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2017 Ann Ferren Conference Proposals


Teaching and Learning Resources
(202) 885-3926
Hurst Hall, Room 204

Teaching and Learning Resources
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016

Call for Proposals

The 28th Annual Ann Ferren Conference on Teaching, Research, and Learning will be held on Friday, January 13, 2017. The Center for Teaching, Research & Learning is pleased to invite all faculty and staff to submit session proposals. Four types of conference sessions are offered: Lecture/Panel Presentations, Teaching and Research Tool Demonstrations, Interactive Sessions, and Hands-On Workshops. When you submit a session proposal, you will be asked to choose one of these four session type formats, and between 60- and 75-minute sessions if you are proposing a Lecture/Panel Presentation or an Interactive Session (The number of 75-minute sessions will be limited).


Session Types

Lecture/Panel Presentations (60 or 75 minutes)

A formal presentation on any topic related to teaching, research, or learning, by a single presenter or by a panel of presenters. Note: If you choose the 60 minute version, we strongly suggest having no more than 3 panelists, and limiting the presentation to 30 minutes, to allow for at least 30 minutes of discussion and Q&A. If you choose the 75 minute version, it may be more feasible (though not necessary) to have a fourth panelist, or more time for Q&A. Presenters are strongly encouraged to bring handouts and/or provide online resources. (Note that we cannot guarantee that your requested session length will be available.)

Examples of topics might be those related to your own teaching and/or research that you think would be of value to your peers. Panel presentations share a similar purpose but with the added benefit of being able to include a variety of perspectives, cases, or examples on the topic.

Teaching and Research Tool Demonstrations (45 minutes)

One or two presenters will demonstrate how to use a concept, method, or strategy that facilitates teaching and/or research. The goal is to provide faculty with new ideas on teaching or research strategies or approaches that they can replicate. We anticipate very limited time for discussion and Q&A at these sessions.

Examples of topics which would work well in this format might be designing a mid-term student feedback form, how to use a specific feature of Blackboard, or how to use a specific mobile app to leverage your teaching. We suggest that all tool demonstration sessions include handouts and/or step-by-step guides for attendees to take with them after the session.

Interactive Sessions (60 or 75 minutes)

These sessions provide a forum for participants to discuss any topic related to teaching, research, or learning. Sessions are facilitated by a single moderator, who will give a very brief, contextualizing introduction on the topic, of 5-10 minutes, with the majority of the session devoted to discussion. If you anticipate that a longer time for discussion will benefit your session, we suggest that you choose the 75-minute option. (Note that we cannot guarantee that your requested session length will be available.)

Examples of topics which would work well for these sessions might be those that provide attendees  with a chance to share and discuss their experiences, their approaches to solving problems, or their new ideas on a specific topic relating to teaching and/or research.

Hands-On Workshops (60 minutes)

These workshops teach hands-on skills that can be used either for teaching or research, and will include an overview of a new skill or technique followed by an opportunity to practice using those skills. Attendees should expect an interactive experience.

Examples of topics which would work well for hands-on workshops might be using Blackboard and other learning management systems, how to use simulations in the classroom, and video-recording your lectures. We suggest that all hands-on workshops include handouts and/or step-by-step guides for attendees to take with them after the session, and that you allow ample time for participants to try out the skill or tool you are teaching.


Important Dates:

Proposals due September 26, 2016
Notification of acceptance November 11, 2016
Registration opens December 1, 2016
Conference date
January 13, 2017

Proposal Guidelines:

Sessions are 45, 60, or 75 minutes long, depending on which format you choose. Please read about the session types before making your choice. In the online session proposal form, you will be asked to provide the following information:

• The names, affiliations, and contact information of all presenters

• The session type (and length) you have chosen for your session

• The proposed title of your session

• A 100-150 word abstract describing your session, which should address:
(1) the goal and content of the session; and
(2) the main takeaways for the participants of the session. (Note: this abstract will be published on the conference website if your proposal is accepted, so please make sure that it conveys what you would like potential attendees to know about your session, and that the abstract is carefully edited).

• A short description of your session (35-45 words), as you would like it to appear in the printed conference program.

Submit a Proposal:

Session proposals must be submitted online following the template outlined above.

Submit a proposal for the 2017 Ann Ferren Conference

Ideas for Potential Topics:

The following is a list of potential topics as suggested by conference attendees at last year’s conference. Feel free to use this list of session topic ideas as an inspiration for your own proposal:


Sessions on classroom techniques

  • Effective communication with students, in and outside the classroom
  • Student group projects
  • Variety of learning assignments in the classroom
  • Whether or not to allow digital devices in the classroom
  • Helping students overcome "partial attention" while using technology
  • Facilitating student research
  • Student-led courses
  • Dealing with student needs vs. class policies
  • Classroom policies: Laptops, attendance, grading participation, grading on a curve, etc.
  • How to teach a block class

Sessions on meeting diverse student needs

  • Overcoming implicit bias
  • How to help nontraditional students fit in with their peers
  • Diversity of learning/teaching styles
  • Helping students with disabilities enhance their learning experience in the classroom
  • Who are our students?
  • How the university is responding to the needs of underrepresented student groups
  • Implementing accommodations for students with disabilities
  • Gender bias in evaluations--student evaluations of faculty teaching, faculty evaluations of students
  • Moving beyond diversity and inclusion
  • ADA and what it means for teachers

Sessions on assessment and learning outcomes

  • How to think creatively about meeting learning outcomes
  • Foregrounding learning outcomes in teaching
  • Formative assessment methods
  • Prior learning assessments, and other new trends in Higher Ed

Sessions on instructional technology and online & mobile learning

  • How is digital technology impacting our students' brains
  • Mobile learning
  • Open Educational Resources (OERs)
  • Online course development
  • Synchronous online learning
  • How to conduct an on-line class during a snow storm, when your teach a regular face-to-face course
  • Inclusion of long-distance guest speakers in class

Sessions on experiential learning and student skills development

  • Students sharing their experiences of experiential learning
  • Community-based and experiential learning
  • Hands on idea-sharing about helping my students write better papers
  • How to integrate writing assignments without the burden of grading long papers
  • Developing career skills in the classroom
  • Incorporating career skills into theoretical teaching
  • How to help students develop better study skills and habits
  • How to teach students how to be students
  • Competency based education

Sessions on research and scholarship

  • Building national and international research reputations
  • How to get the most out of attending conferences and networking
  • Developing your academic career

Sessions on other topics

  • Faculty and AU governance issues
  • How to create better connections and cooperation between professors and other services
  • Dealing with students that cheat on exams
  • Assessing academic integrity violations
  • Topics/panels about the tenure process
  • How to navigate the course proposal process (with special attention to the new Gen Ed program)
  • Joint programming with overseas universities
  • Curriculum development
  • Sessions that integrate psychology and neuroscience as they relate to education and student development
  • Mentoring
  • Trends in higher education that could impact our work


You can also read session descriptions from previous years’ conferences by clicking on the corresponding links below:

2016 Session Descriptions
2015 Session Descriptions
2014 Session Descriptions
2013 Session Descriptions
2012 Session Descriptions

If you have any questions about the Ann Ferren Conference, or about the proposal process, please contact Anna Olsson ( or x6077).