ARCHIVED: Guide for Developing and Submitting a Program Proposal to the PDC

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How does the Request for Proposal process work?
How do I write and submit a proposal?
What are learning outcomes?
What are the suggested criteria for choosing faculty?
What should my proposal look like?
How are proposals rated and programs selected?
What about a contract and fees for program development?
When will I know if my program was selected?  If it is, what comes next?


How does the Request for Proposal process work?

Requests for Proposals (RFPs) are written by the American Association of Law Libraries' Professional Development Committee (PDC) as part of the process of developing high-quality educational programming.  Proposals are solicited by the PDC for programs of one or several days in length, on such topics as legal research, cataloging, Internet training, and management, and on specialized subjects such as copyright. These programs are planned to address one or more AALL Core Competencies for Law Librarians as adopted in preliminary form by the AALL Executive Board.  Also considered by the PDC in planning are the educational needs of AALL members as determined by member surveys.

Each RFP is written by a subcommittee of the PDC, sometimes in consultation with SISes and/or chapters, as appropriate.  The draft RFP is then reviewed by the entire PDC for further comment.  Standard language included at the beginning and end of each RFP explains the timeline, financial arrangements, and AALL involvement.

When ready for release, RFPs are posted on AALLNET and the posting is announced via the AALL member broadcast email and on the LawLib listserv.  In addition, individual SISes, Committees, and Chapters may announce the availability through their websites or listservs.

Individual AALL members or groups of members or other interested parties may respond to an RFP once it has been posted.   You have approximately 6 weeks from the posting date to write and submit a proposal.

How do I write and submit a proposal?

When you are preparing a program proposal in response to an RFP, be sure to provide a clear and concise but fully developed description of the program you’d like to present.   Read the RFP carefully, so that you know what program content the PDC would like your proposal to cover and the recommended number of faculty/speakers.  You do not need to submit a budget as part of your proposal, but be aware that $500 is the total amount available for faculty honoraria for a one-day program (in addition to travel and lodging expenses).  Include resumes of proposed faculty or detail their credentials and experience, references, etc.  Be sure to tell proposed faculty that you can’t make a final commitment until a proposal is accepted and approved.

Your proposal should match closely the recommendations in the RFP regarding the suggested length for the entire program and the suggested number of participants that the program should be able to accommodate.  Explain the time allotted for each segment of your program or give a proposed schedule. Give special consideration to your program’s intended learning outcomes, making them appropriate for the target audience and level that are specified in the RFP.  If the RFP suggests that interactive participation be included, be sure to explain how you plan to incorporate the requested number of interactive hours. 

It may be useful to include samples of the course materials you would plan to use for your program.  The quality of course materials is very important.  If you are not including samples, give some general description about the curriculum for your program.   The more fully developed your proposal is, the better chance it has of being accepted.

You will need to send four copies of your completed proposal to the AALL Education Manager at AALL Headquarters by the specified deadline.  Direct any questions about the submission process to the Education Manager, who will consult members of the selection team on matters of program content.

[See "Program Course Materials Requirement for Program Developers" adopted July 10, 1998]

What are learning outcomes?

Learning outcomes are statements that specify what learners will know or be able to do as a result of a learning activity.  Outcomes are usually expressed as knowledge, skills, or attitudes.  Learning outcomes should flow from a needs assessment.  The needs assessment should determine the gap between an existing condition and a desired condition.  Learning outcomes are statements that describe a desired condition—that is, the knowledge, skills, or attitudes required to fulfill the need.  They represent the solution to the identified need or issue.  Learning outcomes provide direction in the planning of a learning activity.  They help to:

  • Focus on learner's behavior that is to be changed

  • Serve as guidelines for content, instruction, and evaluation

  • Identify specifically what should be learned

  • Convey to learners exactly what is to be accomplished

For more information on writing effective learning outcomes, see Writing Learning Outcomes.

What are the suggested criteria for choosing faculty?

When submitting the initial proposal with the proposed faculty, it isn't necessary to name every faculty member. You can indicate the type of person you expect to use, with his or her area of expertise.

The following criteria may help you in selecting a faculty for the program you are developing.

  • Knowledge of topic: has this individual spoken before on the subject and how extensively?

  • Level of experience: what kind of job experience, credentials, and degree(s) does this person have?

  • Reputation: would the individual's reputation draw participants to the program?

  • Variety of focus: has this person worked in different environments?

  • Delivery method: is there likely to be participant interaction or a lecture presentation

  • Speaking ability: is this individual a lively and engaging speaker? 

What should my proposal look like?

When you submit your proposal, it should be as complete as possible, but you will have an opportunity to fine-tune it and give more details if it is selected.  To assist you in creating a document, a program proposal checklist is available electronically. It provides an outline of the basic information to be included in a program proposal.  Individuals submitting proposals may adjust the order and the format of proposal contents to fit a specific topic or may include additional information in the proposal itself or as an attachment.

You will be asked to submit 4 copies of the proposal to the AALL Education Manager.   The copies will be distributed to the members of the team evaluating the proposals.

How are proposals rated and programs selected?

A team of PDC members who have knowledge of the specified topic will review your proposal and others received in response to the same RFP.  Experts in a particular field may also be consulted in addition to the PDC reviewers.  Contents of individual proposals will be kept in confidence.  Proposals are individually rated.  Selection criteria include the following aspects of the proposal: 

  • program content and format

  • learning outcomes

  • credentials, experience, and references (if available) of proposed speaker(s)

  • suggested program materials

  • developmental & presentation cost

The program selection team will take about 6 weeks to reach a decision. 

What about a contract and fees for program development?

If you are selected as a program developer by the PDC, you will be contacted by the AALL Director of Programs and asked to sign a contract with AALL.  This contract will outline the schedule, payment and (if applicable) rights to the program material.  Expenses for travel and lodging in connection with the program will be paid in accordance with AALL’s reimbursement policies. You will be instructed to use AALL's travel agent for arrangements.

As a developer, you will be paid a program development fee.  For any other questions you have regarding the contract or the program development fee, you are encouraged to contact the Education Manager or the Director of Programs at AALL Headquarters.

[See the "Developer & Presenter Fee Schedule" adopted July 10, 1998.]

When will I know if my program was selected?  If it is, what comes next?

You will be notified whether your proposal has been accepted or not within approximately 2 weeks of the completion of the selection process (so about 2 months after your submission deadline).

If your proposal is selected, you will have about 2 months to prepare the final curriculum and schedule.  Specific dates for deadlines will be set when you sign the contract and you will receive greater detail on such things as speaker contacts, submission of handout copy, etc.