NACTA 2021 Annual Conference is
Over the years, participating in the annual NACTA Conference is a professional and personal highlight for me and so many others. I always enjoy the informative sessions, opportunities to network with other like-minded colleagues from across the continent, the educational industry tours provided by the gracious site hosts, and celebrating the achievements of fellow colleagues. I know I am not the only one that eagerly looks forward to the fellowship and scholarship each summer. In fact, when members are asked what they appreciate most about NACTA, the annual conference and the NACTA Journal are two of the benefits most often mentioned.
Following the conclusion of our virtual event in 2020, the NACTA Leadership Team immediately set to work looking forward to the 2021 conference. I appointed an ad hoc committee to carefully study and consider the feasibility and probability of holding our annual conference as scheduled in Wooster, OH at The Ohio State University. The ad hoc committee (composed of Foy Mills, Past-President and Chair; Thom Janini, Ohio State Host Site Rep; Tracy Dougher, Membership Committee; Lee Wood, Treasurer; and Julie Hewett and Danielle Inscoe, both from JulNet, our management firm) discussed the best path forward to implement a successful and rewarding event. After much deliberation, the committee, as well as the NACTA Executive Team, reluctantly but unanimously came to the same conclusion.
We will deliver our annual NACTA Conference event for agriculture educators as a virtual event, in lieu of an in-person event.
The uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the resulting budgetary hardships and travel restrictions imposed by many post-secondary institutions – including our host institution – made it very difficult to effectively plan for a live, in-person conference in June 2021. Many of our professional organizations are wrestling with these same issues. In addition, assuming that we would have to host the conference online, your leadership wanted sufficient time to plan and prepare for what would be a virtual annual conference experience that NACTA members and other attendees would find beneficial, purposeful and productive. A new ad hoc committee has been established to provide recommendations on “next steps,” so more on this in the near future. Your input will be important!
We look forward to bringing together our ecosystem of scholars, colleagues and friends in a virtual format to learn, connect, and present together.
For now, I would like to thank all the members of the ad hoc committee and the NACTA Leadership Team for taking on the difficult and unpleasant task of voting to hold the 2021 Annual NACTA Conference in a virtual format. Also, we would like to express appreciation to our friends and leadership at The Ohio State University for all their deliberations and work as the scheduled host site for the 2021 conference.
J. Marcos Fernandez
NACTA President 2020-21