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Becoming #AACTE18: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Making of a Conference

Have you ever wondered what goes into creating the AACTE Annual Meeting? One of the largest professional gatherings for the educator preparation field, the 2018 Annual Meeting will offer more than 300 presentations over the course of 4 days—the final destination on the long and winding road that leads up to each conference.

Here’s an inside look at some of the planning and milestones along the way to the 70th Annual Meeting in Baltimore, starting more than 4 years ago:

  • Summer 2013: Select the Site. Baltimore was chosen as the home for AACTE’s 70th Annual Meeting. It may be hard to believe, but due to high demand for meeting and convention space, AACTE must secure a contract 4-5 years in advance for an event of this size. You can learn more about how AACTE determines its host city and venue(s) by reviewing our site selection criteria.
  • August 2016: Develop the Theme. As part of its 3-day summer meeting, AACTE’s Committee on Meetings & Professional Development met with AACTE leadership, as well as other leaders in the field, to draft a framework for the conference theme and strands for 2018. (Earlier at the same meeting, the committee was analyzing peer reviews and selecting sessions for the 2017 Annual Meeting—a task that often helps inspire conversations about the next year’s focus.)
  • March 2017: Issue the Call for Proposals. At the 69th Annual Meeting in Tampa, AACTE unveiled the official Call for Proposals for the 70th Annual Meeting and also solicited applications for peer reviewers of proposals. Both types of submissions were collected online through May 2017.
  • June 2017: Conduct Peer Review of Proposals. Having received a record 567 proposals for review, AACTE’s 269 vetted peer reviewers began the process of completing the 1,701 reviews assigned (three per proposal).
  • August 2017: Select the Sessions. After reviewing all scores and other feedback collected from AACTE’s reviewers, the Committee on Meetings & Professional Development made the final selection of sessions to be accepted for presentation at the 2018 Annual Meeting. In making these decisions each year, the committee takes into account many factors, including the number of sessions per strand, session types, and overall connections to the theme of the conference. (Remember, following this process the committee turns its attention to developing the theme and strands for the next Annual Meeting.)
  • October 2017: Finalize Schedule. Using the information provided from the over 300 presentations, the previously determined “Meeting-at-a-Glance” schedule overview, and the available meeting rooms in Baltimore, AACTE staff assigned specific times and locations to each session. After resolving scheduling conflicts and other outstanding issues, AACTE published the final schedule via the Event Planner in November 2017.

In truth, the Annual Meeting planning cycle never stops, but each year’s conference presents a remarkable culmination of activity that involves hundreds of people and many months—even years—of work.

Want to learn more about AACTE’s Annual Meeting? What better way than to come experience it for yourself! Get the discounted registration rate and receive AACTE’s special hotel rates when you make your reservation and register by February 2 for the AACTE Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, March 1-3. And keep an eye out for your opportunity to serve as a presenter and/or reviewer for the 2019 Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky. The online application will be available from March through May of 2018.

Keep up with the latest announcements by following us on Twitter and Facebook, and join the conversation using #AACTE18.

Come experience the enhanced AACTE Annual Meeting – One community. One purpose. One place.

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Matthew Wales

Vice President, Membership, Events, and Special Projects

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