Posted by Cindy Bracker, Communications Director
Thanks to all who completed the NCECA 2013 Post-Conference Survey. The synthesized survey report included 42,000 words of comments that were shared with NCECA’s entire board. Findings and trends indicated in the responses were vigorously discussed prior to and during NCECA’s recent board meeting in Milwaukee that concluded this past Saturday. Both the quantitative data about programming quality and the vast majority of comments were positive on the subject.
The programming continues to be interesting and relevant. The emerging artists reflect the diverse ceramic community, not just one point of view, awesome!!!
A few of the comments on programming provided some thoughtful criticism about improving our organization, and illuminated some possible areas of focus for the future of NCECA. One of the 2013 post-conference survey comments indicates that NCECA would do well to better communicate the methods by which conference proposals are considered.
I believe that the Peer-Review of submissions for topics needs to be redeveloped so that it is not based on the “good-ol-boys-club” but on the actual merit of the proposal to the topic of the conference.
During its recent board meeting in Milwaukee, NCECA’s board considered 57 proposals submitted for the 2014 program in Houston. NCECA’s board of directors currently includes two Student Directors at Large, a business owner and another member with a long, distinguished career in secondary education. Other members work in higher education and sustain careers as artists. Programs director, Steve Hilton, organizes the peer review process, providing the Board with a rubric through which to evaluate the relative merits of each proposal prior to review. He assigns small teams of board members to review proposals in the various strands prior to the meeting. Below is a breakdown of the proposals received by program strands defined in NCECA’s call for submissions:
· Education – 12 proposals
· Technology – 5 proposals
· Aesthetics and critical theory – 15 proposals
· Art History – 10 proposals
· Professionalism – 7 proposals
· New Work – 2 proposals
· Demonstrators – 6 proposals
When the NCECA board met in Milwaukee last week, it devoted considerable time to a process of viable and knowledgeable peer review. NCECA’s board of directors currently includes two students, a business owner and another member with a long, distinguished career in secondary education. Other members work in higher education and sustain careers as artists.
Programs director, Steve Hilton, organizes the peer review process, providing the Board with a rubric through which to evaluate the relative merits of each proposal. After organizing a spreadsheet with hyperlinks to access the proposals and relevant support materials including images and CVs of individuals identified as presenters, the Programs Director assigns small teams of board members to review proposals in the various strands prior to the meeting. For instance, I was part of a team that reviewed all of the proposals in the Technology and Professionalism categories. Guided by a rubric provided by the Programs Director each board member fully assessed assigned proposals’ merits, evaluating their popularity/interest among the membership, format, adherence to the conference theme, detail, the extent of research and indications of presenters’ knowledge and qualifications.
Following pre-meeting preparations, during the meeting, we initially worked within our teams for over an hour to debate the proposals we all reviewed and make additional notes. Then each group presented those notes and opinions to the full board where we further debated all of the factors pertaining to each proposal individually, within its category and in the big picture of the entire conference program. Ultimately the proposals are ranked and entered into a master schedule that we reviewed and consented to prior to leaving Milwaukee.
Although there were fewer proposals this year than in past years, the field was very strong, and we had some really tough decisions to make. The board is excited to start sharing previews of the program. Stay tuned right here for sneak previews about our programming for the 2014 NCECA Conference: Material World in Milwaukee, March 19-22.