ITL: Request for Proposals

Thank you for your interest in sharing your insights and experiences at the Innovations in Teaching & Learning conference at George Mason University. If you have any questions about the conference or the submission process, please contact the Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning at 703-993-8652 or

We are no longer accepting proposals for conference sessions. Proposals were due by Monday, March 20. NOTE: We are still accepting handouts/items to be included in the morning Share-a-thon through September 14. To submit an item or item description if you plan to bring your own copies, please use the “Submit your Proposal” button below.




Session Types

Please tailor your proposal to match one of the following session formats:

TEACHING DEMO (20 minutes)
These sessions primarily consist of a 15-minute demonstration of a successful in-class activity that faculty in other disciplines could use in their own classes, followed by 5 minutes for Q & A. Demonstrations should either be an active experience for participants (e.g. something that audience members participate in “as students”) or include a video, slide show, or live demonstration of students performing the activity.
POSTER (90 minutes)
From 4:15pm-5:00pm, Group A will present at their posters, and Group B will visit posters. From 5:00pm-5:45pm, Group B will present at their posters, and Group A will visit posters. The Stearns Center will assign presenter groups. Suggested focus-types of posters: Scholarly results from Discipline-Based Education Research (DBER) / Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL) projects, report on a curriculum development process, showcasing of a Mason resource or service for instructors, or other.
In response to participant feedback, we want to limit the number of sessions that take this more passive format, but we recognize that in some cases this may be the most efficient way to share project insights. These sessions are best suited for very focused presentations on implementing specific pedagogical or programmatic strategies. Think of these as show-and-tell “how-to” sessions (e.g., how to partner with Mason offices to create an entrepreneurial class assignment), though we encourage you to think of how moving some details to a handout or web resource could help you create opportunities for active audience participation. Each presentation will be 15 minutes, followed by 5 minutes for Q & A.
Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL) LIGHTNING TALK
This is a 5-minute presentation about your SoTL/DBER study—it’s a bit of fun competition to see who can rise to this “elevator pitch” presentation style and finish before the 5-minute bell signal. The Stearns Center will organize a series of these talks into a single session. After everyone has presented (45 minutes), then the session will shift into a panel discussion in which presenters will answer questions from the attendees. The session will last for 90 minutes.
These sessions are interactive, conversational spaces centered on a specific topic in which the participant reflection and conversation is facilitated by the presenter-moderator. The discussion could be kicked off by an individual or a panel of selected speakers posing questions, giving their brief opening remarks on the subject, or sharing how they manage a particular aspect of their teaching practice. Think of these as open dialogue strategy-sharing sessions. NOTE: If you would like to propose a lightning talk/roundtable session with a confirmed lightning-talk presenter line-up, this would be the session type you would select. If you have an idea for a roundtable but would like help recruiting diverse participants, the Stearns Center may be able to assist you.
MINI WORKSHOP (90 minutes)
These sessions are presenter-led opportunities for attending faculty to create materials or brainstorm ideas. The presenter or team provides a brief pedagogy explanation or example/case study and follows with a presenter-facilitated opportunity for attendees to practice an approach and/or create a product or example they could use in their own courses. Proposals that include more involved topic demonstrations (e.g., role playing scenarios, curricula development) would also be appropriate for this type of session. Frequent, meaningful interaction with the audience and/or between participants is expected for these sessions; participants should leave with a plan for how to implement new ideas into their own teaching.
SHARE-A-THON (handout only)
This is a way to share a printed example of original assignments, activities, syllabi, tips, and other tools/resources that you use in your teaching that you think could be adapted for use by a range of other faculty. These printed handouts will be placed on tables in our main meeting space, organized around topics. Authors are encouraged to include their contact information on the handout and be available on-site during the morning session to answer questions, but PRESENTERS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE PRESENT. We are currently seeking examples of active-learning-classroom tasks, grading rubrics (for writing assignments, reports, oral presentations, discussion boards, etc.), pre-first day student surveys, mid-semester student surveys, writing assignments, student-team contracts, learning tutorials, example homework assignments, support for critical reading or inquiry tasks, directions for class activities like jigsaws and think-pair-share, tip-sheets for lab assistants or online/hybrid teachers, resource lists for students or new faculty, etc.



Review Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed with attention to the following criteria:

  • AUDIENCE: The topic is broad enough that folks from other disciplines, modalities (online, hybrid, face-to-face), or levels (graduate vs. undergraduate) will find the broader message helpful.
  • TOPIC: The topic is innovative for teaching and learning or reframes previous techniques/theories in a new or unifying way (such as best/evidence-based practices).
  • THEME CONNECTION: The topic is connected to this year’s theme (Learning in the Digital World), and/or there an indication that the presentation will connect to ITL’s ongoing focus on activities that have students reflecting, critically analyzing, or thinking creatively. Priority will be given to proposals that also make a connection to research on learning.
  • MASON-FOCUSED: The proposal features resources unique to Mason or Mason-related signature learning themes (e.g., technology-enhanced teaching and learning, teaching in active learning classrooms, designing for engaged learning, strategies for working with international/multilingual students, inquiry and research-based courses, mentoring/advising, strategies for incorporating mindfulness/well-being into learning, and experiential learning).
  • Teaching principles informing activity/strategy are indicated or informing literature is cited
  • Relevant context details are present (type of courses or discipline approach tried in; type of students: undergraduate, graduate, majors, non-majors, etc.; if a resource, indication of location/hours/contacts, etc.).