Chair: Tara Wilson, The George Washington University
The UCEA graduate student breakfast session, Publish and Thrive: Steps to Jumpstart the Publishing Process, provided graduate students with an opportunity to learn more about how they can better prepare to become respected and tenured scholars in the field of education. The panelists included: Ira Bogotch, Florida Atlantic University; Alan J. Daly, University of California, San Diego; Joseph Murphy, Vanderbilt University; Craig Peck, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; and Karen L. Sanzo, Old Dominion University. These first-rate panelists provided candid stories and honest advice to an enthusiastic audience of doctoral students. The facilitators, Tara A. Wilson, The George Washington University; Emma Bullock, Utah State University; and Wei-Ling Sun, University of Texas, asked the panelists relevant questions that helped make the publishing process feel less intimidating. While some panelists believed that students should focus only on writing their dissertation, most advised for students to write or review articles when they pertain to their research topic. The Twitter hashtag #UCEAPublishingSession was used to gather questions from the audience. The panelists’ advice left graduate students feeling better prepared to take the necessary steps toward preparing for their future careers.
Division A Graduate Student Reflections
Indeed, this was my first UCEA Conference. But having gone to many other conferences (e.g. AERA, ELA, IERC), I found UCEA to be the right size and level of intimacy. Put simply, you actually got to know people on a more personal level. With everything centrally located, networking became much more frequent, and various sessions/events encouraged this. Moreover, I really enjoyed both speaking engagements— Geoffrey Canada and Tonya Allen. I especially appreciated their perspectives and honesty about where education is at and where it should be. Most of all, however, I found an eclectic mix of sessions to attend, ranging from content-based, to exploratory, to professional development. As a graduate student, I felt the Graduate Student Summit Program was particularly helpful—just to know there are many people going through the same things I am currently doing. Taken together, I now look forward to going to the UCEA Conference for many years to come! No doubt, this will be an important home for my work.
-Craig De Voto, University of Illinois at Chicago
The first time I attended the UCEA Annual Convention was as a spectator and newcomer in 2013. I learned a lot, but the conference felt a little intimidating. As the 2016 convention approached, I had much to be nervous and excited about as a first-time presenter and as a graduate student from a non-UCEA institution. However, when I saw all of the familiar faces from AERA Division A, my nerves quickly calmed. Presenting in the Graduate Student Summit kept my excitement high, and it proved to be a fruitful experience as I received feedback from the faculty mentor who chaired my roundtable session. Beyond attending other sessions featuring prominent research from the field, I also had an opportunity to have a meeting with a professor I asked to mentor me after the last AERA Annual Meeting. My mentor and I had been meeting through Skype for months, and the UCEA Annual Convention allowed us to have a mid-year, face-to-face meeting before the next AERA Annual Meeting. Other professors also were generous with their wisdom, and I connected with a former Division A graduate student committee member to discuss a future research collaboration. However, my favorite memories were running into two of last year's Foster-Polite Scholarship awardees and getting to take a photo with Dr. Dantley after he received the 2016 Master Professor Award. He is one of my scholar heroes! Needless to say, I had a great time at the UCEA Annual Convention. Most notably, I left knowing I had found an academic home not only in AERA Division A but also in UCEA.
-LaTanya Dixon, University of Mississippi
The 2016 University Council for Educational Administration’s 30th Annual Convention was amazing. The Convention theme was Revitalizing Education in Complex Contexts: Re-envisioning Leadership, Refreshing Practice, Redefining Student Success and it was amazing because of the session offerings, but it was the record breaking number of doctoral students that registered and attended that made this UCEA Convention one of the best that I have attended. Doctoral students made up slightly over 30% of the total registrants (394 of 927). The Graduate Student Summit (GSS) also had a record breaking number of registrants at 174. The Graduate Student Summit was the highlight of my convention experience. I had the opportunity to plan and coordinate GSS sessions prior to the actual convention with the Graduate Student Council, and present in and chair sessions during the GSS and general convention. To close the Graduate Student Summit, Dr. Michael Dantley, the UCEA 2016 Master Professor Award winner and current AERA Division A Vice President, discussed with the graduate students present his doctoral journey and gave sage advice on navigating and completing doctoral studies. Dr. Dantley asked us to reflect on the following question: “What difference will your presence make?”. I left the GSS closing session feeling revitalized and ready to hone my research, scholarship, and service to better re-envision leadership, refresh practice, and redefine student success.
-Nakia Gray-Nicolas, New York University
Once again, UCEA provided a space for graduate students to network, share their research, and prepare for future leadership roles. The Graduate Student Summit allowed graduate researchers to present their work during paper, roundtable, or Ignite sessions and receive feedback from prominent scholars in their related field. The UCEA Graduate Student Council also developed sessions led by veteran educational leaders to help graduate students navigate their newly emerging careers with some of the sessions centered around the job search, contract negotiations, and publishing your research. All were informative and helped to forge collaborative connections for future research.
-Jessica Schwartzer, George Mason University
Having been attending UCEA, AERA, and other conferences for four years, the UCEA annual convention has always been my favorite. I remember my first time attending conferences, I felt very isolated and intimidated by the large crowd of AERA. But I had a great time at UCEA as a first-year attendee. UCEA is more like a conference for Division A and L graduate students. Because of the smaller crowd of attendees, professors in your research field are more approachable than in AERA. Every year, I can always find answers and mentorship as I progress in my doctoral program with different questions about academia and different needs from mentors. The amount of support from UCEA members is incredible and heartwarming.
The UCEA 2016 Convention theme was Revitalizing Education in Complex Contexts: Re-envisioning Leadership, Refreshing Practice, and Redefining Student Success. The graduate student summit was held before the general convention. And the international summit was held after the general convention. Students whose proposals were accepted in the graduate student summit were assigned to a discussant. After the presentation, you had an individual feedback session with your discussant and other presenters at your panel. This was a great opportunity for graduate students to get some feedback on their manuscript for publication. During the general session, there were many graduate student workshops to help students understand how to navigate in the big academic machine. Division A and Division L graduate student committees worked collaboratively to organize a publishing session for graduate students to unveil the myth of publishing journal articles. There were many networking opportunities for graduate students at receptions and wonderful mentors and graduate students who might become your life-long academic friends.
The UCEA 2017 Annual Convention theme is Echando Pa’lante: School Leaders (Up)rising as Advocates and (Up)lifting Student Voices in Denver, CO. The call for proposals is coming soon. I strongly encourage you to submit your work-in-progress papers to the graduate student summit or proposals to the general convention. Come join this big academic family! Looking forward to seeing all of you in Denver this year.
-Wei-Ling Sun, The University of Texas at Austin