Call for Proposals | The Whole Student: Intersectionality and Well-Being

The deadline to submit a proposal has now passed. Thank you to all who submitted proposals to present at, provoke, or workshop this conference! We are overwhelmed and gratified by the interest and number of proposals.  We hope to announce decisions in mid-January.

Some conferences are about intersectionality. Some conferences are about student well-being. 
This conference is about the integration of both.

“Intersectionality” refers to how a diverse set of identities intersect and affect the lived experience and well-being of each student as a whole person. Intersecting identities include race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ability or disability, socioeconomic status, first-generation status, and more.

“Well-being” refers not solely to a feeling or an action, but to a relational activity (even practice) of being well—as in being part of a community, having meaningful relationships, and possessing a sense of purpose. Various forms of mental, emotional, social, and physical well-being (e.g., happiness, flourishing, resilience, mindfulness, etc.) are recognized as necessary conditions for well-being overall.

The purpose of this conference is to bring together educators of all types (faculty, student affairs professionals, staff mentors and advising professionals, teaching assistants, administrators, etc.) to focus on the importance of well-being in higher education. Through the lens of intersectionality, conference participants will examine and explore how institutional values and campus cultures acknowledge or contextualize the intersections of student identity and lived experiences, support them, and challenge them. This conference takes seriously the commitment to “whole student” development through the exploration of the very elements that make students whole.

The Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) Project invites proposals for presentations and workshops that offer new theory and scholarship, strategy, and evidence-based practices that reflect the integration of the conference topics below, and that embody ways to inclusively engage diverse audience members and are adaptable to a diverse array of institutional types. We are interested in encouraging candid conversations (the ones you might have in the hallway at most conferences), and want to build and strengthen relationships between and among those at all levels of the institution.

Presentations and workshops will run concurrently and will take place from Wednesday, May 24, at 3:00 p.m. through Friday, May 26, at 3:00 p.m. Presenters and facilitators are expected to be available at the time they are scheduled by the conference organizers. 

Please note that all presenters and facilitators of sessions and/or workshops are responsible for conference registration fees, travel, and hotel expenses.

CALL FOR PROPOSALS INFORMATION QUICK LINKS


CONFERENCE TOPICS: The Whole Student, Intersectionality & Well-Being

The BTtoP project was founded on the principle that one of the fundamental purposes of higher education is the well-being of all its stakeholders, especially students. Through deep engagement in learning, civic experiences, and diverse discourse, higher education provides the unique opportunity for students to realize their full potential and to flourish.

Below is an explanation of the terms that form the character of this conference and what they mean in the context of this conference, specifically.

“Intersectionality” refers to how a diverse set of identities intersect and affect the lived experience and well-being of each student as a whole person. Intersecting identities can include race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ability or disability, socioeconomic status, first-generation status, and more.

“Well-being” refers not solely to a feeling or act, but to a relational activity (even practice) of being well—as in being part of a community, having meaningful relationships, and possessing a sense of purpose. Various forms of mental, emotional, social, and physical well-being (e.g., happiness, flourishing, resilience, mindfulness, etc.) are recognized as necessary conditions for well-being.

A longstanding history of attention to the concept of the “whole student” has meant understanding students as the integration of all of their identities, characteristics, and lived experiences—social, emotional, intellectual, physical, and so on. The intersections of these identities and experiences bring new perspectives, ways of knowing, and ways of being. Sometimes educational environments and experiences are prepared to engage all that a student brings, but they may also pose challenges for fostering an inclusive educational environment for whole students.

Considering the “whole student” in higher education means considering how student identities and experiences intersect in the design of curricular and co-curricular programs, structures, and spaces. This includes everything from the design of an academic building, living space or classroom, to the hiring practices of educators who reflect the student body to enhancing experiences of belonging and agency.

In this conference, “student” refers to all types of students—undergraduate, graduate, non-traditional populations, full-time, part-time, commuter, etc. Other terms used to connote “whole student” include the “whole learner” and the “whole person.”

Recognizing that individuals may experience identity integration encounters as challenging, complimentary, competing, or even contradictory, BTtoP is especially interested in sessions which demonstrate both identity intersectionality and developmental maturity levels of students in various phases of identity development and integration.  

And why now?

Exploring intersectionality as a framework for understanding the whole student and well-being is not just illuminating for all educators, such exploration is practically relevant and essential to offering the type of transformative educational experience highlighted in higher education institutional missions. At a time when complex and often difficult conversations are happening on many campuses, an intersectional framework helps educators work with all students to develop a sense of who they are, their capacity to flourish, and their place in the world, as well as to understand what to expect from their higher educational experience.


SESSION TOPICS

Below is a list of suggested session topics—the list is intentionally broad and specific, but not meant to be prescriptive of topics for proposals. The hope is that this list will inspire you...

