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FIRE’s Faculty Conference returns to Chicago this October – now accepting proposals!

2020 FIRE Faculty Conference

Higher education, like nearly every sector of society, is living through an unprecedented period, and we hope that all of the students, faculty, and staff affected by the COVID-19 crisis are doing what they need to stay safe and healthy. Even though most campuses around the country are closed, FIRE’s work defending student and faculty rights continues unabated, and the current moment isn’t dampening our excitement at our planned future projects and initiatives. With that being said, I’m very pleased to announce that our conference will be returning to Chicago this October, and our call for proposals is now open!

The 2020 conference will take place from Oct. 22–24. Main proceedings will take place at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business’s Gleacher Center, just a short walk from downtown Chicago’s famed River Walk and Navy Pier, among other attractions. 

FIRE aims for the conference to bring together a group of faculty from a wide range of disciplines, and to have that diversity represented in the presented work. As our call for proposals states:

As with our previous conferences, FIRE welcomes proposals for papers on a wide array of topics related to academic freedom and freedom of expression in modern higher education. The conference is by design highly interdisciplinary, and faculty in all disciplines are invited to apply. The works presented at FIRE’s conferences take many forms, from quantitative research to more freeform critical narratives, and we seek to represent a wide range of viewpoints and methodologies. Topics may be examined through the lens of a particular field or discipline, or in the context of higher education more broadly.

As in previous years, faculty whose papers are selected for presentation will receive an honorarium of $3,000, in addition to reimbursement for travel and lodging, for the completion and presentation of their conference paper.

The deadline to submit proposals is June 15, and we encourage interested faculty to submit early for the best chance at consideration. We will open the general attendee application later in the spring, and we will keep readers and supporters updated on any developments. Faculty interested in presenting at or attending the conference are highly encouraged to join FIRE’s Faculty Network, where they will not only have conference updates sent right to their inboxes, but will also have an inside track on new FIRE tools and resources.

We look forward to reviewing your proposals and hope you’ll join us in Chicago this fall! If you have any questions about applying for or attending the conference, email us at

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