Dear fellow members of the WCSA,
It’s been somewhat of a strange turn towards spring without a WCSA conference being immediately on the horizon, and it’s been a tenure of change for me as the WCSA president as the organization plans to host our first conference outside the US this Fall. This move is probably long overdue, as international participants have thankfully found their way to us forever, some of them making rather long and inconvenient journeys year after year—and we are the better for it. Now it’s our turn to return the favor, and I hope to see as many of you as possible at the University of Kent in September. Planning is well underway, and we have nominations in all of our award categories. It looks to be an amazing conference, and I hope to see as many of you there as possible. Registration for the conference is now open; please see the conference website for details.
I understand the financial and time issues involved, and as I’ve noted, our colleagues from other countries have been overcoming these issues and making their way to us in the US for a long time. This seems a convenient time to highlight the importance of our travel grants and fledgling scholar initiatives. We have for years attempted to support the travel and involvement of participants with financial need—and after participating with this both as the Treasurer of the WCSA and as a member of the award committee, I can tell you it’s never enough. We have far too often had people decide they couldn’t attend the conference because of financial concerns, which has led to their disappointment and our loss of their voices at our conference.
We can, of course, do more in this department IF we have more money at our disposal. In my last President’s letter, I encouraged you to draw as many colleagues, contacts, and interested acquaintances into the organization as possible as members. Now, I’ll add to that a request for fundraising efforts so as many people as possible can attend the annual conference. We have a fundraising letter drafted and ready to go. If you are part of an organization which might donate to increase our pool of travel funds, please let me know. As the chair of the Outreach committee, I’d love to do more in this regard, but I only know so many people and only have so many contacts—admittedly, as a community college professor my “reach” is fairly small. Together, though, we can do far more. If your union, your employer, an organization to which you belong, or other personal contact you might have would possibly be interested in donating to the WCSA travel/award fund, please let me know. If you pass along contact information, I’ll make sure we reach out as an organization and do my part to grow what we’re able to offer people who would like to attend our conference and are being held back by financial concerns.
We will need to make some minor changes to the WCSA Constitution to accommodate moving our annual conference and business meeting to the Fall this year (and to accommodate similar shifts in the future when needed). The Steering Committee has already voted on the changes, but Constitutional changes need to be voted on by the membership. This would normally occur at our annual business meeting—but because of the timing of the changes, the vote needs to take place before that business meeting. I’ll be sending out the changes to the membership, and we’ll set up an online vote, so watch for an email in the near future.
Our annual business meeting this year will take place online (see, I told you, a year of change). I’ll be sending information about that in the near future as well, and I invite you, if you have items you’d like to include on the agenda, to let me know.
I was thinking that it had been a relatively slow year, but now that I think about it, maybe “quiet” is a better word….
See you on the web soon, and hope to see you in the UK in September!
Cherie Rankin, WCSA President