Dear ACTC Colleagues,

Every other year, a supporting institution of the ACTC Liberal Arts Institute hosts our ACTC Student Conferences.  Recently, the following institutions have done so:

Baylor University, 2019

Concordia University-Irvine, 2017

The University of Dallas, 2015

Shimer College, 2013

Pepperdine University, 2011

Saint Mary’s College of California, 2009

Saint Mary’s College of California, 2005

An announcement of the conference and its processes of nomination and support will go out early in the Fall of 2018, but the material below outlines the usual procedures for recruiting students to the conference.  The ACTC Student Conferences are usually held in early March, Friday afternoon through Sunday morning.

Generally, faculty members of ACTC member institutions nominate one or more students to attend.  We suggest that nominations be based either on a particularly impressive student paper that particularly or on a current, on-going project – such as a junior or senior thesis -- that faculty member is aware of or encouraging. Outstanding papers from sophomores are eligible. If a faculty member is certain that a paper is going to be written in the near future, that is acceptable. We expect that all faculty who nominate students will call them in to discuss the nomination as well as the proposal they must submit.

Our theme usually asks students to reflect on a core text that captures their personal trajectory through their undergraduate education.   This text might be intellectual, scientific, spiritual, political, ethical, historical, or artistic. Such texts might have involved students in deeper inquiry into the same author or work, a significant change in intellectual pursuits, a spur to social action, the creation of an artwork, or a renewed sense of religious life, for example. We also welcome students’ reflections on how their core text work has fit into their liberal education in either their core courses or in more specialized fields of study.

Students are invited to participate on panels of four or five persons that will be organized based on the topics of the proposals that are accepted. Panels will offer students the chance to exchange their reflections on works that opened up possibilities to them in core programs, interdisciplinary programs, and in departmental courses where majors are encouraged to think across disciplines, not only within disciplinary boundaries. By core texts, we mean substantial, intellectual works that are often read in many disciplines or have implications across disciplines, works that are primary -- not secondary -- literature, and works, whether ancient or modern, that address enduring questions in a fundamental and compelling way. Works from the natural sciences, social sciences, or arts and letters (including philosophy, theology, literature and visual arts or music) and from across the world’s cultures all qualify under these criteria. The papers should be between 5-7 pages in length (no more), double-spaced, and designed to encourage reflection and discussion on the project of a liberal education. Papers might cover one core work or several works, some of which were not “core” but still relevant to the theme.

Details of how to submit a proposal for an ACTC student conference will be announced in the Fall.  However, we usually require the following:

  • A student should develop a one-page, double-spaced, proposal. Once developed, attach the proposal to an email to be sent by the nominating faculty member and copied to the student which will be directed toward the sponsoring institution’s ACTC Student Conference Organizing Committee.
  • The proposal should state the (tentative) paper title and identify the core work and any others to be discussed.
  • The proposal should state the relationship of the work to a liberal education.
  • The proposal should suggestively state the possibility or possibilities a reading of the work opened up to the student and it should state the program and course (or circumstances) in which the work was first read.
  • Proposals should include a phone number to contact the faculty member and the student, each.
  • Proposals should also contain the student’s full name, campus address, campus tel. no. and cell no (optional), and the email address of the student.
  • The email subject header should read: ACTC Student Conference Paper Proposal

Again, each year other specific requirements will be announced.

With the guidance of the ACTC Liberal Arts Institute and the sponsoring institution’s faculty organizer, a steering committee of faculty and students are organizing this conference. They will log the proposals and give them at least two readings. They will judge the proposals, referring difficult cases to ACTC. The conference organizers lean toward works drawn from core courses – be they a core of one course or a whole curriculum – but they will very seriously consider proposals concerning papers from outside core courses.

The three best papers delivered at the conference will be selected for publication in Agora published online out of Lynchburg College. 

View winning papers online

All students selected for participation in the conference must be currently attending, as undergraduates, an ACTC member institution. (List of Institutional Membership)  Also, only those institutions which are institutional members of ACTC may have their student’s paper be eligible for the Agora publication. 

 If your institution is not currently a member or you have questions about institutional membership, contact, Kathleen Burk, Executive Director: We will accept up to 40 paper proposals.  The organizers, allowing for the quality of submissions, will seek to accept one paper from each institution whose faculty member(s) nominate a student. If the quality and quantity of papers permits, it is possible for an institution to have two (or more) students attend the conference.  In order to provide good audiences for all participants, presenters are expected to stay during any Sunday morning sessions.

The date when nominations by faculty of a student are due will be announced early in the Fall before the March Conference.  The faculty and student organizers will read the proposals during late November and notifications will go out just after Thanksgiving. This should allow students sufficient time to purchase inexpensive airline tickets. The papers should be completed and submitted electronically by January 15 of the new year.

ACTC and the Sponsoring Institution will provide five meals for students: Friday night, Saturday breakfast and lunch, and Sunday breakfast and lunch. There will be no conference fees. ACTC and the Sponsoring Institution will pick up the following conference costs: room, board, and transportation to and from the airport.  Saturday night dinner is the responsibility of the students or institutions supporting them.

It is expected that many of our guests may wish to spend Saturday evening off campus.  Our student conference organizers or hosts are always eager to help with these excursions. Hosts will be staying on campus for the conference.

For inquiries, please contact:

Kathleen Burk
Executive Director, ACTC


An Invitation to the 2019 Student Conference

Baylor University, 22-24 March 2019

Those wishing to participate in the 2019 ACTC undergraduate conference without presenting a paper may do so by pre-registering and paying the registration fee of $85.00. Registration will not be available on site and must be completed in advance.

Registration fees must be received by March 1 and must be made by check; we are unable to accept credit cards or any other form of payment. Checks in the amount of $85.00 should be made payable to “ACTC Conference, Baylor University” and sent to:

Paulette Edwards

Assistant to the Dean, Honors College

Baylor University

One Bear Place #97181

Waco, TX 76798-7181

The registration fee includes dinner on Friday, March 22, Continental breakfast and lunch on Saturday, March 23, and refreshments available between panels. Hotel accommodations are not included with registration. Attendees not presenting papers should plan to make their own arrangements for housing.