops that are still exploratory in nature. Presentations with promising, yet minimal, outcomes data are encouraged. Sessions should describe the institutional context and guiding theories, and they should offer the opportunity for audience questions and discussion. Two sessions will be included in each 45-minute time slot.
Writing a Strong Proposal
AAC&U strives to offer a balanced, informative, and thought-provoking conference focused on frameworks for undergraduate liberal education. We seek 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.
That said, the proposal process is highly competitive. Successful proposals will:
- explicitly connect to the conference’s theme of courage;
- showcase evidence-based theory-to-practice models that have proven effective in creating coherent, purposeful undergraduate experiences for all students or
- represent models that emerged rapidly over the past year and for which a case can be made that the models are likely to prove effective through empirical inquiry over time;
- offer creative, novel, and transformative mechanisms for designing general education, pedagogy, and assessment;
- showcase 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;
- provide evidence of effectiveness, lessons learned, challenges overcome, and applicability across a range of institutional types;
- include explicit plans for involving participants in reflection, discussion, exercises, and other activities that will help them understand and apply the material;
- reflect diverse perspectives, innovations, disciplines, and strategies for change.
The selection process will prioritize proposals that include one or more of the following attributes:
- multiple institutional perspectives, including sector-specific (e.g., community college, HBCU, etc.) collaborative sessions with co-presenters from different institutions;
- student voices and perspectives, including but not limited to students as co-presenters (for additional information regarding student participation at GEPA, please see our plan for student engagement).
The deadline for submitting proposals is 11:59 p.m., Friday, October 6.
Upon submission of a proposal, the primary session contact should receive an automatic message confirming that AAC&U has received the proposal. Please remember to check the spam folder. If the primary contact does not receive this message, please email [email protected].
The primary session contact will receive notice via email of the decision regarding the proposal in late October.
A Special Note Regarding Proposals from Non-Campus Practitioners
AAC&U values the insights from both inside and outside the higher education campus community. If you are a non-campus practitioner (e.g., nonprofit, for-profit, association, consultant, etc.) interested in submitting a conference proposal, there are two options available to you:
- Submit a proposal through the standard call-for-proposals process. Your proposal will be reviewed by the conference planning committee and, if your proposal is accepted, there is no fee to present other than the conference registration fee to attend. If, in addition to a regular conference session, you would like to explore additional opportunities to increase visibility or engage with our conference attendees, please reach out to the AAC&U Advancement team ([email protected]) to explore your options.
- Contact the AAC&U Advancement team ([email protected]) to learn more about sponsored session options as a conference partner. Please note that this is a paid sponsorship option. Limited session slots are available.
For more information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact [email protected].