What is the general spirit of the conference?
While members’ experiences will differ, the general intention of the conference is to offer a supportive, collaborative space where ideas are shared, critiqued, revised, and improved. PES endeavors to create a meeting at which members can build networks and generate energy for philosophical scholarship in education.
Who are the people wearing yellow lanyards at the conference?
At our 2023 meeting, we (COPA, the Membership Committee, and the Mentorship and Development Committee) piloted a PES ambassadors’ program and invited anyone who was interested in helping to welcome new members to the organization and conference (as well as old members who want to get more involved) to volunteer to serve as an ambassador for PES.  We are continuing that tradition this year; ambassadors will be wearing yellow lanyards with their nametags at the meeting.  Members of the three sponsoring committees will also wear these lanyards.  Feel free to introduce yourself to any of our ambassadors as well as ask any questions you have about PES.
Looking at the program, I’m noticing that there are different kinds of sessions listed. Does the format of these sessions differ?

Yes, to some extent. Most sessions involve a speaker delivering a paper and a respondent or respondents providing comments. These sessions (concurrent paper sessions, general sessions, Kneller and presidential sessions) tend to be more formal. Some members may find that other sessions (alternative sessions, author meets critics sessions, works in progress sessions) are more interactive and accessible. Regardless of the session, your comments are important to the conversation and the generation of ideas so please do share your insights during Q and As!

In case you’re wondering, during the review process three papers from the group of accepted concurrent session papers are selected by the program committee to serve as general sessions (based on the strength of the paper and its likely interest to members). Each concurrent paper session is accompanied by an invited response paper (invited by the program chair). All concurrent paper sessions and accompanying responses are published in Philosophy of Education.

Also, for future planning, it’s worth remembering that while paper sessions require a full paper for submission, alternative sessions are developed as collaborative proposals. So, if you have an idea for an alternative session panel, you might use the conference meeting to reach out to folks you’d like to collaborate with for next year! Another way to get on the program is by writing a response paper. After submissions go in on November 1st each year, you can reach out to the program chair expressing your interest in serving as a respondent. When you do so, it’s helpful if you include your areas of expertise. 

There are specialized meetings listed on the conference program that I think I’d like to attend. Can I show up to any of the specialized meetings?

Almost all sessions on the conference program are open to all members. This includes the business meeting on Sunday (please attend!). In general, anyone is welcome to attend any committee and SIG meetings. The only exceptions are noted in the program as “closed committee meetings” (these include the PES Executive Committee, COPA, and the 2025 Program Committee meeting).

What are some of the ways that I can get formally involved in conference business?

Attending one of the open committee or SIG meetings is a great place to start. You can also attend the business meeting and learn more about potential openings in leadership.

If you are a graduate student, PES has an active and dynamic graduate student committee that coordinates events and resources for graduate students and emerging scholars in our field. This committee will be hosting a Graduate Student meeting on Friday, March 8th at noon (meet at the registration desk to go to lunch), and a social meet-up time on Friday evening at 8:45 pm (meet at the registration desk).

What are some of the social events at the conference?

There are several late afternoon/evening receptions listed on the program and all members are encouraged to attend and discuss the day’s events. Some take place at the conference hotel while others are at bars/restaurants nearby. You are especially encouraged to attend the New Member Reception on Friday evening (Canyons Lobby)! And, if you are in town on Thursday evening, please also come to the Reception that evening at 8pm in Zion.

Note also the graduate student meet-up on Friday evening!

While breakfast meetings usually have an agenda, they are nevertheless a good way to meet people in a smaller format and learn more about conference business, while generating some connections. Coffee breaks are also a good time to connect.

I’ve heard that at the business meeting there’s an agenda item called “Resolutions” …

Yeah, this is a bit of a PES tradition. It’s a fun way that we roast leaders in PES and get a laugh out of quirky things that happen during the conference. It’s intended to be lighthearted and build community. Resolutions are shared at the end of the business meeting.

Speaking of the business meeting, is this something I should go to?

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend the business meeting. At this meeting we discuss organizational business, including how to maintain a thriving philosophy of education community and support our members. We also consider new initiatives and committees, share the result of elections, and talk about ways to strengthen PES as a scholarly home for our members.  Attending is a great way to see some of the behind the scenes work of an academic organization and identify ways to get involved.

I am chairing a session. What should I know?

Thanks to all who have signed up to chair a session at the upcoming PES conference!  Although many of you have served as chairs before, some have not.  For folks who are new or want a refresher, here's a quick overview of what to do and what to expect:

  • At the session, please introduce yourself to the author and respondent and inform them of your role. 
  • When the session begins, it's the role of the chair to briefly (names and paper or symposium titles are enough!) introduce the authors and/or panelists.  In General and Concurrent sessions, the author reads their paper first, then the respondent reads their response.  Typically the author is then given the chance for a very brief response to the response.   (Timekeeping is not an issue, as the time allotment for each speaker is dictated by the 4500/1500 word limits, but it is the chair's responsibility to start and end sessions on time.)  It's then the task of the chair to facilitate questions and discussion by keeping track of who wishes to speak and calling on speakers.  
  • It's a good idea to keep a running list of folks who raise their hands, adding names (or descriptions, like "the person with the red shirt in the back" if you don't know their names) as you see hands go up.  This enables the audience to focus on what's being said, rather than on trying to get the chair's attention.  Some chairs prefer to add names in the order hands are raised; some prefer to make a deliberate effort to equalize speaking opportunities for different groups of people.  However you go about it, it's the responsibility and the right of chairs to keep the conversation moving along, rather than letting anyone dominate the conversation.
  • If you're chairing a symposium, it's also your responsibility to keep presenters to time.  The symposium members (of whom likely you are one!) should decide in advance how much time to allot to each speaker, making sure to leave ample time for discussion. It's the chair's job to monitor and enforce those limits so that everyone has a chance to speak, including the audience.
  • WIP sessions are chaired by the discussant, who should give each author 10-15 minutes to present their ideas, leaving 40-50 minutes for the discussant's response and conversation with the audience.
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