Marcus, my colleague on the 2008 NPC, blogged about face-to-face versus virtual meetings (Marcus’ World: The Value of In Person Conferences), and in doing so said much of what I was thinking but hadn’t articulated. I won’t repeat myself or Marcus, but will focus on one of his points, that during our planning sessions (both in person and virtual), one of the many topics of discussion was how to make Mark Funk’s presidential priorities real while still attracting attendees for the onsite, face-to-face meeting. We’re working hard to do both, and to maintain and leverage the best aspects of both modes.
I’ve planned and participated in both teleconferences and in-person meetings of various sizes. I value the opportunities to meet, talk, socialize with, and work alongside my colleagues from other institutions that I get by traveling to a conference site. I appreciate and take advantage of the synergy and dynamic tension that come from interacting face-to-face with leading thinkers and interesting, inspiring presenters. But I can’t afford to travel to everything of interest – no one can – nor do I have the time to do so. An alternative that allows me, you, and our colleagues to participate when we cannot be present is a challenge, but one worth addressing.
Working on the 2008 national program committee has been interesting, challenging, thought-provoking, demanding, and lots of fun. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, and that’s true of the upcoming meeting as well. If that makes me and Marcus biased commentators, so be it. I’m hoping to see you all in Chicago.