Call for Proposals: FIRE’s 2017 Faculty Conference

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) invites paper proposals for FIRE’s first-ever faculty conference, focusing on issues of American academic freedom, to be held in October 2017.  We hope to attract presenters offering a variety of viewpoints on contemporary challenges to academic freedom for discussion and debate with an audience of fellow scholars. Potential discussion and paper topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Changes in academic tenure and universities’ increasing reliance on contingent faculty members;
  • The uncertain legal status of academic freedom;
  • The changing faculty role in university governance;
  • Faculty members and political speech/activity;
  • The pressure to place checks on teaching and discourse, including through trigger warnings and reporting of microaggressions;
  • Legislative threats to academic freedom;
  • The changing corporate nature of the university;
  • The debate over academic boycotts;
  • Public records requests and the competing interests of transparency and academic freedom;
  • Debates over the value of ideological diversity in the academic setting; and
  • Political, social, and religious tensions on campus, and their potential effect on learning.

Faculty are equally encouraged to submit proposals examining their chosen topic in the context of higher education on the whole or through the lens of a particular field or discipline (e.g., humanities, social sciences, engineering/natural sciences, medicine, law, fine arts).

All authors whose proposals are selected will receive an honorarium of $3,000 for the presentation of their completed papers, in addition to compensation for travel and lodging at the conference. Each paper presentation will be accompanied by a moderated panel discussion in which invited participants will give brief responses, followed by a discussion among all attendees.

This conference is presented as part of FIRE’s Speech, Outreach, Advocacy, and Research (SOAR) project, supported by the John Templeton Foundation. We are pleased to collaborate with George Yancey, professor of sociology at the University of North Texas and director of UNT’s Institute of Christian Studies, in coordinating and presenting the conference.

The conference will be held October 5–7, 2017, at a soon-to-be-determined location in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. FIRE will update this page once the conference location has been determined.

Important dates:

  • Deadline for proposal submission: Extended to April 14, 2017
  • Accepted authors notified: May 1, 2017
  • Completed papers due: September 1, 2017

Applying for the conference:

  • Applicants must submit an abstract of their proposed paper and answer two brief follow-up questions.
  • Applicants with completed papers may elect to attach their full text in addition to providing an abstract and answering the required questions.
  • We ask that all applicants attach a current CV for reference.

Completed papers, if accepted for presentation, should be 3,000–5,000 words in length.

Further questions concerning the conference or the application may be sent via email to

Update, February 28, 2017: A recent entry at FIRE’s Newsdesk answers a handful of recurring questions we have received regarding eligibility for submissions. Additional questions can be emailed to