Also, (as noted above) the broad term “educator” is used to describe faculty, student affairs professionals, staff mentors and advising professionals, teaching assistants, administrators, etc.

  • Working with students in navigating transitions to new contexts and identities (e.g., transition-to-college identity; student-to-professional identity, etc.)
  • New findings on student learning: engaging students’ interests and identities; nurturing constructive habits of mind and agency
  • Measuring and understanding the impact of identity, intersectionality, and positionality on student development and learning
  • Being both student and activist around race and inequality: supporting the student activist to achieve both change and personal or community well-being
  • Giving students the tools and language to communicate an expectation of well-being as an outcome of their education; educator responses to student activism that support well-being
  • How student voice on campus and in community affects student and community well-being
  • Cultural adaptation, belongingness and well-being—new (e.g., first generation) students finding their way
  • How intersections of religion, spirituality and other identities affect student well-being
  • Intersections of student and educator well-being
  • Well-being of educators involved in identity and group work
  • Internal and external/community dialogues about ‘the self’
  • What is the future of identity-based research, theory building, practice, spaces, etc?
  • Cutting vertically, not just horizontally: exploring identity or affinity in-group variability/intragroup diversity
  • Integration of best practices and programs on campuses; partnerships, collaborations that work
  • Embedding the relationship of diversity and social responsibility to well-being across the curriculum and cocurriculum
  • Designing culturally responsive high-impact practices, as well as integrative and developmental frameworks and strategies
  • Developing educator capacity to lead change in an environment of receiving pushback, forced isolation, and traditional reward pressures; candid conversations about educator biases/gaps
  • Disaggregating our data: How to handle difficult conversations about achievement gaps, challenging climate survey results, and data-phobia.
  • Technology and social media integration in higher education: what is the impact on identity and student well-being?
  • Leveraging resources toward intersectional frameworks and focus on well-being at smaller, diverse institutions
  • Balancing change for students and change in the campus environment
  • Academic Speech: Campuses, the 1st Amendment, “safe spaces”, and “trigger warnings”
  • A campus case study: disruptions and responses (fueled by issues of intersectionality and well-being)
  • How intersectionality informs organizational-level priorities, practice and sustainability
  • Engaging in strategic visioning for accountability and systemic change
  • Institutional responsibility: restorative justice and liability issues

SESSION FORMATS

Variation in session formats is intended to enable presenters and participants to more effectively engage with topics and each other in ways that facilitate dialogue and collective problem-solving. Session proposals should provide a plan for engaging audience members in the discussion or with each other, inviting discussion that is relevant and adaptable to others—not only a description of what has been accomplished. 

​There will be theatre-style room set ups as well as rooms of roundtables. All session rooms will have a standard AV setup, including LCD Projector, screen and microphone podium. Please note that all presenters and facilitators must supply own laptop computer and MAC adapters. We will do our best to accommodate each session’s needs.

FORMAT I: PANEL OR PRESENTATION

Diverse Institutional Collaborations (75 minutes; 2-4 facilitators)

Diverse Institutional Collaboration presentation or panel sessions should include participants from two or more institutions presenting cross-site or collaborative research, comparative programmatic innovations, or provocative and new theoretical discussions related to the conference topics. The potential of cross-institutional collaboration (and adaptation for other campuses) should be highlighted in the session.

Single-Institution Team (75 minutes; 3-5 facilitators; room set in roundtables)

Single-Institution Team presentation or panel sessions should include diverse-campus-constituency (e.g., faculty, student affairs professional and administrator) and intergenerational participants (including students) from one institution presenting research, programmatic innovations, or provocative and new theoretical discussions related to the conference topics. The relationships among constituency groups on campus should be highlighted in the session.

Student-Only Session (30-75 minutes; 2-5 facilitators)

Student-only presentation or panel sessions will be for student-only participants. Presenters and facilitators need not only be students, but the audience will be. Presenters and facilitators can be from one institution or multiple. The presentation or panel discussion should involve student-led research, programmatic innovations, or provocative and new theoretical discussions related to the conference topics. Student voice and engagement should be highlighted in the session.

Proposals for the Panel or Presentation format should:

  1. Describe how the conference topic(s) (the whole student, intersectionality and well-being) are related in the presentation;
  2. Describe the evidence, new theory or provocation, or programmatic innovation being presented;
  3. Describe strategy for including missteps, lessons learned, and ideas for innovation moving forward;
  4. Describe the method to be used for engaging session participants in examination of the topics and information presented, and for applying what is gained in the session to participant campuses.

FORMAT II: PROVOCATIONS

5-minute Provocation (5 minutes; 1 facilitator)

5-minute provocations should provoke the audience with a new theory or idea for discussion related to the conference topics. Depending on proposal response, a number of 5-minute provocations will occur in one session.

