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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.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Graduate Students Snubbed by AECT

Okay, so I received this message from the Division of Distance Learning listserve - it was the third or fourth time that I've received this message.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gary R Morrison (GMorriso@odu.edu)
Date: Feb 14, 2007 1:17 PM
Subject: [DDL] Distance Learning and AECT Conference

Just a quick reminder that proposals are due on 2/15.

Second, I still need additional reviewers for the proposals. The following is an email I sent earlier. If you are a faculty member or professional in the field, please volunteer so that I can spread the review responsibilities across a number of individuals rather than a few who graciously volunteered.

Faculty and professionals in the Distance Learning Division are invited toreview proposal submissions for AECT annual meeting. Reviews will begin about February 15th.

This year, we are encouraging faculty members to mentor a graduate student in the review process. Only the faculty member will submit a review, however, we encourage the faculty member to discuss the student's reviewand provide mentoring.

If you are interested in reviewing papers, please email Gary Morrison (gmorriso@odu.edu). Reviews will begin soon after February 15th. In the body of the email, please include the
following information:


Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Gary R. Morrison, Ed.D.
Professor, Instructional Design & Technology
Educational Curriculum and Instruction
Education 249-3
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, VA 23529
(757) 683-6275

Given my interest in mentoring younger graduate students personally, I contacted Gary and told him that the way the call for reviewers was written, it really discouraged graduate students - who have traditionally made up a fair number of the reviewers. I got this response:

There has been a great deal of discussion about graduate students reviewing proposals this year. It appears this process is not being continued by a large majority of the divisions (I only know of one that is inviting graduate students to review). Currently, this issue is under review byAECT's executive committee.

If you would like to review papers, I strongly encourage you to have one of your mentors volunteer to review papers and mentor you.


First of all, I'd like to congratulation at least one division for not losing all sense. As I have lamented in the past, AECT has many challenges facing it (for recent rants, see Why AECT? Why? and AECT - You've Got to be Kidding Me!).

Graduate students make up a large portion of the membership and the convention attendees of AECT. In the past, many graduate students reviewed conference proposals - I know I did for my first two years of doctoral studies. And as you've probably read here in the past, AECT has made some changes that have made it more difficult for graduate students to get involved - increasing volunteer and student rates (in the case of volunteer rates from nothing to a hundred bucks over the past three or four years). Now they have taken away this opportunity for graduate students to get involved in something that it fundamental to life in the academy - service in professional organizations.

It is even more interesting that these same divisions have no problem with having graduate students serve on their executives, I know the Division of Distance Learning has two of us (out of seven or eight individuals). So, personally I am taking a principled stand on this issue. Not only am I not asking one of my mentors to sign up to review proposals so that I can help them out on an activity that I have been doing on my own for the past four years, I have also resigned from my position on the Division of Distance Learning. I encourage all graduate students to follow suit.

I'd also ask you to contact the President, President Elect, and Past President of your own divisions and ask them their policy on involving graduate students - not only in the review process, but what is their vision for how graduate students should be involved in their division.

Please note, The Opinions Expressed...

Tags: AECT 2007, AECT, blog, blogging, blogs, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


I also received the e-mail limiting graduate student involvement in the review process. Initially, I was disappointed to see this choice made by the DLD President-Elect, but after reading the response provided to your inquiry I am even more disturbed that this is a direction that the Executive Board is pushing. I do believe that graduate students should be able to serve as reviewers. Students pay dues and they submit presentations. Why can't they serve as reviewers. If it is an issue about the quality I am sure there are some full members that may not be quality reviewers.

If you want to limit reviewers to quality reviewers then maybe there needs to be a policy of being a member for one year and attending one conference. This would allow a new member regardless of student or professional to learn more about the organization and the conference before reviewing.

I can say that I assisted two division president-elects manage the review process as well as review proposals as a doctoral student. It was those opportunities that led me to apply as an intern and started me down the road towards service. If the organization does not do a better job of cultivating graduate students it can kiss the future leaders goodbye as they head to other organizations.

On another aspect of your post Michael, I understand taking a principled stand, but resigning from your position on the Division of Distance Learning is the wrong choice. It is your responsibility as a member of that division board to speak up and take a stand as a leader. Stepping down just gives some people more reason to complain about doctoral students. I would strongly recommend that you rescind your resignation if that is possible and be more proactive in the discussion within the division.

Just a few of my thoughts.

5:50 PM

Blogger MKB said...

I agree with you that the more AECT pushes graduate students away, the more they will go to organizations like AACE, ISLS, NECC, and ISTE. Given that graduate students make up approximately 40% of the membership of AECT, that will be a big hit to both revenues and trying to grow the organization.

As for my resignation, I believe that I have voice my concerns about AECT from within and have been a part of those discussion for long enough now. And unfortunately when I look around at my like minded colleagues who have been voicing the same concerns for much longer than I have, I don't hold out much hope.

I am beginning to come to the conclusion that trying to change AECT is like trying to change the K-12 education system, you will always have a group of progressive people trying their best, but in the end the majority are simply unwilling to change or don't care enough to be bothered. Pesimistic for someone who have been involved in the field of teacher education, I know. But there is a reason why a doctor or a factory worker from 1900 wouldn't be able to do their jobs in today's environment, whereas a teacher from 1900 could walk into most classrooms and simply pick up where the current teacher leaves off.


7:16 PM


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