News Archive for 2010

Crafting a Winning Proposal for the 2011 ACA Conference in New Orleans

Mar 25, 2010
The deadline for program proposals for next year's ACA Conference in New Orleans is nearly upon us - June 2, 2010. As you prepare a program proposal for the New Orleans event, consider the helpful tips outlined below, which will increase your chances of crafting a highly-rated proposal selected for inclusion in the program.

Integrating Passion, Evidence, and Attention to Detail!

By Brad Erford
2010 & 2011 Chair of the ACA Conference Program Review Panel

The ACA Conference in Pittsburgh was an outstanding professional development opportunity for counselors and students, and an exceptional opportunity for presenters to showcase innovative, evidence-based programs, strategies, and research. The conference featured 38 Pre-conference Learning Institutes and 538 Education Sessions (i.e., 90-minute programs, 60-minute programs, and 30-minute poster sessions). The overall acceptance rate for Education Sessions was 35%, meaning that the competition for presentation spaces and the quality of selected programs continue to increase.

The deadline for program proposals for next year's ACA Conference in New Orleans is nearly upon us - June 2, 2010. As you prepare a program proposal for the New Orleans event, consider the helpful tips outlined below, which will increase your chances of crafting a highly-rated proposal selected for inclusion in the program.

Tip #1: Present on an exciting topic of interest to counselors that you are passionate about! Conference attendees rely heavily on your summary description when deciding which programs to attend. Program reviewers do too! Think of your proposal as a marketing promotion. Your excitement and passion should convey to everyone that your presentation is a "can't miss" event. Conversely, if you are not excited and passionate about your proposal, why should anyone else be?

Tip #2: Whatever your topic, provide the most current evidence-based research. Counseling is a scientific discipline and counselors increasingly want evidence that what you are proposing will work with their clients or students. Give it to them!

Tip #3: Present advanced practical content. Most ACA Conference attendees already have their master's degree in counseling or are well on their way. They do not want the same stuff they get in graduate level coursework! More and more, counselors crave advanced, cutting-edge techniques, strategies, and content that they can apply in their work with clients and students the next week.

Tip #4: Not all topical areas receive the same number of submissions. Thirty three topic areas are cross-referenced and, not surprisingly, some topics are hotter than others. For example, Counselor Education, Multicultural, School Counseling, and Best Practices topics were the most frequently submitted proposals. Lower submission rates were noted in the areas of Disaster Mental Health, Sexuality, Gerontology, Assessment, Military Issues, Rehabilitation Counseling, International Issues, Counseling Theory, and Technology. If you are passionate about any of these lower submission areas, consider crafting an excellent proposal. Note also that ACA has listed four topics of specific interest for 2011: Disaster Mental Health, Social Media, Military Members and Their Families, and The Revised DSM (DSM-V) (see http://www.counseling.org/PressRoom/NewsReleases.aspx?AGuid=66a0143b-2c6a-43d0-96f1-b666691b846f

Tip #5: Attend to details! Each proposal is blind-reviewed by three professionals from an ACA entity, and their scores are averaged. Last year, 250 professionals volunteered to review Education Session proposals. Please honor their efforts and maximize your chances of acceptance by providing sufficient detail to address every facet of the proposal. Quality is essential at every step in the process. Each proposal is rated on a 10-facet rubric (see http://www.counseling.org/PressRoom/NewsReleases.aspx?AGuid=b26f2bd9-5b75-4bc9-b547-0c8da74ecb6d) with each facet scored on a 0-10 point scale (for a total possible score of 100 points). So if you fail to provide sufficient detail on any of the facets, your score is lowered; if you skip a facet, all 10 points are deducted. Get a copy of the required proposal information ahead of time so that you can provide ALL information when completing the on-line application (see http://precis.preciscentral.com/Submit/Checklist.asp?EventID=dc912a25). Last year proposals with scores of 85 or higher had a very good chance of being accepted, and these proposals usually were the best organized and most detailed. In other words, if you don't put a lot of effort into your proposal, reviewers will notice - and probably assume that you will display a similar degree of diligence when preparing the actual presentation!

Tip #6: Be flexible! With 1,000 submissions, three categories of proposals (i.e., 90-minute, 60-minute, 30-minute), and an acceptance rate of 35%, it is obvious that a minority of proposals are ultimately accommodated in a desired time slot. However, there is a place on the proposal application where you can indicate your willingness to convert your presentation into an alternative format, For example, even though you prefer a 60-minute slot, would you be willing to present a 30-minute poster session? This flexibility on your part increases your possibility of an acceptance. Flexibility also means keeping your travel schedule open in case you are slotted to present early or late on the presentation schedule. Nothing is more frustrating for conference attendees than to show up on Monday morning for a much anticipated session, only to learn the presenter left the conference early and cancelled the session!

Tip #7: Some extra advice on preparing a Preconference Learning Institute proposal. ACA charges an extra fee for these 3- and 6-hour programs. These proposals are NOT subjected to a blind review because presenter name-recognition, expertise and credentials are important marketing considerations. Some conference goers will arrive a day or two early and pay extra to see a well-known, expert presenter. Learning Institute attendees usually are practitioners who want advanced, discrete skills and cutting-edge content conveyed at a deeper level than shorter education sessions allow - and they want to use these new skills and knowledge in clinical practice the next week.

