Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The NERA community had a strong presence at the recent AERA/NCME conferences in Philadelphia in April, marking a fitting ending to the first half of my presidential term. Since last October we have already accomplished a lot as an organization and even with the end of the academic year and vacations on the horizon, there is still much to be done in the second half of this year. We just successfully concluded our Call for Workshops last month, receiving 16 submissions, just one example of our ongoing efforts. As in the past, our members will have the opportunity in June to provide feedback on these sessions we ultimately include in our conference program once the conference team evaluates and decides on the final selections in early summer.

That said, to use a baseball metaphor, our Call for Proposals is in full swing throughout most of this month. As outlined in our May 1st webinar, we are pleased to offer a variety of formats in which you can present your work. We are especially encouraging summer internship mentors and their mentees to take advantage of the Roundtable format to present their in-progress research. This is a great way to help new researchers get acclimated and comfortable discussing findings in a more relaxed and conversational atmosphere.

This suggestion aligns with an initiative I have developed this year on enhancing the “First Conference Experience.” Together with many of our committees including Membership, Member Advocacy, Mentoring, GSIC, and the Conference Ambassadors, we are examining ways to make all aspects of the NERA conference in October as streamlined as possible. For example, we hope to set up shared transportation options for attendees needing rideshare services to the hotel considering Bridgeport is the closest major train station and Trumbull is almost equidistant from three different airports: New York-LaGuardia, Hartford, and White Plains.

Another priority is simplifying the conference and hotel registration processes and session selection. Of particular note, if you are a Marriott Bonvoy program member, the Marriott app offers some great perks to help make the hotel check-in process easier. Additionally, I am part of a working group with Jade Caines Lee (current Board member), Tabitha Bellamy McKinley (Mentoring Committee Co-Chair), and Steven Holtzman (2021 NERA President), to develop guidelines for a travel grant program and promote childcare options on conference days. Having previously served as a conference co-chair, the working group, and by extension, the conference team, recognize the importance to maximize opportunities for people to participate without concern for certain logistical details. We also expect to once again offer our traditional complement of social events to allow for better networking opportunities and for attendees to have fun while attending the conference.

The success of the conference program ultimately depends on those who give of their time to review submitted proposals. We invite you to join as a reviewer, helping us to manage the workload and expedite decision-making so we can start scheduling sessions. Please consider signing up to be a proposal reviewer. The conference team works closely with the Infrastructure Committee to optimize the number of proposals each reviewer receives based on reviewers’ expertise relative to the content strands. Each proposal will be reviewed by at least two people utilizing specified rubrics, with a final review by the conference team prior to decisions being made. Reviewer assignments will be distributed around mid-June, with decisions expected by mid-July.

In turn, conference sessions cannot run efficiently without the support of chairs and for most session formats, discussants. Please consider signing up to be a session chair or discussant. We intend to stress uniformity of timing in sessions this year based on the number of presentations so that people can exit conference rooms promptly and have enough time to transition before the next session.

Please make sure you keep up-to-date on what NERA is doing, especially about the upcoming conference, by checking our website, reading the newest issue of the NERA Researcher, and following our updates on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Best to all,
Jonathan Steinberg
2023-2024 NERA President

© 2024 Northeastern Educational Research Association, Inc. All Rights Reserved