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Conference Proposal Guidelines

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Conference 2016 ~ October 12-16, 2016 ~ Seattle


The 2016 NCHC Conference Planning Committee is pleased to announce the Call for Proposals from honors faculty, deans, directors, associate and assistant deans and directors, advisors, other honors staff, and, of course, honors students.

Since there have been several changes to the venues offered for presentations, be sure to check the descriptions of the venues to make sure which format best fits the type of presentation you are proposing.

All proposals must be submitted on-line no later than 11:59 PM Central Standard Time, March 28, 2016.


General Sessions

General Sessions, which allow for 50 minute presentations, normally involve combinations of faculty, staff, administrators, and possibly students. Proposals for sessions that only include student presenters are generally discouraged. Proposals that have the potential for a wider base of interest and application – such as those that include presenters from more than one institution and/or those that are research-based – are high priorities for the general session venue and will be given first consideration.

The 2016 Conference Proposal Committee will consider proposals for General Sessions, which will be divided into two types, as described below. When you submit, please indicate which category your proposal fits.

Research-Based Presentations are those whose determinations are based on collected data – which could be quantitative or qualitative (or both) – that substantiate the thesis or premise of the proposal. A good example of a research-based proposal is a study that considers the effect of honors classes on the grade point average of students through the use of data collected on a substantial number of students whose classwork spanned a period of several years.

Innovation and Best Practices in Honors Education are presentations that describe innovations and/or best practices in honors pedagogy, out-of-class experiences, advising, housing, administration, and any other area that has to do with honors education. Presentations that include outcome measures, such as student learning outcomes, program completion rates, and other qualitative measures of success will receive first consideration.

NOTE:  Faculty and staff wishing to present new or innovative honors course topics should submit a Faculty/Staff 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 Art L. Spisak at art-spisak@uiowa.edu or 319-335-1681.

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 16, 2016. 

Please note that the NCHC AV package only includes an LCD projector and screen. Presenters are responsible for bringing a laptop computer, personal files, and any necessary adaptors, particularly for Apple devices.


Innovation in Best Practices in Honors Education:  Poster Sessions

Proposals for Faculty/Staff Poster sessions will be considered that showcase innovations and/or best practices in:

  • honors pedagogy
  • out-of-class experiences
  • advising
  • housing and living learning environments
  • administration
  • any other area that has to do with honors education

Preference will be given to proposals that share new seminar topics, unusual course structures, and inventive honors assignments. Presentations that include outcome measures, such as student learning outcomes, program completion rates, and other qualitative measures of success will receive first consideration. Presenters will stand with their posters to answer questions and discuss their courses or findings for a two-hour period. Recognition will be given to outstanding posters. Also, with permission, accepted posters (and syllabi, where appropriate) will be archived on the NCHC website. Complete faculty poster guidelines are available here http://nchchonors.org/annual-conference/faculty-poster-guidelines/.

New this year will be awards designed to.spotlight faculty member(s) and the individual or group efforts as well as allow faculty to continue or extend the efforts demonstrated by the poster.

Awards will be presented to posters that excel in the following areas:

  • developing new honors course materials, new courses, or new modes of teaching, or
  • revising and revitalizing an existing honors course, or
  • innovating in the areas of honors advising, housing and living learning environments, or program administration

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

LCD projectors are NOT available for this session type. 


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 (200 words) that will be used for review purposes as well as a brief description (50 words) 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 sloane@uab.edu 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 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. 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:

  • On-line Student Interdisciplinary Research Panel proposal, which will include a 50-word description of the project for the conference program and an electronic copy of the completed paper by March 28, 2016.

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. The above verification will take place following the close of proposals.  Honors directors will be provided with a list of student proposals for review.

To start the submission process, click here.

Questions regarding Student Interdisciplinary Research Panel proposals should be directed to Richard Badenhausen at rjb@westminstercollege.edu or 801-832-2460 or Kate Bruce, bruce@uncw.edu or 910-962-3374.

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

A copy of the completed paper must be submitted electronically by March 28, 2016.


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 session will display materials on a table and/or easel to facilitate an interactive session. 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: Hallie Savage hsavage2@unl.edu.