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Crafting a Winning Proposal for the 2011 ACA Conference in New Orleans

by User Not Found | Mar 25, 2010
The deadline for program proposals for next year's ACA Conference in New Orleans is nearly upon us - June 2, 2010. As you prepare a program proposal for the New Orleans event, consider the helpful tips outlined below, which will increase your chances of crafting a highly-rated proposal selected for inclusion in the program.

Integrating Passion, Evidence, and Attention to Detail!

By Brad Erford
2010 & 2011 Chair of the ACA Conference Program Review Panel

The ACA Conference in Pittsburgh was an outstanding professional development opportunity for counselors and students, and an exceptional opportunity for presenters to showcase innovative, evidence-based programs, strategies, and research. The conference featured 38 Pre-conference Learning Institutes and 538 Education Sessions (i.e., 90-minute programs, 60-minute programs, and 30-minute poster sessions). The overall acceptance rate for Education Sessions was 35%, meaning that the competition for presentation spaces and the quality of selected programs continue to increase.

The deadline for program proposals for next year's ACA Conference in New Orleans is nearly upon us - June 2, 2010. As you prepare a program proposal for the New Orleans event, consider the helpful tips outlined below, which will increase your chances of crafting a highly-rated proposal selected for inclusion in the program.

Tip #1: Present on an exciting topic of interest to counselors that you are passionate about! Conference attendees rely heavily on your summary description when deciding which programs to attend. Program reviewers do too! Think of your proposal as a marketing promotion. Your excitement and passion should convey to everyone that your presentation is a "can't miss" event. Conversely, if you are not excited and passionate about your proposal, why should anyone else be?

Tip #2: Whatever your topic, provide the most current evidence-based research. Counseling is a scientific discipline and counselors increasingly want evidence that what you are proposing will work with their clients or students. Give it to them!

Tip #3: Present advanced practical content. Most ACA Conference attendees already have their master's degree in counseling or are well on their way. They do not want the same stuff they get in graduate level coursework! More and more, counselors crave advanced, cutting-edge techniques, strategies, and content that they can apply in their work with clients and students the next week.

Tip #4: Not all topical areas receive the same number of submissions. Thirty three topic areas are cross-referenced and, not surprisingly, some topics are hotter than others. For example, Counselor Education, Multicultural, School Counseling, and Best Practices topics were the most frequently submitted proposals. Lower submission rates were noted in the areas of Disaster Mental Health, Sexuality, Gerontology, Assessment, Military Issues, Rehabilitation Counseling, International Issues, Counseling Theory, and Technology. If you are passionate about any of these lower submission areas, consider crafting an excellent proposal. Note also that ACA has listed four topics of specific interest for 2011: Disaster Mental Health, Social Media, Military Members and Their Families, and The Revised DSM (DSM-V) (see http://www.counseling.org/PressRoom/NewsReleases.aspx?AGuid=66a0143b-2c6a-43d0-96f1-b666691b846f

Tip #5: Attend to details! Each proposal is blind-reviewed by three professionals from an ACA entity, and their scores are averaged. Last year, 250 professionals volunteered to review Education Session proposals. Please honor their efforts and maximize your chances of acceptance by providing sufficient detail to address every facet of the proposal. Quality is essential at every step in the process. Each proposal is rated on a 10-facet rubric (see http://www.counseling.org/PressRoom/NewsReleases.aspx?AGuid=b26f2bd9-5b75-4bc9-b547-0c8da74ecb6d) with each facet scored on a 0-10 point scale (for a total possible score of 100 points). So if you fail to provide sufficient detail on any of the facets, your score is lowered; if you skip a facet, all 10 points are deducted. Get a copy of the required proposal information ahead of time so that you can provide ALL information when completing the on-line application (see http://precis.preciscentral.com/Submit/Checklist.asp?EventID=dc912a25). Last year proposals with scores of 85 or higher had a very good chance of being accepted, and these proposals usually were the best organized and most detailed. In other words, if you don't put a lot of effort into your proposal, reviewers will notice - and probably assume that you will display a similar degree of diligence when preparing the actual presentation!

Tip #6: Be flexible! With 1,000 submissions, three categories of proposals (i.e., 90-minute, 60-minute, 30-minute), and an acceptance rate of 35%, it is obvious that a minority of proposals are ultimately accommodated in a desired time slot. However, there is a place on the proposal application where you can indicate your willingness to convert your presentation into an alternative format, For example, even though you prefer a 60-minute slot, would you be willing to present a 30-minute poster session? This flexibility on your part increases your possibility of an acceptance. Flexibility also means keeping your travel schedule open in case you are slotted to present early or late on the presentation schedule. Nothing is more frustrating for conference attendees than to show up on Monday morning for a much anticipated session, only to learn the presenter left the conference early and cancelled the session!

Tip #7: Some extra advice on preparing a Preconference Learning Institute proposal. ACA charges an extra fee for these 3- and 6-hour programs. These proposals are NOT subjected to a blind review because presenter name-recognition, expertise and credentials are important marketing considerations. Some conference goers will arrive a day or two early and pay extra to see a well-known, expert presenter. Learning Institute attendees usually are practitioners who want advanced, discrete skills and cutting-edge content conveyed at a deeper level than shorter education sessions allow - and they want to use these new skills and knowledge in clinical practice the next week.