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Conference Proposal Guidelines

Conference 2015 ~ November 11-15, 2015 ~ Chicago

Faculty Posters |Forum on DiversityGeneral Sessions | Idea Exchange | Master Classes | MeetingsRoundtables | Student Posters | SIRP | Student Moderators | General Information

All proposals must be submitted on-line no later than 11:59 PM Central Standard Time, February 26, 2015.

Faculty Poster Session

Want to showcase an innovative honors course or share your findings from honors-specific research? Submit a poster to the Faculty Poster Session. This is the place to share new seminar topics, unusual course structures, inventive honors assignments, or research with other innovative teachers. Presenters will stand with their posters to answer questions and discuss their courses or findings for a two-hour period. With permission, accepted posters (and syllabi, where appropriate) will be archived on the NCHC website. Complete faculty poster guidelines are available here

For questions about submissions, please contact Philip Frana at Posters not directly related to honors should be thematically related to the conference.

 NO LCD projector is available for the Faculty Poster session.

Forum on Diversity Issues

"What We Do Here Changes the World"
The Honors mission of excellence in higher education does not exist in a vacuum. One purpose of the additional challenge and enrichment opportunities is to help Honors students become thoughtful leaders in an educated populace.

Recent events in the United States and around the world, informed in various measures by diversity issues—clashes over immigration, religious ideology, citizenship, healthcare, poverty, racial profiling, marriage equality—both on the street and in the statehouses underscore that thoughtful leadership related to diversity issues is needed now more than ever. The Chicago NCHC conference theme for 2015, “Make No Small Plans,” invites those of us who are diversity advocates to dream big about diversity and Honors education.

To that end, the 2015 Forum on Diversity invites proposals that consider the following:

  • What role (if any) does diversity play in our local Honors Programs or colleges and in the ecology of our home Colleges and Universities? When we say “diversity” in our home institutions, what do we mean by that word?
  • If our local Honors Programs and Colleges have a goal in relation to diversity issues, what is it? Is it sufficient to provide the Honors experience to diverse populations? If not, what changes might we advocate on our home campuses?
  • How can our efforts to improve equity and inclusion in our programs play a role in bringing a heterogeneous group of students to Honors who may in turn become student leaders?
  • How might conversations on diversity (in all its multitudinous forms), whether inspired by curriculum or policy, shape tomorrow’s leaders?
  • As diversity advocates, in what ways can we recognize that our perspectives are not shared by everyone? Why is this insight important or valuable?
  • In what ways can we nevertheless advocate for social justice in our own environment (home Honors Program or College or our home institution)?

While the Diversity Forum planning committee encourages presentations that address one or more of the questions listed above, presentations that address other issues in honors and diversity will also be considered.

Presentations accepted to the NCHC Forum on Diversity will be grouped by the Diversity Forum Planning Committee based on similar topics or themes and placed into panels of three. PLEASE NOTE: Regardless of the number of presenters for a given accepted presentation, the presentation as a whole must last only a total of 20 minutes to give the other two members of the panel time to make their presentation. Thirty minutes will be saved at the end for shared discussion among presenters and audience. Panelists are expected to come to the beginning of their session and check in with the moderators, even if they are scheduled to make their presentation last. That way all panel members know what has been said by the other panelists, and they can more readily participate in the conversation during the last 30 minutes of the session.

Questions about the Diversity Forum may be addressed to Jonathan Kotinek at or 979-845-1957.

An LCD projector is available for the Forum on Diversity. Requests for an LCD projector will require a $75 payment upon selection of the proposal.  All requests must be made at the time of proposal submission. No requests made after this submission will be allowed.  An invoice will be sent when the proposal is accepted and must be paid by September 23, 2015. 

General Sessions

General sessions normally involve combinations of faculty, administrators, and possibly students. Proposals that only include student presenters will be considered but are generally discouraged. Proposals that include presenters from more than one institution and those based upon empirical research are particularly welcome.  Proposals related to the conference theme are especially welcome.

Faculty wishing to present new or innovative honors course topics should submit a Faculty Poster Session proposal rather than a General Session proposal. Students wishing to present their honors research should submit a Student Poster Session proposal or a Student Interdisciplinary Research Panel proposal rather than a General Session proposal.

Questions regarding the General Session Proposals should be directed to Jerry Herron at or 313-577-3469.

An LCD projector is available for General Sessions. Requests for an LCD projector will require a $75 payment upon selection of the proposal.  All requests must be made at the time of proposal submission. No requests made after this submission will be allowed.  An invoice will be sent when the proposal is accepted and must be paid by September 23, 2015. 

Idea Exchange

The Idea Exchange provides conference attendees the opportunity to exchange and gather information on NCHC Committees, professional organizations, student organizations, honors programs and structures, innovative practices, special campus opportunities, or scholarship opportunities. Presenters at this traditional Saturday morning breakfast session will display materials on a table and/or easel as stimuli to informal discussion. Idea Exchange presentations do not have to be related to the conference theme. NCHC provides individual tables for printed material and/or handouts.

