By Greg Luft
With spring semester winding to a close, an allegedly more relaxed summer is on the way. According to the new BEA president, this is a great time to ask for your attention and to begin planning for another great year.
All of us, including me, have heard this before. It’s my 28th year as a member, and it will be my 11th year on the Board of Directors. I served as Interest Division representative in the early 2000s, then as District 6 representative before moving to the Executive Committee. I learned that presidents have big ideas, and they will work tirelessly with Heather, JD, and Traci to make those ideas happen. I don’t need to say that Heather, JD and Traci already work tirelessly, but I guess I just did, and I think I’d be a fool to delete it.
As a result, BEA is doing more than ever before. The program for BEA 2018 was crammed with great sessions, and covered so many areas in media, journalism, communication, and technology that it was impossible to keep track. Administrators, faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates found relevant and insightful content, as well as the friendliest environment and best networking opportunities in higher education. You can quote me on that, but if you know BEA, I think you are likely to be quoting yourself.
My big idea is to increase membership by optimizing the strengths of members, and the message that BEA continues to be the premier international academic media organization. BEA has it all. Top flight research, expertise in pedagogy, unparalleled creative scholarship, industry connections, provocative opportunities for students, gadgets galore, a buffet of social opportunities, and a lot of other activities that will test anyone’s adjective vocabulary.
During the convention, BEA staff introduced a new membership initiative. Bring two new members to the organization, and get a free membership. Former members qualify if they have been out of the loop for at least three years. But let’s not just focus on former members. Let’s also use this initiative to stretch our influence, and to strengthen BEA by deliberately recruiting diverse administrators, faculty, students, and exhibitors. We can never do too much to be more inclusive. Although we may not have the personal experience, or a literature review of applicable research at our fingertips, I think we all can agree that diversity and inclusion enlighten, rejuvenate, and energize any learning environment. If you want to submit a panel, make sure that your experts reflect the diverse culture that we want to build across higher education.
Finally, please join me in optimizing your personal involvement. Start planning now for panels, presentations, papers and creative projects. Use the summer to unleash your academic energy, and while you’re at it, search for new faces, voices and points of view. At the same time, don’t forget that your colleagues just down the hall also will have a blast if they participate in BEA’s On-Location at the University of Houston in October, or at BEA 2019 in Las Vegas. BEA will always carry the promise of enlightenment, engagement, and perspicacity, as well as a good excuse to pull out your dictionary.