Field Notes: 2017 Annual Convention - National Council of Teachers of English
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Field Notes: 2017 Annual Convention

Every year at this time we begin the exciting journey toward NCTE’s Annual Convention by sending program notifications to all who submitted proposals in January. The sessions that are accepted comprise the bulk of the learning that will take place at the Convention. They truly represent work done by teachers for teachers, and we are incredibly proud of the quality and variety of sessions selected to present each year.

I am awe-inspired to think about the mammoth Convention and the fact it is guided by a peer-review process. That’s something we should talk about more!

With more than 1,500 submissions to consider and a limited number of spaces we can fill, notification day is always bittersweet. Our acceptance rate is well below 50 percent. I want to take a moment to talk a little bit about the many steps involved in making final decisions.

The program selection committee is composed of volunteers chosen by our elected leaders. That’s why at a very foundational level your participation in elections is so important. Every proposal that is submitted is evaluated by these volunteers at least three times.

Here is how the session selection process works:

When the proposal system closes in January, all submissions are checked for completion and scheduled for review by volunteers (appointed by elected leaders) from NCTE’s College, Middle Level, Secondary, and Elementary Sections, as well as several constituent groups. Each proposal receives two independent online reviews. Scores from the first round of review are tallied, and then the scored proposals are accepted or declined by two more people at a program planning meeting in February.

Throughout the process, evaluators are guided by the vision set forth in the call for proposals, written by the program chair.

In her call for proposals this year, program chair Jocelyn Chadwick requested proposals with the following focus:

  1. Reclaim our voices, thereby allowing us to ignite and exercise our agency and mission.
  2. With our renewal and resolve, we engage—ready, excited, working.

I am thrilled with the selections our elected leaders and volunteers made and cannot wait to see this Convention come to life through the energy and enthusiasm of the many presenters who will join us this fall.

Want to learn more about this year’s Convention? Check out our new website!