Sunday, October 30, 2016

Why regional conferences still matter


As I prepare for the Southwest Symposium at Arkansas State University's Mid South Campus, I was thinking about the benefits of regional conferences:
  • Real connections — the smaller size means you run across people enough to really delve into conversations and potential research partnerships. You will likely even make friends.
  • Manageable — not having to jump between two massive conference centers means you can also recharge your battery, and focus on what the handful of concurrent sessions have to offer.
  • Leadership opportunities — volunteers are needed, welcomed and valued. That's not to say they aren't at large international conferences, but breaking into the leadership track is much easier.
  • Cost-effective travel — locations are typically nearer, or at least cheaper options to where the big conferences annually host. Also, the conference fees are less expensive.
  • New prof and grad student friendly — most of the time attendees are there to truly support and improve work, not tear it down. Grad students, academic veterans and newbies co-mingle for a nice mix of experiences and opinions.
At least these have been my experiences at the Southwest Education Council for Journalism and Mass Communication (SWECJMC). Check it out for yourself: Or connect to the Facebook page for updates on deadlines: