2020 Proposals Submission Resources

Equity & Excellence: Access in Higher Education,
The 43rd Conference of the Association on
Higher Education And Disability

JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa; Palm Desert, California
July 20-24, 2020

Proposal Submission Instructions

Please read carefully



FINAL Deadline for proposals: Oct. 15, 2019
**Program planners will begin reviewing proposals on Sept. 15. Proposals received by that date will be reviewed early and may be favored. Additional review dates are September 30 and October 15. PLEASE SEND YOUR PROPOSAL EARLY!

  • All proposals must be submitted electronically through the submission portal
  • Prepare a copy of your proposal in the Word document. You can then cut and paste it into the submission form and maintain a copy for your records.
  • Go to the Proposal Submission page and create an account.
    • If you did not submit a proposal for the 2019 AHEAD conference you will need to create an account.
    • The proposal form does NOT use your AHEAD username and password. You must register to use the proposal submission system.
  • Click “Submit Your Proposal” only when you are satisfied with the proposal. You will not be able to edit your proposal online once it is submitted. If you make an error, please email:  carol@ahead.org
  • Verify that you land on a confirmation web page with proposal number ID after hitting "submit." If you do not, your proposal has not been received. Scan the form for error messages in red and contact carol@ahead.org if you continue to have difficulty. You will not receive a follow-up email confirmation.
  • Proposal Review Dates: Sept. 15, 2019; September 30; October 15, 2019
  • FINAL DEADLINE: October 15, 2018. 
  • Presenter notification: AHEAD will notify all lead presenters of the status of their proposals in early February, 2020. Program committee members may be in touch as early as October to discuss proposals that are under consideration.


Proposal Information:

    1. Preferred presentation type and length. Select the type of presentation format you prefer.
      • Based on program needs, program planners may accept your proposal with a different length and/or format or ask you work with other members who are proposing a similar topic.
    2. Program title. Title should be descriptive and compelling. Please honor the requested length of 12 or fewer words.
    3. Program abstract. Abstracts will be printed in registration materials and used by conference attendees to select concurrent sessions. They should provide a clear, concise description of your presentation.
    4. Program description. This information (along with the abstract and learning goals) will be used by program planners to decide on the fit of your proposal for the program overall. Presenters are encouraged to review the selection criteria and ensure that they address each area of consideration.
    5. Information sources.  
      • AHEAD is interested in promoting research or evidence-based content in conferences and professional development events. If your presentation has been informed by research, data, or other forms of evidence, please cite that information in your proposal.  A list of up to 5 sources may be included
    6. Learning goals: Provide information on the goals for your presentation AND information HOW you plan to achieve that.  Review the video for guidance on drafting learning goals. 
    7. Select the ONE primary topical area of your proposal.
      • This information will used to balance the program and will be shared with attendees.
    8. Audience level. Select one of the three levels of audience experience.
      • AHEAD is committed to balancing its program to address the professional development needs of participants with all levels of experience..
      • Please use the following definitions as you select an audience level:
        • Novice: Presentations that assume no background in disability services and provide foundational information for people new to the field.
        •  Intermediate: Presentations that assume basic knowledge of disability services in higher education and intend to build-on that knowledge in specific areas. This is the default level for most AHEAD presentations.
        •  Seasoned: Presentations that anticipate considerable experience in disability services/higher education and bypass foundational information in order to explore application of concepts or address complex situations in more depth. Significant opportunity for participants to engage with each other may be indicated.
    9. Newer presenter?
      • Let us know if you are a new(er) presenter and would like to be paired with a seasoned AHEAD member to support the development of your presentation, if accepted.

    Speaker Information:

    • Enter your personal and biographical information as directed.
      • If you submitted a proposal for last year’s AHEAD conference, the personal information you entered  will pre-populate the fields. Please carefully verify its accuracy and make changes as necessary.
      • As the Coordinating Presenter, all AHEAD communication will go to you to share with co-presenters.
    • Speaker experience.
      • Provide a brief (1,500 character limit) summary of what qualifies each presenter to cover this topic.
        • Expertise may be demonstrated by describing job experience or explaining previous presentations or research on the topic.
        • Full resumes should NOT be entered in this field.
      • The field allows for approximately two paragraphs on each presenter. The conference committee will be looking for evidence of presenter experience with the topic and previous presentations.
    • Enter information for each of your co-presenters.
      • PLEASE ensure that you have entered ONLY the highest academic degree for each of your co-presenters.

    NOTE: To ensure that the AHEAD Conference includes diverse and representative perspectives, the conference committee will accept no more than two proposals from any individual presenter from the CRP process. Some content experts may be specifically invited to speak on topics crucial to the membership. Thus, some presenters may be highly represented in the final conference program.


    All presenters are required to register for the conference. AHEAD cannot provide financial support for travel. Conference registration information will be available in March, 2020.

    Consistent with AHEAD’s commitment to accessibility and sustainability, all presenters must agree to the following: 

        1. PowerPoint slides and other presentation support materials must be electronically provided to AHEAD by July 2, 2019 in accessible formats. These materials will be posted on AHEAD’s website and in the conference app before the conference for participant download.
        2. Any videos shown during presentations must be captioned. Video captioning is the responsibility of the presenter.
        3. Presenters must verbally describe any visual aids used during a session.
        4. Presenters must agree to permit the Program Committee to edit the proposal.
        5. All presenters must register for the Conference.


    All proposals will be reviewed by professional peers recruited from the AHEAD membership. Reviewers will be instructed to consider the following criteria in recommending proposals for presentation. All proposals will be reviewed anonymously.

      • RELEVANCE: The proposal offers essential, high impact information, addresses current issues, and/or builds on concepts that are important to AHEAD members. The ideas conveyed through the proposal are important to enhancing equity in higher education.
      • INNOVATION: The proposal offers creative, cutting-edge, innovative, or provocative ideas and/or a novel approach to a common issue. After attending this session, participants would have new inspiration, motivation, and/or tools to take back to their institutions.
      • VALUES: The concepts presented in the proposal are consistent with AHEAD's values of diversity, equity, social justice, individual respect, and inclusion.
      • DIVERSITY: The proposed session enhances the diversity of perspectives offered at the conference by including content featuring or focused on underrepresented groups or institution types (e.g. traditionally marginalized people—LGBTQ, people of color, indigenous people—and/or institutions such as community colleges, HBCUs, or small private colleges).
      • ENGAGEMENT: The proposal provides evidence of an opportunity for participants to learn actively and/or engage with the material through participatory activities, discussion, and/or a question/answer period. 
        • This is informed by the HOW part of your answer to the question on learning goals. Be sure to include a PLAN for how to support your learning goals effectively, involving participants ACTIVELY and BEYOND a simple Q&A opportunity.
        • Review the instructional video for guidance.
      • PRESENTATION: The proposal is clear, concise, well-organized, and grammatically sound. The authors demonstrate attention and care in the development of this proposal. References are included, if necessary/important to the topic.
      •  The Reviewer Guide for Evaluating Proposal Learning Goals video is also available.

    Instructional Video

    In this captioned video, Beth Harrison of the University of Dayton, explains how to complete the Learning Goals section of the 2020 AHEAD Conference Call for Proposals. Click here to download the video.