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2015 Call for Proposal
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Call for Proposals

American Association of Blacks in Higher Education

Celebrating 35 Years

2015 National Conference on Blacks in Higher Education

Charleston Area Convention Center 

Embassy Suites North Charleston Hotel 

Charleston, SC

April 9-11, 2015


Conference Theme

Pathways to Success in Higher Education:

Moving from Enrollment to Employment


The American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE) provides leadership regarding success in Higher Education in all of its facets.  It pursues numerous initiatives that address the pipeline of Black students, faculty and staff in higher education, bringing issues pertinent to Black faculty and staff to the attention of the larger academic community, and communicating African American achievements and accomplishments to higher education, broadly.  AABHE also facilitates and provides opportunities for collaborating and networking among individuals, institutions, groups and agencies in higher education in the United States and internationally.

Each year’s conference addresses some theme that extends our general focus on pathways to success within higher education.  This year’s conference, anchored in examining the path from matriculation to employment, career success or entrepreneurial innovation, will investigate the best theories, models, practices and outcomes for providing an educational experience that prepares and promotes professional achievement post-graduation.  Proposals are encouraged that examine how the academic curriculum, extracurricular enrichment and other higher education initiatives can contribute to the success of African ancestry, Black, people in higher education and in there career aspirations, thereby, strengthening their ability to contribute to our communities.  In addition, proposals will be considered regarding the contributions that Black academic professionals make to the development and empowerment of people from other communities as part of our overall contributions to leadership in higher education.  This conference will provide an exciting forum for the best scholarship and practical models that advance diversity in the academy, in the workforce, and in corporate, not-for-profit and entrepreneurial leadership. The program will address these topics through the following strands:

  • Strand 1: Pathways to Employment and Entrepreneurship in public, private, for-profit and not-for-profit careers
  • Strand 2: Pathways to Advance Careers in Health/STEM/STEAM
  • Strand 3: Pathways to Academic Preparation, Recruitment, Retention and Academic Success for African/Black Students
  • Strand 4: Pathways to Advance Relevant Liberal, Vocational and Professional Education Curricula for African/Black Students at the undergraduate and graduate levels
  • Strand 5: Pathways to Advance Faculty and Higher Ed Profession careers

There are other African American/Black organizations representing our specializations, and AABHE supports its members as they address their particular areas of expertise.  Moreover, AABHE encourages leadership in our various areas and in higher education generally.  Therefore, highest preference will be given to proposals that go beyond specific findings, practices or perspectives to emphasize the leadership component in the work.  Leadership in this context is broadly construed as emphasizing the processes, characteristics, practices and value systems that encourage other individuals and institutions to advance the efforts and objectives of African American leadership in higher education for the greater good.

AABHE is seeking presenters to (1) share their best and promising practices for increasing the number of Blacks entering and succeeding in higher education and post-graduation; (2) demonstrate the most promising cases of higher education addressing job placement, career development and entrepreneurial success; and, (3) showcase their relevant research.  Proposals for conference sessions should address one of the following five strands, and reviewers will give priority to those which best match the theme and its strands, though others will also be given consideration.


STRAND 1: Pathways to Employment and Entrepreneurship in public, private, for-profit and not-for-profit careers - Strategic leadership enables Black professionals to obtain the knowledge, skills and experiences that will provide them the competitive advantage to succeed.  Whether inside higher education, in public, private for-profit or not-for-profit careers, strategic leadership encourages collaboration and innovation; and helps to "navigate the complexities inherent in institutional change and organizational politics in higher education” which include mentoring and professional opportunities. There are both common strategies across career paths and strategies unique to success particular career trajectories.  In addition, leadership within African/Black contexts draws upon the compassion and commitment to justice inherent in our community’s most successful strategies. Proposals that address the development of leadership through higher education within established organizations and those which focus on entrepreneurial innovation across all areas of endeavor.