NO LCD projector is available for the Idea Exchange.


Forum on Diversity Issues

Language, Values, and Perceptions of Diversity: How Can We Know Ourselves Better?

A Call for Proposals
to the NCHC 2016 Diversity Forum in Seattle, Washington

As we gear up for the 2016 NCHC conference, the wording of its theme, “Know Yourself,” has offered the Committee on Diversity Issues an opportunity to reflect on the role language plays in the work required to do so. The language – “Know Yourself” – provides a context for significant introspection about the ways our work has been shaped around our core values, our committee’s stated mission, and external perceptions of same. “Know Yourself” encourages us to explore the definitions, processes, purposes and impact of diversity at a critical time in NCHC history. As an organization, how will we move, meaningfully, beyond the half-century mark with respect to diversity and inclusion? What are the assumptions driving any committee tasked with addressing diversity issues – locally, regionally, nationally and globally? With a membership approaching 1,000 honors programs and colleges, what are reasonable expectations for supporting transformative and sustainable practices in our respective institutions? The conference theme invites us to engage at the intersection of language, values, perceptions and processes.

The very naming of our Committee, Diversity Issues, constructs our charge as more of a problem than an opportunity. Our committee’s stated mission, to “develop strategies to increase diversity in NCHC” as well as “developing presentations . . . that deal with issues of diversity,” clearly places value on the subject but is silent on the structural barriers that prevent equity and inclusion as outcomes. What we name ourselves and how we describe our work can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If we interpret the conference theme to mean that each of us must know ourselves individually, including the influence of our own particular culture and biases before we can open our hearts and advocate for diversity and the concomitant values of equity and inclusion, then what is the yardstick for achievement? Whether in the world as a whole, in our educational systems, in our honors colleges and programs, or in any community to which we may belong, how do we activate, galvanize, and mobilize shared values across borders?

Similarly, while our organization is named by the words National Collegiate Honors Council and a core value articulated in our mission is “to support . . . college honors education around the world” (emphasis added), we embrace the notion of honors education worldwide but have been silent on the value of developing global-minded citizens and the institutional complexities that reinscribe disparities and impede gains in this area.

To the ends of developing global-minded citizens, interweaving the values of diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence, and creating the conditions for the possibility of organizational change, the Diversity Committee invites presentations that address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

On language

The language we use to invite folks to the diversity table

Social construction of reality models that inquire into the language an organization employs and the language (such as equity mindedness and inclusive excellence) it needs to support change

What differences count in diversity and how this judgment is determined

On values

Diversity as an opportunity

Diversity, Equity Mindedness, and Inclusive Excellence as interwoven values

Deficit thinking (students of color at fault for poor outcomes) vs. equity mindedness (institution’s or organization’s role in seeking new strategies for better diversity outcomes)

How underprivileged students flourish when given a chance to participate in honors programming

How diversity enhances the educational experience for all

Inequality as a defining characteristic of difference

Diversity as a difference that enhances my life

On perceptions and processes

Organizational change methods that mitigate against deficit thinking such as Appreciative Inquiry (Cooperrider) and the Equity Scorecard (Bensimon)

Responsibility of honors education to prepare students to live, learn, and work in a global economy and global community

Diversity beyond difference: oppression, student activism, and the role of honors education

Importance of partnership with HBCU’s and The National Association of African American Honors Programs

Structural barriers (such as finances) to implementing change in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence

How people regard individuals at different levels of consciousness

Diversity from a practitioner’s perspective

Appreciative inquiry or how to talk to students about their needs by employing threads of initiation that encourage them to tell their stories

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 jkotinek@tamu.edu or 979-845-1957.


Forum on International Education

Honors education continues to expand internationally, all the while enriching the concept and form it can take. The Seattle Conference Proposal Committee invites those involved with honors international education to share the discoveries and practices of their own honors programs and colleges.

To that end, the International Education Committee invites proposals for the following hour-and-a-half panels:

  • Internationalizing your honors program or college – strategies employed, such as collaborations with international students on campus, curricular development, co-curricular initiatives
  • Research on honors international education (in collaboration with the NCHC Research Committee) – documented outcomes and assessment of honors pedagogy and practices

Proposals submitted to the NCHC Forum on International Education will be reviewed and grouped by the International Education Committee co-chairs.

