Along with our Educational Leadership Graduate Student Council members I was apart of a great team who planned, organized, controlled, and hosted the 13th Miami University Graduate Student Conference. This conference was held February 15th, 2014 at McGuffey Hall on the campus of Miami University. For the theme we chose “Education and Activism: Is Education too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our world? The former theme was taking from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail where he posits that religion if bound to the status quo may not be able to offer solutions to change our world.
Overall the conference was a success with 19 different presentations, a lunch time social hour, and a guest speaker who rocked the house. Dr. Dave Stovall, University of Illinois Chicago professor whose scholarship focuses on critical race theory, culturally relevant curriculum, and urban youth.
Now this does not mean I didn’t learn from many mistakes. If I could do it all over again I would chair this conference with multiple teams in place. Here’s what I mean:
The total process of choosing an executive team, choosing a keynote speaker, choosing a venue, changing the chair of our department, having the conference faculty liaison go on sabbatical, coordinating the schedules of all executive team members made for a tough time carrying out a conference. In retrospect, I wish we would of had three waves of support to help us. In the future I would suggest this to the chair of our department. Those three suggestive waves of support should broken down into three teams: executive team members, associate team members, and assistant team members
First, the executive team members (1st & 2nd yr doctoral students and master’s student) should be in charge of the communication with the participates, vetting of participate proposals, and the carrying out of the recruiting of the second and third level members of the committee.
Second, the associate team members would be students in the doctoral program or master’s program who need to fulfill a residency requirement. Why do I make this recommendation? Well this could do two things: first it allows for the student who needs the residency requirement to fulfill at least a six month position in the department. Second it helps take pressure off of the executive team planning the day of logistics. The associate team would be in charge of signs, name tags, speaker accommodations, speaker honorarium, corresponding with faculty chair appoints on the day of the conference, and other odds and ends.
Third, the assistant team members would be students who are undergraduate looking to get extra credit for a class, gain a birds eye view into graduate school, or doing an independent study for a professor. The assistant team would be in charge of day operations, parking passes for the participants, food setup, classroom technology setup, participant inquiries, conference cleanup, and greeting guest.
Overall, there were many successes to the 13th EDL Graduate Student Conference, but if I could do it all over again I would implement levels of teams to ensure success.