For More Information

Mark Lange
Conference Director
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education & Executive Director of the SBS Advising Center

College of Social and
Behavioral Sciences
UMass Amherst

128 Thompson Hall
200 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9244


Call for Proposals

2014 New England Conference for Student Success
“Teaching for Student Success"

Call for Proposals

The University of Massachusetts Amherst will host the fifth annual New England Conference for Student Success on Friday, September 19, 2014. The program committee invites instructors, student affairs staff, practitioners and scholars to submit proposals for conference sessions. All submissions should emphasize promising practices or programs aimed at fostering student success.

This year's theme, "Teaching for Student Success," focuses on best practices in teaching and learning. All presentations should be aimed at demonstrating a practice that facilitates learning, regardless of the amount or kind of technology it uses. Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that highlight a developing practice or a "tried and true" approach to teaching and learning that they are utilizing in their work. Priority will be given to proposals that demonstrate cooperative efforts between course instruction and supplemental services. Below are examples of the kinds of topics that are of particular interest to the conference.

Possible Topics

  • The flipped classroom
  • Curriculum development in residence life programs
  • Lecture in the age of smart phones
  • The use of technology to expand students' interactions with faculty and staff
  • Supplemental instruction as a way to teach students how to learn
  • The collaboration of advising and support services with classroom instruction
  • Using students' personal technology to facilitate engagement in the curriculum and co-curriculum
  • Classes that blend face-to-face with online technology
  • Advising as teaching
  • Using technology to tailor a large class to individual learning styles
  • Assessing the effectiveness of technology in supporting student learning
  • How to make online discussion groups most effective
  • Portfolios as a way to engage students throughout their academic and student development programs
  • Integrating student activities with classroom instruction

This conference is designed for faculty, administrators, and professionals in both academic and student affairs, from 2- and 4-year educational institutions who are seeking new ways of thinking about and promoting student success in higher education.

Session Proposal Guidelines

All session proposals should do the following:
  1. Report on programs, practices or initiatives aimed at fostering student success
  2. Explain what is done, how it is done, and the impact (or expected impact) of the initiative or innovation
  3. Explain how you will devote 20-30 minutes to audience participation and/or discussion
  4. Explain how the session will be conducted, i.e. how the 60- or 75-minute time slot will be organized to encourage audience participation
  5. Not exceed five double-spaced pages including title, author details, abstract, body, questions or issues for audience discussion, session outline, and references

Session Formats

Choose from three formats: (1) Hands-On Workshop; (2) Research/Project Report; (3) Facilitated Discussion. Please select the format that will advance participants’ understanding and potential use of your work. One way to effectively engage participants across the different formats is to have them explore ways to apply your information and resources to their own institutional and professional settings. In an effort to conserve resources, applicants are asked to limit paper handouts. Electronic resources will be provided to participants both before and after the conference.

Format 1: Hands-On Workshop
Workshops allow facilitators to engage participants in active learning about the session topic. We recommend opening with a brief framing of the topic and an overview of planned activities and goals for the session. We expect facilitators will lead participants through relevant exercises or activities (either individual or small group) that will foster constructive dialogue and help them to employ strategies or techniques in their work on their own campuses.

Format 2: Project/Research Reports
We recommend splitting this session into three periods of approximately 20 minutes each. During the first period, facilitators will highlight their research findings, promising project, model, or other innovation. The second period should be used to work through practical applications of this work with participants (e.g., to other institutions or in scaling up to involve greater numbers of students). The final period is for discussion. All data, findings, and applications should be presented in ways that are accessible to participants and allow them to engage in a discussion about applications and implications.

  • Project/model/innovation-focused proposals should briefly describe the project, the parties involved (e.g., humanities and science faculty, residence life staff, first-year students, etc.), the impetus for the project, components, challenges encountered, strategies for implementation and plans for assessing its effectiveness.
  • Research-focused proposals should clearly state the research question(s), methods, and major findings, and offer concrete examples/steps for using the findings to effect change.