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 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 Forum on International Education may be addressed to the International Education Committee co-chairs, Kevin Dean at at kdean@wcupa.edu or 610-436-2996 or Kim Klein, at kmklei@ship.edu or 717-477-1604.

An LCD projector is available for the International Education Forum. 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 16, 2016. 

Please note that the NCHC AV package only includes an LCD projector and screen. Presenters are responsible for bringing a laptop computer, personal files, and any necessary adaptors, particularly for Apple devices.


Forum on Research

One of the NCHC’s strategic priorities is promoting and facilitating research on honors education. Toward that end the NCHC Research Committee co-chairs are facilitating two 90-minute panel presentations – in line with the conference theme of “Know Yourself” – to define research in honors education and then address challenges to those doing research in our field.

The NCHC Research Committee invites proposals for the following two panels:

  • Forum on Research Panel 1—Thinking about the context of researching honors education: What constitutes research on honors education, and what are its challenges? How do we distinguish between identifying best practices in delivering honors education and research about the field itself?  What research issues should be prioritized and why? What different forms does research on honors education take and how does one start?
  • Forum on Research Panel 2—Conducting research on honors international education: (in collaboration with the NCHC International Education Committee) – We seek empirical research assessing learning outcomes of study abroad pedagogies. We also seek empirical studies of topics in honors education that compare findings from schools in two or more countries. How might collaboration between countries be optimized for honors researchers and educators?

Proposed presentations for both panels submitted to the NCHC Forum on Research will be reviewed by the Research Committee co-chairs.  In addition, co-chairs of International Education will review proposed presentations for the second panel about research on honors international education.

PLEASE NOTE: Three presenters will be chosen for each panel, and each presenter will have 20 minutes to make the presentation.Thirty minutes will be saved at the end for shared discussion among presenters and audienceTo ensure a more informed discussion during the final thirty minutes each panelist selected must submit a written copy of their presentation by Friday, September 2, to the Research Committee co-chairs to be shared ahead of time with the other presenters on their panel. Also, panelists are expected to be present for the entire session, checking in just prior to the session with the moderators, even if they are scheduled to make their presentation last.

Questions about the Forum on Research may be addressed to Mike Sloane, sloane@uab.edu, Marca Wolfensberger, M.V.C.Wolfensberger@uu.nl, or Rick Scott, ricks@uca.edu.

An LCD projector is available for the Forum on Research. 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 16, 2016. 


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 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 about the Roundtables may be addressed to Kirsten Bartelskirsten@illinois.edu and John Emert, emert@bsu.edu.

 NO LCD projector is available for Roundtable sessions.


Master Classes

Master Class submissions will be accepted March 19-September 10, 2016.  Please look for our call for submissions in March. 

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 awhatley@colum.edu.
  • 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 dm14@txstate.edu or tbaar@coto.edu.
  • 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 dlee@alcorn.edu.
  • 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 to mforman@uab.edu.

General questions regarding the Master Classes should be directed to: Brent Register at register@clarion.edu or 814-393-2473.

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.


Meetings/Special Requests

Committees, regional organizations, and special interest groups should submit meeting requests through the proposal system. In the session description field, please note any general information about your committee that will help our attendees identify which committees are of interest. In the program description field, please note any special requests for scheduling or room arrangement.

No LCD projector is available for this session type. 


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 and a brief abstract or summary of the proposed presentation.  Abstracts should be approximately 200 words and your brief description should be approximately 50 words.

For faculty/staff 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.

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.

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

  • Student's institution is a 2016 member of NCHC;
  • Student is in good standing in the local honors program;
  • 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.

All proposals must be submitted on-line no later than 11:59 PM Central Standard Time, March 28, 2016.

Proposals received after 11:59 PM Central Standard Time March 28 will not be accepted.

Presenters of accepted proposals must have paid conference registration fees no later than September 7, 2016.

General questions should be directed to nchc@unl.edu or 402-472-9150.

To submit a proposal, begin here.


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