Call for Proposals: 2016 Capital PKAL Conference

Deadline for proposal submission: March 1, 2016

The Call for Proposals for the 2016 Capital PKAL conference is now open and will close on March 1, 2016. Proposals are encouraged to showcase evidence-based practices that reflect at least one of the conference themes below. Such practices should be poised for immediate uptake and adaptation by a wide range of institution types, including community colleges and minority serving institutions. Of particular interest are proposals that effectively integrate two or more of the conference themes.

Conference Themes

  • Incorporating Culturally Competent Content into STEM Teaching
  • Institutional Approaches to Enhance Persistence of STEM Students
  • The Role of Faculty in Promoting Diversity

Theme I: Incorporating Culturally Competent Content into STEM Teaching

Sessions or posters under this theme highlight evidenced-based models and innovations used to integrate culturally competent content into STEM disciplines. Special emphasis is placed on initiatives that help us understand how social identity shapes thoughts about learning and interactions of diverse learners. Proposals should represent research and/or practices from any STEM discipline that show an understanding of the frameworks in which cultural inclusivity and proficiency in teaching and learning are supported. Strategies that introduce students to the challenges and intrigue of the STEM disciplines, and promote learning and engagement of students in a classroom setting, are highly encouraged. 

Theme II: Institutional Approaches to Enhance Persistence of STEM Students

Sessions and posters under this theme explore the approaches and information used by institutions to improve student persistence. Research and/or evidence-based practices should address factors that influence persistence in STEM fields. In addition, information should be provided that clearly outlines the programmatic intervention used by an institution to examine the relationship between specific structures and the probability of STEM degree completion.

Theme III: The Role of Faculty in Promoting Diversity

Sessions and posters under this theme focus on strategies that promote diversity in the classroom and show the importance of active and applied learning activities that involve real life issues and cultural contexts. Research and/or evidence-based practices should explore specific strategies used by faculty, as well as the level of faculty involvement to promote diversity. Sessions and posters under this theme should emphasize an understanding and appreciation of the role of diversity in higher education, and may include pedagogy or approaches to teaching and their potential impact on student learning in STEM.  

Session Formats

Poster (60 minutes; 4’x3’ poster)

Posters share visual models of research findings; course, program, curricular/co-curricular designs; concept maps; assessment rubrics and feedback loops; strategic planning frameworks and high-impact practices. The poster session provides an opportunity to reach a broad audience and initiate conversations with colleagues with similar interests. Posters are displayed on a 4’x3’ poster board.

Oral Presentation (60 minute presentations [50 minutes to speak, 10 minutes for questions]; computers and video projectors are standard in the presentation rooms)

Oral sessions share current work—in research, theory, or practice—related to the conference themes. They encourage participants to consider how their presentation supports learning environments that improve and assess persistence, retention and/or diversity. Proposals should be explicitly connected to a conference theme. Presenters should provide data/findings related to the topic, effective practices, milestones for success, and strategies for change. Please, note that the session should be an analysis of effective frameworks, theories, and practices that are adaptable to institutions, and not a show-and-tell of previous work.

Developing and Submitting a Proposal

Proposals are accepted through an online form and must include:

  • Name, title, institution, and email address of each facilitator;
  • Session theme and format;
  • Session title (100 character limit including spaces);
  • Brief abstract to be used in the conference program if accepted (150 word limit);
  • Statement of intended audience (100 word limit);
  • Participant outcomes (100 word limit); and
  • Description of evidence indicating that the method, activity, or pedagogy was effective (150 word limit).

Proposal Review Criteria

Capital PKAL strives to offer a balanced, informative and thought-provoking conference that best fits within the framework of creating learning environments that enhance diversity, improve retention and promotes persistence of STEM students. The conference proposal selection committee includes experienced, diverse academic STEM professionals. In evaluating conference proposals, reviewers are asked to consider both the technical aspects of the proposal and the way in which the presentation/session contributes to increasing STEM student success. The following elements are considered in the review of conference proposals:

  • the potential for the proposed session/presentation to advance knowledge and understanding of STEM environments for enhancing diversity and persistence;
  • the extent to which the session/presentation offers creative, novel and transformative evidence-based mechanisms for enhancing learning environments in  STEM, particularly for diversity and persistence;
  • the extent to which the proposed session/presentation effectively incorporates two or more of the conference themes; and
  • the ease by which conference session/presentation materials and outcomes can be adapted to a wide range of institution types.

Additional Information

The deadline for proposal submission is February 28; 2016.Upon submission of a proposal, the session contact should receive an automatic message indicating that Capital PKAL has received the proposal. If the contact does not receive this message (and it is not in their spam filter), please email:


The session contact will be notified via email of the decision on the proposal by March 15, 2016.

Expenses and Fees

All session facilitators are responsible for conference registration fees, travel, and hotel expenses. Please, be sure that all individuals listed in the proposal have this information and can be available to present throughout the event. Presentation times range from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm, April 8, 2016 at University of the District of Columbia.