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The Ed.D. in Community College Leadership program at New Jersey City University hosts a FREE annual Community College Showcase every summer.  The Community College Showcase provides community college leaders from across the nation with an opportunity to showcase their work, learn from others, and engage in networking. This is a VIRTUAL event.

Stay tuned for 2023 showcase call for proposals.

Tips for Writing an Excellent Conference Proposal

1. Follow the Proposal Guidelines and Rubric (if provided)

Before you begin writing the proposal, review all the resources provided. This includes all the elements of the proposal and the rubric if one is provided. It can also be very helpful to review past conference agendas to see what others have presented at past events.

2. Connect to the Conference Theme

If there is a conference theme, connect your content to it!

“A clear connection to the conference theme and something the participant can walk away with and take back to their institution and begin implementing right away. This might be a one-pager about the project or implementation, immediate access to the slides, or a resource that can be used again and again.” - Tammy

3. Know Your Audience

Craft your proposal with your intended audience in mind. Think about what your intended audience needs and develop a proposal that speaks to these needs. Help the audience see why they will not want to miss your session.

Think about the current challenges community college professionals are facing on campus and how your session will inspire them to tackle these challenges.

4. Clearly Share the Goals and Outcomes

Use action verbs to communicate what participants will be able to know, think, or do after participating in your session. Refer to resources on Bloom's taxonomy to assist you with developing strong, clear outcomes.  

Example: Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the benefits of an online tutoring model.
  2. Identify resources needed to implement online tutoring.
  3. Discover at least three strategies to increase student learning via online tutoring programs.

5. Choose an Informative Title and Description

The title is one of the most important parts of your proposal. The title is what participants will see first and it will often determine if participants will even read your description.  The description is the second most important part of your proposal because descriptions help participants decide which sessions to attend. The title and description are usually the only sections of your proposal that will later be publicly shared on the agenda if your proposal is accepted.

Be sure that the title and description clearly share the purpose and scope of your session. Titles and descriptions that create a sense of urgency, promote curiosity, demonstrate benefits, and promise solutions or strategies often capture the attention of the audience. Although many appreciate creative titles, it is most important to accurately communicate the focus of the session. Being specific can provide clarity and generate excitement.

General:  A Mentoring Program for First-Year Students

Specific:  Recruiting Mentors:  Three Effective Strategies

6. Use Simple Language

Use language that is familiar to most professionals in the field.  Avoid jargon and acronyms that others may not know.  Short, simple sentences are easier for the reader.

Remember that the reviewers are likely reading numerous proposals so make it easy for them to learn about your plans for the session. Participants will also be scanning through numerous breakout session options, so it is important to make it easy for them to understand the focus of the session.

7. Provide Resources

Practitioners value resources that they can bring back to their campus. Share what resources you will be providing. Giving details about these resources can help the reviewer see the value. Instead of saying a handout will be provided, tell readers what type of handout. For example, a syllabus checklist will be shared.

"A good conference proposal for me provides an opportunity for our attendees to walk away with tangible tools and information that they can bring back to campus to implement change." - Veronica

8. Share the Impact and Back it Up

In your proposal, highlight the value of what you will be sharing in your session. Explain why this session is so important by emphasizing the impact on student success and equity. Sharing the evidence behind the approach strengthens the proposal. Reference the research, theory, or assessment data that supports what you are sharing in the session.  Sessions that reference research, theory, and data are often perceived to be more credible.   

 "Effective proposals solve problems using research- based innovative programs, practices, and policies for the betterment of all people." - Sandra

9. Provide Enough Details so Reviewers Know What the Audience Can Expect

Providing specifics about the content and what will happen during your session helps the reviewers determine if the session will meet the needs of their audience.

Instead of saying teaching strategies will be shared, name the teaching strategies you will be focusing on in your session. For example, this session will focus on two active teaching approaches- the Jigsaw Classroom and Interteaching.  

Instead of saying the audience will be engaged through various activities, describe what engagement activities you will be using.  For example, the audience will be engaged via several prediction poll questions and one brief breakout room conversation on ways to engage students outside of the classroom.

10. Write a Draft First and Keep it Blind

Draft your proposal in a Word document first. Attend to word count limits in various sections.  When ready, cut and paste the content into the proposal form.

Be sure to avoid including identifying information in the proposal itself (except where presenter information is requested).  Most reviews are blind, meaning they are anonymously reviewed by committees. Instead of saying This session describes an orientation program at Your College, you can say an orientation program at a large, urban community college in the Northeast will be described.

Give yourself time to revise the draft before the proposals are due. Write your proposal draft and revisit it a few days later. You will likely find ways to improve it. Always return to the proposal guidelines and rubric to ensure you have provided all the required information. Share your draft and a copy of the rubric with a colleague for feedback before submitting it.

I suggest to carefully review the proposal criteria before composing the proposal and to incorporate the criteria into the proposal. -Fathia 

Community College Showcase Proposal Form Requirements

  • Title of presentation (maximum of 15 words) 
  • Connection to Conference Theme of Partnering for Success:  Please tell reviewers how your session relates to the theme (up to 100 words)
  • Brief Session Description:  Tell conference attendees what your 45-minute session is about so they can decide if they would like to attend your proposed session.  This will be shared on the conference website.   (up to 100 words)
  • Learning Outcomes- What will participants be able to do after attending the session?  List approximately three.
  • Potential Reach and Impact of Session- Tell reviewers how your proposed session will benefit participants and impact student success? (up to 100 words)
  • Outline of Presentation (up to 500 words)- Provide reviewers with an overview of what will happen during the session.  Please include any activities/tools you expect to use during the Zoom session.
  • Interactivity:  Online conference attendees find it helpful to know what to expect during the session so we will indicate a category for each session.  Please indicate which category best fits your proposed session.
    • High: includes discussions in large group or breakout rooms
    • Moderate: includes some polls and/or use of the chat feature
    • Minimal: mostly presentation
  • Target Audience