2024 AHEAD Call for Proposals

Equity & Excellence: Access in Higher Education,
The 47th Conference of the
Association on Higher Education And Disability

Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor; Baltimore, Maryland
July 15 – 19, 2024

All proposals must be submitted electronically through AHEAD’s online proposal form

Important Dates

  • Proposal Submission Deadline: Monday, November 6, 2023
  • Anonymous Review of All proposals: November - December, 2023
  • Notification of acceptance status: February 15, 2024

Topics and Audience

The Program Committee is committed to providing conference content for a diversity of participants and is highly interested in content aimed at a variety of backgrounds and experience levels, including novice (new to the field), intermediate (some years of experience and skills), and highly experienced audiences. We are especially interested in innovative sessions that challenge seasoned professionals with advanced content. We hope to see an increase in the number of proposals submitted from presenters with diverse lived experiences and will offer mentor support to newer presenters. Presentations from partnered colleagues from different institutions are also highly encouraged. 

While all relevant proposals and poster sessions are encouraged, AHEAD seeks submissions in the following content areas: 
  • Guidance for Newer Disability Services Professionals
  • Intersectionality of Disability and Diverse Populations
  • How to Evaluate Accommodation Requests
  • Engaging Effectively with Faculty
  • Disability Studies and Research
  • Disabled Faculty and Disability Resource Personnel
  • Assistive and Accessible Technologies
  • Enhancing Learning and Engagement Opportunities for Students with Disabilities
  • How to Be Research and Data Driven in Higher Education
  • Policy and Legal Aspects
  • Programmatic Innovation & Campus Collaborations
  • Strategic and Effective Disability Services Management
  • Topics Related to Specific Institution-Types: Community Colleges, Small and/or Private Institutions, Multi-campus institutions

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Proposal Recommendations

  • Please keep presenter names and institutions out of your abstract and program description. The review process is anonymous. If names have to be edited out of your proposal, it will compromise the overall flow of your proposal. 
  • Focus the bio information you include on your experience relative to the topic of your presentation. Bios will not be sent to reviewers, but will be considered by the conference committee members when making final decisions. They’re interested in your qualifications to present on the specific topic, not your entire resume.
  • Draft an abstract that is a clear, concise description of your presentation. The abstract will be available on the website and the program book and used by conference attendees to select which concurrent sessions they will attend. Abstracts may be edited by AHEAD for length, clarity, or grammar. 
  • Submit a program description that is clear, well-organized, and grammatically correct. It’s useful to include information on why your topic is important to disability resources in higher education. You are encouraged to review the selection criteria below and ensure that you address each area of consideration
  • Cite resources/references that support your presentation. AHEAD is interested in promoting evidence-based content. 
  • Describe the learning goals for your presentation AND information how you plan to achieve them. 
  • Include information on how you will address AHEAD’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. In the past, proposals have been rejected because this AHEAD goal was not addressed in the proposal. 

NOTE:  To ensure the AHEAD Conference includes diverse and representative perspectives, the conference committee will accept no more than three proposals from any individual presenter through 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.  

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Submission Form Guidance

When you are ready to submit your proposal, please go to the online submission portal
You will need to create an account within Oxford Abstracts, if you don’t already have one from last year. The contact information collected there will only be used to contact you regarding your proposal. PLEASE ENSURE THE EMAIL ADDRESS YOU ENTER THERE HAS NO TYPOS. 
Some people prefer to prepare their proposal in a Word document in advance, so that they can draft and edit more easily, and then can cut and paste the information into the form fields. If you would like to do that, the text-based form fields are: 
  • Title 
  • One-paragraph description (abstract) 
  • Detailed description 
  • Short outline (3-8 bullets) 
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion description 
  • References (optional) 
  • Learning goals (2) 
  • Presenter names and affiliations 
  • Presenter bios  

If you would like to make any changes to your proposal after you submit it, simply log back into your account, select the proposal you want to change, and select "Amend." 

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Selection Criteria

All proposals will be reviewed by volunteer AHEAD members. Reviewers will evaluate proposals on the following criteria. All proposals will be reviewed anonymously. 

  1. Relevance: The proposal offers essential, high impact information, addresses current issues, and/or builds on concepts that are important to the target audience. The ideas conveyed through the proposal are important to enhancing equity in higher education. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Values: The concepts presented in the proposal are consistent with AHEAD's values of diversity, equity, social justice, individual respect, and inclusion. 
  4. Diversity:  The content of the presentation, as well as the identities of the presenters themselves, represents diverse perspectives and advances the representation of traditionally marginalized communities—disabled, LGBTQ, people of color, indigenous—as well as institutions such as community colleges, HBCUs, or small private colleges. 
  5. 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. 
  6. Presentation: The proposal is clear, concise, well-organized, and grammatically sound. The authors demonstrate attention and care in the development of this proposal. 

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Presenter Expectations

When submitting a proposal, prospective presenters will be asked to agree to the following: 

  • All presenters must register for the Conference, unless they are attending only the session they are presenting and no other portion of the conference. 
  • AHEAD does not have the ability to support virtual presentations, so each presenter listed here will be present in Baltimore to present.
  • Presenters will have their presentation loaded onto their own laptop. AHEAD will provide projectors and HDMI cables.
  • All handouts and presentation support materials, including PowerPoint presentations, must be electronically provided to AHEAD by June 23, 2024. These materials will be posted on AHEAD’s website and the conference app for participant download.
  • Any videos shown during presentations must be captioned. Video captioning is the responsibility of the presenter. Videos should be saved to the presenter's laptop, as wifi for streaming is unreliable.
  • Presenters must verbally describe any visual aids/photos used during a session, so images are accessible to all attendees.
  • All presenters will attend/view a webinar on presentation accessibility that will be scheduled in Spring 2024.
  • Presenters agree to permit the Program Committee to edit the session title, description, or presenter bios for space, grammar, or clarity. 

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    How to Volunteer to be a Proposal Reviewer

    AHEAD welcomes members of any experience level to review proposals and help shape the 2024 Conference. Please review the process and complete the short interest form there, and you will be assigned proposals to review and rate between early December and mid-January 

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