Your NCECA board of directors has been onsite in Kansas City this whole week working very hard on a number of things.  We passed a budget, discussed policy, and planned many of the events of the 2016 Conference, Makers, Mentors & Milestones.   The reports of all the board members as well as the minutes of the meetings will be up on the NCECA website soon, for those of you who enjoy reading those items.

I wanted to take this opportunity to give you a little inside information into a few things which you’ll be hearing more about in greater detail in the coming months.

First, I’m really excited to tell you that the NCECA Topical Discussions and Connections programming is being moved to a new spot in the schedule.  Previously on Thursday and Friday evening, respectively, the two threads will be combined and will take place on Wednesday early evening.  With this change, people will be able to make new friends with common interests at the BEGINNING of the conference, rather than meeting people right before you have to go home.  Our newest Director-At-Large, Roberto Lugo, will be working on this project, so watch for more information coming from him right here on the blog!

I’m also thrilled to announce the return (and revision) of the slide forums.   I will  be working with our Programs Director, Mary Cloonan, to completely retool the “slide room”, and we have some really cool and fun ideas of how to make this a rockin’ room.  Stay tuned.

We’re also revising some of the educational programming and expanding its focus.  In previous years, NCECA has hosted “Student Perspectives” programming, which was largely led by the students themselves.  As NCECA considers the question of “what is a student,” and also to meet the needs of our changing organization, we are adding programming for non-traditional education, including programming relating to residencies, craft schools, apprentice programs, etc.  Watch for more information on this in the coming months.

Our Kansas City On-Site Liaisons, Paul Donnelly and Amy Duke, will have some incredible feasts for your eyes at the conference.  The Randall Session and Dance Band are usually brought in from the local community, and KC has so much to offer.  I’m also excited that I’ve been allowed to attach myself to the research and selection of the dance band….I do love music and I love to dance, so you can be certain that this year’s band will be full of energy, so be sure to bring your dancing shoes.

I should also mention that the rooms in the Kansas City Convention Center are much larger than the rooms in Providence.  We are anticipating fewer problems with over crowded rooms this year.  However, I just can’t tell you how challenging it is to put the programming puzzle together.  Attempting to anticipate which things will be the most popular at the conference is just plain hard, especially with my crystal ball in the shop.   We try very hard to think about which sessions will draw which crowds, and then not put competing programming across from one another.  We were blessed to have a full slate of REALLY great proposals in a variety of areas.  I really want to see EVERYTHING, but life is all about choices.  Again, we are blessed to have MANY choices, with 7 rooms full of programming plus all the exhibitions to see, so even if one room is full, there should be no shortage of other options for conference attendees.

Lastly, I’d like to leave you with a coming attraction for the conference.  As you know by now, the theme is Makers, Mentors and Milestones.  NCECA is really embracing that theme.  We have many events planned to honor our history, and our founders; The MAKERS who MENTORED us and the MILESTONES they hit along the way.  I’m being purposefully vague, because things haven’t been finalized, but this is going to be an absolute dream team of conference headliners