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May 8, 2020 – UCEA Executive Committee Seeks Input on 2020 Convention

Dear UCEA Community,
The UCEA Executive Committee hopes this message finds you and your loved ones in good health.
As our Executive Director Mónica Byrne-Jiménez has stated over the past few weeks, we’ve been keeping a close eye on the evolving pandemic situation and the implications for our November gathering. Headquarters staff has been providing information and potential options to the EC to help with decision-making. 
First and foremost, our concern is the safety and well-being of our members. Convention is as much a celebration of our community as it is a chance to share our research. We honor that and are doing our best to protect that.
Second, as the Executive body, we also have a responsibility to maintain the strength of the organization. Part of that responsibility is to ensure that any decision we make regarding Convention, does not jeopardize our overall financial health, nor the personal health and welfare of our members. 
Last, the Headquarters staff and the Convention Planning Committee have been working to develop a range of possible alternatives to our Convention (including all graduate and early career faculty programming, and business meetings): from a full “in-person” Convention, to a hybrid Convention, to a virtual Convention, to not having a Convention in 2020. They have focused their efforts on identifying the core experiences of Convention and how those can be substituted and/or enhanced using available technologies. Some of their thinking has built on the success of the “virtual” Clark and Jackson Seminars in April and communication with other organizations facing the same dilemma or providing virtual platforms. 
We are acutely aware that any decision might disparately impact early-career faculty and graduate students, who often rely on professional conferences to present their work and expand opportunities for publication, networking, and careers. The EC is weighing all priorities while being cautious and thoughtful about moving forward.
At this time, there is no clear path forward, so we turn to you to respond to a short survey. The information you provide will be vital to what decision we make.  We are welcoming your opinion regarding the likelihood of attending any face-to-face or hybrid Convention in the fall and some potential Convention alternatives. Please complete this form by 11:00 pm EST on Wednesday, May 20th. Once we have reviewed your feedback, we will be in touch with our decision.
Given this time frame, we are pushing the Convention Proposal and the Graduate Student Summit deadlines to 11:00 pm EST on Friday, June 12th. 
We are grateful to all of you for your adaptability, resilience, and diligence this semester keeping your classes and programs “together” for the sake of your students. We are also grateful to UCEA Headquarters for their support and assistance. 
Stay well,
Gerardo R. López
UCEA President

William Black
UCEA President-Elect
2020 Convention Planning Team 

Mónica Byrne-Jiménez
UCEA Executive Director