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As a fourth year doctoral candidate, in addition to having completed comprehensive examinations and prospectus and working on the dissertation, my thoughts are also turning towards the job market and securing that first academic position. This purpose of this blog is to chronicle the trials and tribulations of completing my Ph.D. and finding that first job.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Problems with CUFA / Problems with AECT

Well, this weekend I am attending the ?annual? CUFA retreat in Gainesville, Florida. It is an interesting gathering, as it is partially a conference - with thematic sessions that are delivered or discussed - and partially a real retreat - with actual who are we, what are we about sessions. It has been an interesting experience, as the plenary sessions where we are considering the "retreat" portions of the session people are asking questions like:
  1. How do you define/conceptualize the mission/purpose or CUFA?
  2. Do you believe that this mission/purpose "matches" our name?
  3. Are we a gathering of college and university faculty, as the name implies, or are we the "theory and research" arm of NCSS? If the latter, should we change our name?
  4. Is political advocacy part of our purpose as an organization? If so, what form should it take?
  5. Two thirds of our members do not attend the annual meeting. How do we serve the needs to this group? Should this be a concern/priority for CUFA? Why or why not?
  6. Only 15% of our membership currently votes in elections for CUFA Board. How do we increase our voter participation? Should this be a concern/priorit for CUFA? Why or why not?
  7. How do we bring new colleagues into CUFA? What do we do to make this a place for them?

In your opinion, what are the crucial questions/issues that CUFA should address/discuss in the future?
Now, if you aren't familiar with the acronyms, you may be wondering what CUFA is? CUFA is the College and University Faculty Assembly. Now, unless you know what NCSS is (as it was mentioned in the questions above), you're still asking what is the College and University Faculty Assembly. Basically, it is the higher education arm of the National Council of Social Studies.

In any regard, when addressig these questions it was interesting to watch the group, as there is a real division in Social Sciences or Social Studies Education between how social studies should be taught and even what should be taught. This idea of do we teach a grand narrative of a great nation based upon the history of a bunch of dead white guys or do we teach students to be critical of their society and the democracy that has been developed in their society. But during the sessions, there is no disagreement, little passion and a real lack of willingness to tackle this division in any real way. Having said that, I should also admit that this is my firt real or true social studies education conference/retreat experience.

The reason I wanted to post this information, other than the interesting issues that it raises for this organization and its unwillingness to engage in a real discussion about itself, I was reminder of the discussions that we have been having about AECT.

If you look at the list of questions above, many of the same questions could be asked of AECT. How do we conceptualize the purpose/mission of AECT? Questions five through seven are excellent ones and fall quickly in line with the discussion that we have been having about the communications (or lack there of) aspects of AECT, between AECT and its members, and between members of AECT and other members of AECT.
For those of you out there involved or interested in AECT, how would you respond to questions 1, 5, 6, and 7 (and any others you'd like to take up)?

Tags: CUFA, NCSS, AECT, blog, blogging, blogs, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

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