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Michigan Meetings

Call for Proposals: Due January 11, 2019

The Rackham Graduate School is pleased to invite proposals for The Michigan Meetings, a series of interdisciplinary meetings of national and international scope on topics of broad interest and contemporary importance to both the public and the academic community. We invite University of Michigan faculty to develop and submit proposals for meetings to be held in May 2020. Rackham will provide both financial support and meeting venues, for one series of Michigan Meetings. Deadline for submission of May 2020 proposals is January 11, 2019.


The Rackham Graduate School has a long tradition of supporting interdisciplinary scholarship and conversation. Building on that tradition, the Graduate School, through the establishment of these meetings, seeks to provide a visible and viable venue to address topics of interdisciplinary and global importance. The Michigan Meetings are designed to both support and enhance the ability of University of Michigan faculty to address such issues and to identify Ann Arbor as an international center for scholarly and social discourse. The Michigan Meetings will bring together faculty and students at U-M with colleagues from around the nation and the world to create intellectually exciting events of both scholarly and practical importance. Each meeting is intended to be a one-time event.

Selection Criteria

Meeting proposals will be selected on a competitive basis by faculty panels representing academic units from across the U-M campus. Applications for one series of meetings in May 2020 will be accepted until January 11, 2019.

Breadth of Interest

Questions to be addressed should be of broad interest to multiple sectors of the academic community, while being sufficiently topical to attract public interest. At least one session of the meeting should be planned to be open to the public.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

The Michigan Meetings should bring together participants from different academic disciplines and, if possible, involve experts from the public and private sectors.

Participation by U-M Faculty, Students, and Postdoctoral Fellows

The Michigan Meetings should be of interest to significant segments of U-M and regional communities as well as participants from around the nation and the world. They should be a catalyst to begin, continue, or culminate ongoing discussions. We especially welcome proposals that include a plan for engaging graduate students through a graduate seminar in preparation for The Michigan Meetings or to follow up on issues arising from the meetings. Plans for recruiting participants (including students) from within and outside the university will be considered as a selection criterion in the evaluation of proposals.

Support Available

The Rackham Graduate School will provide both financial support and the venue for the meeting (Michigan’s conference organizing service can provide logistical support for a fee. For more information contact U-M Conference Services office).

Financial Commitment

Rackham will provide up to $50,000 per meeting, depending on the anticipated number of participants and format, as seed support for the meeting. Depending upon specifics of the proposed meeting, organizers may need to raise additional support from other sources, such as granting agencies and participant registration fees (organizers can arrange for online registration and fee collection by Conference Services).

Meeting Venue and Arrangements

We anticipate that the venue for all meeting sessions will be the Rackham Building. Depending on the anticipated number of participants (100-800), this could include the entry foyer, all rooms on the 4th floor (Assembly Hall, East and West Conference Rooms, Amphitheatre (capacity 227), and the Earl Lewis Room on the 3rd Floor. The main Auditorium (capacity 1100) may be scheduled for a fee through the University Productions Scheduling Office at (734) 747-3327. Some meals could be catered in Rackham, depending on the number of participants and the meeting format. There are various hosting options for visiting participants. If the organizers or individual participants prefer using hotels, the organizers might reserve blocks of rooms at local hotels one to two years in advance of the meeting. Organizers might wish to offer less expensive accommodations, thus attracting a broader range of participants. Conference Services can arrange for blocks of newly renovated dormitory rooms. If some or all participants use dormitory accommodations, breakfast in the dormitory commons is possible.

Recording and Publication

We suggest that the budget include a provision for video recording of the meeting, so that sessions of the meeting can be posted on the university’s website for further dissemination. (One option for recording is Michigan Media.)

Proposal Formats

Due to the broad range of possible topics and meeting structures, no exact format for the proposals is required, allowing organizers maximum flexibility. However, these guidelines should be followed in all proposals:

  • The main text of the proposal should be no more than 8 pages, single-spaced. CVs for the organizers, the budget pages, and other necessary appendices are not included in this limit.
  • The proposal text should begin with an abstract of less than one page that summarizes the central theme of the meeting, the intended participants, the organizers, and how the meeting would address the aims of The Michigan Meetings.
  • The proposal should contain an estimated budget of no more than 2 pages, including justification of the items and plans to obtain additional sources of support beyond the Rackham contribution (e.g., external support, registration fees).
  • A full academic CV for each organizer should be included as an appendix. It is expected that the interdisciplinary nature of the intended meetings will lead to multiple organizers from different departments and possibly outside the U-M. (For organizers from the private sector or other institutions, it is understood that CV or résumé formats will vary.)
  • Indicate preferred meeting dates; the number of days per meeting is flexible (see timetable below for dates).

The proposal, budget, and appendices (in that order) should be made into a single PDF document for submission. Please send the document to in the Dean’s office of the Graduate School no later than January 11, 2019.


The Rackham Graduate School has reserved space for one meeting in the Rackham Building to occur during a series of days between May 15 and 31, 2020. Please indicate in your proposal which dates you prefer. The number of days per meeting is flexible. Full proposals are due January 11, 2019 for the meetings to take place in May 2020 between May 15 and 31. Decisions will be announced no later than the end of March 2019.

Please address questions to Associate Dean Arthur Verhoogt.