January 31, 2019

ITL Proposals FAQ


FAQs: Proposal Process

If you have additional questions, we encourage you to ask the Stearns Center (703-993-6200 or stearns@gmu.edu).

What’s the format for the proposal?
Session proposals are submitted via a Google Form. Please see the session descriptions for the Google form questions for each session proposal type. (You can see the specifics in italics below each description type.) We recommend writing up your proposal in a word document using the listed questions as a guide and then cutting and pasting onto the form.

Do I qualify as a presenter? What are the requirements to be a presenter?
We ask that the lead presenter be a current instructor at Mason. Co-presenters should be related to the instructor’s work but do not need to be affiliated with Mason. In the past, this has included other instructors, administrators/staff, graduate student instructors of record, graduate student teaching assistants, undergraduate students, government/non-profit employees, etc.

I’m a graduate student. Can I present?
Yes. We do ask that the lead presenter be a current instructor of record at Mason. However, there may be situations where it is appropriate for a graduate teaching assistant to be the lead presenter. Graduate students working with faculty on curriculum development or teaching are encouraged to present as a lead or co-presenters.

Can my undergraduate students be presenters?
Yes. We do ask that the lead presenter be a current instructor of record at Mason. However, there are situations where it is appropriate for an undergraduate student to be a presenter. Undergraduate students serving as Learning Assistants or Teaching Assistants or are working with faculty on curriculum development or teaching are encouraged to present as co-presenters. Additionally, students are encouraged to co-present if they who have participated in the teaching strategies or activities that the instructor is presenting.

My teaching idea or activity isn’t long enough for a whole session—should I still propose it?
Yes! We encourage you to consider the 15-minute activity showcase and 15-minute presentation sessions. These shorter sessions might be a better fit. Regardless, we encourage you to submit and include a note that you don’t want to run a whole session but may be interested in being part of a panel or group of presenters. See further details on the request for proposals page.

I have an idea, but it’s “nothing new or what I’d call innovative.” Will anyone be interested? Should I submit my idea?
Yes! What’s not new to you may be new to someone else. We seek to meet the teaching practice needs of all instructors along a continuum of an instructor new to teaching to an experienced instructor who has been formally trained in educational theory and practice. We also encourage proposals that are built on evidence-based practices. Innovation doesn’t mean having to reinvent the wheel. If you have an “oldie, but goodie” idea, we want to hear those, too.

I have a tip/strategy for my class, but would people outside of my discipline be interested?
Yes! If it’s something that is helping your students learn, it is likely something that is adaptable to other contexts. We seek proposals that are situated in a context (your class) but could be applied or adapted to a variety of disciplines. If you need help or ideas on how to “translate” your activity or present your idea in a way that is applicable across disciplines, we encourage you to ask the Stearns Center (703-993-6200 or stearns@gmu.edu).

Can I have an extension/more time to complete and submit my proposal?
We strongly encourage you to submit your proposal on time to guarantee that is considered and reviewed by the selection committee. However, extensions can be granted on a need-basis. Please contact the Stearns Center if you find yourself in this situation (703-993-6200 or stearns@gmu.edu).

I have a couple different session ideas. Can I submit more than one proposal?
Yes! There is no limit to the number of session proposals you can submit. For the main program (workshops, panels, etc.), the review panel generally selects a variety of instructor and discipline perspectives, so may limit you to no more than 2 of these session types as lead presenter. There is no limit on serving as a co-presenter on multiple sessions. Posters and activity showcases are great second or third session proposal ideas to submit as lead presenter.

How do I submit my proposal?
Please submit your proposal via our Google Form.

When are proposals due?
Proposals are due Friday, March 8, 2019. If you need an extension, please contact the Stearns Center (703-993-6200 or stearns@gmu.edu).

How will my proposal be reviewed?
Proposals will be reviewed via a double-blind process by 3-4 reviewers (Mason instructors, administrative faculty, staff, and/or graduate students, in addition to Stearns Center staff) 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 (Small changes, Big Impact: 10 years of ITL), 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.).

When will I find out if my proposal was selected?
We will notify proposers by email late April or early May. We ask that authors of selected proposals confirm their intent to present by mid-May via a Google Form included in the acceptance email.


FAQs: Reviewing Proposals

If you have additional questions, we encourage you to ask the Stearns Center (703-993-6200 or stearns@gmu.edu).

I have or am submitting a proposal, can I still serve as a reviewer?
Yes! There is a place on the reviewer information Google Form to indicate that you have submitted a proposal. You will not be assigned your own proposal to review.

What’s involved with reviewing?
Proposals this year consist of a 250-word abstract and, depending on the type of session, an additional 1-3 paragraphs that provide contextual information (~1 page of information). You will have a scoring rubric to evaluate the proposals (for audience, topic, theme connection, Mason-focus, and context) with room for comments/suggestions and assign an overall score. Proposal reviews will be submitted through a Google Form. Typically, we ask people to review 6-10 proposals, and it takes about 1-2 hours to complete. The more volunteers we have, the less proposals we will ask you to review–so please help spread the word. You will be asked to review no more than 10 proposals.

Note: Proposals will not include identifying presenter information, and proposers will receive your review comments without your name attached (double-blind).

How do I submit my reviews?
You will submit your reviews via our Google Form (TBA). We recommend writing your comments in a Word document and then copying and pasting into the Google Form.

Can I have more time to do my reviews?
If you find yourself needing more time for completing your reviews, please contact the Stearns Center. We may be able to grant an extension of a day or two, but due to the tightness of our notification schedule for presenters, we are unable to grant extensions beyond that.

How are proposals evaluated?
Proposals (presenter information removed) will be reviewed by 3-4 reviewers (Mason instructors, administrative faculty, staff, and/or graduate students, in addition to Stearns Center staff) 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, 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.).

How do I become a reviewer?
Please complete our Reviewer Application, and someone will contact you the week of the proposal deadline with your review assignments.