STRAND 2: Pathways to Advance Careers in Health/STEM/STEAM - Presentations are solicited that provide avenues to promote the successful pursuit of studies and careers in STEM fields.  This includes the health, natural, physical and social sciences (S) technology (T), engineering (E), liberal arts (A) and mathematics (M).   Various strategies have been implemented to promote awareness and interest, enhance educational preparedness and decrease barriers (financial, social and structural) as a means of increasing the volume and capacity of the educational pipeline into these fields.  This strand seeks to explore the success and challenges of past and current strategies as well as provide an opportunity to discuss emerging innovative approaches to increase the number of Blacks in all STEM fields and promote their long-term success as professionals or entrepreneurs in these areas.

STRAND 3: Pathways to Academic Preparation, Recruitment, Retention and Academic Success for African/Black Students - A changing world demands a changing academic cohort of students and a complementary change in academic environment.   Proposals are encouraged that address best practices, model programs or excellent examples of diversity programs that address K-12 college readiness; increase African American matriculation into institutions of higher learning; increase retention and academic achievement; or improve campus life through co- and extracurricular enrichment for African Americans on our campuses, particularly as they promote career development or entrepreneurial vitality.

STRAND 4: Pathways to Advance Relevant Liberal, Vocational and Professional Education Curricula for African/Black Students at the undergraduate and graduate levels - academe is the curriculum.  There is varied and contradictory advice given to students on whether to choose liberal, vocational or professional education, making differential claims about the relevance to their life satisfaction or their professional marketability.  A closer look at the data, though, generally demonstrate that students can be happy and professionally successful in practically any area if the curriculum and associated pedagogical delivery are intentionally targeted to their success.  For example, the annual report on the economic value of undergraduate degrees regularly gives short-term economic advantage to professional degrees, while showing an advantage for liberal arts graduates a decade out and for the remainder of their careers.  Proposals in this area can and should come from any area of liberal, vocational or professional education—including but not limited to Africana/Black and Ethnic Studies. The most successful proposals will address data, best practices or models that demonstrate how leaders in these areas best prepare new leaders in their field who are ready for the job market, executive leadership or entrepreneurial innovation.

STRAND 5: Pathways to Advance Faculty and Higher Ed Profession careers - As a lead organization in higher education, we promote successful career development within Academe. Engaging in research and other forms of scholarship and disseminating work through peer-reviewed publications is a critical factor for a successful academic career for both faculty and senior administrators.  Teaching and service provision are important responsibilities for an academic career; however, the scholarship recognized by peers through publications weighs heavily in academic success and leadership, and is often underemphasized in mentorship.  In addition, though the African/Black professoriate and administrative leadership is disproportionately small in all areas, it is extremely limited in the academic areas of business and science, and in the professional areas overseeing the business, capital planning, and advancement areas of university governance. Though not limited to successful scholarship, this strand seeks proposals that illustrate successful strategies for publishing and examples for producing publishable manuscripts from various academic activities (e.g., teaching; service, student services; educational finance or management; or advancement particularly with Black and communities of color), particularly as they strengthen the leadership career opportunities of excellent teacher faculty and career administrators.  It also encourages models for developing academic leaders who will succeed individually while working to reshape higher education.

Program Type

General Conference Program Session (60 minutes)

General interest sessions are scheduled throughout the conference. These programs are chosen in large part because of their relevance to the conference theme and incorporation of the strands. General interest sessions are designed to be interactive conversations between presenters and participants. 

Best Practices Roundtable Discussion (60 minutes)

A roundtable session is literally a collection of roundtables. One presenter is assigned to each roundtable. A roundtable format provides a great opportunity for a less formal, but more in depth exchange of information.

Program Title: (10-word limit)

Abstract: (85-word limit). This abstract will appear in the conference program booklet.

Proposal: (500-word limit). The program description should include the purpose and rationale and an explanation of how this program connects to the conference theme and at least one of the core areas.

Call for Proposals Deadline is Friday, October 17, 2014.

Notification of program submission decisions will be made on or before November 31st. We reserve the right to make any changes as it relates to time allotment and/or placement in the program. These changes will be indicated in your letter of acceptance.

Submit your Proposal by clicking here.

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