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ATHE Conference Proposal Frequently Asked Questions
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Information and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When is the session proposal form due?
The form must be submitted electronically through the web site by November 1, 2019.

What happens if I submit an incomplete proposal?
Incomplete proposals will not be accepted. You must complete all of the required fields (indicated with an asterisk on the proposal form).

What is the difference between a single focus group proposal and a multidisciplinary proposal?

There are two types of submissions for panels: single focus group (or committee) and multidisciplinary.

Single Focus Group panels are sponsored by one focus group or committee. You will choose a focus group or committee in the Session Sponsor section of the online proposal process; the proposal will go to that group for vetting (each focus group or committee has its own individual process for vetting proposals). It is highly recommended that the Session Coordinator work with the Conference Planner of that focus group or committee chair in advance of submitting the proposal. The Conference Planner will submit a ranking of submissions selected for sponsorship by their focus group or committee. While there are no guarantees, the Conference Committee strives to make sure that the top 3 ranked submissions for each focus group or committee are accepted. (These do not include at least one membership or committee meeting and/or focus group debut panel, which are automatically accepted, if proposed.)

Multidisciplinary submissions must be sponsored by a combination of 2 focus groups or committees. It is your responsibility to contact each FG CP/Committee Chair to be sure that the focus group(s) and/or committees are willing to be included in the application as sponsors. Please do not assume acceptance unless you hear back from them. The two Focus Groups you list as sponsoring will review and rank your proposal. You may list an additional group (meaning a third focus group or committee) as an additional sponsor, but that additional group will not be sent the proposal for ranking. Please note that sponsorship in the application process does not indicate high ranking for or acceptance into the conference itself. The Conference Planner/Committee Chair will rank all of the multidisciplinary proposals bearing their sponsorship.

Does my proposal have a better chance of being accepted if I propose it as multidisciplinary?
There's no way of knowing this. It depends on how many submissions come through a specific focus group or committee as either single sponsorship or multidisciplinary, as well as how the panel is ranked.

Does the Conference Planner/Committee Chair need to complete two separate rankings lists? Yes, even if they received zero or 1 multidisciplinary submissions, we ask them to submit two lists to assure single and MD panels are ranked separately.

I have an idea for a large panel. Should I submit it as a double session?
Double sessions are not accepted; however, you may submit two linked sessions, indicating that one session is #1 and the second is #2 (Part 1 of 2; Part 2 of 2). Please put a note in the proposal to the FG and conference committee that these are linked panels, and whether or not you wish them to be sequentially scheduled in one room. Note that it is possible that only one of the two sessions may be accepted for the conference. Each session counts singly in the rankings, and neither the sponsoring focus group(s) or committee nor the conference committee is obligated to make sure both sessions are scheduled.

Can I submit a single paper?
Single papers are not accepted through the regular proposal form, although sometimes there are special calls and debut panels by focus groups. If you have an idea for a single paper, please contact a Conference Planner or ATHE Committee Chair (or several) of groups who might be interested in the subject matter and let them know your idea several weeks in advance of the due date. Better yet, think about a provocative panel idea (or a few) that your paper might be a part of and send notice out via email or message to some focus groups and committees for interest. PLEASE NOTE: Do this EARLY so people have time to respond, and there is still time to put together a proposal for a panel.

When will I hear if my proposal has been accepted?
If you are the Session Coordinator, you will receive notification from the Conference Planner/Committee Chair no later than February 1, 2020. Focus Group Conference Planners will notify conference coordinators of sessions submitted to their focus group. Other sessions (MD, Committee sessions, etc.) also will be notified by the ATHE office no later than February 1, 2020. It is the responsibility of the Session Coordinator to inform session participants of the acceptance or rejection of the session.

Do session participants have to register for the conference?


What is the maximum number of sessions in which a single individual may participate? Presenters are limited to two (2) appearances. Exceptions are at the discretion of the Conference Committee.

What is a Debut Panel? Who qualities as a debut panelist?
Some focus groups submit for a session that allows presentation by one or more people who have never presented at ATHE previously. This helps attract new members to ATHE and to focus groups. Focus groups have their own processes and timelines for soliciting and vetting debut panelists; some have calls that go out in the Winter after notices have gone out about conference acceptance February 1; others have earlier timelines. Focus Groups Debut panel sessions must be proposed by November 1 through the single session form online, but you can call for, vet, and submit the names of the selected panelists later by April 1, 2020. These debut sessions are also eligible for Debut Grants, up to $100 per panelist, with a maximum award allowance of $500 total. Awards are paid by check to the debut panelist at the conference. Awards will not be given to debut panelists who cannot attend or present.