Questions about the Idea Exchange should be directed to: Becky Spritz,

NO LCD projector is available for the Idea Exchange.

Master Classes

Master classes are performance classes in drama, music, poetry, and film and allow for individual or group creative presentations. In all areas, submissions that emphasize the conference theme will be given priority for acceptance. The culminating master class showcase will feature selected presentations from each master class. Applicants for the music master class must submit a recorded audition piece. Applicants for the poetry master class must submit samples of poetry.

  • Drama (Depending on the enrollment, drama students may give monologues or small group scenes.) – The drama master class will be facilitated by Andrew Whatley, Columbia College (Chicago). Questions should be directed to
  • Poetry (3 poems required. Poetry participants will have the opportunity to present and to discuss their work.) – The poetry master class will be facilitated by Tricia Baar, College of the Ozarks and Diann McCabe, Texas State College.  Questions should be directed to or
  • Music (Soloists (instrumental and vocal) and small instrumental ensembles (trios and quartets) are encouraged to apply.) The music master class will be facilitated by Donzell Lee.  Questions should be directed to
  • Film – the film master class will be facilitated by Michele Forman, Director of the Media Studies Program at the University of Alabama Birmingham.  Questions should be directed

General questions regarding the Master Classes should be directed to: Donzell Lee at or 601-877-6140.

Audio Visual (AV) is available for Master Classes. All requests must be made at the time of proposal submission.  No AV requests made after this submission will be allowed.


This year we are asking that committees, regional organizations, and special interest groups submit meeting requests through the proposal system.

Roundtable Discussions

Roundtable Discussions provide conference attendees the opportunity to engage in spirited conversation and collaborative exchange of information and resources related to a wide variety of disciplinary, pedagogical, programmatic, institutional, or timely global issues. The format of roundtable discussions will be lively, interactive discourse among leaders and participants, not lecture or panel-style delivery. Presenters should regard themselves primarily as facilitators and should limit their own remarks to 10 minutes or less.

Extensive collaboration among the presenters before the conference is encouraged since the goal is to foster extensive, diverse, and cogent perspectives on important topics of interest to honors students, faculty, and staff. Roundtables should be pre-organized, but some individual proposals may be combined to form a viable discussion group.  Multiple roundtables will be arranged in busy rooms charged with animated conversations.  Roundtable Discussion presentations do not have to relate to the conference theme but should be related to or arise from honors education. Discussion leaders may provide their own printed material and/or handouts to help focus conversations.

Questions regarding Roundtable Session Proposals should be directed to Jerry Herron at or 313-577-3469.

 NO LCD projector is available for Roundtable sessions.

Student Interdisciplinary Research Panels

Student Interdisciplinary Research Panels give students engaged in high-level research opportunities to present papers in a discussion format that differs markedly from student poster sessions.  Paper submissions may focus on any academic discipline and will be reviewed and grouped into interdisciplinary panels of 3-4 papers by a selection committee.  No pre-arranged panels will be accepted.  There are no specific research and/or length requirements.  Students have 15 minutes to present their papers and will be expected to discuss their research, rather than read their work. Traditionally, former NCHC presidents chair the sessions and help facilitate discussion.  In this juried competition, only the best papers will be selected. Papers should be written in language suitable for an academic audience representing a variety of disciplines.  Students should also consider Poster Sessions and other venues for conference participation. For examples of previous SIRP sessions, click here.  In order to be considered for a panel, a student must submit the following:

  1. On-line Student Interdisciplinary Research Panel proposal, which will include a 500 character description of the project and a 1500 character abstract by February 26, 2015.
  2. Students will be required to submit an electronic copy of the completed paper by midnight April 9, 2015.  To upload a paper at any time after the initial proposal has been submitted, follow the link that was emailed at the beginning of the submission process.

The honors director of students selected to participate in SIRP sessions must certify that the student will attend the NCHC conference upon notification of acceptance.  This is especially important in SIRP sessions because each panel is designed around the relationship among the three papers.

For selection process and presentation format, click here.

Questions regarding Student Interdisciplinary Research Panel proposals should be directed to Richard Badenhausen at or 801-832-3102.

No Audio-Visual equipment will be available for SIRP presentations.

Fax copies of the proposal form and papers will not be accepted. A copy of the completed paper must be submitted electronically by April 9, 2015.

Student Poster Sessions for Research and Creative Works

Students may present original research or fine art in the NCHC Student Poster Sessions. Research must be presented in the form of a standard poster. Students and their faculty advisors should carefully review the poster guidelines page for more examples and more information about poster design. Students may also browse the video gallery of previous student winners of the 2012, 2013, 2014 poster competitions to see examples of exemplary student research.