20-30-minute Provocation (20-30 minutes; 1-2 facilitators)

20-30-minute provocations should provoke the audience with a new theory or idea for discussion related to the conference topics. Depending on proposal response, up to three 20-30-minute provocations will occur in one session.

Proposals for the Provocations format should: 

  1. Describe how the conference topic(s) (the whole student, intersectionality and well-being) are related in the presentation;
  2. Describe the new theory or provocation being presented.

FORMAT III: WORKSHOPS

One-Part Workshop (75 minutes; 1-2 facilitators)

Workshops should be designed to bridge theory and practice. They should deeply examine and analyze theory and scholarship regarding the integration of intersectionality and student well-being, and lead to an exploration of practical implications and strategies for implementation of programs aimed at campus and institutional change. Facilitators should provide scholarship and evidence related to the topic and should engage participants in reflection, discussion, strategy, and design work.  

Sessions that model “high-impact practices,” such as collaboration and hands-on activities, and that include a diversity of facilitators will be given priority. Please note that the proposed workshop should be an inclusive engagement of participants and provide theory and practice that is adaptable to others – not merely a presentation of what has been accomplished.

Two-Part Workshop (75 minutes each part; 1-2 facilitators)

Two-part workshops build upon the delivery of one-part workshops in that they should be designed to deeply engage participants in examining theories, research, and scholarship of student well-being and intersectionality and considering how to move from theory to evidence-based practices in their own work. Two-part workshops allow for greater time devoted to both theory and practice.

Simple suggested formats include:
Day 1: Theory; Day 2: Practice
Day 1: Project; Day 2: Assessment
Day 1: Theory; Day 2: Research Methods

Proposals for the Workshop format should: 

  1. Describe how the conference topic(s) (the whole student, intersectionality and well-being) are related in the presentation;
  2. Describe the theory and practice that will be bridged in the presentation;
  3. Describe strategy for working in missteps, lessons learned, and ideas for innovation moving forward;
  4. Describe the method to be used for engaging session participants in examination of the topics and information presented, and for applying what is gained in the session to participant campuses.

DEVELOPING A PROPOSAL

Proposals are accepted through an online format and must include:

  1. Name, title, institution, discipline and email address of each facilitator
  2. Session format (choice)
  3. Session title (125-character limit including spaces)
  4. Statement of intended audience and audience experience (choose from: Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced) (50-word limit)
  5. Brief description to explain what your session will address if accepted (how are the conference themes addressed in your session?) (this description will be used in final conference program – 150-word limit)
  6. Background and evidence of effectiveness of work being presented, if relevant (250-word limit)
  7. Plan for participant engagement (150-word limit)
  8. Description of intended participant learning outcomes (150-word limit)

PROPOSAL REVIEW CRITERIA

The purpose of this conference is to bring together scholars, practitioners, and students to focus on the importance of well-being in higher education. Through the lens of intersectionality, particularly with regard to student identities and experiences, conference participants will examine and explore institutional values and campus cultures that contextualize these intersections, support them, and challenge them. This conference takes seriously the commitment to “whole-student” development through the exploration of the very elements that make students whole.

Recognizing that individuals may experience identity integration encounters as challenging, complimentary, competing, or even contradictory, BTtoP is especially interested in sessions which demonstrate both identity intersectionality and developmental maturity levels of students in various phases of identity development and integration.  

BTtoP is interested in offering provocative, scholarly, balanced, and yes, FUN, sessions that best fit the conference purpose and framework, keeping student wholeness and well-being at the center. The conference proposal selection committee will include BTtoP team members, as well as experienced, diverse campus practitioners.  In evaluating conference proposals, reviewers will be asked to consider both the technical aspects of the proposal and the way in which the presentation/session will contribute to advancing the learning and body of practice devoted to student wholeness and well-being, with particular focus on intersectionality.  The following elements will be considered in the review of conference proposals:

  1. The potential for the proposed session/presentation to connect theory with practice to advance knowledge and understanding of diversity, inclusion, and high-quality learning/paradigm shifts in undergraduate education.
  2. The extent to which the session/presentation offers creative, novel and transformative mechanisms and faculty/student affairs educators development for enhancing inclusive excellence.
  3. The ease by which conference session/presentation materials and outcomes can be adapted to a wide range of institution types.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Notifications

The session contact will be notified via email of the decision on the proposal by mid-January.

Expenses and Fees

All session facilitators are responsible for conference registration fees, travel, and hotel expenses. Please be sure that all individuals listed in the proposal have this information and can be available to present throughout the event. Presentation times range from Wednesday, May 24, at 3:00 pm through Friday, May 26 at 3:00 pm.

Please encourage students to attend and propose sessions. 

For more information, including registration and conference hotel:

The Whole Student: Intersectionality and Well-Being

Questions?

Email conference organizer and BTtoP Project Manager Jennifer O’Brien (obrien@bttop.org).