2018 Transforming STEM Higher Education: Call for Proposals

Deadline for proposal submission: Friday, May 11, 2018

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) invite proposals for pre-conference workshops, concurrent sessions, and poster presentations for the 2018 Transforming STEM Higher Education: Confirming the Authority of Evidence conference. Please note that all session presenters are responsible for conference registration fees, travel, and hotel expenses.   Presentations will take place from Thursday, November 8 at 2:00 pm through Saturday, November 10 at 12:00 p.m. Presenters should plan to be available at the time their session appears in the conference program. 

Session Types
LEAP Featured Sessions
Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) Featured Sessions
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Featured Sessions
Session Formats
Developing and Submitting a Proposal
Proposal Review Criteria
Additional Information

Session Types

The specific session types include the following:

  • Session Type I: Individual Classroom/Project-Level Interventions 
  • Session Type II: Institution-Level Interventions
  • Session Type III: National-Level Intervention

Session Type I: Individual Classroom/Project-Level Interventions 
Presentations and sessions within Session Type I will feature classroom and/or project-level interventions aimed at enhancing undergraduate STEM learning. Proposals should represent practices and/or education research that focus on achieving core STEM learning outcomes. Proposals offering new and innovative insights into undergraduate STEM teaching strategies that lead to the retention of students from historically underrepresented groups in STEM are particularly encouraged.

Proposed sessions must be theory driven and deeply grounded in either quantitative or qualitative research approaches. Additionally, Session Type I sessions must demonstrate capacity for transferability beyond your own context. Proposals that merely present a “show and tell” of outcomes, are devoid of a theoretical basis, or do not address how the successful strategies can be transferred to other contexts will not be considered for inclusion in the 2018 AAC&U STEM conference.

Session Type II: Institution-Level Interventions
Presentations and sessions within Session Type II will focus on the implementation of institution-wide efforts to reform STEM higher education, particularly those that are readily transferable to a wide range of institution types. These sessions should emphasize broad-based changes, particularly in institutional policies and/or practices, that benefit either STEM students or faculty. Emphasis on institution-wide efforts that differentially affect students and faculty from historically underrepresented groups in STEM are particularly encouraged.

Proposed sessions for Session Type II must be theory-driven and deeply grounded in either quantitative or qualitative research approaches. Additionally, Session Type II sessions must demonstrate capacity for transferability to, and adaptability within, a wide range of institutional contexts. Proposals that merely present a “show and tell” of outcomes, are devoid of a theoretical basis, or do not address how the successful institutional change strategies can be transferred to other institution types will not be considered for inclusion in the 2018 AAC&U STEM conference.

newSession Type III: National-Level Interventions
Presentations and sessions within Session Type III will focus on models for STEM higher education reform that directly affect more than a single institution. These sessions will explore how national alliances and communities of practice—whether formal or informal—can be used to advance and accelerate STEM reform. Proposals that enhance our understanding of STEM culture as well as the systemic institutional structures and/or barriers that limit the participation of STEM students and/or faculty from underrepresented groups are particularly encouraged.

Proposed presentations for Session Type III must be theory-driven and deeply grounded in either quantitative or qualitative research approaches. Additionally, Session Type III sessions must demonstrate capacity for impact beyond that which has already been achieved. Proposals that merely present a “show and tell” of outcomes, are devoid of a theoretical basis, or do not address how the successful STEM reform strategies are relevant across all institution types will not be considered for inclusion in the 2018 AAC&U STEM conference.


LEAP Featured Sessions

Conference sessions designated as “LEAP Featured Sessions” make explicit links between campus-based educational reform and the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes, Principles of Excellence, and High-Impact Practices developed as part of AAC&U’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative. 

For more information on applying to have your conference session designated as a LEAP Featured Session, visit www.aacu.org/leap/can/featured-sessions
 

NewProject Kaleidoscope (PKAL) Featured Sessions
Conference sessions designated as “Project Kaleidoscope Featured Sessions” are intended to highlight the innovative work of alumni of the Project Kaleidoscope STEM Leadership Institute. These sessions make explicit links between the development of leadership consciousness that occurs during the Institute and its institutional impact on STEM higher education reform.


NewHoward Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Featured Sessions
Conference sessions designated as “HHMI Featured Sessions” highlight efforts of colleges and universities that are funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to build institutional capacity for excellence in STEM. These sessions also feature cutting-edge innovations in STEM reform that arise from disciplinary research.


Session Formats

Poster (90 minutes; poster size: 36” x 48”)
Posters provide opportunities for conference attendees to engage in deep conversations while exploring specific details about approaches to STEM higher education reform. Selection of proposals for poster presentations are based on the same criteria as that of all other STEM conference proposals.

