AERA President's Corner

I've viewed AERA with skepticism primarly because (selfishly) I'd never heard of them in my 6 years of teaching. How does the nation's largest organization dedicated to understanding and improving education become unknown to teachers? There's no single reason, but publishing practices are part of the answer. I like that the current AERA president, Bill Tierney, seems to understand this. Maybe he doesn't have a lot of plans or answers, but he knows that AERA must adapt its publishing practices or perhaps face the same kinds of problems facing the newspaper industry. Here are the six challenges Tierney outlines:

What does this mean for AERA? I see six key challenges ahead of us:

1) We need to rethink our publishing outlets and communications schemes.
2) We need to reimagine the Annual Meeting to provide the highest quality presentations in the most advanced communicative formats.
3) We need to make membership attractive to more individuals and groups who can contribute their inspiration and insight. Non-tenure-track faculty are a primary example.
4) We need to broaden our financial base and become less dependent on membership dues and conference registration.
5) We need to consider offering MOOCs (massive online open courses), online training modules, digital badges, and other options for professional development and research training that will appeal to our membership and to education audiences worldwide.
6) We need to broaden and improve our outreach to multiple constituencies.

I don't get the sense that AERA can transform their practices quickly, but hopefully this gets people thinking about taking some decisive steps.