Call for Proposals
“Showcasing Solutions, Producing Results”
85th WASC Academic Resource Conference (ARC)
April 15-18, 2009, Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, Hollywood , CA
Sponsored by the WASC Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and
Universities, in cooperation with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior
When we’re talking about learning, process is important but results are what
count – especially in uncertain times. The 2009 ARC is dedicated to supporting
institutions of higher education as they define their challenges, develop
solutions, and demonstrate results. WASC invites 2-year and 4-year colleges and
universities to share their work at what has become a major higher education
conference in the western US.
Our setting is Hollywood – a great place to think creatively about student
learning, institutional effectiveness, and the relationship between higher
education and society. Our venue is a microcosm of contradictions and tensions
that educators also face: innovation and tradition, high culture and popular
taste, technology and craft, new influences and sometimes sluggish responses.
It’s the place where the local meets the global, where highly visible ratings
and reviews coexist with plenty of skepticism about their meaning. We and our
students have been challenged by the society and the media that Hollywood
represents; at the same time there may be lessons, literal and metaphorical, we
can learn from them. This conference is a chance to talk about that learning
and how to apply it to improvement and student success.
We invite you to submit a proposal for a presentation at the 2009 WASC Academic
Resource Conference (ARC). Share with your colleagues the ways in which your
campus has learned about learning, improved results, and strengthened your
institution. Discuss your experience, tell your stories, offer your advice –
and present your findings. Help us all to understand better what educational
quality and accountability mean, how academic quality can best be documented
and communicated, and how accreditation can help. And this year, let’s not just
talk about engagement or active learning – let’s do it. Let’s make this the
most interactive WASC conference ever.
You are encouraged to submit a proposal that fits into one of the tracks below.
Remember, the questions listed under each track are merely suggestive, and
you’re free to submit on other topics, as well. Just remember that findings or
results, not only process, should be a key part of your presentation, whatever
Track 1: How Do Students and Institutions Learn — and How Do We Know?
What is the effect of popular culture on students’ learning and development?
How do new technologies affect students’ reading, visual literacy, thinking,
problem solving, and other intellectual skills?
What works – or doesn’t – in the classroom, co-curriculum, community?
What is “good enough” in college-level learning? How can we set shared
standards? Who’s done it? And how can we close achievement gaps?
What do millennials, adults, non-traditional and international students need to
succeed? What about graduate students?
What special challenges do junior and community colleges face? What about
research universities and graduate programs?
How does diversity enhance learning, and how can we maximize the effect?
How can we promote “ineffables” like spiritual development, curiosity or
global awareness? How can we assess them?
What do faculty and other campus educators need in order to succeed in an
Track 2: Challenges for Administrators and Trustees
How can institutions strengthen their finances in a tough economy?
How can risks such as campus violence, extreme weather, or contagious disease
What are alternative approaches to data collection on part-time, transfer, and
How can strategic planning, budgeting, and educational effectiveness be linked?
How are data and evidence best used to support improvement?
What kinds of development do boards and administrative leadership need to
What are the implications of the new HEA? The new administration in DC?
What are effective approaches to accountability and transparency?
Going green – what does it mean and how much does it cost?
What can we learn from the Bologna process? From foreign institutions?
What are the barriers to institutional change and how can they be overcome?
Track 3: Collaborations that Work – across the Campus and Beyond
How can faculty and other educators on campus – student affairs personnel,
librarians, tutors, advisors, administrators, institutional researchers — work
together most effectively?
What models are there for 2-year/4-year collaboration on transfer, retention,
assessment, student success? What about the transition to graduate school?
What’s happening in state-wide and multi-campus systems to support learning?
How are service learning and community collaborations affecting institutions?
What are national organizations (e.g., AAC&U, AASCU, AACC, NASULGC, ACE, NAICU)
contributing to campus and cross-campus work? What about smaller groups like
the League for Innovation, CCLC, POD or ACAD?
What’s the role of listservs, wikis, and new technologies in supporting
collaborations – regionally, nationally, and globally?
Track 4: Higher Education and our Audience beyond the Campus
What are the expectations of students, parents, the public? What does
“transparency” mean to them? What information should institutions make
Where are the disconnects between policy makers and the academy? How can we
How can we best communicate with state, federal, or lay critics? What is the
story we want them to hear?
What is the appropriate role of standardized tests and surveys? What are we
learning from/about the NSSE, UCUES, CLA, MAPP and other instruments, and how
can we tell the story?
How do ranking and rating systems work? What need do they fill, and what are
responsible alternatives to existing schemes?
Track 5: WASC Accreditation Processes
How can we – ACCJC as well as ACSCU – move from demonstrating that students
learn to how well?
How are WASC Standards and process affecting campuses? What does WASC expect
from campuses regarding program review? Retention and completion rates?
What makes for a strong Institutional Proposal? Strong CPR and EER reports?
How can institutions prepare for team visits?
How should institutions respond to team findings and Commission actions?
What role might WASC play in national (and international) conversations about
educational quality and accountability?
You can propose a 60-minute session; a 30-minute session (in this case you will
be paired with another presenter on a related topic and share a 60-minute
slot); or a poster. Sixty- and 30-minute sessions should strive for a variety
of perspectives and speakers from different institutions. If you don’t want to
be placed in a combined session, be sure that your own proposal includes
representatives from at least two institutions. We especially encourage
partnering between 2-year and 4-year institutions. The poster session offers an
opportunity to present your work, particularly work in progress, in an informal
setting that encourages one-on-one conversation and networking.
The standard format – panel with presentations, slides, and discussion – is
still welcome. But this year we are also encouraging alternatives. For example,
you may want to demonstrate a pedagogy (e.g., case study or problem-based),
lead the audience through the nuts and bolts of an assessment technique (e.g.,
creating a rubric, conducting a focus group); show a video, then have
participants analyze it; or get everyone working on a wiki.
Proposals will be selected based on 1) overall quality (thoughtfulness,
soundness of method, tangible results, etc.); 2) transferability to other
institutions and situations; 3) relevance to the conference theme; 4)
innovative, interactive format; and 5) appeal to the diverse interests of
conference attendees. Preference will be given to proposals that include
representatives from different institutions.
Presenters will be responsible for registering in advance for the meeting,
paying the full conference registration fee, and covering their own travel and
Presenters who wish to use PowerPoint slides or to connect to the web will need
to bring their own laptop; an LCD projector and screen will be available in the
meeting room. Presenters are encouraged to provide handouts either
electronically or in hard copy; however, WASC cannot reimburse the cost of
duplication. Further details will be provided in communications closer to the
time of the conference.
The deadline for submitting a proposal is Wednesday, October 1, 2008.
Proposals must be submitted online. The proposal form can be found at: http://spreadsheets.google.com/embeddedform?key=p-wwQfWGkbLunGvkkeCg3Gw
For technical questions about the online submission, contact Julie Kotovsky at
510 748-9001, ext. 307, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions about
content or format, contact Barbara Wright at email@example.com. Presenters
will be notified of the status of their proposal on or around December 1.