Students wishing to participate in the Poster Sessions should begin by submitting a Poster Session Proposal. All proposals must include a well-written abstract that summarizes the student’s research, including outcomes. In addition, abstracts should clearly state the significance of the project in terms that can be understood by a general scholarly audience and clearly convey the student’s original analytical, critical, or creative contribution to his or her discipline. Preference will be given to completed research.

All work included in the poster session, including fine art, will be judged by NCHC faculty judges. Judges complete a judging form that includes a numerical score and qualitative feedback for student presenters. Students may pick up their judging forms from the judges’ table 30 minutes after the end of their session.

If submitting a Student "Poster" proposal you must select one of the following categories:

  • ART - Visual arts (photography, sculpture, other artistic creations)
  • A&H - Arts and Humanities (Literature, philosophy, communications, art history, etc.)
  • BEC - Business (economics, accounting, management, etc.); Engineering (chemical, computer, electrical, environmental, mechanical etc); or Computer Science
  • DIV - Diversity issues on any dimension (Gender Studies, etc.)
  • E&P - Education and pedagogy (learning initiatives, program development & assessment, experiential learning, community service, study abroad, etc.)
  • ENV - Environmental science, conservation, green technology
  • HS - Health Sciences (Disease related projects, nursing, public health, etc.)
  • NSM - Natural Sciences and Mathematics (Biology, chemistry, physics, math, biochemistry, neuroscience etc)
  • SBS - Social & Behavioral Sciences (Psychology, sociology, history, political science, anthropology, social work, etc.)

In the abstract submission process, you must indicate the title of the presentation, the names and contact information of presenting authors, and submit an abstract (1500 characters) that will be used for review purposes as well as a brief description (500 characters) that will appear in the conference program.

Posters and artistic works do not need to relate to the conference theme. Students with projects not suited for poster presentation should consider the Student Interdisciplinary Research Panels and other venues for conference participation.

Questions regarding the Poster Session Proposal or faculty judging should be directed to Mike Sloane at or 205-934-8733. Presenters should carefully read the poster guidelines for preparing a conference poster on the NCHC website.

NO LCD projector is available for the Student Poster sessions.

Student Moderators

Student Moderators for the General Sessions will be responsible for the sessions to which they are assigned. Responsibilities include arriving early, ensuring that the room is set up, reminding the presenters of the time frames, beginning and ending on time, introducing the presenters, and encouraging and facilitating discussions.  Student Moderators will not be notified until 10 days before conference of which session they are moderating.  Questions regarding topics or proposals should be directed to Jack Rhodes at or 843-953-3708.

General Information applicable to all proposals

  • Proposals may be submitted in only one category. The same proposal may not be submitted in multiple categories.
  • The same proposal may not be submitted by different main presenters.
  • Duplicate submissions will not be reviewed.
  • Participants are limited to two presentations or panels of presenters, excluding pre-conference BIH and DIH sessions.
  • Valid, unique emails must be provided for all proposers.
  • Proposals require a Session Description for the program, limited to a maximum of 500 characters, and a brief abstract or summary of the proposed presentation, limited to a maximum of 1500 characters.

For faculty proposals:

  • Please remember your institution must be a current member of NCHC before submitting a proposal.
  • All presenters MUST be from current NCHC member institutions; if more than one presenter is included in a proposal submission, please verify membership status of all presenters before submitting the proposal.
  • All presenters must register and pay conference registration fees by the early deadline or the proposal will be withdrawn.
  • The Institutional contact at your institution or organization will be notified of your proposal acceptance.

Students intending to present research should select either the Poster Session proposal or the Student Interdisciplinary Research Panel proposal, not General Sessions.

For student proposals, the approval of the honors director/dean is required to verify that:

  • the student's institution is a 2015 member of NCHC;
  • the student is in good standing in the local honors program;
  • the student will attend the conference if this proposal is selected for inclusion in the conference program;
  • institutional support will be provided for registration, transportation, and any reasonable costs to attend the conference.
  • The above verification will be complete following the close of proposals.  Honors Directors will be provided with a list of student proposals for review.

Style Sheet for Submitting Proposals for NCHC’s Annual Conference

  1. Write in complete sentences.
  2. Write in a formal style. Avoid contractions, slang, clichés, and other forms of casual writing.
  3. Do not capitalize honors, program, honors program, honors college, or college unless they are part of the official title of a program or title. (Goodfolk State University Honors College/the honors college at Goodfolk State University/honors education)
  4. Do not capitalize titles or disciplines unless they are part of a formal title.
  5. Do not use quotations or italics for emphasis.
  6. Avoid rhetorical questions. Make statements instead.

All proposals must be submitted on-line no later than 11:59 PM Central Standard Time, February 26, 2015.

Proposals received after 11:59 PM Central Standard Time February 26 will not be accepted.

Presenters of accepted proposals must have paid conference registration fees no later than September 16, 2015.

General questions should be directed to or 402-472-9150.

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