Our vision for urban higher education is not bounded by our campus borders. Our actions today reach beyond yesterday’s accomplishments and toward tomorrow’s possibilities. We are vital members of our local, regional, and global communities. We expand affordable access for students to participate in postsecondary education and the workforce. We reach above and beyond to create opportunities for engaged citizenship. We explore across disciplinary boundaries to ask and answer our most pressing questions. And we build bridges that span real and perceived boundaries to enhance the well-being of our students, communities, and regions.


We welcome your proposal for a conference session that highlights ongoing or completed work that yields data-informed insights for other institutions to learn from and build upon. Conceptual or theoretical proposals that lead to genuinely new understandings or avenues of work, as well as critical perspectives with the potential to shape the field, are considered. We will consider submissions within the following intersecting tracks that illuminate how our campuses and partnerships are redefining what is possible when we reach beyond boundaries. Appropriate topics are not limited to the examples shown.

  • Anchor strategies: What are effective strategies to positively contribute to regional well-being? Potential topics include anchor collaboratives; economic inclusion; workforce development; procurement; cross-sector partnerships; emerging local, regional, and national policy issues related to anchor work; and proven efforts to reduce disparities in public health, income, safety, civic engagement, and education.
  • Belonging, equity, and justice: How do we move beyond rhetoric to advance belonging, equity, and justice for individuals and groups at the program, department, institutional and community levels? Potential topics include advancing these issues in partnership with community organizations; racial equity; advocacy; student success and well-being; and innovations in faculty recruitment, retention, and governance.
  • Democracy: How can higher education play a constructive role in promoting democratic principles and engagement? Potential topics include freedom of speech and free expression; activism and protests on campus; models for civil dialogue; and strategies to increase confidence and participation in electoral processes.
  • Impact: How do we know that our efforts with and within communities are having the impact we intend? Potential topics include research methodology, campus and system-wide approaches to tracking and assessing community engagement and regional impact; measures of collective impact and other models for cross-sector partnerships; program evaluation; data utilization to shape policy and practice; and novel or effective communication techniques for telling the story.
  • K-16 partnerships: How do campuses initiate and build closer ties with K-16 (primary, secondary, and/or higher education) educational institutions and school systems? Potential topics include regional and state-wide higher education collaborations; articulation agreements between 2-year and 4-year institutions; programs that partner with and invest in schools in the surrounding community; K-12 pipeline and other program models; early college; and college readiness.
  • Social and economic mobility: How do campuses increase access for students facing barriers to education and help them succeed through graduation and into greater opportunities? Potential topics include proven strategies to increase access and improve academic and post-graduation outcomes; tracking and assessing impact from pre-admission to post-graduation; and curriculum and service delivery innovations.
Beyond Boundaries: 2024 CUMU Annual Conference
October 20–23 | Minneapolis–Saint Paul, MN


  • Submissions due: April 3
  • Notifications sent: mid-May
  • Presenter acceptances due: May 24
  • Program announced: June 17
  • Conference: October 20–23

Session types and formats

The CUMU Conference offers a range of formats that afford participants different methods to access and engage with innovative ideas.

Traditional sessions

Traditional sessions are 45 minutes long. Please select the session type that best fits the content you plan to present.

  • Community Conversations: The presenter(s) facilitates a discussion that engages participants to better understand and strategically approach a complex scenario facing their campus and community. 45 minutes. Should use a peer-coaching/design-clinic format. We recommend no more than two presenters/facilitators.
  • Forum: Two presentations on the same topic or theme come together in one session. Attendees learn about multiple approaches to the topic in different contexts with time at the end for audience questions and reactions. 45 minutes: 20 minutes per presentation with 5 minutes for Q&A.
  • Mini Workshop: The presenter(s) lead an interactive session through which attendees learn about a new process, infrastructure, or policy approach. 45 minutes. We recommend no more than three presenters.
  • Panel Presentation: A group of panelists with diverse viewpoints and perspectives engage in a facilitated discussion with time for participant questions and reactions. 45 minutes. We recommend no more than five panelists (facilitator included).
  • Research and Impact Presentation: The presenter(s) share original research, impact evaluation, or design and implementation of an innovative program, initiative, or methodology. Participants are invited to offer questions and feedback. 45 minutes. We recommend no more than two presenters.

Dynamic sessions

Some of the most popular events at the CUMU Conference are dynamic sessions—the poster session and roundtables. Both events allow presenters to share their work with larger groups of people in a more intimate, conversational setting where the participants are moving around to join the conversations they find compelling.

  • Poster sessions: Presenters share original research, program or policy innovations, or evidence-informed practices. The presenter provides a poster which is displayed in the poster reception area. During the poster reception, conference participants are invited to peruse all the posters and interact with presenters while enjoying beverages and snacks. 75 minutes. We recommend no more than two presenters.
  • Roundtables: Roundtable presenters/facilitators engage three rotating small groups of up to 10 people in a discussion of a project, program, or initiative. Each presenter/facilitator is assigned to a table in the large banquet room, and conference participants join the table for a 25 minute conversation, then move on for a total of three 25-minute conversations. Presenters remain positioned at their own tables while participants rotate three times. 75 minutes with three 25-minute discussions. We recommend no more than two presenters.

Pre-conference workshops

Pre-conference workshops take place Monday, October 21, 8:30–11:30 a.m. These in-depth workshops target specific audiences for interactive skill development and collaborative learning. Three hours. We recommend no more than four presenters.

Review criteria

Below you will find relevant information to help guide your call for proposal submission.

  • Relevance of topic: Does the proposal focus on contemporary questions and challenges related to the conference theme and seek to convey new and promising strategies, methods, outcomes, and lessons learned?
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion: Does the proposal show how the session will reflect or address diversity, equity, and inclusion (including subject matter, individuals of all identities, and demographic characteristics)?
  • Research and impact: Does the proposal share new knowledge and effective practice and/or focus on measurable outcomes and impact?
  • Translation to practice: Does the proposal state specific take-away messages/outcomes for participants and identify and share resources that will let participants learn more deeply?
  • Session outcomes achievability: Is there alignment between the stated session outcomes and the proposal description?
  • Quality of submission: Does the proposal demonstrate quality, as measured by accuracy, clarity, comprehensiveness, and depth of demonstrated understanding of the topic?