Innovation/Ideation Session (10–15 minutes; 1–2 presenters; audiovisual equipment available)
These sessions will feature “untested” strategies that are still exploratory in nature but show great promise for advancing our national STEM higher education reform agenda. As an added feature, NSF program officers attending the 2018 AAC&U STEM conference will join these sessions to offer valuable technical assistance to presenters in real time.

Selection criteria for this session type does not require evidence of effectiveness. However, the proposal should provide a very detailed description of the idea or innovation to be presented, as well as the context in which it is expected to be successful. 

Discussions (30 or 60 minutes; 1–4 facilitators; room set in round tables; audiovisual equipment available upon request)
Facilitated discussions provide an opportunity for conference attendees to examine STEM higher education reform topics of similar interest. Facilitators are expected to assist conference attendees in examining new ways of thinking about STEM higher education reform and the specific strategies that are needed for moving forward, particularly in light of the diversity of individual and institutional contexts that will be represented at the conference.

Proposals for facilitated discussions should explain the overall context surrounding the anticipated discussion, as related to the conference theme, and clearly identify the intended audience. Proposals for facilitated discussions should also reflect the capacity to generate new ideas and questions from conference attendees as a means of making the session stimulating and meaningful for all involved.

Workshops (75 minutes each; 2–4 facilitators; rooms set in round tables; audiovisual equipment available upon request)
Workshops are designed to provide a highly interactive environment for conference attendees to deeply examine, explore, and/or experience the relevant theories and implementation strategies that can contribute to advancing STEM higher education reform. Workshops are expected to engage conference attendees in reflection, discussion, and interactive design work related to the development of STEM reform models or practices.

Proposals for workshops must provide details about the scholarship that will inform the workshop topic and the approach to conference attendee engagement. Proposed sessions that are designed to model high-impact practices, such as small-group collaboration and experiential learning, will be given priority for presentation.

NewPre-Conference Workshops (3 hours each; 2–4 facilitators; rooms set in round tables; audiovisual equipment available upon request)
Pre-conference workshops are a hallmark of the AAC&U STEM conference and have mostly been selected based on nominations, rather than through the call for proposals.  These sessions provide opportunities for conference attendees to vigorously engage in a broad spectrum of topics that are related to the reform of STEM higher education.

All pre-conference workshops are expected to be highly interactive and grounded in basic principles of adult learning. For this reason, proposals for pre-conference workshops should provide highly detailed information on the workshop structure, a plan for engagement of the target audience, and anticipated learning outcomes for attendees.

Selection for pre-conference workshops is highly competitive.  Pre-conference workshops are scheduled for Thursday, November 8, 2:00-5:00 pm.  If selected as a pre-conference workshop, up to three presenters will receive complimentary registration for the conference.  Presenters are responsible for travel and hotel expenses.


Developing and Submitting a Proposal

All proposals must be submitted through the AAC&U Peer Review Portal, and must include the following:

  • Name, title, institution, discipline, and email address of each facilitator
  • Session title (100-character limit)
  • Session Type
  • Session Format
  • Background and Significance. Provide a brief overview of your project. Include a description of the problem you are addressing, a rationale for your approach, theory(ies) informing your work, and methods. (500 words)
  • Evidence of Effectiveness (not required for Innovation/Ideation proposals). Describe, in detail, the outcomes of your work and the metrics used to determine effectiveness and overall impact. (250 words)
  • Plan for Engaging Conference Participants/Attendees (required only for facilitated discussion, workshop, and pre-conference workshop proposals). Provide a detailed plan for how attendees will be engaged in hands-on session activities. Details about attendee learning outcomes should also be included. (200-word limit)

Proposals will be blind reviewed. Please do not include any identifying information in the session content of your proposal.


Proposal Review Criteria

AAC&U and PKAL strive to offer a balanced, informative, and thought-provoking conference within the framework of STEM higher education reform. The conference proposal selection committee will include experienced, diverse STEM faculty and administrators from a broad range of institution types. In evaluating each conference proposal, reviewers will consider both the technical aspects of the proposal and the ways in which the presentation/session will contribute to transforming STEM higher education.

Using a Likert scale (1=lowest; 5=highest), reviewers are asked to consider and rate the following elements of each conference proposal:

  1. Is the proposed session/presentation grounded and informed by research and theory?
  2. Does the proposal provide a thorough overview of the problem or challenge to be explored and/or addressed?
  3. To what extent does the proposed session/presentation offer creative, novel, and/or transformative mechanisms to promote and enhance STEM learning at the undergraduate level?
  4. Is there convincing qualitative and/or quantitative evidence to support the effectiveness of the approach described in the proposal?
  5. To what extent does the proposed session/presentation contribute to the achievement of inclusive excellence in STEM higher education?
  6. What is the relative ease by which the proposed session/conference materials and/or project outcomes can be adapted to a wide range of institutions of higher education or communities of practice?
  7. What is the potential for the proposed session/presentation to advance our knowledge and understanding of STEM education at the undergraduate level?
  8. What is the overall merit of the session/presentation?

