2023 Theme

Advancing Innovation in Rural Education:  An Equitable Approach

The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development envisions a collaborative effort between the state and institutions of higher education to deliver equitable outcomes for rural students. As a part of the state’s effort to increase degree attainment amongst Missourians to 60% and workforce participation at 70% by 2030, a focus on rural education is imperative. Developing partnerships, fostering community, exploring innovative practices for rural pedagogy, and initiating teacher education programs to serve high-need occupations are the key topic tracks for our Summit.

Linking positive practical action, sharing ideas and evaluated approaches, and exploring research findings are common elements that offer opportunities for learning and for you to engage with scholars at the forefront of their fields. Our two-day virtual conference will offer synchronous participation in workshops, featured speaker sessions, and trend topics. In addition, the sessions will be recorded and made available On Demand for those unable to participate in the conference.

Topic Tracks

The session proposed should align with one of the four topic tracks. 

Topic tracks allow attendees to make intentional choices on where to focus their energy and which sessions to attend to make for a productive conference experience. 

Fostering a Community-Centric Culture in Rural Education

Education Programs to Serve High-Need Occupations for Rural Educators

Developing Partnership Opportunities for Rural Students

Exploring Innovative Practices in Pedagogy for Rural Education

Opportunities for Engagement

Featured Speaker Sessions

Duration: 90 Minutes (Two 45 Minute Sessions)

Capacity: Unlimited

Location: Virtual

Time & Date: Afternoon, November 7

90 Minute Workshop Sessions

Duration: 90 Minutes

Capacity: Unlimited

Location: Virtual

Time & Date: Morning / Afternoon, November 7 & 8

20 Minute Trend Talks

Duration: 20 Minutes + 10 Minute Q&A

Capacity: Unlimited

Location: Virtual

Time & Date: Morning / Afternoon, November 8

Sample Topics of Interest

How Research Informs Rural Practice

Broadband Access and the Digital Divide

The Power of Place

Innovations for Rural Schools

Fostering Apprenticeships and Micro-Internships

School Boards and Local Governance in Rural Education

Technology Accessibility

Resource Allocation for Rural Education

Technology Accessibility

Resource Allocation for Rural Education

Assumptions about Rural Education

Demographic Shifts and Re-Alignment of Growth


School and Community Partnerships

Options for Teaching in Multi-Grade Contexts

New Rural Narratives

Rural Community Ethos and Culture

Education Policy and Administration

Rural Advocacy

Teacher Education: Grow Your Own Programs

Higher Education

Education Practice Trends and Issues

Teaching Materials and Courseware Construction

Education and Research Management

Educational Measurement and Evaluation

Rural Pedagogy

Assessment, Measurement and Evaluation

Computer Aided Assessment

Distance Learning

Environmental Education


Ethical Issues in Education

Interactive Learning

Minority Psychology

Social and Cultural Inclusion

Music Education

Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET)

Critical Thinking and Competency Training

Technology-Based Education

Creative Pedagogy

Educational Statistics

Inclusive Education

Nurturing Creativity

International Education

Education Innovation

Collaborative Learning

Sample Annual Conference Schedule

Currently in design and subject to change

Tuesday, November 7

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. – Opening Session

9:00 – 10:30 a.m. – Workshop Session 1

10:30 – 10:45 a.m. – Break

10:45 – 12:15 p.m. – Featured Speaker Block 1

12:15 – 1:00 p.m. – Lunch Break

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. – Workshop Session 2

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. – Break

2:45 – 4:15 p.m. – Featured Speaker Block 2

Wednesday, November 8

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. – Opening Session

9:00 – 10:30 a.m. – Workshop Session 3

10:30 – 10:45 a.m. – Break

10:45 – 12:15 p.m. – Featured Speaker Block 3

12:15 – 1:00 p.m. – Lunch Break

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. – Workshop Session 4

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. – Break

2:45 – 4:15 p.m. – Featured Speaker Block 4

Proposal Recommendations

  1. Focus the speaker biographical information to include experience relative to the topic of the presentation. Reviewers are interested in Presenter qualifications relevant to the specific topic, not a general CV.
  2. Identify ONE topic area for the program committee to be able to balance the conference.
  3. Draft an abstract that is clear and concise. Add a description of the presence. Know the abstract will be made available to conference attendees to help them select their schedule for the event. 
  4. Submit a program description that is clear, well organized, and grammatically correct. It is helpful to include a statement on how the topic is important to disability, LGBTQIA+, or Latinx resources or practices in higher education.

Proposal Submission Deadline

All proposals are due no later than JUNE 5, 2023 .

Proposals recieved after that date will only be considered as needed. 

Application Deadlines

April 1: Call for Proposals Opens

June 5: Call for Proposals Closes

July 15: Notice Emailed to Proposers

July 25: Session Date & Time Emailed to Presenters

August 15: Deadline to Submit Edits to Session

October 15: Handouts or Slides Uploaded to Conference Coordinator

November 7 & 8: Virtual Conference

Proposal Expectations

MDHEWD accepts proposals with the following set of expectations:

All presenters shall demonstrate expertise on proposed content.

Topics are forward thinking, bold, and challenging.

Presenters are required to provide handout materials on session content for accessibility and post-conference display.

All materials and presentations must be available in ADA accessible formats:

  • Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat all provide an Accessibility Checking feature, which verifies your content against a set of rules that identify possible barriers for people with disabilities.
  • All handouts and slides must PASS the Accessibility Checker.
  • Slides must be uploaded to the Conference Coordinator by August 15, 2023.

Evaluation & Selection

The MDHEWD Equity Committee will evaluate proposals on the following criteria: 

  • Alignment with Conference Themes & Constructs
  • Clarity and Relevance of Topic
  • Content Appropriate for Length of Session
  • Innovative Approaches Offered
  • Accuracy and Completeness of all Required Information
  • Accessibility for Conference Participants
  • Viable Takeaways for Session Participants: Goal Setting Opportunities or Directives

Video Recording

The Virtual Conference will record all sessions for on-demand access after the conference for a time not to exceed 24 months.

Ready to Submit your Proposal?

Please submit the following items by email to eduvents@dhewd.mo.gov before June 5, 2023

  1. Identify one Topic Area you wish to present. (Example: Rural Advocacy)
  2. Presenter biographical paragraph, including experience relative to the topic they are presenting on.
  3. Program / Presentation Abstract – include description of presentation, trend talk, or workshop session. Clearly identify how your session ties in with the conference theme of Rural Education. Identify how your presentation will employ visual aids or graphics. If presenting a workshop, offer detailed agenda for the session, how you will incorporate interactivity in a virtual environment, and outcomes of the session. Be as explicit as you are able, to give the committee a strong sense of what the session will accomplish.