2022 Nomination and Proposal Process

  • Send an email to michael.krom@stvincent.edu. Include the nominated student’s name and email address. We will take it from there!
  • We will ask nominated students to submit a one-page, double-spaced, proposal, which should include:

           o    The (tentative) paper title and identify the core text to be discussed.

           o    The thesis of the paper.

           o    The relationship of the paper to the conference theme.

           o    The program and course (or circumstances) in which the student read the core text.

           o    Proposals should include both student and faculty names, phone numbers, email addresses.

  • Nomination Deadline: February 1, 2022

History and General Guidelines

Every other year, a supporting institution of the ACTC Liberal Arts Institute hosts our ACTC Student Conferences: Baylor University, 2019; Concordia University-Irvine, 2017; The University of Dallas, 2015; Shimer College, 2013; Pepperdine University, 2011; Saint Mary’s College of California, 2009; Saint Mary’s College of California, 2005. In 2021, we held the conference online.

Generally, faculty members of ACTC member institutions nominate one or more students to attend.  We suggest that nominations be based either on a particularly impressive student paper that particularly or on a current, on-going project – such as a junior or senior thesis — that faculty member is aware of or encouraging. Outstanding papers from sophomores are eligible. If a faculty member is certain that a paper is going to be written in the near future, that is acceptable. We expect that all faculty who nominate students will call them in to discuss the nomination as well as the proposal they must submit.

Our theme usually asks students to reflect on a core text that captures their personal trajectory through their undergraduate education.  This text might be intellectual, scientific, spiritual, political, ethical, historical, or artistic. Such texts might have involved students in deeper inquiry into the same author or work, a significant change in intellectual pursuits, a spur to social action, the creation of an artwork, or a renewed sense of religious life, for example. We also welcome students’ reflections on how their core text work has fit into their liberal education in either their core courses or in more specialized fields of study.

Students are invited to participate on panels of four or five persons that will be organized based on the topics of the proposals that are accepted. Panels will offer students the chance to exchange their reflections on works that opened up possibilities to them in core programs, interdisciplinary programs, and in departmental courses where majors are encouraged to think across disciplines, not only within disciplinary boundaries. By core texts, we mean substantial, intellectual works that are often read in many disciplines or have implications across disciplines, works that are primary — not secondary — literature, and works, whether ancient or modern, that address enduring questions in a fundamental and compelling way. Works from the natural sciences, social sciences, or arts and letters (including philosophy, theology, literature and visual arts or music) and from across the world’s cultures all qualify under these criteria. The papers should be between 5-7 pages in length (no more), double-spaced, and designed to encourage reflection and discussion on the project of a liberal education. Papers might cover one core work or several works, some of which were not “core” but still relevant to the theme.

Details of how to submit a proposal for an ACTC student conference will be announced each Fall.  However, we usually require the following

We will ask nominated students to submit a five-page, double-spaced, paper, which should include

  • the (tentative) paper title and identify the core work and any others to be discussed.
  • the relationship of the work to a liberal education.
  • the possibility or possibilities a reading of the work opened up to the student and it should state the program and course (or circumstances) in which the work was first read.
  • an email address to contact the faculty member and the student, each.
  • the student’s full name, campus address, and phone number.

Again, each year other specific requirements will be announced.

With the guidance of the ACTC Liberal Arts Institute and the sponsoring institution’s faculty organizer, a steering committee of faculty and students are organizing this conference. They will log the proposals and give them at least two readings. They will judge the proposals, referring difficult cases to ACTC. The conference organizers lean toward works drawn from core courses – be they a core of one course or a whole curriculum – but they will very seriously consider proposals concerning papers from outside core courses.

The three best papers delivered at the conference will be selected for publication in Agora published online out of University of Lynchburg.