Format 3: Facilitated Discussions
Facilitated discussions allow colleagues to share expertise and experiences on a topic of mutual interest. They provide a valuable opportunity to network and reflect upon ideas, challenges, and possible solutions in an informal setting. Facilitated discussions may take either one of the following approaches:

  • Topical discussion: The facilitator briefly presents information on a relevant topic or challenge and assists the group in exploring issues of concern and developing possible solutions.
  • Practice/strategy discussion: The facilitator prefaces the discussion with a brief overview of a particular practice or strategy and provides a handout that includes a longer description, as well as a bibliography or other resources. The facilitator then poses questions to stimulate and focus the conversation so that others can share their own experiences using the particular practice or strategy.

NOTE: All sessions should engage participants in thinking about how they might translate and adapt the strategies, practices and/or information presented to their own institutional and professional settings. Facilitators and presenters are also welcome to solicit feedback that would inform their work. If your session is better suited to a particular type of institution (e.g., community college, research university), or level of expertise (novice, intermediate, advanced), please make that clear in your proposal. If you have a great idea that does not fit into one of the formats listed above, please let us know.

The deadline for submitting proposals is July 11, 2014.

Instructions for Proposals

All proposals should follow the guidelines set forth in this call for proposals and adhere to the highest professional standards.


  • Include a compelling title and two-sentence abstract for publication in the Conference Program
  • Include the author’s name and institution on each page of the proposal
  • Limit length to no more than five, double-spaced pages
  • Submit as a Microsoft Word (.doc) or PDF document
  • Avoid complicated formatting
  • Include page numbers


  • Identify the topic and format you have selected, including length: 60 or 75 minutes.
  • Describe the intended activities and goals/intended outcomes of your session, noting how the activities will help participants achieve those outcomes.
  • Describe aspects of your work that can be applied to one or more sectors of higher education (i.e., research universities, liberal arts colleges, comprehensive institutions, community colleges).
  • Describe the professional level to which your session is geared (e.g. novice, intermediate, advanced).
  • Include links to relevant websites and/or attachments of any materials you will share.
  • Detail your plan for audience participation. How will you engage participants in a discussion of how your work might translate to their own campus contexts and roles? Provide a list of key discussion questions.
  • Refer and/or describe your contribution to the existing body of knowledge on the topic and refer to previous relevant published works.

If your proposal pertains to a project, program, course, or other feature for which there is (or will be) descriptive materials available online or electronically, please provide the URL address or e-document with your proposal (or when they become available before the conference). The conference website will include these links when we post the final program. After the conference, all presenters will be invited to provide any additional electronic resources that they would like us to make available to conference participants.

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Relevance to the conference theme of “Teaching for Success”
  • Focus on practices, programs or initiatives aimed at fostering student success
  • Strategies for audience engagement
  • Application to other institutional types or settings
  • Adherence to guidelines and submission deadline

How to Submit a Proposal

Coversheet: All proposals must include the coversheet, completed electronically or manually (please print), depending on your preferred method for submission.

Writeable pdf coversheet (requires Acrobat Professional). Be sure to download the form to your desktop, complete and save before sending as an email attachment.

Word document coversheet. Download, complete, and save. Send as an email attachment, or print out for mail or fax submission.

Electronic Submission: Submit all supporting documents in pdf or Word format. All proposals should be sent to Susan McDonough ( If you have difficulty submitting your proposal electronically, please contact Susan McDonough by email or telephone (413.577.1202).

Mail Submission: Send cover sheet and proposal to:
Student Success Proposals
attn: Susan McDonough
202 Draper Hall
University of Massachusetts Amherst
40 Campus Center Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9244

Fax Submission: Send cover sheet and proposal to 413.577.0905; attn: Susan McDonough.

Notification: You will receive a confirmation message indicating receipt of your proposal within 2 business days of submission. If you do not receive this message, please contact Susan McDonough (413.577.1202) to confirm receipt.

Deadline and Acceptance: The deadline for submitting proposals is July 11, 2014. Proposals will not be accepted after that date. Presenters will be notified by August 1 on the status of their submissions. For additional information, please contact Ezekiel Kimball, Program Committee Chair:

Registration Fees: All session presenters are responsible for conference registration fees, as well as any travel or hotel expenses incurred. Presenters will be offered a reduced conference fee when they complete the registration form.

Resources for Attendees of Your Session: Resource materials help conference participants implement and/or share new ideas. In an effort to conserve natural resources, and increase the potential for active participation in your session, we strongly encourage facilitators to provide us with online resources one month in advance of the conference.