2021 Updates

This message was sent to the ASHE community on January 29, 2021

Dear ASHE Community,

Early next week, our 2021 Program Committee Chairs Natasha Croom and Z Nicolazzo will send out the 46th Annual Conference Call For Proposals. This will include information and guiding questions for consideration to submit to the 12 conference sections and four pre-conferences as well as the call for volunteers to serve as reviewers, chairs, and discussants. As you consider submitting a proposal or volunteering, we want to share some logistical updates about our 2021 conference scheduled for November 3-6 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Since last year, the ASHE Board of Directors and Staff have monitored the COVID-19 pandemic, including the vaccine roll out, CDC directives on event gatherings, and mandates and recommendations from the Puerto Rican government. We remain in communication with our host hotel the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino and will be working collaboratively on an attendee safety plan. Based on what we know now, we are moving forward with plans for an in-person conference with virtual offerings, a hybrid conference. This will build upon the tremendous success of our virtual events in 2020 and include opportunities for members to engage in higher education research and scholarship either in San Juan or virtually.

We truly missed gathering in New Orleans in November, but are thankful to our members who created an innovative, relevant, and sustainable conference, bringing together more than 1,500 members across two weeks. We are hopeful that the Biden-Harris administration will advance efforts to stem COVID-19 and are optimistic about Dr. Fauci’s comments that we can expect to be able to gather in large groups again by late summer or early fall.

However, we realize that some members may not be ready or able to travel. We also know that many institutions and organizations are restricting travel spending for the upcoming academic year. To help us best plan for November, we invite you to take 1-2 minutes to take this 3 question survey:
[survey link was in the original email sent to ASHE community]

We will use this information to continue informing our decisions. In the meantime, the ASHE Staff, in collaboration with conference leaders, has begun to plan for and the Board of Directors has approved moving forward with a hybrid conference option and support for our members. This plan initially includes
  • Poster presentations will once again be offered virtually and be available for a few weeks preceding the conference. Accepted poster presenters will provide their poster in a PDF as well as record a 3-4 minute video. In-person and virtual attendees will be able to review posters and provide feedback, just as in 2020.
  • At this time we plan to offer roundtable presentations both virtually and in-person. When submitting a roundtable proposal, authors will indicate their presentation preference. Accepted virtual presentations will be scheduled in the month of October and open to virtual and in-person conference attendees. In-person roundtable presentations will be offered during the in-person conference only (not available to virtual attendees) and at least one roundtable paper author would need to attend in-person.
  • The two keynotes (announcement coming this summer!), opening session and presidential address, and all presidential sessions will be available both in-person and virtually.
  • Proposals for self-designed paper sessions; interactive symposium sessions; and performance, visual, and digital scholarship sessions will have the option to indicate if they want to present a fully virtual session. This will mean that all presenters will join the session virtually (similar to the 2020 conference). This may include members who attend in-person; in this case, they will present from a green room rather than the room where the presentation is being streamed and will be responsible for providing their own laptop, camera, microphone, etc. We initially anticipate being able to accept 20 of these proposals with priority for sessions where all presenters are unable to attend the in-person conference.
  • All other accepted proposals for paper sessions; self-designed paper sessions; interactive symposia; and performance, visual, and digital scholarship will be offered in-person only. These presentations will be required to have at least one presenter attend the in-person conference. We are working to offer an option for other presenters in a group who are unable to join in person to present virtually.
Over the coming months, the ASHE Board of Directors will continue to monitor the pandemic and implications for our November conference. If we are unable to host an in-person conference, we will once again transition to a virtual format, similar to and with lessons learned from 2020.
The ASHE Staff will provide more detailed information regarding registration and hotel accommodations in the coming months. We anticipate conference and hotel registration opening around mid-May, awards nominations opening in early May, and professional development event registration/applications opening in late July. You can find a full lists of dates and deadline at www.ashe.ws/conference.
Finally, we will promise to provide you another update prior to the proposal submission deadline on April 20, regardless of any changes. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to email Jason at jason@ashe.ws.

D-L Stewart, PhD
(they/them/their, he/him/his)
ASHE 2021 President

Jason P. Guilbeau, PhD, CAE
ASHE Executive Director