2015 Ann Ferren Conference Proposals


  • Teaching and Learning Resources
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Call for Proposals

The 26th Annual Ann Ferren Conference on Teaching, Research, and Learning will be held on Friday, January 9, 2015. The Center for Teaching, Research & Learning is pleased to invite all faculty and staff to submit session proposals. 

In response to conference attendee feedback, we are introducing a new session structure this year, with a more diverse set of session types and slightly shorter sessions (45 or 60 minutes), which will enable conference attendees to attend more sessions throughout the day of the conference. Four types of conference sessions are offered: Lecture/Panel Presentations, Teaching and Research Tool Demonstrations, Interactive/Structured Conversation Sessions, and Hands-On Workshops. When you submit a session proposal, you will be asked to choose one of the following four session type formats:


Session Types

Lecture/Panel Presentations (60 minutes):

A formal presentation on any topic related to teaching, research, or learning, by a single presenter or by a panel of presenters. Note: Because these sessions are now 60 minutes, rather than the previous 75 minutes, we suggest having no more than 3-4 panelists, and limiting the presentation to 30 minutes, to allow for at least 30 minutes of discussion and Q&A. Presenters are strongly encouraged to bring handouts and/or provide online resources.

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 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 demonstration sessions include handouts and/or step-by-step guides for attendees to take with them after the session.


Interactive/Structured Conversations (60 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.  

Examples of topics which would work well for these conversations 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 recording your lectures using Panopto. We suggest that all hands-on workshops include handouts and/or step-by-step guides for attendees to take with them after the session.


Important Dates:

Proposals due September 26, 2014
Notification of acceptance October 31, 2014
Registration opens December 1, 2014
Conference date
January 9, 2015

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:  

  • Mobile teaching and new apps/updates on educational technology
  • Using social media as an instructional tool
  • Google tools
  • Student engagement and participation
  • Teaching strategies and instructional methods
  • Leading and enhancing class discussions
  • Reading and writing across disciplines
  • Working with international students
  • On-line and hybrid models
  • Research and publications; research sabbaticals
  • Teaching critical thinking
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Working with students who need accommodations, have varied learning styles etc.
  • Models for internships
  • Faculty advising for alternative break programs
  • The professor as a professional: public profile, academic freedom, identifying resources
  • Preparing students for employment

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

2014 Session Descriptions

2013 Session Descriptions

2012 Session Descriptions

Proposal Guidelines:

Sessions are 45 or 60 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 you have chosen for your session
  • The proposed title of your session
  • A 150-200 word abstract describing your session, which should address: 
  1. the goal and content of the session;
  2. who your target audience is; and
  3. what you want your audience to think about, to be challenged by, and/or to do differently in their teaching and/or research as a result of your session.
(Note: This abstract will be published on the conference website if your proposal is accepted)
  • 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 on line following the template outlined above.   

CLICK HERE to submit a proposal for the 2015 Ann Ferren Conference!

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