Call for Proposals

Imagining Humane Institutions: Connection, Social Action and Scholarship Rooted in Contemplative Practices

The ACMHE conference is an annual interdisciplinary forum for all aspects of scholarship and research on contemplative methods in higher education, with a special focus on sharing how contemplative practices can support and sustain learning communities that foster a more just, peaceful, sustainable, and compassionate world.

At the 2018 conference, Imagining Humane Institutions: Connection, Social Action and Scholarship Rooted in Contemplative Practices, we intend to look at ways to expand our community of students, faculty and staff, across disciplines, institutions, and beyond. We will investigate how contemplative pedagogy and epistemology can create greater richness and depth of knowledge. In this conference we will also aim to explore how we can transform the fear and discomfort that often arises in difficult conversations regarding privilege and oppression into greater understanding and the development of more effective strategies for addressing social justice issues.

Presentations at the 2018 conference will explore and raise questions such as those identified below. We also encourage presenters to use the conference as a place to ask and hold questions that may not yet have answers. Students are especially encouraged to apply. The questions below are merely guides, and not meant to be exhaustive of possible topics.

  • Reflecting on the last decade of these gatherings, what changes have we seen in this work? What have we learned? Looking forward, how are contemplative practices being used now, what are we working towards, and where do we imagine this work will lead us? How have contemplative approaches helped us promote respect, cooperation, and justice in our institutions?
  • How do we use contemplative practice to create community, connection, and ultimately friendship through/across differences? How do these practices help us move through feelings of loneliness and isolation in our institutions? How can we use this year’s conference to seed connections and friendships?
  • How do we define rigor in contemplative modes of inquiry? How do contemplative practices help in re-examining Western epistemologies, going beyond third-person inquiry? What constitutes good data? What is the role of spirituality in our work?
  • How can we use contemplative practices in dealing with issues of power and oppression? How can we facilitate loving awareness in the presence of discomfort in a way that transforms fear and anger into strength and effective social action?
ACMHE poster session in 2014

The ACMHE conference schedule emphasizes concurrent sessions led by scholars, researchers, and practitioners across campus departments including student groups, that demonstrate how contemplative practices are being used in higher education. These may take the form of research presentations, experiential workshops, contemplative practice sessions, performances, roundtable conversations, panel discussions, or other creative modes of sharing.

The conference also features plenary sessions, breakout groups, and opportunities for socializing. It also offers a poster session–a valuable opportunity to connect with colleagues across many disciplines while viewing summaries of recent research. We plan to have one keynote address and a pre-conference retreat day.

The ACMHE—the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education—is an interdisciplinary academic association and an initiative of The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, a nonprofit organization based in western Massachusetts. ACMHE members receive a $50 reduction in the conference registration fees as well as other benefits; learn more.

Call for Proposals

Faculty, staff, students, researchers, and administrators from all sectors of academia are encouraged to submit proposals for concurrent sessions, posters, or both. We seek presenters who model contemplative pedagogy and method in their sessions, and we are particularly interested in proposals that emphasize the specific context in which their work is situated (e.g., academic disciplines, contemplative disciplines, students’ social identities and demographics, institutional history and location, etc.), and which offer practical, experience-based recommendations for developing and integrating contemplative approaches in higher education.

Based on participant feedback, we are introducing a new option this year: concurrent session presenters will have the option of indicating on the proposal submission form if their session is ideal for newcomers who have just started to engage in contemplative approaches. We hope this option will help new participants select sessions to serve their needs.

To accommodate as many presentations as possible while allowing time for depth and interaction, all concurrent sessions will be 60 minutes long. Presenters must design their sessions accordingly, making the most of the available time. We encourage presenters to explore alternatives to static PowerPoint lecturing and to employ creative, interactive, and experiential learning approaches where possible. Ideally, each concurrent session will serve as a model for conducting a contemplative class session. We will only be providing AV/tech in half of the breakout rooms.

Proposals are due May 18, 2018. Proposals will be reviewed and presenters will be notified by June 30, 2018.

Guidelines

  • Professionals from all areas of higher education, including faculty, students, staff, and administrators, are invited to submit proposals for consideration.
  • Presenters must be ACMHE members, or must join the ACMHE before the conference date. Members receive a $50 discount on the conference registration fee.
  • Proposals must indicate a session type: parallel or poster. Please refer to the session descriptions for more information.
  • Proposals must describe the planned structure of their session, such as the use of visuals, materials, interactive practices or exercises, Q & A/discussion, etc
  • The submission deadline for parallel and poster sessions is May 18, 2018 at midnight EDT (-04:00 UTC).
  • Proposals will be reviewed and selected by the conference committee, with notifications sent by June 30th.

How should I design my parallel session?
We encourage those presenting parallel sessions to model their session(s) on their own practice, modes of teaching, or styles of engagement with faculty, staff, and students. Basic tech/AV (projector, screen and audio) equipment will be available in all of the conference breakout rooms. We invite presenters to employ a variety of teaching and learning practices. Alternatives to fully PowerPoint-dependent presentations are encouraged.

What is the poster session like? Is tech/AV available?
Poster sessions occur simultaneously in a large, shared space. Though tech/AV are not available for poster sessions, past poster presenters have included small, brief interactive elements and handouts in addition to dialogue with attendees to create an engaging experience.

Session Types

60-Minute Parallel Sessions allow opportunities for presenters to share practices, research and methodologies in ways that engage the session participants and model contemplative modes of inquiry. They may incorporate a variety of interactive methods (dialogue, guided discussion, etc.), and we encourage alternatives to lecture-style presenting. Interactive sessions may also take the form of a roundtable discussion in which the organizer proposes a concept, approach, or issue, and participants are invited to share in an open inquiry. Audio-visual equipment, including digital projector and screen, may be requested.

Poster Presentations offer an opportunity to speak collaboratively with a large number of colleagues and display some aspects of your work visually on a poster. We envision this poster session as a dynamic gathering, leading to synthesis of ideas from across the diverse group of participants. Each poster presenter will be supplied with a 3′x4′ poster board. Posters are presented simultaneously in a one-hour session. No audio-visual equipment is available for Poster Presentations.

Proposal Submissions Due May 18th

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