Update: May 21, 2020

FIRE is now accepting applications from all faculty interested in attending this year’s conference in Chicago! We are also continuing to accept proposals from faculty interested in presenting at the conference through June 15. 

Importantly, we have also updated the application: Now, all applicants to the conference, whether to present or to attend, will use the same form. The form will give applicants a prompt asking if they are applying to attend or present at the conference, and will direct them to the appropriate application from there. Anyone having difficulty with the form is encouraged to email facultyoutreach@thefire.org.

While there is no deadline to apply to attend the conference, FIRE encourages faculty to apply early for the best chance at consideration. While applying early may increase the chances of being accepted, FIRE is also making extra effort to consider applications from faculty who have not attended our conference before. Attendees will be eligible for a stipend of up to $750 to assist with travel and hotel accommodations.

The original text of the call for proposals continues below.

Call for Proposals: 2020 FIRE Faculty Conference

University of Chicago Booth School of Business/Gleacher Center
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education invites faculty to submit proposals for papers to be presented at our 2020 Faculty Conference, which will be held in Chicago, IL, from October 22-24, 2020. The main conference proceedings will take place at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business’s Gleacher Center, in downtown Chicago, on October 23 and 24.

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.

Each presentation will be accompanied by a moderated panel discussion in which invited participants will offer responses, followed by a discussion among all attendees. Prospective applicants are encouraged to review the published volumes from our 2017 and 2018 conferences to get a sense of the scope of the conference and the variety of ideas presented. (The volume from our 2019 conference will be published this spring.)

All accepted presenters who attend and present their completed papers will receive an honorarium of $3,000, in addition to reimbursement for travel and lodging. FIRE typically accepts six to eight proposals for the conference each year.

Praise for FIRE’s Faculty Conference

Matthew Mulvaney, Syracuse University:

I have attended twice now and I have found both exceptionally important, both in terms of my own thinking about free speech issues and in being motivated to work on them at my campus. I hope it continues in the future. I think it’s making a real impact on developing a national network of like-minded individuals and setting the stage for important reforms.

Siddhartha Roy, Virginia Tech:

Respectful disagreements are sometimes anathema in professional conferences. FIRE’s conference is a welcome breath of fresh air.

Helen Baxendale, University of Oxford:

On many campuses dissenting against the stultifying orthodoxy can be a lonely and alienating experience. If nothing else, the FIRE faculty conference assures individual dissidents that they are not on their own and that they have allies elsewhere in the academy.

Matt Moreali, Southern Oregon University:

While it was great to interact with like-minded people, this setting enabled heated disagreement and substantive debate, without the looming fear and dread associated with such discourse on campus. I haven’t experienced this type of dialogue in a long time, and found it both refreshing and enriching.

Application details

All applicants must submit:

  1. An abstract of up to roughly 300 words (you may additionally attach a completed paper, if applicable)
  2. A current CV
  3. Brief descriptions of the relevance of your proposal to the conference, and the resources drawn upon in your work

The call for proposals is open to all faculty regardless of status (e.g., tenured, tenure-track, adjunct), in addition to advanced graduate students.

The deadline for application is June 15, 2020, and final selections will be made by July 1. 

There is no maximum length for papers presented at FIRE’s conference, but completed papers generally have run from 5,000-10,000 words.

A digital volume drawn from the conference papers will be published by FIRE in 2020. Any work included in the volume remains the sole property of the author and may be submitted and/or revised for publication elsewhere.