Call for Proposals

The GCC Conference Committee is seeking proposals for the 2021 Virtual Conference around our theme of Meeting the Moment: Re-evaluating and Re-inventing Career and Professional Development


The deadline for proposal submissions has been extended to 11:59 PM EDT, Wednesday, March 24th

Navigate this page: About the ThemeTarget Topics, Session Formats, Proposal Evaluation, Additional Considerations, Resources for Target Topics

About the Theme
The world has rapidly changed over the past year. We and the populations we serve are collectively experiencing a pandemic while reflecting and taking action on inequality and systemic racism, navigating a changing political landscape, and re-defining our work-life balance. These challenges have always existed both inside and outside higher education systems, and the onset of the pandemic has been a catalyst for us to meet the moment we are in. As such, graduate education professionals and faculty are rapidly pivoting their work to address the evolving needs of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, particularly students disproportionately affected by the pandemic and persisting inequities. We are reflecting, re-evaluating, and re-inventing to overcome obstacles and address challenges exacerbated in the past year including, but not limited to: racial inequality, supporting mental health and well-being, financial scarcity, and virtual program delivery. Through innovation, creativity, and collaboration, we are enriching the career and professional development of the populations we serve to create spaces and communities that value diversity, accessibility, and belonging. 

The theme also invites us to ask: who is and is not able to access our initiatives? And, how can we re-evaluate and re-invent our initiatives to increase access? While we and our institutions advocate for the full inclusion of all peoples in our communities, we must also acknowledge historical, societal, and cultural barriers that have produced and sustained inequity. This requires us to reflect on questions such as what barriers have been created that marginalize those of racial, ethnic, gender, different abilities, and social identities historically marginalized in higher education? What actions must we engage in to collectively address those unjust barriers? How do we do so under resource scarcity and limited personnel? Creating equitable and inclusive initiatives requires us to bring down barriers and develop tools, opportunities, and programs for our graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to move from surviving to thriving to soaring.

The GCC Conference Committee is seeking proposals that highlight the work we are doing, conversations we are having, and research we are conducting. We welcome proposals that address any of the target topics below. As you create your proposal and develop your session, we ask that you include how the initiative advances equity and inclusion at your institution to support historically underrepresented and marginalized communities, no matter how big or small you think your efforts might be. 

The deadline for proposal submissions has been extended to Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 11:59 PM EDT. 


Navigate this page: About the ThemeTarget Topics, Session Formats, Proposal Evaluation, Additional Considerations, Resources for Target Topics

Target Topics: Effective proposals will address at least one of the target topics below:
  • Equity, diversity, inclusion, anti-racism, and intersectionality
  • Historically underrepresented and marginalized communities 
  • Mental health, well-being, and resilience
  • Collaborations within and among institutions
  • Innovations and resourcefulness in programming and services, accessibility and meeting different abilities
  • Lessons learned through failure and teachable moments
  • Have you created, re-evaluated, and/or re-invented in an area not listed above? We welcome proposals that address the conference theme and meet the evaluation rubric below.

Session Formats
We are excited to receive proposals for deep dives, interactive sessions, and lightning talks. 

1. Deep Dives
Deep dives are 50-min sessions that offer a comprehensive perspective into an initiative(s). They can be delivered individually or by a team of presenters from different institutions. These sessions should be 40 min in length with 10 min for questions. 

2. Interactive and How-to Sessions
Interactive and How-to sessions are 50-min sessions that are an opportunity to share practical initiatives, programs, or tools, or pose a question/challenge, followed by an experiential component. They can be delivered individually or by a team of presenters from different institutions. These sessions consist of a 15- to 20-min talk and 30- to 35-min experiential discussion and/or activity. These sessions make use of active learning approaches and technology to promote the continuous learning of powerful teaching or professional practices, resources, and tools. 

2. Lightning Talks
Lightning talks are 8-min sessions that offer a brief overview, highlights, and key takeaways from an initiative. These sessions are delivered by one to two presenters. Within a 50-min timeslot, there will be four lighting talks followed by 15-min breakout rooms where presenters host an informal discussion on their talk. 

Proposal Evaluation & Rubric 
We will evaluate proposals and select those strong in: 
  • Alignment to the theme and target topics
  • Clarity of session outcomes
  • Evidence of impact and innovation
  • Equitable, inclusive, and accessible design and practices
  • Level of interaction and accessibility (applicable to Interactive and How-to Sessions only)
Please review the evaluation rubric before submitting a proposal.

Additional Information Regarding Proposal Submission & Evaluation
Multiple Proposal Submissions
As the GCC community continues to grow, we receive more proposals than we can accommodate. The virtual conference format also reduces the number of member-generated sessions. As you brainstorm your proposal and/or connect with colleagues to discuss collaborative proposals, please be mindful that spots are limited and consider submitting only one proposal. Our goal with the member-generated sessions is to showcase a breadth of institutions, members, and topics.

Non-GCC Member
Priority will be given to proposals where all presenters are current GCC members. However, if your proposal includes a co-presenter who is not a GCC member, the co-presenter must register as a guest speaker and pay to attend the conference.  

First-Time Presenters
We welcome first-time presenters. The Member-Generated Sessions Committee can put you in contact with a past presenter to learn more about the submission process, creating a session, and what to expect during the session. Contact Teresa Didiano at to learn more.

Resources for Target Topics
Below are resources that expand on the theme’s target topics. These resources are a starting point for reflection and conversations. We encourage presenters to share resources in their sessions.