Proposal Reviewer Information

AHEAD 2017 Conference logo

Thank you for volunteering to review proposals for AHEAD’s 40th annual conference: Equity & Excellence: Access in Higher Education. We recognize that participating in this process represents a significant time commitment; your contribution is greatly appreciated! It is because of members like you that AHEAD will be able to provide a high-quality and timely professional development opportunity to conference attendees. There are over 130 reviewers this year-- giving us opportunity to take advantage of diverse perspectives and varied feedback. Thank so much for your time and energy! We hope the majority of you will be able to make it to Orlando next July to see the results of your service!

Important Dates and Deadlines

  • Proposals received for review: November 23-December 5, 2016
  • Reviews due: January 15, 2017

Review Overview

  • We must pare down approximately 200 proposed presentations to 60 available concurrent slots.
  • You will each be asked to review approximately 10 proposals.
  • Each proposal will be sent to at least three reviewers.
  • We anticipate each review will take approximately 15-20 minutes to read and consider and complete the online feedback form.
  • The proposals you receive will be anonymous. We’d like you to not be swayed in your feedback by the reputations of possible presenters.
    • AHEAD has received a short bio from each presenter, with which to evaluate individual qualifications to deliver the information described in the proposal.
    • The Program Co-Chairs have access to this information. Using your feedback and the presenter bios, they will make final programming decisions.
    • We have done our best to make this a blind review process but expect that some information that reveals the presenter(s) may have slipped through the cracks. Please do your best to evaluate all proposals on the merits of the submission alone.
  • Your feedback and remarks will be received anonymously. Neither the Program Co-Chairs nor the session proposers will be able to attribute your scores or comments back to you.
  • If you do receive information that reveals information about the presenter(s) and, as a result, see evidence of either excellent or inadequate professional background for presenting on the proposed topic, please feel free to share that in your feedback.
  • Please let us know if a conflict of interest arises during the review process so we can substitute a proposal for the one you feel you should not review.
  • You will not review “AHEAD Talk” proposals, as there is another team ready to work with those presenters.

Nuts and Bolts

  • You will receive Word documents containing the title, abstract, full-description, learning objectives, requested presentation format, and audience level for each proposal via email attachment.
  • You will provide your feedback via an online Survey Gizmo form. You will respond to most items with following scale:
    • Strongly Agree
    • Agree
    • Neutral
    • Disagree
    • Strongly Disagree
  • You will provide feedback on each of the following criteria:
    • RELEVANCE: This proposal offers essential, high impact information, addresses current issues, and/or builds on concepts that are important for AHEAD members. The ideas conveyed through the proposal are important to enhancing equity in higher education.
    • INNOVATION: This 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 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 inclusivity.
    • DIVERSITY: The proposed session enhances the diversity of perspectives offered at the conference by including content featuring or focused on typically underrepresented groups of people or institution types (e.g. traditionally marginalized people—LGBTQ, people of color, indigenous people—or institutions such as community colleges, HBCs 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, or a question/answer period.
    • PRESENTATION: The proposal is clear, concise, well-organized, and grammatically sound. The authors have demonstrated attention and care in the development of this proposal. Reference are included, if necessary/important to the topic.
  • Finally, you will be asked to comment on the proposal and to recommend or not recommend its acceptance.
    • If you feel the proposal has merit but would best contribute to the conference as a poster session or part of an amalgamated session with other proposals, you can provide that feedback.
    • If you review a proposal that does not forward the field, is based in older notions of disability and access, or includes information you know not to be accurate, please feel comfortable not recommending it for presentation. As you do that, remember that your recommendation alone will not decide whether a proposal is accepted or not.

    Reviewer Tips

    • Read all the proposals you receive before you begin scoring to get a feel for overall quality. One approach is to then rate them against each other. Depending on the proposals you receive, this may also help you evaluate similar content and select the best proposal(s) for that particular topic.
    • Pace yourself by rating no more than 3-4 proposals at a time. Breaking up your review process in this way will prevent fatigue and keep your mind fresh.
    • When making final recommendations, please focus on the content rather than spelling and grammar.
    • Remember that all sessions should be educational in nature. While some vendor sessions will be accepted, we want to ensure that they offer more than an advertisement and will contribute to the educational content of the conference.
    • Ask yourself if the main lessons from the session are clear.
    • Ask yourself if you would attend the session or recommend it to a colleague.
    • AHEAD often receives feedback from conference participants that they are looking for advanced level content with actionable lessons they can immediately apply on their campuses. Please indicate in your comments if you believe a proposal meets this standard.

    THANK YOU again. Please contact Carol Funckes ( with any questions regarding the review process.