Additionally, reviewers are offered the option to provide summary statements on:

  • The major strengths of the proposed session/presentation
  • The major weaknesses of the proposed session/presentation
  • The value added to the STEM conference

For your review, an example proposal is provided below:

STEM CONFERENCE PROPOSAL EXAMPLE

Session Title: A Work in Context: Tracking the Success of Implementing CUREs at an HSI

Session Type: Workshop

Background and Significance: Implementation of high-impact practices (HIPs) is vital to expanding the pipeline of underrepresented students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, yet continues to be a challenge for many institutions. Research experiences have been shown to be particularly effective for underprepared and underrepresented groups (Kuh, 2009). However, traditional research experiences may be out of reach for some underrepresented students, as these students may not satisfy entrance requirements to research programs, may lack acculturation to apply for extracurricular research (Bangera and Brownell, 2014), or may have additional family and financial obligations (Malcolm et al., 2010) that preclude them from maximizing the benefits of apprenticeship experiences. Malcolm and others (2010) suggested increasing accessibility to research opportunities at HSIs and community colleges by integrating research experiences directly into the core curriculum (e.g., Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences, or CUREs) as a means to increase participation, retention, and success in STEM. In 2014, CUREnet, an NSF-funded Research Coordination Network for Undergraduate Biology Education, defined the key elements of CUREs as (1) use of scientific practices, (2) focus on discovery, (3) focus on broadly relevant or important work, (4) collaboration, and (5) iteration (Auchincloss et al., 2014). In addition to broadening participation, CUREs have been shown to stimulate greater learning and affect gains when compared to non-CURE courses (Lopatto et al., 2008; Wei and Wooden, 2011; Olimpo et al., 2016). Integrating CUREs into existing courses or creating new courses presents unique challenges that call for research into contextualizing CUREs to make implementation accessible to a broad range of academic institutions.

Evidence of Effectiveness: University X, a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), reaches populations of students who have traditionally been underrepresented in STEM fields.  To broaden participation in undergraduate research, University X implemented a Design Your Own Experiment (DYOE) pedagogy, a variant of CUREs, in laboratory learning modules of a required sophomore-level cell biology course. This course was analyzed for learning, critical thinking, and affective gains over a three-year period. The results suggest that students benefited in all three domains from the DYOE experience. Further analysis of student surveys and faculty interviews highlighted key features of the lab and lecture sections that influence student outcomes.  Specifically, the role of lecture style and content on student learning in the lab will be discussed.  Recommendations for implementation based on these findings will also be addressed.

Plan for Engaging Conference Participants/Attendees: This workshop will feature different scenarios for CURE implementation in small groups, especially focusing on scenarios that apply to their institutions. Key variables that may affect implementation include course topic, instructor pool (e.g., part time/adjunct, full time, novice, experienced), classroom size, availability of facilities, teaching assistants, and student demographics, among others. As a result, participants will learn about assessment outcomes in learning, critical thinking, and affect of students in a DYOE-CURE model, as well as gain a nuanced and contextualized understanding of barriers and strategies for CURE development, implementation, student buy-in, and student success. Participants will also customize a strategy for their institutional setting, develop learning outcomes for a CURE of their own choosing, and generate ideas for course delivery and assessment through guided discussion. Facilitators of this session will guide participants in collaboratively creating a list of practices and strategies for each group to share at the end. This will help participants define learning goals for lab-embedded research and discuss ways to integrate lecture material. Different styles of course instruction, including traditional lecture, active learning, and flipped, will be discussed in the context of a CURE. Ideas for assessment of lecture-lab integration will be gathered and shared.

Additional Information

The deadline for proposal submission is Friday, May 11, 2018.

Upon 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 Jacqueline Martin at martin@aacu.org

Notifications
The primary session presenter will receive notice via email of the decision regarding the proposal on or about June 15, 2018.

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 range from the morning of Friday, November 9 through Saturday, November 10, at 12:00 p.m. 

*If selected for a pre-conference workshop, up to three presenters will receive complimentary registration for the conference.  Pre-conference workshop presenters are responsible for travel and hotel expenses. Pre-conference workshops are scheduled for Thursday, November 8, 2:00-5:00 pm.

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. 

For more information about sponsorships, please contact sponsorships@aacu.org.