PLEASE NOTE: Some focus groups are interested in sharing sessions for debut panels and other resources amongst related focus groups. This allows ATHE to use session space to maximum benefit and groups to share papers. Sharing is supported by the Conference Committee, but not required. If you are interested in combining or sharing resources with another group, please contact the CPs and FGRs of the group(s), as well as Lionel Walsh, Member at Large (MAL) for Focus Groups (, AND the VP for Conference, CarlosAlexis Cruz ( so that all conference planning leadership is aware and might help coordinate if needed.

Who should submit the proposal for a debut panel or pre-­‐conference event organized by more than one focus group or committee? (Please note: this is NOT the same as a Multidisciplinary panel, which is submitted by individual members as described above). If you are sharing with another group(s), please designate a single person (CP or FG officer/Committee Chair) to submit the session and or pre-­‐con proposals online for the groups.

Can combining focus groups apply for combined grant funds for pre-conferences and/or debut panel support?
You may; however, please keep in mind that ATHE grant funds are limited; awards are not guaranteed and based on several factors (described in Grant FAQs). Individual session limits of $500 may be observed for single session debut panels (even if co-sponsored), unless your proposal offers compelling rationale for going above that amount and/or ATHE has a surplus of grant funds relative to the number of well-­‐founded requests.

Whom should I contact with questions about the process?
If you are a Conference Planner from a Focus Group or a committee chair, you can contact your Conference Committee liaison, ATHE VP for Conference CarlosAlexis Cruz at or ATHE Executive Director Aimee Zygmonski at

How do I contact a Focus Group Conference Planner/Committee Chair?
A listing of Focus Group Conference Planners can be found at:

General Information:

Concurrent Sessions are open to all conference registrants.

Participants’ names, paper/presentation titles, and descriptions of sessions will be included in materials promoting the conference, such as the conference website and brochure.

You will need to provide current contact information (email addresses and phone numbers) for all individuals who are being proposed as part of the sessions when you apply. Please note that incorrect contact information on the form may prevent notification about the status of your proposal. You will also need to confirm that anyone listed as a participant is aware of the proposal.

Audio Visual Requests
Each session is can request the following during the proposal process:

● Bluetooth speaker for laptop
● Flip Chart & Easel

You may request additional materials, however the sponsoring Focus Group will be responsible for the charge or you can apply for a grant for additional AV equipment. Request of an LCD projector ($500) provides both the projector and the screen. Presenters are responsible for bringing their own laptops. If you are a Mac user, you are responsible for providing your own adapter. Due to union rules, individual presenters are NOT allowed to bring their own projectors for use in meeting rooms.

Conference Proposal Deadlines

November 1, 2019 Submission Deadline
February 1, 2020
Notification of acceptance
March 30, 2020 Notification of grant acceptance
April 1, 2020

Completed Listing of all Focus Group Sessions Approved with Materials due to your Focus Group Conference Planner for printed program:

  • Finalized session description (no more than 30 words)
  • Finalized session title (no more than 20 words)
  • Finalized listing of session participants, paper/presentation titles, and affiliations for the printed program
May 1, 2020  Final deadline for changes/edits/corrections for printed conference program
June 15, 2020 All presenters/speakers must have registered for the conference


Mission of the
Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE)

To support and advance the study and practice of theatre and performance in higher education. The association’s goals include:

● Promote theatre as an essential component in higher education and as a lifelong tool for learning.
● Position ATHE as a global participant within higher education.
● Continue to develop strategic and sustainable partnerships to advocate for and advance the study of theatre and performance in higher education.
● Support the professional development of ATHE members.
● Develop strategies for sustaining the administrative and organizational viability of ATHE.
● Continue to diversify participation in every facet of the organization including membership, programming, scholarship and governance.

A non-­profit organization, ATHE is an advocate for the field of theatre and performance in higher education. ATHE serves as an intellectual and artistic center for producing new knowledge about theatre and performance-­‐related disciplines, cultivating vital alliances with other scholarly and creative disciplines, linking with professional and community-­‐based theatres, and promoting access and equity.

© 2020 Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). All rights reserved.
P.O. Box 922 | Santa Cruz, CA 95061 | Phone: 628.222.4088